When local dentist Dr. Luc Ducharme first saw the ground floor space at 230 Beechwood Ave., he immediately knew it was the perfect location for his growing dental practice.
With large windows wrapping around the exterior of the building and 18-foot open ceilings, the space was not only functional, but reflective of the kind of unique space Ducharme wanted for his clients.
There was only one issue: The space was previously designed for a gym and needed significant changes to create a high-end dental clinic.
Working closely with the team at Atkinson Schroeter Design Group, Ducharme’s vision for the office was brought to life, transforming the space from a rugged fitness centre into the refined, qualitative dental clinic he was envisioning.
A balance of old and new
Having redesigned his previous dental office spaces, Ducharme came to the table with a clear vision in mind for his new Beechwood clinic.
“I wanted something unique that played up the character of the space,” he said. “But seeing that it’s also a dental office, I needed a very clean, crisp look.”
After meeting with Sonja Schroeter, lead designer and principal at Atkinson Schroeter Design Group, the pair clicked immediately and ASDG created a timeless concept that would bridge the origins of the space with Ducharme’s vision of his future clinic.
“The goal was to create a very modern streamlined space,” said Schroeter. “We worked to find a balance between the roughness of the original space and the stylish application of new materials and finishings we were introducing.”
Upon entering the office, guests view an open-concept reception area and friendly staff that feels like a gallery space within a dental clinic.
Exposed ceilings throughout the reception and waiting area, corridors and kitchen reveal black painted ductwork and pipes, which contrast against the clinic’s bright white walls and sliding glass doors.
A large reception desk featuring wood paneling, logo and signage, and modern lights anchors the reception area, while brightly colored chairs of orange, blue and yellow add pops of colour to the office’s neutral palette.
The original concrete walls were kept to maintain the existing character and feel throughout the reception area and exam rooms, and complemented with concrete-looking vinyl tiles, adding a unique touch to the clinic, says Schroeter.
“We very intentionally created a juxtaposition between the unfinished look of the open ceiling and exposed columns and the new sleek lines of the walls and light fixtures,” she said. “The use of warm, natural elements and textured with cool materials create a modern, and minimalistic feel Dr. Ducharme was also envisioning.”
To add to the uniqueness, and contemporary gallery feel, various pieces of colourful artwork from local artist Dominik Sokolowski are also displayed throughout the clinic space.
“The artist came up with something beautiful and colourful and abstract,” added Ducharme. “Between those eye-catching elements, the black aluminum door frames, the white walls, the wood and the concrete touches, you get a really good feeling in the space.”
A new way of working
Another unique feature of the office is the overall layout.
While a dentist’s personal office is typically towards the back of a clinic, Ducharme’s glass enclosed space is situated front-of-house, allowing him to welcome and connect with employees and clients upon their arrival – something that was especially important to Ducharme during the planning process.
The hygienist rooms and operatories run parallel to each other down the main hallway, creating a clear visual line from reception to the back of the building.
That site line is further accentuated by the frosted glass doors and light bars running parallel to the walls, further mimicking the whiteness and alignment of teeth you come to expect when visiting the dentist, said Schroeter.
The centralized sterilization area features bright white cabinetry, glass walls and plenty of clinical storage.
During the move from his original office space, Ducharme decided to go paperless, negating the need for filing cabinets that take up space.
However, it was critical that each of the areas had ample storage for hygienist tools and the layout complemented their workflow.
“The design of the built-in cabinetry was essential both for the office areas and clinic rooms,” Schroeter added. “It couldn’t just look good aesthetically, it also had to be functional.”
Collaboration is key
For Ducharme, having great spaces for his staff was as important as having great spaces for his clients.
A modern kitchenette with chestnut-coloured cabinets and black fixtures was designed for his employees enjoyment, while also accommodating a locker area and shower room.
“I want my staff to feel comfortable and happy in the space because that translates into an even better customer experience,” said Ducharme. “I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.”
While the project was a major undertaking, it was made easier by Schroeter’s expertise and her team’s willingness to embrace Ducharme’s vision and eagerness to be involved in every step of the process, he said.
From designing the layout and reviewing construction drawings to showroom tours and final finishing selections, Ducharme worked in tandem with the Atkinson Schroeter Design Group team, said Schroeter.
“They really listened to what I wanted and turned my ideas into something viable and beautiful,” he said. “It’s now a space I can be proud of and that makes people who see it stop and take it all in.”