Inside The 2019 Princess Margaret Showhome By Brian Gluckstein
Like the glamorous lead in a classic Hollywood film, this year’s Princess Margaret 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. The 6,700-square-foot home’s elegant main floor 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 designer Brian Gluckstein. In design, as in the movies, a little mystery goes a long way.
Set on a corner lot in a leafy neighborhood of south Oakville, Ontario, 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. “I want people to leave with ideas they can replicate at home,” he says.
For the home’s French Normandy-inspired exterior, architect Richard Wengle chose an aged brick that looks like lime has seeped through over time.
“The two-storey foyer gives the entrance a sense of drama,” says Brian. “The real showstopper is the patterned floor, which we created to achieve a strong, graphic look.”
A square table replaces the usual desk, making this home office a multipurpose space that works for the entire family. “The kids can do homework at the table while parents sit and work on the daybed with a laptop,” says Brian. The tiger-print rug adds whimsy and drama to the hardworking space. “It’s similar to a carpet I had in my New York City apartment years ago,” he says.
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 trim on the off-white coffee tables and armchairs evokes the signature piping of a timeless Chanel jacket.
“The showhome has the most storage we’ve done in a kitchen, but it’s discreet,” says Brian. Some of the appliances, including the Jenn-Air wall oven and microwave oven drawer, are even incorporated into the island. The kitchen’s bookshelf murals add an unexpected element in the sleek space.
“I wanted to bring art into the kitchen,” says Brian. “Instead of using plain panels to cover the refrigerator and freezer columns, we worked with Tony Koukos on a pair of murals and had them applied to the façades.”
A Venetian plaster finish on the dining room walls delivers depth and texture while a grey wall covering on the ceiling gives the space a cozy feel.
Extending the family room’s corner windows to the floor and topping them with elegant arched transoms has a custom look and connects the mink-colored room to the outdoors. A striped rug underscores the casual mood.
An eye-catching artificial turf inlay leads to the garden’s pergola-covered lounge area.
Subtle texture and strategic doses of shine in the principal ensuite keep the look simple yet sophisticated. The graphic tile is a dramatic focal point. “To create the look, large-scale slabs were cut and arranged in this pattern,” he says, “but the technique can be replicated by cutting down less expensive 12- by 12-inch tiles in different colors.”
In the principal bedroom, a shallow alcove behind the bed and the vaulted ceiling create an environment that’s both grand and intimate.