Located on Dundas West in Little Portugal, Ode Toronto is a family-owned and operated boutique hotel that is the perfect home base for the design-conscious traveller. First purchased a long time ago by Ramsubick’s father, they enlisted the help of Alisha Sturino of Studio Otty to transform this building used before for short-term rentals into a destination in Toronto’s west end. Each of the eight guest rooms has a unique colour story, one-of-a-kind commissioned art worked and bespoke furniture to fit the design-forward space.
“We wanted Ode to have a home away from home vibe, but better,” describes co-owner Tiffany Ramsubick. “My mom, my siblings and I took on this project, and we had a lot of points of view on what we wanted this place to be and how to optimize it for what travellers are looking for.”
Here are five design ideas from Ode Toronto to try in your home.
Commission Custom Artwork That Compliments the Room
“My siblings and I picked local artists to commission custom-made artwork for each room we built the design and colours around,” said Ramsubick. “To start, we found five artists we wanted to work with within different mediums and then planned the paint colours around their proposed photography, mural, ink drawing or mixed medium piece.”
“Due to the orientation of the beds in each room, it made sense to have these special art pieces located above,” points out Sturino. “We also wanted to ensure there was negative space and the artworks made an impact.”
Instead of naming them, each room has a recognizable central colour for guests to request their favourite design.
“We wanted to create a cohesive colour story for guests that began with picking wall colours that complimented the art that was lasting and enduring,” says Ramsubick, adding bolder colours to recessed or hidden areas like the kitchenette or closet. “We continued the design through pops of complimentary colours in the throws and other decor items.”
Re-Imagine the Layout of Your Room
When it comes to your space, every corner counts. Especially in smaller rooms, you’ll need to consider furniture placement in a way that allows movement. Sturino thinks of rooms first in zones with a visual sightline and figuring out where you’re placing larger pieces, like the bed, in the room first and scaling the other furniture around it.
“Everything was meticulously measured to fit into each room, and consider what would fit,” says Ramsubick. “I knew from the start that I wanted to cut out the workspace, but a mini bar area was important to add some functionality to the room.”
“When planning for a small space, try and visualize how to create storage solutions through surfaces, shelves, drawers in the room to help them have a place to keep their stuff during their stay,” shares Sturino. “Because Tiffany wanted to make sure each room had a sofa, mirror and vanity area, I knew that the scale of the seating areas had to be smaller.”
Design a Wet Room Washroom Like at Ode
While having a four or five-piece washroom in a hotel is a luxury for travellers, finding an area to put in an already space-conscious room is a challenge. “Since our washroom was already small, we went for more of a wet room where the shower and sink were combined to maximize the space,” explains Ramsubick. The wet room bathrooms have fully-tiled walls and continuous flooring to waterproof the area.
This design is ideal for smaller washrooms as the shower has only a glass half-wall to contain water runoff, keeping the area open for use. “We also added the Sling Ladder (built by Jacob Mailman of Open Studio and pictured above), out of solid white oak and powder-coated steel, for a multi-purpose design feature that offered guests a space for storage and to hang their towels.”
Build Custom Furniture to Fit into Smaller Spaces
Despite a growing number of furniture companies catering to smaller spaces and condo living, finding the right piece for narrow or uniquely shaped rooms can still be challenging. Sturino recommends custom furniture or millwork because “you can work with them on special details and finishes (like custom stains, colours, etc.) and achieve the perfect bespoke piece that compliments the design and concept of the space.”
Throughout Ode, Sturino worked with local furniture designers to create multi-functional design pieces throughout the hotel, including the console with a bench tucked below made by Jacob Mailman of Open Studio for Room 4 (pictured above) or the large maple bed and headboard unit in Room 7 built by Ryan Wilding of Studio Hand that integrated the nightstand, chaise and headboard into one cohesive piece of furniture (pictured below).
Consider Custom Murals
Murals offer the chance to commission a design that fits proportionally into your space and can incorporate architectural elements. The designs in pre-printed wallpaper often don’t look best in oddly shaped rooms or around wall corners where the design may get cut off. “Even though this is Room 7 is our smallest room, I love how Justin Broadbent’s imaginative mural wraps around the wall. The only piece of furniture is this custom bed unit and brings out the terracotta walls,” details Ramsubick.
Meanwhile, in Room 7, “we wanted you to be immersed in this wildly beautiful tropical jungle painted by Gaby Lo and take you somewhere else,” describes Sturino, with some of the painted leaves and notions to wrap around the walls and bulkheads for continuing the painting.
Staying at Ode Toronto
Whether you’re looking for a staycation or are visiting from out of town, this family-owned boutique hotel has it all. Looking for more Toronto recommendations? Be sure to check out these hidden bars and speakeasies in the city.
Images courtesy of Ode.