Photography: Mike Chajecki
Styling: Shiva Khalilnia
With their exposed concrete ceilings and pillars, lofts can often feel cold and unwelcoming. So Shiva Khalilnia was determined to warm things up with plush furnishings, rich textures and hits of gold throughout the 2,200-square-foot condo she recently transformed for her clients.
“They wanted a space that was conducive to entertaining, so I wanted everything to be kind of sexy, dim, very sophisticated yet practical, elegant and usable. Nothing was too delicate,” says Khalilnia, the owner of Import Temptations, a Toronto furniture and accessories store.
Khalilnia worked with the existing white oak floors and floor-to-ceiling windows, and while the long, narrow entry hall and its imposing pillars posed a particular design challenge, she saw it as an exciting opportunity. “When I first walked down that huge hallway, my mind was just racing,” she recalls. “I wanted it to have that super wow factor, as if it were a 100-foot gallery.”
To that end, Khalilnia hung large acrylic and gold-leafed prints down the hallway and an oversized mirror with a gold-leaf crack. They share space with a sleek console table, topped with wrought iron, and antique gold-leaf lamps. She also perched an eclectic iron sculpture atop a marble pedestal to greet visitors. “We wanted art that brought a little bit of life to the hallway, but because you can’t look at it straight on, we couldn’t hang anything that had a lot of perspective,” she explains.
Once the chosen black walnut kitchen cabinets were in place, Khalilnia focused on the finishing touches, including a Belvedere leathered granite waterfall island and matching backsplash. “The homeowner originally wanted a light counter, but we decided on this dark, stunning one, which is hard-wearing, plus it doesn’t show stains,” says Khalilnia.
Italian silk-velvet bar stools bring a jolt of pink to the palette. “When you enter the space and come down that beautiful hallway, it’s kind of exciting when your eye hits these hot pink, heavenly bar stools,” says Khalilnia.
Around the glass dining table with its solid brass base, Khalilnia placed chairs that spoke to the homeowner’s passion for automobiles. “He loves cars, and the diamond quilted stitching on the fabric dining room chairs looks like the stitching on a luxury car, which makes them beautiful without feeling too heavy, like leather,” she explains.
An intricately carved Canaletto walnut sideboard from Italy lends depth and texture without taking up a large footprint. The homeowner chose commanding artwork by Toronto artist Ramona Nordal, and Khalilnia decided to showcase it above the sideboard against a black velvet curtain. Paired with two gold lamps and a display of greenery, this area provides a lovely focal point when the owners entertain.
In the living room, the homeowners wanted a comfortable space in which to lounge, read and watch television that could also double as an elegant setting for guests. “For the sofas, we decided on a beautiful, warm olive-green tone,” says Khalilnia. “It’s got a lot of comfort, yet it’s chic and sleek. It’s tufted but it’s not fussy. They sit there every day.”
Two Italian leather armchairs feature a curved brass base that feels light yet substantial, adds the designer. “These are great drinking chairs. They’re so comfortable when you sit and swivel in them. They’re very stylized, but uncomplicated,” says Khalilnia.
Above the sofa, the designer hung two giclée prints from the ceiling to add depth and perspective to the living room area. “Everything’s kind of low, and sometimes it’s nice to draw your eye up higher. I love the richness, warmth and texture in the art,” she says.
By layering softly hued area rugs, plants and luxurious fabric, Khalilnia created a welcoming oasis in the heart of the city. “I love the feeling this apartment gives me: There’s warmth, there’s happiness, movement and colour,” she says. “Even the chandeliers make me happy. In the evenings with the lights on, it’s so magical. All the warm elements make me want to stay, have a drink and enjoy.” •
Originally published in the Toronto Winter 2020 issue.