Welcome to the well hued home, a space with a playful color palette and where there is a youthful and fun-loving flair with an understated luxury in every room. The homeowners of this six-bedroom Toronto Georgian house selected some of their favorite art pieces as the starting point for designing a home with whimsy and character. Albert Limshue from Powell and Bonnell took on the challenge, with fantastic results!
What was funny about the project, is that actually Albert Limshue had already worked on the interior design for this home a few years ago for a completely different family.
“Originally, about 10 years ago, we worked on this house for a different family. At that time we took a rather small Georgian home and extended it to add on the kitchen, family room and much of the master suite above,” explained Limshue who worked on the interior design for this home. The new owners had lived in a Georgian-style home before and didn’t really want to move into another, but the location was too good to pass up. “This is why the interior design is so whimsical, to battle the stately structure you get with this type of house!”
From the outside, of course, it really does seem like a “stately structure,”, but there is definitely a playful and whimsical element to the decor as soon as you step foot in the door. A round yellow disc, an art piece by Venezuelan artist Manuel Merida, greets you.
“One key direction was the discussion of places the family liked to stay while away from home,” describes Limshue. It means that some of the hotel rooms, lobbies and amenity spaces discovered in London and New York during family trip stays in boutique hotels had made a lasting impression. The love for contemporary art and eclectic style were found to be entertaining, and this playfulness and exploration of ideas through art has been captured for the home. Some of the artwork selected for the home reflects that feel, the pieces acting as launchpads for color palettes for different rooms.
“A massive wood sculpture in the front hall by Lee Jae-Hyo shows their interest in the union of contemporary art with practical design. Many of the art pieces throughout the house show this fascination with the merging of whimsical with the practical.” — Powell and Bonnell
In the living room, a mural hangs depicting pagoda roof structures made from dressmakers buttons and pins. The piece is created by New York-based artist Ran Hwang, from her Palace Works collection. Hwang finds the process of creating these large scale pieces to be both time consuming and repetitive, giving way to a sense of meditation with each completed work.
This absolutely gorgeous little hang out has to be noted, with the large Murano glass disc chandelier. It’s the perfect little cozy nook and somewhere to catch up over coffee!
According the Limshue, the best way to bring in playfulness into these (usually) formal rooms like the dining room, is fun fabrics. He chose from the Powell and Bonnell collection of fabrics to upholster the chairs and curtains with yellow. A criss crossing pattern hangs above the dining table; the Shooting Stars chandelier adds to the room’s balance between light and dark.
What advice would you give yourself looking back at the project?
Limshue: Trust your gut instincts, and don’t be afraid (not that I really am…) and yes you can put a navy and cream rug in a charcoal and yellow dining room!
Which part of the house do you love the most?
I love the area off the living room with the purple banquet and giant Murano glass disc chandelier…imagine hanging out there with friends.
Were there any major difficulties in executing this project?
To think back, the idea of making all of those colors work in one house was really the biggest hurdle. We knew the house, the contractor we worked with executed the first renovation, we have worked with the client before and usually difficulties arise in those “getting to know you” areas.
The Balloon Bench is by Japanese artist Satoshi Itasaka inspired by the French movie Le Ballon Rouge. Although it looks like this red tufted leather bench is effortlessly floating in front of those Palladian windows, it is in fact anchored to the ceiling with four air craft cables. “It’s strong enough that adults, for example the designer of this house, can go for a swing” shares Limshue.
The homeowners were thrilled with the outcome, but more than that, the children of the family love the home too. “Even the ‘serious’ rooms like the dining room and living room — which children are often discouraged from using — have a youthful and fun loving flair, without being juvenile,” says Limshue.
*This article was updated on 7th May 2019 to amend that this project features a house, not a townhouse.