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Karl Lohnes is a household name when it comes to celebrity Canadian interior designers. His expertise has been featured on CTV’s Canada AM, HGTV America’s This Small Space, Metro News, Style at Home and Canadian Living – just to name a few. We recently sat down with Karl to discuss his latest design project, his own dining room. Karl moved into his 145-year old Toronto townhouse 12 years ago and decided this year, he would take on the challenge of transforming his dining room into a beautiful functional space. Teaming up with the Martha Stewart team, Karl created a stunning servery complete with floor to ceiling cabinetry with a cutout lined with Silestone’s Lyra. He also topped his antique dining room table with Silestone’s Grey Amazon Suede. Check out our featured interview with Karl to find out what inspired his design and how he sees surfaces fitting into future design projects.
Where did you find your design inspiration for this project?
The project was invented out of need as I had very little storage in the eating area. It’s a small, open-style dining room off a townhouse kitchen. The feeling and look I wanted to create was one of an English bistro; slightly more elegant and prettier than an old French style cafe; something that would suit my traditional city townhouse but could offer daily and formal use.
How did you incorporate surfaces into the room?
The surfaces really set the tone for how I would use the space. Silestone was the perfect choice for me as it offered a guaranteed designer look (what you see in the sample is exactly what you get in the end result of your project) and allowed the surfaces to be used without the worries of scratching or staining like we have with other surface options. The built-in servery’s interior was lined with polished Lyra which kept it bright and reflective. The dining table is the opposite and was topped with a thin piece of Grey Amazon texture Suede. There is no shine at all and it looks like a stone top yet can withstand spills and stains when entertaining. It also helps to make a very formal dining table appear less precious. A vintage brass console table sits in the window. I had it topped with the Grey Amazon (like the dining table), but this time I kept the finish shiny; giving it a slightly different look than the table, but keeping colours similar and the shine helps to reflect light in from the large window.
You’ve used Silestone in some unique installations in your dining room project. Where do you see quartz surfaces being used in interior design in the future?
I have a very small dining space and the table’s size and shape was perfect. I bought it online for less than $700, so I did not feel think twice about investing in a protective top to make it more useful and give it a more casual look. I also had the new tabletop cut in half; making it easy to remove and store if ever needed. I would be very excited to use a brightly coloured Silestone surface to top a small formal dresser or coffee table to completely change the look and use. I’d also use it to line inside deep window ledges to add a polished detail.
Choosing a colour scheme for a design project can be a task in itself. How did you go about choosing your colours for your dining room?
Choosing colours for long-term surfaces is easy for me. I don’t look at the latest or greatest trends, but consider two things – will it be neutral enough to blend with the other elements in the project and what tone (as in light/dark) will help make the surface stand out and look special? Many people think that because they are spending a lot of money on a project that everything needs to ‘jump’ and standout to show its worth. Choosing surfaces to look like they were always meant to be in the space is often the hardest achievement. To me, design is about restraint.
For more exciting details, head over to Canadian Living for the full story as featured in their September 2016 issue.
*Photography Credit: Yvonne Duivenvoorden Photography