Gift-wrapped holiday magic Published on December 11, 2018

  • Vibrant red doors are festive but work beautifully with the natural backdrop all year long
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • The grand dining room is ready for a holiday dinner party
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • The kitchen island seats ten
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Ramona hand made the trees on the dining room buffet
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

Mike and Sonia Tannis gave themselves a spectacular Christmas gift this year. They recently moved into their new dream home and had it beautifully gift-wrapped for the holidays to host a festive family dinner for over 50 close-knit relatives.

But the gift was not delivered by a magical Santa. Or if it was, it came in the form of Ramona Helal who performed an enchanted feat of interior design and holiday decorating on the grand Kemp Park home. She had worked closely for two years with a talented team of professionals, including Carlo Dinardo of DNC Construction, who built the home from plans drawn up by Temprano & Young Architects.

Built on an empty half-acre lot, the homeowners envisioned big open living spaces with a luxurious master bedroom and ensuite on the main floor. Their wish was granted with 3,700 square feet on one level, including a room-sized pantry off the designer kitchen to store all of Sonia’s household needs.


On the wish list for the interior design was a fondness for curved archways and pillars to define rooms within an open layout. Ramona modified this idea by designing archways with built-in columns and fine architectural detailing that is highlighted in the dining area, family room and kitchen. “I think this has a more timeless effect and all the trim work is painted in off-white to give a soft, warm look.”

A high level of detailing is also seen in the coffered dining room ceiling with deep 11 inch layers of curved molding, in addition to the built-in custom crafted cabinets by Irpinia Kitchens. Ramona added some personal holiday decorating touches here with a display of her own hand-made metallic tree ornaments, which involved gluing on more than 140 stems.

From the long dining room table that comfortably seats 14, the room flows into the family room and kitchen through the curved archways that uniquely define each space. Whereas Ramona designed the dining room to have a classic-traditional feel, the family room is more classic-contemporary. Greige-stained maple flooring and pale designer-grey walls run throughout the main living area to provide a calm, neutral backdrop for the décor.

A massive man-made stone fireplace, flanked by arched alcove shelving, is the stunning focal element of the family room. Made in Montreal, the 8 3 9 foot structure easily frames a 75” TV without letting it dominate the room. The cathedral ceiling rises to over 12 feet to meet a wall of windows and patio doors. At its centre hangs a simply elegant chandelier from Living Lighting Ottawa.

The sophisticated custom kitchen by Irpinia features Vienna cabinetry in the same soft Snow Drift finish as the dining room cabinets. “Carved corbels incorporated into the cabinets provide an extra design detail that takes it to the next level,” explains Ramona. She adds that DZN Centre supplied the patterned tin backsplash, as well as all floor finishes and tiles throughout the home. “They are my favourite one-stop shop for finishes.”

To further emphasize the soft curves of the home’s archways, the 8 3 10 foot kitchen island is topped with a single slab of black-speckled granite that has a crescent-shaped seating side. Built to seat 10, the huge island is partnered with an industrial-size Dacor gas stove that is designed for feeding a big crowd.

“The home is a very detailed all-custom design,” says Ramona, who happily concludes that, “Everything worked out perfectly.” Now, all the glorious gift-wrapped setting needs to complete the magic of the holidays is to be filled with the Tannis family guests.

Jane Whiting

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