Sneak Peek! See Inside Designer Brian Gluckstein’s New Book, The Art Of Home
From kitchens to living rooms and every space in between, designer Brian Gluckstein’s debut book, Brian Gluckstein: The Art Of Home, reveals inspired interiors. We’re sharing a sneak peek inside his new hardcover below, which features 10 high-end projects, including his own Toronto home, and valuable tips from the design guru.
Vintage and antique pieces can be found in each of Brian’s designs — and in his own home. “I like [them] for the same reason I like people: they have a story to tell. Who made them? What have they witnessed and overheard? Where have they travelled? They add soul and a sense of history to spaces,” says Brian. A vintage settee has pride of place in Brian’s foyer.
Even utilitarian spaces deserve a decorative twist. “The iron log console was custom made, and the logs are always cut to the same size so that they fit neatly. This turns a necessary storage space into a special design moment,” says Brian.
While we may have only a few months of warm weather here in Canada, that doesn’t mean our outdoor spaces should be neglected. “Outdoor lounge areas need all the same things indoor ones do: comfortable seating arranged to encourage conversation, and elements that provide a focal point, such as a fireplace,” says Brian.
“If you can’t be adventurous in a powder room, where can you be adventurous?” says Brian. And while going bold in a small space may daunt some, Brian’s reasoning is persuasive: “Used mainly by guests, this space should be indulgent. And it’s small, so the risk is low — you don’t have a tub and a shower and storage to consider. There’s one sink, one faucet, one toilet and four walls. Do something fun. Do something dramatic. No one wants a boring powder room.”
A home library is one of Brian’s favorite spaces to design. “Few things make me happier than turning to the first page of a new book, a free afternoon ahead of me. I’ve always been an avid reader of biographies. I’m fascinated by people — where they’re from, how they’ve triumphed, what made them who they are today,” says Brian. “One reason I enjoy doing residential design is because I get to learn my clients’ stories. Design books are my other indulgence. I love rediscovering old books and photographing pages I find inspiring.”
One of Brian’s favorite tricks to create a relaxed interior is to “convey a nonchalance to everything, even the accessories. I will lean framed art against the wall rather than hang it, because there’s a looseness to it that feels unhurried and unplanned.” In this tailored beach house, Brian had a ledge built behind the bed in the principal suite to lean art and display collections.
Don’t be afraid to incorporate unexpected or unusual pieces in a home — often, they have the biggest impact. “I found this bust in an antique shop,” says Brian. “It’s classical style is unexpected in a beach house. Perched on the writing desk in the living area, it adds an element of surprise.”
In Brian’s own home, collections of books and vases are proudly displayed in the foyer. “Collections give a room soul,” he says. “I collect silver, chinoiserie, black basalt Wedgwood and vintage cameras. They make my home feel personal, but most importantly, they bring me joy.”
When it comes to figuring out how to hang artwork on a wall, sometimes, the simplest way is best. “It might be surprising to learn that I determined which paintings went where on the wall much the same way anyone might: by spreading them out on the floor and moving them around until I was satisfied with the arrangement,” says Brian of this historic manse’s elegant presentation. “Even in the digital age, I still find it helpful to see art in the actual space and light in which it will be displayed.”
Warm woods and luxe detail — including a lacquered ceiling and plush area rug — makes this bar a sweet hangout zone. “There are references to Art Deco, but this space doesn’t have a single theme — it’s much more subtle and complex,” says Brian.
“Sightlines are little visual experiences that draw you into a room and, when framed properly, create a room with a sense of drama,” says Brian. In this abode, ornate trimwork draws the eye toward the dining room, where a quintet of pendant lights steal the show.
Just as important as sightlines are the little details that make a room stand out. “Like a classic tiger print, vintage malachite boxes and crystal candelabras connote a timeless glamor. They are the jewelry of the space.”
Brian is no stranger to designing conservatories, carving out space for one in the 2014 Princess Margaret Showhome. “The conservatory is a little oasis. Especially in wintertime, when the sun is shining and the heated floors are nice and toasty, it’s a great escape from the cold,” he says.
In this refined country estate kitchen, Brian used materials that are luxurious yet understated. “The kitchen cabinets are bronze, but most people wouldn’t know that. The client does, though, and that’s all that matters.”
Order Brian Gluckstein: The Art of Home here.