moved into this 1905 Toronto Victorian just over three years ago. She was instantly attracted to the home’s detailing — like the 12-inch baseboards and original wainscoting, fireplaces and solid wood doors, not mention the 10-foot ceilings throughout. In decorating the home, she worked to highlight those original details while also bringing a modern sensibility to the space through clean-lined furniture and a limited color palette of white and black. The result is a home that looks both stylish and pulled together and also completely effortless and casual. Thanks, Emma! And thanks to for the lovely photographs. — Amy A.
Image above: I just finished redecorating this room, and the entire process is documented on . It’s a 180-degree turnaround from my last bedroom that had dark grey walls, a yellow four-poster bed and accents of emerald green and gold. The bed and bench are pieces I designed, and they are made of reclaimed Douglas Fir. I had the benefit of working with a local business called that specializes in custom-made reclaimed-wood furniture. The side table is actually a vintage cheese box. The kilim pillows I made from an old rug I found at Legacy Vintage in Cobourg, Ontario.
Image above: The wallpaper in this room was actually inspired by another Design*Droits-Humains sneak peak. When I saw the black-painted wallpaper in William and Susan Brinson’s kitchen, I knew that it was the perfect solution for my less-than-perfect office walls. I love the fact that the wallpaper is something that may have been found in a Victorian house from this period. I use simple twine and clothes pegs to post pictures of whatever is inspiring at the moment. This room is tiny, but works perfectly as a small office.
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Image above: This is one my favorite rooms because it has so many of the original Victorian details intact, like the fireplace and mouldings around the doors. My husband and I found those two vintage Bertoia chairs about seven years ago. They still have the original leather seat covers, which aren’t in the best shape, so we line them with the sheepskins. The mirror above the fireplace is a recent addition and a vintage find. I think the stack of rough, rustic wood is a nice contrast to all the elaborate gold elements around the fireplace. The 20-arm black chandelier we found lying in the back room of local furniture store, and the kilim pillows are from my friend Liz’s online vintage store, .
Image above: This room all came together when my parents dropped off this enormous, stunning painting by Tony Scherman. They were in the middle of downsizing and had no room for it in their new house. The painting depicts Napoleon’s hands behind his back during the Battle of Waterloo. I designed the credenza below the painting and had it made out of oiled white oak. The four black Eames side chairs and the Moooi pendant light are relatively new additions to the room.
Image above: The kitchen is the one room in the house that has no original Victorian features and is the only room we have completely renovated. My favorite object in the room is my 36-inch industrial range. I love having six burners to work with. The floor is Brazilian slate, and the wall behind the range is Calcutta marble. The cabinets are by Ikea.
Image above: I found this old plant box with the words “Toronto City Parks” one day when I was out vintage shopping. It’s amazing to think that at one time even the boxes that carried simple bedding plants were handmade and individually stamped.
Image above: This was actually the first room we painted when we moved in three years ago in March of 2008. The original wall color was a soft yellow, which made the room feel very quaint and country-inspired. I knew painting it a dark color would really change the feel. Nowadays, it is quite common to see black-painted walls and rooms, but at the time, it was unexpected.
Image above: Recently, I’ve been trying to add some more natural, organic elements to the room to try and soften the black and white color scheme.
Image above: This is my son Henry’s room. My husband bought the print of the tree and the vintage wool blanket long before we ever had children in the hopes that one day they would find a home! The crib is by Nurseryworks.