PHOTOGRAPHY: MICHAEL GRAYDON
STYLING: GORDANA DI MONTE
Interior designer Gordana Di Monte is often asked to put a fresh spin on design. But seldom is the request as literal as it was in the case of this two-bedroom condo in downtown Toronto.
“Their number one must-have was a working turntable in the living area, which is not a request I get every day,” says Di Monte, creative director at Douglas Design Studio who headed the project.
The young professional couple’s primary residence lies a half-hour outside the city core in a serene lakeside setting. They purchased the condo to serve as a pied-à-terre close to the city’s restaurants, theatre and nightlife. With a completely different vibe, it also would serve as a base from which to entertain.
The owners were originally attracted to the 1,200-square-foot condo’s layout, which is wide-open in the kitchen, dining and living areas. But the property was painted “builder’s beige,” which was not their style. They wanted an all-white colour scheme to prevail throughout the home. And they preferred contemporary design with unique touches in addition to the turntable.
“All-white colour schemes can stray into sterility,” Di Monte says, “which is why it is so important to add life with texture and accents of colour.” The designer covered the walls of the living and dining areas with white wallpaper rather than flat, painted surfaces. Slightly textured and shot with subtle flecks of silver, it provides the perfect backdrop for the white modular turntable stand off the dining room. In contrast, the custom sofa in the living room was covered with slick white vinyl, both for the interesting texture and practical stain resistance. And the original kitchen’s gleaming white lacquer-finish cabinets and quartz countertops were retained as well.
The dining room’s unique touch is the showstopper dining table, a tangle of driftwood branches designed by Michigan-based artist Ben Forgey. It was just one of the organic elements injected into the home’s design. In the master bedroom, white cork wallpaper shot with mica provides a backdrop to the sleek Italian-design platform bed, upholstered in white leather. Wool draperies and natural linens add an elegantly cozy appeal. Natural elements also provided a counterpoint to the glossy white and cool metallic surfaces elsewhere.
The couple had fallen in love with the vibrant orange hue of the living room’s wow factor, the brilliant sweep of silk carpet. Although on-trend, the colour posed some challenge for the designer, being “not the easiest to work with.” Her solution in the end became one of the home’s most striking features: the large-scale works of art that grace the walls.
“The paintings help unify the space,” Di Monte says. “Not because they match the orange, but because they enhance the overall look and say something about the people who live there.” The vivid colours in the paintings create a context in which the carpet’s bold hue makes perfect sense.
The designer made another strong design statement in the entryway that is open to the rest of the space. She had the walls and ceiling painted black to create dramatic contrast with the white walls around it. It also helps to harmonize the original dark-stained hardwood floors that run throughout — and the black turntable. “Which makes sense, because that is where the design plan began,” Di Monte says. •
Douglas Design Studio