A Modern-Meets-Vintage Home With Quiet Holiday Decor
In Jeff Magwood and Amy Halpenny’s 15-foot-wide Toronto Victorian, Nana’s antiques are right at home beside modern white-oak herringbone floors and crisp white walls. The striking mix of old and new is all thanks to designer Sam Sacks. Sam respects the tenets of great design — symmetry, scale and proportion — so she had the chops to integrate family heirlooms seamlessly into the modern design. See how she mastered the mix in this stylish family home, outfitted with understated hits of holiday cheer.
“We’re pretty relaxed people — never formal,” says homeowner Amy. Her family home — which she shares with husband Jeff their three children, Signy (left), Halle (center) and Gavin — also invites laid-back living.
Designer Sam Sacks upholstered the dining area’s mahogany chairs, which belonged to Amy’s parents, in moss green velvet as a soft counterpoint to the cool marble of the pedestal table. The crescent-shaped banquette in stain-resistant vinyl (it mimics more fragile raffia) provides casual spillover seating for the kids. “I always play extensively with texture. It adds depth and dimension to a room,” Sam says.
Introducing wood bases and shelves with the marble counters and backsplash feels rustic and elegant. The pendant lights — a splurge from Lamp Cage — boast hand-applied gold-leaf interiors.
The serene Scandi backsplash in the kitchen was achieved with painstaking precision. To the chagrin of the contractor, Jeff asked that each Carrara tile be hand-cut to a custom size. “Off-the-shelf tiles were much smaller, so they would have looked too busy,” he explains. Forgoing upper cabinets lets the herringbone handiwork shine. Sculptural and solitary against all the white, a black faucet by Kohler has big impact, while the window’s white-oak sill and jamb act like a frame for the view.
“Everyone was always on top of each other in the old kitchen,” says Amy. In the new design, space was allocated for a nook that offers storage and a spot for a laptop or tablet.
The smallest details can make all the difference: “I wanted something to cap the end of the walls and tie in with the floors,” says Jeff of the elegant white-oak trim that bookends the passageway between the dining and living areas. Topped with simple evergreen boughs and candles, a rough-hewn console from The Door Store sets a quietly seasonal mood.
The compact living room gets a jolt of color from exotic-patterned pillows and a bright David Hicks fabric on the vintage bergere, balancing out the more modern elements, including a Jens Risom lounge chair, sleek marble fireplace and dark window frame.
Wrap on a basketful of holiday gifts echoes the home’s accent colors.
Against the second-floor landing’s bright white walls, a grandfather clock, inherited from Amy’s great-grandparents, looks fresh, not fusty. All of the doors on the second floor were painted black for graphic punch.
The architects behind Chapi Chapo Design, who led the renovation, carried the herringbone motif from the lower level to the principal bedroom in the form of a stunning statement headboard. Jeff and his dad made the bench at the foot of the bed out of old timbers at the family farm in Creemore, Ont. Layers of linen, cotton and faux fur soften the abundant wood.
When it comes to antiques, context counts. “My mom was going to get rid of my grandmother’s French gilt mirror, but once we put it into the right setting, it worked,” says Amy. It now hangs in the principal bedroom above a vintage hall chair, creating a quiet yet compelling vignette.
In the second-floor principal bath, a trough-style vanity by RH Restoration Hardware with a clean-lined marble top is classic and timeless. Baskets provide storage and lend exotic texture.
Colorful bedding and wall art, a Sunday-school chair salvaged from Rosedale United Church and painted-wood floor planks (a cost-saving measure over installing new floors) give Signy’s room old-fashioned charm.