/Get Inspired/Spaces

Modern Living Rooms for Living Large

From bold artwork to sculptural furniture, these living rooms don’t pull any punches

By Emily Smibert

Living Rooms
Chairs, Elte; table, Crate and Barrel.

Fit for Family

Brenda Izen and her team at Izen Architecture were given carte blanche when renovating this old Forest Hill home. From the architecture to the decor (even scented soaps and tableware), they were entrusted to synthesize a vision into elements both large and small. The result is a seamless integration of function and form, plus a massive improvement to the homeowner’s quality of life – a signature consideration for the architect. The design centres around spaces that allow for meaningful family time. The theme of eclectic warmth is embodied in the living room, which is reflected in the works by local artisans.

brenda izen
Natural light augments the bright, open concept kitchen-living space.

Mary Ratcliffe designed wooden side tables, while a pair of deep-seated emerald velvet armchairs and a subtly curved, soft grey sofa layer in warmth and comfort, contrasting the room’s sharp edges. A white-oak table sits atop a stunning handwoven Nepalese rug, which adds a brightness and global feel to the room, while a vintage brass bar cart infuses just the right amount of personality. With its completion in 2021, Izen and her team have masterfully towed the line between eclectic and warm minimal.

Living rooms
Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a glimpse of the backyard’s changing foliage year round.

Modern Mood

This airy contemporary living room by Kate + Co was conceived out of a desire to create something principal designer Kate Davidson describes as “organic modern.” The room serves as a focal point in the sprawling 4,900-square-foot South East Oakville custom build from architect Richard Mann and pays homage to modern design with clean lines and contemporary fea-tures.

Kate & Co
Curvilinear furniture from BoConcept and muted mustard accents were used to complement the room’s concrete feature wall.

The sloped 20-foot ceiling is clad in charcoal wood, which draws the eye up, emphasizing the oversized windows, spacious layout and expansive fireplace clad in a Tremonte metal. Oversized concrete tiles from Ciot were used to add texture and earthy tones to the feature wall behind the mounted television. The warm wood toned-flooring, depth of hues, natural materials, and textures blend to evoke a sense of tranquility and a subtle West Coast vibe.

Post Architecture, Ravine House
A bold art mural by Grier Drummond adds playfulness into the bright space. Sectional, Montauk.

Colour Play

Positioned right at the intersection of sensibility and modern style, this living room looks to the natural beauty beyond the home’s walls to make a statement. Indeed, the colours of the trees and vegetation outside inspire the entire palette of the interiors. Architect Gloria Apostolou of Post Architecture opted for a dark, dramatic backdrop to emphasize the bright reds and greens of the ravine behind this North York home. The rear wall was painted a charcoal black to blur the start and stop of the existing windows, and acts as negative space on which the ravine colours pop. In the upper sitting area, an intimate spot for two features a pair of velvety armchairs with asymmetrical arm rests while the sunken fireplace lounge inspires conversation and imbues warmth to the room. These two areas are bridged by a double-sided upholstered bench, which allows guests to sit back-to-back. The formal seating area at the other end boasts an ultra-comfortable sectional, which seats eight. In Ravine House, the drama unfolds between the dark walls, the changing colours, and purposeful furniture that defines each area, fully reflecting the symbiotic relationships at work.

Post Architecture, Ravine House
Areas are defined using furniture as partitions. Armchairs, Kiosk; double-sided bench, Ligne Roset.


Originally published in Designlines 2022 Designer of the Year issue.


You may also like