AN A-LINE SKIRT can be ho-hum, but snipped out of a splashy print and it suddenly has attitude. That ’s one way of looking at this grand apartment in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. Here, riotous colour, lively prints and art mingle for the ultimate in city living. “I would describe it as traditional elegance with a twist,” says the homeowner of the condo’s design.She downsized from a veritable Shangri-la, a midtown house where she had lived for 20 years, which was filled with art and antiques. “It was a magnificent home with 150-year-old oak trees, a great garden and a swimming pool,” she says. The new digs, then, had to be up to snuff, both in terms of style and scope. At 3,800 square feet with two terraces one terrace is a party-sized 800 square feet the airy condo elegantly meanders across half of one storey of a boutique building. The home has sizable rooms and, with its coolly
crisp white interior, it’s the perfect showcase for the owner’s sizable art collection. The smart layout caters to the way rooms are most often used, with the living room, dining roomand den separated from the bedrooms by a long hallway. Sleek and spacious, the two-tone kitchen in the centre of the condo can handle a crowd — very important for the occasional shindig thrown here. Designer Christine Johnson, a long-standing collaborator of the homeowner, started with the layout so the space was exactly the way they wanted it. Then, she chose materials and pieces to create rooms that felt intimate and inviting. “The owner wanted colour and she wanted contemporary, so we did a very open space,” says Christine. “Vast rooms are tricky; you have to make sure the space has an inviting and comfortable feel. We made it cosy through textures and colour.”Two vibrant yellow rugs, for instance, are eye-catching in the living room. Colourful stripes on mid-century modern Milo Baughman lounge chairs and playful raised dots on dining seats are decorating details that achieve a laid-back luxury.
The den’s regal purple drapery is dynamic and different. On the chairs the owner has had forever, hypnotic fabric is a fun upgrade.Grey sofa, South Hill Home; rug, The Rug Company; drapery fabric (throughout), Primavera Interior Furnishings; left painting by Jean-Paul Riopelle; right painting by Paul-Émile Borduas.
Likewise, two once-taupe French armchairs now sport a jewel-tone woven print inspired by Paul Klee. “One of the best things Christine did was find that patterned fabric, because I tend to go for geometric things,” says the owner. “Christine said, ‘You’re going to kill me: it’s unbelievably expensive, but I know you’re going to love it.’ And I said, ‘I don’t care what it costs; that’s what we’re doing!’”Adding to the off beat opulence are minimalist architectural details: f loating oak-clad walls in the den, stately limestone-look columns in the living area and a ripple-walled foyer featuring pieces of wood that are laminated together to look like they’re f loating. Since moving, the homeowner has never looked back. “I adore the apartment,” she says. “When you’ve lived in a large house with a garden that’s half an acre, it’s not easy to move into something smaller. But I had my first party at the apartment last September, and I had 110 people for cocktails, no problem.” We’ll toast to that!