Maria Zoubos, in-house designer for Aragon, talks about design elements and maximizing storage in a family-friendly city condo at the Shift.
New Home + Condo Guide: What were the constraints of working with this particular space?
Maria Zoubos: These are really versatile homes, so I don’t want to say it was a constraint in a negative way, but my main focus was making this three-bedroom condo absolutely livable for a family. I know to live with kids you really need maximum storage to keep from getting overwhelmed by clutter, so I emphasized the storage potential of the rooms.
NHCG: The suite has a very dramatic black and white marble counter and backsplash. How do you accessorize around such an eye-catching focal point without competing or cluttering?
MZ: I think the key here is to select simple understated pieces as to not compete with the stone, but complement it. This is definitely helped by the integrated appliances, which give the kitchen a streamlined, monolithic appearance. All the accents are in neutral colours, and all the kitchen gadgets have their home in the cupboard so as to let the dramatic stone shine.
NHCG: The felt wall in the office space is very unusual. Is it functional or purely aesthetic? What kind of room would benefit from this kind of wall treatment?
MZ: Both. It is functional in that it is actually a wall-to-wall tack board, perfect for a creative home office. It also aesthetically provides warmth and texture, as well as provides noise reduction. This product comes in large panels, and when I started designing this suite, I thought it would be a good chance to showcase it. It would also be great to use in a nursery or anywhere you like to put things on the wall and also have a little peace and quiet.
NHCG: Where did you source the beautiful, minimalist ceramic accents?
MZ: Some of these were sourced from local stores such as Vancouver Special, EQ3 and Blomus.
NHCG: How do you design around large electronics like the TV screen in the living room?
MZ: I think the keyword here is integration. Using millwork is a great way to achieve this. Aragon homes often feature a brick accent wall, and when we don’t, we like to provide custom millwork around the television so that all the wires are covered, and the look is harmonious with the rest of the home.
NHCG: When you are choosing artwork, how do you find pieces that are individually interesting, but are also harmonious with each other and the other design aspects in the home?
MZ: This is a bit of a hard question because art really comes down to personal preference. But one suggestion is that artwork should be looked at as a whole with all the other elements in the home to achieve harmony in colour, texture and scale. I think it’s important to choose either the interior design (these countertops, for example), or the artwork to be the focus of the room. If the room is minimalist, you can go big with the artwork to showcase it. In a smaller space like this that already has eye-catching design features, I chose to go with more muted-coloured graphic art to be a relaxing backdrop, and not to compete with the other elements.