This designer’s living room is a masterclass in mixing decor styles
When we bought this house, I fell in love with it because it is a true Toronto old home with all the original details. I love the panel moulding on the walls, the high baseboards, the gorgeous high ceilings. It really spoke to me, I love the traditional bones. It is not a big house, but it feels spacious, and yet really cozy. The living room is the heart of the home. I know in most houses it’s the kitchen, but I really love my living room. It’s the first space you sort of see as soon as you walk into the house. It’s open to the dining space there’s a big, beautiful arched opening that’s trimmed out with beautiful mouldings. And, it’s just a real gem. So because this house is an old house, which I love, I had to find a way to make it a space for both me and my husband, or my fiancé at the time. He loves contemporary design, so the real mission for me was to find a way to merge our styles. In this living room specifically, you’ll see elements that are more contemporary, like the sofa that I’m sitting on. It’s a lovely leather sofa. Very clean, contemporary lines, a coffee table with a mid-century feel. I love pieces that are vintage and have a history and a story behind them. The modern bucket chairs that are navy are very contemporary. And then there’s a little traditional armchair and a couple other traditional accessories and elements, like the gold frame above the mantel, the fireplace itself. So it really has been a true blend of both of our styles, and I think it works really well. I’ve opened his eyes to some of the beauty that is traditional. I love to decorate with color. I think the color really can inspire you, it’s all about creating and feeling in a mood in space, and I really love to do that with color. Color sometimes can be scary because people don’t know how to use it, and they don’t know really ‘How can I make it work, without being loud and scary and too wild?’ So, what I like to say is, use a rule! There’s a rule of thumb that I like to use, it’s my little trick. It’s 60-30-10. So 60 per cent of the room is in one base color, in this case, it’s beige, it’s neutral. Neutral sofa, neutral rug, neutral walls, neutral lamps. The majority is neutral. And then the 30 per cent would be yellow, so that lovely pop of yellow in the curtains, in the pillow fabrics, in little accessories. And then the 10 percent is that pop of orange, which just kind of elevates it. Having that balance helps you to create a cohesive look that doesn’t overwhelm. It’s still sophisticated, it’s still soothing, but it’s also really fun and energizing. One of my favorite elements in this room is that fantastic traditional wingback chair. I actually found it on the side of the road when we first moved into the house, and I really wanted to pull together a fully-designed space. I was desperate for furniture and was on a tight budget. Found it on the side of the road in a really gross old fabric. I took it to my upholsterer who recovered it for me in a really vibrant, modern fabric, which is a lovely shade of orange, and everybody talks about it. Don’t be afraid to mix your styles of furniture. It can be scary because you don’t know if this piece goes with that piece, but my other rule of thumb is repetition. If you want to do a very vintage, modern look, pick two to three pieces that are vintage-modern. And then if you want some traditional items, pick two to three pieces, and the sheer repetition of those items in the space will make it feel cohesive. That and your cohesive feeling of color will make space one hundred per cent yours, and beautiful.