IDC’s Sarah Bradbury caught up with Kate Kasekas of Tri-Can Contract Inc. to find out more about a townhouse rejuvenation.
Can you have a space that is both functional and beautiful – all at the same time? Kate Kasekas, principal interior designer at Tri-Can Contract Inc. thinks so. In fact, her design philosophy is all about creating useable everyday spaces that seamlessly blend aesthetics with practicality and durability. It’s this same philosophy that she applied to a tired North York townhouse complex to bring it from dim and dated, to bright, fresh, and welcoming. With some thoughtful design solutions and special attention to detail, this townhouse complex was given a new lease on life.
Could you tell us a bit about your background?
I grew up in a family with a construction background. From a young age, space planning was of particular interest to me; I remember drawing rudimentary floorplans as a child! I learned to train my eye for placement, balance, and proportion, and acquired a love for both architecture and design. I decided to study at the International Academy of Design and was fortunate to gain some on-the-job experience as I was going through school. The knowledge I gained through my education, career, travels, and early history in the industry, have all given me a functional approach to my work.
Why is interior design important?
I love beautiful design and have always respected how we move and live in and around a space. To me, interior design is about the successful creation of safe, liveable space that is not only beautiful, but also practical and functional. It is about understanding both the needs and wants of the end-user and being able to implement that vision. I believe we, as interior designers, have a responsibility to enrich people’s lives with spaces that are comfortable, attractive, and uplifting.
What are your primary sources of design inspiration?
I am inspired by architecture, people, and travelling. Seeing and interacting with different cultures provokes introspection and fuels my curiosity — particularly how products (especially textiles) are made. I also draw inspiration from my kids. If a material is safe for them, then it’s safe for everyone else! While I do enjoy beautiful finishes, I really appreciate durable ones, and for my clients, I always strive to achieve both.
How did you decide on a theme or concept for this project?
After our initial meeting with the Board of Directors and the Design Committee, their needs and wants became quite clear. They wanted a whimsical yet sophisticated look with finishes that were going to be durable and look fresh for many years.
What areas of the condo were you responsible for designing?
We designed the resident corridors, which included many customdesigned elements like carpet, elevator lobby tile, wallcovering, millwork, suite door hardware, lighting, paint colours, and window film for the fire hose cabinets.
What were your sources of inspiration for this particular project?
The demographics of the residents helped to steer the concept. We felt that a balance of contrasting colours and a fresh approach on traditional design would best suit the building’s needs. We installed a dark carpet with a delicate scroll pattern on a lovely textured base, really making the flooring the focal point. We used the rich colours in the carpet to complement the new door colour, new millwork, and hardware. Residents now feel more of a presence when they get home and visitors love the welcoming space!
Who is the target audience for this project?
Current residents, realtors, and buyers. We wanted current residents to have a renewed sense of excitement for the place they call home, we wanted realtors to be enthusiastic about selling property in the building, and we wanted buyers to be passionate about where they are purchasing. We designed the entire project with the target audience in mind and the Board enthusiastically approved each element.
How did the layout of the existing space affect the design?
This project had some natural perimeters that had to be incorporated into the design. The building is a three-story casitas townhouse with connected interior corridors. There are several resident entrances that directly lead to the exterior, so dirt, snow, and salt are frequently dragged in. Also, the elevator lobbies coming from the parking garage take quite a bit of traffic, as well. We knew that the materials used in these areas had to help deflect some of the wear and tear. So we chose dark carpet to camouflage traffic and stains. Because we needed the durability and stain resistance in the carpet, we decided to go quite light on the walls and have a great anchor colour on the suite entrances.
What kinds of challenges did you face during this project?
The corridors in the building are narrow, so we wanted to create the illusion of more width. We did this by using the pattern in the carpet as well as the light wallcovering. We also had the task of making the corridors brighter, since the existing lighting was insufficient. For this project we had certain budgetary requirements, so we couldn’t add more fixtures; they had to remain in the same positions. Instead, we commissioned custom fixtures that let off more light to brighten the corridors significantly.
Why is it important to have well-designed interior space?
Everyday, our clients walk through their lobby and corridors to get to their suites. We wanted each resident to be proud to call this building their home, so we aimed to give them a streamlined, tailored space to suit their style. Again, practicality and easy maintenance were very important to us. This also makes it easier on the management and building staff to make sure that the common areas
always look great.
What is the “wow-factor” of this project?
The striking balance and contrast of colour between the elements — and our expectation that it will still look great in a decade! We aim to have an immediate “wow-factor” when you walk into the space, but it’s a great testament to a well-designed project when it still has that “wow” many years later.
To work with an interior designer on your next project, search IDC’s online database FINDinteriordesigner.org.