Contemporary design with an open floor plan: what you need to know Image

Contemporary design with an open floor plan: what you need to know

By Jo-Ann Capelaci on May 08, 2017

Do you gravitate towards contemporary design? If clean lines, expansive spaces and natural elements suit you then you are sure to appreciate Glen Rouge Homes’ new community, At The Rouge in Scarborough.

In addition to designing model homes, my design company also works with many GTA builders to help new homebuyers choose their interior finishes. We are excited to be partnering with Glen Rouge Homes to assist their buyers in choosing the finishes for these special homes. As there is much to be absorbed, I thought I’d break down our process to give you more insight on how to achieve a beautiful contemporary design with an open floor plan.

Credit for the interior of the model home featured in this article goes to interior designer Andrea Kantelberg who was part of the team who designed At the Rouge and the model home pictured in this article. Andrea designed the spaces to maximize the remarkable views while taking into consideration the way people live. The focus was on balanced layouts, harmonious volumes, clean lines, natural light and high ceilings.

I recently toured the model home to learn more about the project in preparation for Colours & Concepts to assist in the finish selection process with those fortunate enough to have purchased one of the five homes in this exclusive enclave. The model home is jaw dropping!

“We wanted to build something different for this remarkably rare parcel of land backing onto Rouge Park,” explained Glen Rouge Homes’ project director, Jason Cheng. “Every home is unique with the same theme. Where possible dining and living rooms are combined with an open feel. Duct work is hidden to minimize walls and bulkheads. One of the distinctive features is a server pantry or secondary kitchen situated behind the primary kitchen.”

With this project, we assembled three beautifully blended packages for the purchasers to make their selection process easier.

So, what can you learn from this model home? To begin, counters and flooring coincide with cabinets. Minimal design is the focus. Cloud white paint throughout on the walls, trim and ceilings create the backdrop.

Here’s what you need to know to make your open space as beautiful as this one:

1) Lighting

Contemporary design for open floor plans

Plan your lighting ahead. Note the square trimmed, dimmable LED pot lights installed in the model. Granted they are more expensive, however the linear design (paired with the square speakers) further enhance the continuity.

The kitchen has upgraded multi-lamp LED fixtures in the ceiling. You often see this treatment in commercial applications or high-end homes. Warm white bulbs have been used to enrich the interiors. Another important detail for the savvy homeowner to consider is the screwless electrical cover plates. Note the valance lighting is incorporated into a channel routed into the bottom of the cabinets.

2) Trim and doors

Contemporary design for open floor plans

In addition to looking and feeling better, solid core doors provide improved sound proofing and last longer. Choose simple trim such as the flat base and casing used in these homes for a much cleaner line. When installing hardwood bring the hardwood close to the edge to eliminate the need for a base shoe.

Looking to really make a statement? This main hallway has a paneled wall with hidden doors and invisible hinges! One of the doors opens to an enormous front hall closet, another to a beautiful, marble rich powder room. At the end of the hallway you reach the main room where your focus is on the stunning views of the rear yard with forest beyond.

3) Hardwood flooring

Contemporary design for open floor plans

The model home has 7” white oak, Athena floors from Vintage. The beauty of the light hardwood flooring carried throughout enhances the expansiveness. Even the stairs are oak! Another special detail is the glass rail with standoff system. The glass is fastened with pucks mounted to the stringer.  

4) Cabinets

Contemporary design for open floor plans

When choosing kitchen cabinets in your contemporary home, consider the same selection for the  bathrooms for continuity. If you are building a custom home, carefully consider who will supply and install your cabinets. To quote Charles Eames, “The details are not the details. They make the design.” These details are evident in the craftsmanship of the stunning Neff cabinets in the model home and standard to this development. When you open the cabinet doors and drawers, form and function will continue to prevail.

5) Appliances

Contemporary design for open floor plans

Using built-in custom panels for your appliances enhances contemporary kitchen design. It highlights the beauty of the cabinets without the harsh lines of appliances. This model home boasts Miele built-in appliances.

6) Wall and floor tile

Contemporary design for open floor plans

Many porcelain tiles look as good as natural stone without the maintenance. They are hard wearing and resistant to harsh cleaning products. Pictured in the model is the real deal, Silver White marble. Whether your preference is for porcelain or natural stone you will want to consider selecting similar hues and materials on floors and walls to accentuate your contemporary design. Remember the term “less is more.”

7) Plumbing

Contemporary design for open floor plans

Important details should continue in the bathrooms. A one-piece toilet offers a seamless look in addition to being easier to clean. One-piece skirted Toto toilets are standard in these homes. A worthwhile investment is a floor mounted tub faucet to pair with your freestanding tub. Under mount sinks in the stone fade from your sight line and are coupled with simple lines of the lavatory faucets chosen.

8) Fireplaces

Contemporary design for open floor plans

I love the linear fireplaces in this home. A narrow marble trim and stainless reveal border are just enough to complement the glow in the fireplace and allow the architecture to shine. Pictured is a double sided see-through fireplace that creates the divider wall between the master-bedroom and sitting area.

It is evident that so much thought and attention to detail has gone into the design of these homes. If you would like only one takeaway in making contemporary design selections for your open floor plan, I would recommend that you focus on details. Remember simplicity! You may want to take a drive to At the Rouge to experience the design for yourself. You will witness the beauty of a custom home without the high price tag associated. Remarkably there is still one home available.

Jo-Ann Capelaci is president and principal interior designer of Colours & Concepts Inc. The award winning company specializes in model homes and colour and upgrade selections for builders. They have been helping new home buyers choose finishes for their homes for over 20 years. Jo-Ann is dedicated to helping new home buyers create a model home feeling in their new home. Look for future articles on other topics to assist in decorating and designing your new home.