PHOTOGRAPHY: LARRY ARNAL
STYLING: SHIVA KHALILNIA
Shiva Khalilnia prides herself in not having a particular style. Rather, she tailors her designs to each client’s needs and wants.
As the lead designer at Import Temptations, a furniture and accessories retailer with a showroom in Toronto and customers across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, she’s got plenty of opportunity to tailor her designs.
A former furniture designer who worked in Milan, Khalilnia now specializes in designing and coordinating furniture, lighting and accessories for large homes, working with clientele at Import Temptations, which was founded by her mother Lili Khalilnia.
In one of her recent projects, Khalilnia designed a home for an entrepreneur and his family in York Mills. The family wanted a home in a contemporary style, with generous spaces for entertaining. Their previous home was more traditional; this time they wanted a modern touch.
To marry traditional and contemporary styles, the designer chose classic furniture – but updated it. For instance, in the living room, a sofa and a chair from designer Christopher Guy in the Louis XV style were “re-invented” for a contemporary look. “We upholstered them in Valentino red and did away with the ornate carving; we made these pieces smooth and sleek, the curvy legs finished in black lacquer,” says Khalilnia.
The room is decorated in black and gold, with six-foot-tall lamps, for what Khalilnia calls a “bold and sexy” atmosphere.
Another focal point in the 7,500-square-foot home is the basement. Indeed, the space is so airy, the word seems like a misnomer. With double doors leading out to the garden and extra-high ceilings, it is probably better referred to as a “party room or reception area,” Khalilnia says.
Her clients use it often for parties and get-togethers. There’s a wine room here and a drinks area with an onyx bar that can be lit up; the wall behind it is upholstered.
The owner, a cigar aficionado, keeps his cigar collection here and guests often retire to the outdoor sitting area for a smoke after dinner. The homeowners worked hand in hand with her to find unique pieces of art and furniture. They ordered fabric and furnishings from Turkey, Italy and Germany.
“It’s a very special house,” Khalilnia says. “Filled with very special things.” •