Ottawa’s Design First Interiors wins five awards

Design First Interiors was among leaders in the Ottawa housing industry at the 31st Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association Annual Housing Design Awards, bestowed last month, At the event, Friedemann Weinhardt and his Design First Interiors team received five awards recognizing their work on projects ranging from complete home design to custom kitchens. Each of the five award-winning projects offers noteworthy elements.

2014 GOHBA Housing Design Awards winner: Custom urban infill, 3,100 to 4,499 square feet

Designed with generous proportions, this custom-designed infill home is deliberately simple but features touches that give it a unique edge – including flush baseboards and wood doors and jambs, executed without casings; and ceilings dropped not only to hide ducts but to create the impression of a “floating” ceiling. The colour and finish of the hardwood floor is carried through all four levels of the home and doors and jams were fabricated to match the floors. The stairs feature wood bolt “caps” that match the treads and a dramatic feature walls that runs from the lowest level to the rooftop terrace.

The kitchen and dining room share a striking dividing wall of horizontally grain matched veneer. The open-concept master suite offers a daring departure from the separation of sleeping and bathing. A custom wine cellar, theatre and gym, along with a mudroom, make the garage level a true living space. The rooftop terrace – which includes a kitchenette, hot tub and movie screen – offers matchless outdoor living space where “backyard” space is not available.

2014 GOHBA Housing Design Awards Winner: Custom kitchen, 191 to 219 square feet

Building on some of the existing features, Design First Interiors created a custom kitchen for a local restaurateur that allow her to express herself in her home kitchen as she does in her restaurants.
An outdated bay window was replaced and repositioned, the original door leading to the dining room was closed to create an alcove for the refrigerator and appliance tower, and windows overlooking the backyard were dressed with floor-to-ceiling drapes to accentuate the 10-foot ceiling height and character of the room. The drapery track was cleverly hidden in the drapery pocket designed into the dropped ceiling.

The central feature of this kitchen is the 48-inch Pro-Style Range with the restaurant style custom hood above. Dramatic additions include fully glazed walls of the eating area, and the two-sided divider wall of display cabinets carefully aligned with the new family room doors and shaped in a similar “bridge” design that surrounds the refrigeration alcove, elegant pendant lights over the island and table, and cobblestone patterned limestone repeated as a backsplash tile beneath rich cherry veneer cabinets contrasted by subtle grey island cabinets.

2014 GOHBA Housing Design Awards Winner: Custom kitchen, 220 square feet. or more, $75,000  and over

This large kitchen is part of an open plan that includes a generous eating area and a family room. The exterior wall with the inflexible window locations were converted into significant design features: a niche behind the cooktop, and another long one behind the sink. A niche was created for the oven – to accommodate exiting structural elements; the niche bridge shape was repeated for the cabinets surrounding the fridge and freezer. The cabinetry for these features was finished in a horizontally grain-matched veneer, which was also used for the island cabinets. Subtle grey cabinets are muted compared to the gloss finish on the wood grain and are offset by the complimentary mosaic wall tile.

The floor is rift oak and the colour of the flooring was carried through and used to create a custom table, bench and eating bar. Instead of the standard separating wall between the kitchen and dining room, a wall with matching millwork and horizontal grain was created and wrapped around the corner, resulting in a stunning 25 lineal feet of continuous wood paneling that is grain matched.

2014 GOHBA Housing Design Awards winner: Any Room in the House

The main entrance of this custom infill home is an open concept that shares the space with a stunning set of stairs and its feature wall, the dining room and the living room. All four spaces are visible to each other, and needed to each have their own strength to be an equal part of a harmonious design.

The front entry is primarily used by guests and a special design for the millwork accommodates guest’s coats. This millwork is extended to the entry stairs. A limestone floor distinguishes it from the other spaces. Dramatic 1.5-storey windows and drapes create a spacious and impressive front entry. The main house stair has its character drawn by the front entry stairs. The wood treads, combined with the Starfire glass, Central stringer and “crush” feature wall are all designed together to create a stunning presence from any angle. The dining room is opposite the stairs and features a dramatic display case with horizontal grain matched walnut panels. It also shares a two-way fireplace with the living room. The living room features a simple flat ceiling with drapery ‘pockets’ at the exterior walls, giving the impression of a floating ceiling.

2014 GOHBA Housing Design Awards Winner: Housing Details

The stairs in this custom infill home are showcased on all four levels of the home. Beginning with the main floor front door, the stairs and wall feature are the background for a beautiful entry. The feature wall is composed of plaster tiles that were installed and then grouted with careful plaster work, making the wall appear to be a continuous surface. The stairs are clad in wood all around, including the underside of the landings and treads. Special welded and nearly concealed attachment to the wall gives the impression that the stairs are floating. The Starfire glass is bolted to the treads with wood bolt covers to match the treads for a clean design. The colour of the wood stairs – rift oak in a custom stain – was matched to the flooring and interior doors and jams through the rest of the house. Finally, the custom welded central stringer with concealed tread supports is painted to match the feature wall.


Design First Interiors iis a premiere, award-winning interior design firm, providing a broad range of design and installation services to private clients and Home Designers/Developers (Architects, Interior Designers, Developers, Builders) throughout Ottawa and the surrounding area. Services provided go beyond interior design to include a retail element as a channel for high quality cabinetry, countertops, and appliances (SieMatic, ArtCraft, Miele).

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