From the archives: These well-appointed, colourful and art-filled homes prove that sometimes, more is more.
When it comes to interior design, it’s no secret that we’re suckers for a minimalist vibe. But sometimes, the opposite approach can work wonders — some of our favourite homes over the years have showcased a multitude of objects, collections and tchotchkes among ample furniture and other hallmarks of maximalist decor. And even in Toronto’s smaller spaces, the maximalist look works — when it’s done right. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite homes from the DL archives that predicted the trend.
“I’ve come around to the green,” says Kenneth Montague about the striking hue of his home, which is defined in part by its open-air walkways painted a brilliant chartreuse – a detail that architect David Peterson insisted upon. “Peterson thinks Toronto is afraid of colour, and I love the strategic injection of it,” Montague says. Looking around his living room at the mix of mid-century furniture, high-octane paintings and throw pillows made from African textiles, you see what he means.
For almost a decade, Catherine Osborne (former editor of our sister magazine, Azure) and her husband, creative director Kaspar deLine, went without bookshelves. Their glossy art tomes, yellowed vintage cookbooks and sailing guides sat in neatly stacked piles on the floors of their south Cabbagetown home. “We’re maximalists,” jokes Osborne. “Azure is all about minimalism, but I’m not living that way.”
“A lot of people mistakenly associate modern architecture with coldness,” says Todd McMillan, co-founder of the Burlington design and construction firm Ben Homes. Granted, some contemporary houses with boxy interiors, high ceilings and slick finishes can feel soulless, but traditional mid-century modernism is anything but. The much-loved style walks the line between minimal and maximalist decor, which is what Mcmillan’s home embodies.
“A sense of enough,” is the way designer Andrew Jones describes what drew him to the south Roncesvalles Victorian that has been his home and personal design playground for the last eight years. Jones saw through layers of peeling wallpaper to good bones: plenty of south-facing light to counter the deep, dark spaces that are characteristic of these houses; a sufficient amount of original features to telegraph history; and ample raw potential for maximalist decor.
Michael Prokopow’s condo lies on a quiet stretch of Chinatown, just a few steps from bustling Kensington Market. Inside his two-storey loft, the historian has assembled a museum of sorts to an era he favours: postwar modernism of the 1950s and ’60s. “I’ve always acquired things,” says the OCAD U Associate Dean, and former curator of the Design Exchange. “It started with books and rocks when I was a kid,” and eventually grew into a professional vocation.
When graphic designers Melissa Agostino and Henry Tyminski would search for inspiration, they didn’t have to cast their eyes far. Their Beaconsfield Village loft, a mere 56 square metres in size, is packed with unusual collections, from metal road signs and wooden typesetting blocks to perpetual calendars and paint-by-number paintings – just about anything, in fact, that instructs, informs, and unexpectedly delights.
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