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Designer Brian Gluckstein outdoes himself with a must-see showhome that holds the promise of life well lived.
Low-set wainscotting and full-length drapery emphasize the great room’s lofty ceiling. “I like high ceilings and love to incorporate at least one in every design,” says Brian. High-contrast trimon the off-white coffee tables and armchairs evokes the signature piping of a timeless Chanel jacket. Sofa, GlucksteinHome; armchairs, cube tables, throw pillows, art (right), Gluckstein Design Planning; drapery fabric, Threadcount Textile & Design; rug, Elte; photographic art (left) by To ny Ko u ko s; wall and trim colour, Distant Gray (OC-68), ceiling colour(throughout), Decorator’s White (CC-20), Benjamin Moore.
Like the glamorous lead in a classic Hollywood film, this year’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Home Lottery Showhome makes an alluring first impression: it greets you in a dramatic fashion and dazzles you with gorgeous looks, but is careful not to give away too much, too fast. From the extra-tall foyer just inside the front door, a tiger-print rug worthy of Lana Turner can be glimpsed in the home office across the hallway. “It’s similar to a carpet I had in my New York City apartment years ago,” says designer Brian Gluckstein. The scene beckons visitors forward until the 6,700-square-foot home’s elegant main f loor is revealed through a procession of grey-trimmed archways. “The house is quite open, but I didn’t want you to see everything as soon as you walk in,” says Brian. In design, as in the movies, a little mystery goes a long way. Set on a corner lot in a leafy neighbourhood of south Oakville, Ont., the five-bedroom, two-storey house is loosely inspired by French Normandy style. In less than eight months, Brian expertly tempered the interior’s open layout by creating defined living spaces with purpose. He pulled in some walls (to create a centre courtyard) and pushed out others (the great room is generously sized and self-contained), varied ceiling heights and balanced bright, lofty spaces with cosy, moodier rooms. Nearly every surface received its own treatment, from washable murals in the kitchen to a grey wall covering on the dining room ceiling to graphic f loor tiles in the foyer. Grey-washed white oak f loors with a scraped finish quietly tie together the showstopping elements. TOP RIGHT: For the home’s French Normandy–inspired exterior, architect Richard Wengle chose an aged brick that looks like lime has seeped through over time. Construction,PCM Project and Construction Management; landscape architecture, Strybos Barron King Landscape Architecture.
EVERYONE WILL BE TALKING ABOUT The tiger-print rug“It adds whimsy and drama, and brings in the black that’s the accent colour in the space. I wanted that wow factor,” says Brian.
The cumulative effect of these many thoughtful moments is at once modern and traditional, open and inviting. The home’s easy f low, plush conversation zones and dreamkitchen make it ideal for gatherings and entertaining — a good thing, since the house will soon welcome more than 70,000 visitors. This is Brian’s seventh showhome, and he remains committed to providing the imminent crowd and, ultimately, the lucky winner, with lots of fresh inspiration. “I want people to leave with ideas they can replicate at home,” he says.There’s also plenty to simply fantasize about. One of this year’s drool-worthy spaces is found on the lower level: the wellness spa is kitted out with a side-by-side dry sauna and wet steamroom, a DXV tub with a waterfall feature, a massage room and a spinning studio, all enclosed by terry cloth drapery and glass doors. Taking a seat in the steam room looking out at the spa, Brian says, “This is my favourite space. It’s what I want in my basement — and everyone who comes down here says they want one, too.” Already planning next year’s showhome, Brian wonders aloud how he’ll top this.