Filled with found items rich in storied history, designer Victoria Mansell’s home is like a living and breathing museum. Owner of the Toronto shop Absolutely Inc., Victoria has devoted her life to the pursuit of vintage treasure. “I like things to be simple, elegant and comfortable. But I also really like to incorporate unusual, more whimsical elements,” she says. See inside the designer and shop owner’s character-filled home that tells a tale with each accessory.
“This room is very reflective of my taste,” says Victoria. A modern Italian coffee table from the 1970s contrasts a worn brown leather sofa from a turn-of-the-century English club.
Victoria layers pieces of art to create a more casual, comfortable setting. “A colleague said to me that it’s disrespectful to the artist, but I don’t think so at all. In fact, I think they’re much more approachable that way,” says the designer.
“Leopard print is one of my favorite accents,” says Victoria. She handmade the faux leopard pillow in her living room that sits atop a velvet gold-studded chair.
A cluster of quirky finds creates an intimate hallway vignette. The Russian sage plant sits in front of a print by Canadian artist Victoria LeBlanc, while a sculpted mask adds a moody presence. “The little airplane is from South Africa where they make them out of old tin cans,” says Victoria.
Victoria’s kitchen has a solid limestone counter, which has developed a beautiful patina over time. “It’s not something I can talk any client into because it’s quite soft, but I don’t really mind when it chips and wears,” says Victoria.
Victoria had old Spanish doors made into a cupboard for her bathroom vanity. “They’re from the 1600s,” she says.
A Jean-Michel Basquiat lithograph creates a focal point in the dining area. “I really like his work,” says Victoria.
Victoria foraged the clematis from her garden and the 1760s painting of a zebra is the oldest piece in the room. “The animals have almost human characteristics – that’s why I love them,” she says.
A French realist painting from the ‘70s of a firehose and axe is clouded by rosehip branches. “I’m particularly fond of branches, and it’s an economical way of doing flower arranging,” says Victoria.
In Victoria’s daughter’s bedroom, a red vintage Celine bag pops on the black and white bookshelf. “I like using fashion accessories as decor. In a bedroom it makes sense, but I wouldn’t put a fashion accessory on a living room mantel,” says Victoria.
Design sense clearly runs in the family – Victoria’s daughter turned a vintage Pucci scarf into a pillow, which complements the colors in the Andy Warhol silkscreen of Marilyn Monroe propped on her night table.