See Inside Colette Van Den Thillart’s Most Beautiful Spaces
Elegant, whimsical and romantic — these are the words that come to mind when we think of Colette van den Thillart‘s designs. The Toronto-based designer has a knack for creating spaces with soul, whether it’s with quirky wallpaper, found objets or artful accents. So, it comes at no surprise that Colette is a regular in our magazine — our readers can’t get enough. We took a look back at some of her most beautiful spaces throughout the years, from her soulful home in London to her most recent project, a sophisticated pied-à-terre in Toronto.
An Antique-Filled Pied-À-Terre in Toronto
Colette is no stranger to helping homeowners switch up their style. “You have clients who get to an age when they want to go younger,” she says. “It’s so much fun, and I love doing it.” In this particular case, Colette injected a youthful feel into a downtown condo filled with stately antiques.
This bold entryway sets the tone for the rest of the home, thanks to rich hits of sky blue and fuchsia. Colette added a circular rug to juxtapose the rest of the furniture’s straight lines.
“I love the challenge of creating a dialogue between then and now, between antique and contemporary things,” she says. The dining room chairs were given an up-to-date look with a fresh coat of white paint and luxe velvet upholstery.
Kelly Wearstler wallpaper is a dramatic backdrop for the homeowners’ ornate vintage mirror. “We agreed to keep the spaces quite clean, which allowed the antiques to really sing,” says Colette.
The homeowners originally wanted a more monochrome bedroom. “Then they called me saying, ‘There’s something missing!’ Yes, it’s personality,” says Colette with a laugh. Pops of chartreuse did the trick.
A Posh London Flat
Colette spent a lot of time living across the pond, two of her U.K. homes were featured in H&H. This storied apartment in Notting Hill is the culmination of her travels with statement pieces from Turkey, Morocco and France. “Good layering is about using the tools we know — symmetry, subtlety — and then throwing in contradictions like asymmetry and boldness,” she says.
Paying homage to Europe’s grandest ceilings, this canvas adds even more whimsy to the space. It almost feels like her own little museum, when paired with handsome busts, books and ceramics.
A European pied-à-terre feels incomplete without floor-to-ceiling double French doors and an elegant balcony. This dining room is a practice in luxury with custom fabric on the windows, over the hexagonal table and the three perches.
Colette brought the French brasserie look home with a petite banquette adorned with red leather in her kitchen. Even the most casual dinners feel trés chic with a crisp white tablecloth and candles.
Fighting jet lag isn’t so bad when you’re tucked under the sheets in this cozy principal bedroom. Colette created a romantic fabric headboard for an instant cocooning effect. Plus, the soft mood lighting encourages you to catch some zzz’s.
A Breezy Barbados Getaway
Every hardworking designer needs a break from the hustle and bustle — and for Colette, that meant an island hideaway. “We did not want a renovation project!” says Colette of the three bedroom bungalow. “We just wanted to come here and enjoy.” Luckily, when she bought the beach house in 2006, it was newly built.
In the living room, whicker furniture, a beadboard ceiling and bright coral accents nail the relaxed, seaside look.
When the weather is so perfect, an indoor-outdoor dining room is a must. The vintage chandelier — which pairs well with the home’s gingerbreading detail — was spotted at an auction. “I carried that onto the plane,” she says. “I didn’t know birds would love nesting in all the little lanterns!”
Soaking in the tub is even more relaxing when you look out onto a sea of lush palm trees. Colette created a Oliver Messel-style screen to create privacy when her windows are open.
“I wanted a glam shack — the romantic idea of a room on the beach,” says Colette. In the principal bedroom, she lacquered the panelled ceiling to create the illusion of higher ceilings. A four poster bed with mosquito netting reinforces the breezy, effortless theme (while also keeping the bugs at bay).
A Character-Driven Toronto Home
You’d never believe this Neo-Georgian abode was in the heart of the city, with its handsome panelling, European collectables and lavish furniture. In the living room, Colette perches on a lilac velvet couch. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but I bought the most English-looking house in Toronto,” she says.
Dressed for the holidays, this cozy spot by the fire feels extra special thanks to extra throw pillows and blankets layered over a pair of caned wingback chairs. For a touch of antiquated English charm, an oversize carriage lantern hangs above.
This whimsical dining room is a true snapshot of Colette’s design style — playful and impactful. She wrapped the entire room in a velvet mineral wallpaper, trimmed her end chairs with fringe and topped the look off with a plaster chandelier from London. “I like a bit of drama,” she says.
“It’s a rococo convention, to have furniture echo boiserie, but I think it’s divine,” says Colette of her principal bedroom’s curved furniture. Large windows let natural light flood in, while textured throws encourage sink-in comfort.
From the veined marble floors to the patinated zinc bathtub and the antique sconces, every inch of this private ensuite exudes European romance.
A Light-Filled Abode In London
In one of her first appearances in House & Home, Colette’s memorable townhouse in London captured our hearts. Here, she sits in her bright and airy breakfast nook adorned with light blue upholstery.
The creamy neutral palette continues in the sunny family room in the home’s conservatory, which feels like you’re sitting outside even on rainy days. These two spaces are the most subdued out of the whole home.
Peacock blue walls in the living room are “very 17th-century,” according to Colette. “That era was so sumptuous,” she says. A crisp white mantel is topped with pieces by British artists and poets, plus a small sketch by her daughter.
A haven for bookworms, this sunken dining room triples as a home office and library. Colette proves that small spaces can still have dramatic effect, thanks to an oversized light fixture, fresco on the ceiling and more peacock blue paint.
In the principal bedroom, an intricate headboard adds a feminine touch, while a hand-blocked wallpaper ties in the rich earth tones throughout the space.