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Supreme talent on display
Writer:Joanne McPhail

With the Estate on the Bay project now well underway, it is an incredible experience to show up at that house everyday and see the huge changes happening, after so much hard work and planning! Last week, as some of the designers were actually finishing up their spaces, we ordered pizza and hung out in the hallway, talking about how much we were all going to miss each other when this is through! It seems that this sort of project brings people together – and some very unlikely people at that.

This is actually one of the reasons that Irene Turnbull decided to become involved in the first place. Having graduated from the Toronto School of Design in the 70s, becoming a very well-known name in the industry, as well as having served on the board of directors of CDECA (Canadian Decorators Association), Irene is old hat at this decorating stuff. When we invited her to participate in this project, she was keen to support United Way, but also saw it as a meaningful forum for the public to experience "the personification of local industry talent and the synergy of its united co-operation." Irene totally called it. This project certainly does show off, in a big way, the incredible talent in our area. And it also has allowed industry professionals to make friends, contacts, create new ideas and get the creative juices flowing.

Creativity certainly abounds in the dining room, Irene's room of choice. The faux copper walls and complimentary ceiling, created by Glenna Wedge, a local wall treatment artist, make the room glow. By mirroring the wall between the built-in cabinets' upper and lower units, Refraction Glass creates the illusion of a window, reflecting light and the exterior view of trees and water, back into the room. A hand-made Italian Morano glass chandelier from Eurofase enhances the warm glow of the room and creates an immediate conversation piece. The layered silk drapery treatment from Turnbull Interiors frames the wonderful lakeside view and anchors the feeling of warmth and luxury in an understated fashion. The furniture is Canadian made by Leda Furniture and boasts fine craftsmanship in every detail. The carpet from W Studio is a one-of-a kind, hand-knotted Persian rug. Her artistic interpretation is completed with the addition of original art from Dave Beckett and a wonderful Rodin bronze sculpture courtesy the McLaren Art Gallery.

Joining Irene at the show home, were two other local designers, just starting their careers. Catherine Staples and Liza Dournayan – principals in Staples Dournayan Design Inc. are graduating students of the Interior Design program at Georgian College, Barrie. This duo took on bath #4, which is a 4-piece bathroom adjoining three guest bedrooms in the lower level of the home. Keeping with the home's architecture, they designed the room with a mix of modern and traditional elements. Due to the fact that the room has no natural light, they looked for ways to create a brighter, more open space. There was a drywall partition separating the toilet and bathtub which was removed and replaced with a custom-etched glass partition, designed by the team and installed by RCM Mirror and Glass. The existing vanity cabinets were replaced with clean-lined cabinets, custom painted/supplied by Norcab Kitchen & Millwork. The countertop and sinks were replaced with white porcelain countertop sinks and polished chrome faucets from American Standard, set atop a locally quarried limestone, provided by Hiltz Marble & Granite. The color palette is a neutral combination of creamy whites and earth tones, creating a sophisticated bath that you will definitely want to see.

These two rooms certainly have very little in common, and the designers hail from very different places, but both rooms exemplify how original and creative interior design can be. Every room in the house is truly an artistic expression – not everyone will like everything, but I am positive everyone will get some great ideas and be inspired!