Decorating & Design

July 13, 2020

Explore A Shop Owner’s Home Inspired By Her South African Heritage

Born and raised in the small town of Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, Denise Zidel delights in filling her 3,100-square-foot, seven-storey Toronto “condo house” with the artifacts of her former homeland. “I feel a surge of energy when I walk through the door,” says Denise of the house she shares with her physician husband, Brian (a Montreal native), and their daughter, Billie, 22, a medical student. Set against the home’s white walls, the dynamic art collection and vividly colored ephemera have the effect of a modern art gallery.

lt’s an aesthetic that’s replicated in Snob, Denise’s shop in Toronto’s Castlefield Design District (she moved it from the city’s east end last year year). The store stocks an evolving selection of mostly 3D artwork, framed Kuba textiles, pottery by Martine Jackson, wall baskets, juju hats, one-of-a-kind mirrors and silk-velvet ikat pillows. Denise says a trip home to South Africa to visit family 18 years ago rekindled her love of the color and the contrast in the country, which she’d started to take for granted. That trip eventually led not only to a career change and the founding of Snob in 2006, but also to a personal decorating style that’s as eclectic and energizing as it is sophisticated and timeless.

Scroll down to tour this joyful home!

Author: Iris Benaroia

Stacey Brandford


House & Home February 2019


Denise Zidel & Stephanie Lees