The Genesis of a Condo...Choosing Finishes


The foundation for the condo had barely been carved out before the condo buyers were requested to choose their finishes. Typically, the finishes you choose will be the backdrop or canvas for the other elements in the room. Finishes are long term and not easily replaced in short order, so choosing wisely at the get go is highly recommended.  Although I love grey and black and cool metals in contemporary spaces, for our homes, I have mostly gravitated toward warm decorative palettes. As I have mentioned before, I rarely pursue design trends, preferring instead to analyze lifestyle, style preferences and existing decorative elements. With this in mind I made my way to the sales office and to the wall of offered finishes to make my choices. When choosing finishes from a builder, often there must be compromises as the builder typically offers affordable standard finishes and more expensive upgrade finishes. Cathedral Hill is targeting a Leed Platinum rating, which means all the finishes, in fact, every single element involved in the construction of the building must adhere to the strict Leed Platinum guidelines in order to achieve that esteemed designation. There were essentially no deviations or upgrades for these initial finishes. IMG_0934

Cathedral Hill offered four boards of choices for finishes, each board including the floor, quartz kitchen countertop and marble backsplash, bathroom vanity, corian countertop and porcelain wall and floor tiles. With new builds or renovations, I typically choose the flooring first as it usually yields the most real estate in any space, and can be the largest determinant of style, future finishes and colours. As mentioned, I wanted warm finishes and from the selections above, my package choice became very simple. Top left (or second left below) was the only direction I could possibly entertain for our space. Our flooring is not meant in any way to be a focal point, but is defined as the canvas where existing architectural elements, our view, furniture and area rugs, etc will become the focus. The med brown, engineered hardwood flooring was the perfect option from these four choices.


With a bit of whining, I was able to choose an alternate backsplash tile beyond the package option. I did not want what every other unit was going to have as a backsplash....traditional tumbled marble in small geometric shapes that would have a lot of grout. I wanted white and textural, large tiles with less grout, and with permission, I chose the tile below.


The next major element I needed to choose was our kitchen cabinetry style and finish. There were very few upgrade selections for cabinetry, but I did fall in love with this gorgeous cherry flat panel cabinetry upgrade. This was a MAJOR design element decision. The kitchen cabinets take up almost 12 linear feet of uppers and lowers on one wall and the 10' island across from this wall, plus our pantry doors. I loved this cherry so much that I had custom bookshelves made for the library and wall paneling for the fireplace wall. Although there is no grout around the tile in this photo, I am so happy I stuck to my guns, whined and was able to upgrade to this backsplash tile. It's clean, white, textural and contemporary. I also upgraded the hardware as the standard choices offered mostly cool finishes. I'm not 100% certain that I favour this hardware, but I had to opt from a few select suppliers who also offered matching hardware for our integrated appliances.


Below is the Windmill Development sales office model bathroom. Although our two bathrooms do not have windows, and the floor plans, lighting, mirror accessories are different, these are the finishes that correspond to the board of finishes I have chosen. I was able to switch the finishes a bit for the main bath, which has a darker vanity and tile.


In order to make our bathrooms different than the others in the building, I upgraded to sleek hardware, in brushed textured nickel for the master bath and a combo of espresso leather and chrome for the main bath, shown below. The bathroom walls were not permitted to be painted as all the bathrooms in the building have tiled floors and walls, without exception. Artwork, lighting, mirrors and towels and a few accessories will have to work their decorative magic in these bathrooms.

PicMonkey Collage

With the finishes chosen over a year ago, it was time to move onto furniture selections, some of which I have been designing in my head for two years.  The designs have been committed to paper and are now in production.

Next on The Genesis of a Condo... Furniture .... Existing, New and Found.