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  • Writer's picturePat Browne

Art takes centre stage in this vibrant and colour saturated home

Combining Georgian style with a modern aesthetic

While most modern-day design lovers shy away from using saturated colour, opting instead for the Scandi neutrals that are so of-the-moment, there’s something to be said for making a bold statement. Vibrant hues have a way of infusing a space with cheerful energy, invigorating the senses and prompting creativity in just one look.

Designing a space that is both full of colour and meant to display an eclectic contemporary art collection requires a deft hand at striking the balance between creativity and functionality. Usually when you hear of “living with colour”, you think of deeply saturated wall-colours. In this case, the homeowners kept the outer-envelop calm with neutral wall colours (off white to aqua and silver sage), then layered in art and furnishings to provide a vibrant living space.

Jewel-toned furniture, exuberant Turkish rugs layered with saturated colours in the art are the key ingredients that give this house its dramatic aesthetic. Keeping a consistent colour scheme anchors the house and lets the art sing.

“We had two major design themes that needed to be cohesively integrated. We wanted to honor the implied Georgian terrace-house design of the structure – we did this by adding in mouldings, natural stone finishes and using antique inspired fittings – and we wanted to feature a mix of mid-century modern furnishings and contemporary art.”

Working with a streamlined colour palette (on the main floor, farmhouse beige, emerald green with accents of orange and blue) helps rooms feel cohesive. “When you stand in an open concept environment where you can see all the other spaces throughout, the same family of colours provides cohesion.”

“For us, colour choices came from the art.” The major art pieces in the living room have orange as the accent colour. As you move into the dining area, crimson is pulled from the second @GordonHarrison original. Panel moulding has been added to frame the artwork and provide visual delineation between the spaces. An original light fixture from @LightmakersStudio uses classic lighting forms to create a natural, organic shape. While appearing random, the chandelier maintains an underlying rhythm and geometry. The homeowner-designed dining chairs incorporate all the colours of the room. The bespoke dining table was created to fit in our narrower spaces.

As you turn to the kitchen, the “exposed brick” of the backwall adds a touch of texture, character and a dab of timeless charm. The kitchen is a chef's dream and tends to look like a complete remodel. It’s not. In fact, it was a multi staged process that included having an island designed and installed and then working with the original builder cabinetry. The owners used trompe l’oeil and added crown moulding to raise the cabinets to the ceiling taking advantage of the height of the first floor. In the far corner, stock mahogany cabinetry was installed to create a two-toned contrast to the cream cabinets. An under-mount wine fridge, built-in wall oven, task lighting and a TV for watching the food network completes the kitchen.

The wall between the dining room and kitchen remains in place although the pass through has been significantly enlarged. “We enjoy entertaining, especially dinner parties, which means we like to have a separation between the dining room and kitchen – it helps hide the mess.”

In the family room, the homeowners paired patterned upholstery, saturated velvets, colourful leather and over-the-top art to create a dynamic room that makes a vibrant statement. “We wanted the family room to be comfortable and a bit playful. This is the family’s sanctuary, so we were able to go all out. The carpet that brings all the colours and elements together was a lucky find on Wayfair.”

Throughout the house, all bathrooms have been remodeled. The main bathroom on the second level was pushed back into the closet of the second-floor bedroom to allow for a large walk-in shower. The second-floor bedroom – originally the guest room – has been transformed into a library/second office during Covid. Built in closets on one wall are now complimented by the cabinetry of a murphy wall-bed allowing the homeowners to have a much needed second working space.

The top floor was a gut job. To create a master suite sanctuary, the homeowners reconfigured the rooms to allow for a larger bathroom, a walk-in closet and a wall of closets, leaving a bedroom large enough to accommodate a king-sized bed. The second bedroom on the third floor acquired a full wall of built-in cabinetry and is now used as a private study.

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