Livening a home with the perfect amount of
joie de vivre is no easy feat. So, when designer Emily Griffin was tasked with breathing new life into a 1,540-square-foot Victorian home belonging to a family of four, she dove in with an aesthetic that injected just enough color, down-to-earth texture and whimsical pattern to make the space sing. “I used the line ‘We want to avoid the circus’ many times,” says Emily, with a laugh. “That was the last thing we wanted.” Having lived in the semidetached Toronto home for 16 years, the homeowners were ready to give it a facelift. Gutting everything but the staircase, baseboards, a few walls and the trim and cornice mouldings on the first floor, the designer rosied up rooms by swapping out old furniture for eclectic finds and incorporating splashes of color (think: brilliant blues, pretty pinks and zesty yellows). Here’s how Emily created the cozy yet energizing ambience that puts the happy in this home.
1. Mix Unexpected Patterns For Wow Factor
When Emily’s go-to installer called her in a panic saying the entryway’s sunny wallpaper didn’t match with the graphic black and white flooring, she confidently assured him to wait and watch as the magic unfolded. “We knew we wanted the chevron floor tile, and when I found the wallpaper, it looked and felt great,” says Emily (pictured). “So much of this is just feel; there are no hard-set rules.”
2. Pick A Statement Piece & Build Up
“It was the yellow velvet sofa that started the whole eclectic, fun and happy vibe in this house,” she says. From there, the designer invited in elements including a second life rug with muted motifs, a collection of baskets that doubles as wall art and throw pillows in zingy, saturated hues.
3. Add Texture With Warm Woods
While the kitchen is too compact for a permanent island, a movable trolley adds an organic touch and functions as a prep station, spot to store casserole dishes and perch where the homeowners’ teenaged kids eat breakfast. Custom-stained oak flooring extends from the kitchen into the sitting area, keeping the hub of the home light and bright.
4. Make It Hardworking
Emily designed and upholstered the ottoman in the new nine- by 11-foot addition off the kitchen in a colorful textile that complements the vintage camel-toned leather sofa. “It can withstand spills, you can put your feet up on it, and it pulls in a lot of colors from the rest of the house,” says Emily. Dark-trimmed doors offering generous garden views add visual punch while flooding the space with natural light.
5. Embrace A Color With Dimension
To give her clients the black kitchen they envisioned while considering the harmony of the rest of the home, Emily painted the cabinets in
Farrow & Ball’s Off-Black. “It’s black but it reads blue in many lights,” says Emily. “It’s the best of both worlds.” The wallpaper’s floral, fern and rhubarb motifs add a joyful exuberance to the space and keep the blue-black cabinets from feeling too heavy.
6. Pile On Layers To Inject Soul
In the dining room, reclaimed teak dining chairs with woven seats, a gilt mirror and a sisal rug layered under a striped wool rug combine to create an inviting, soulful vibe. Painting the lower portion of the walls in a deep blue delivers a dose of drama. “I added many textures and styles in this room to make it feel collected,” says Emily.
7. Repeat Hues For A Cohesive Feel
Swathing every wall in a creamy shade provides a calm backdrop and allows audacious injections of color to pop. Off the entryway, a pair of rope stools tuck under a steel blue console while a lamp with a playful dragonfly-patterned shade picks up on the blue and yellow tones in the home.
8. Create Visual Interest With One Element
Emily designed the principal bathroom’s vanity and countertop to blend into each other seamlessly, allowing the Moroccan-inspired
blue and white tile to stand out. “I approached the room as if there was only one hero,” says Emily. “Everything else is a secondary character.”
See more of this vibrant Victorian home on H&H TV.
Author: Harleen Sidhu
House & Home October 2019