THIS FOREST HILL FAMILY HOME REVELS IN BRILLIANT COLOUR AND MODERN ART
by WAHEEDA HARRIS
photography by MARGARET MULLIGAN
IN THIS HOME’S ENTRY, a striking yellow sculpture signals a space that embraces bold hues in every room. The Cercle Jaune et Tiges by Manuel Merida is one of many contemporary art pieces found in a colourful residence where a family didn’t want to be surrounded by neutrals.
The 10,000 square-foot red brick domicile is a stately Georgian with six bedrooms and nine bathrooms, perfect for a family of seven. The client ask: colour, pattern and distinctive art. “My client said go for it,” says Albert Limshue, principal designer of Powell & Bonnell.
Limshue also welcomed a rare challenge: redesigning a home he already knew intimately. He had worked with the clients on their previous home and when they contacted him to redesign their new space, he was confronted with a house Powell & Bonnell had designed in the past. “Their first home was neutral with pops of colour,” says Limshue, “with this home they wanted more colour and whimsy. London’s Ham Yard Hotel was an inspiration for the home’s colours, patterns and layers.”
The front hall is the only neutral area, but definitely not sedate: the Lee Jae-Hyo wood sculpture/bench dominates the area, while a shattered mirror installation by Carlos Rolon is a distinctly different way to reflect natural light.
The living room bursts with colour, first with a Vladimir Kagan Serpentine sofa in lilac and then the notable art behind it: an eye-catching wall installation by artist Ran Hwang, painstakingly created from hundreds of dressmaker’s buttons in many green hues. Christophe Delcourt MUC side tables reveal shades of pink, purple, green and gray found in the home, while a Porta Romana Bishop lamp adds a blast of emerald green into the living room. Mouldings add detail to the ceilings, while a custom rug in a geometric pattern anchors the space; Y&Co created all the home’s carpets.
Many items from their previous home are featured, including a baby grand piano, a faceted bronze chair and side table and two A Rudin chairs reupholstered for their new digs in purple and a leopard print by Pierre Frey. Other items from the past include a pair of Powell & Bonnell Collection Canton cabinets, newly updated in chartreuse eel skin. A Yee Sook-Yung Translated Vase resides in front of the fireplace on a stand allowing it to be rotated, showcasing the Japanese technique of kintsugi, repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted with gold.
To the side is the tea salon, a quiet space to enjoy tea with family and friends. A pale purple Murano glass chandelier sourced from Venfield NYC illuminates the intimate area, which includes a custom lilac tufted banquette paired with a Powell & Bonnell Collection Quarry table in steel and cipollino marble. A Manuel Canovas floral is used for accent pillows and as lining for the purple drapes that act as a textile divider from the living room. Shapely white blinds on the arched tea room windows feature delicate tassels from New York City’s Samuel and Sons.
Across the hall, the home office includes a classic Le Corbusier lounger (also brought from their previous house) and a Tom Dixon Screw table with stools to hopefully encourage the kids to do their homework while one of their parents can hit their 10,000-step quota on the treadmill desk. A ground floor powder room also channels lilac from floor to ceiling, with a Philippe Starck for Duravit toilet, a custom vanity (with hidden step stool) embellished with Samuel & Sons tassels and installed above, pretty de Gournay wallpaper, featuring hand-painted butterflies.
The formal dining room includes two seating areas, both wrapped in layers of black and mustard. The main dining table seats 10 and was designed by Powell & Bonnell, built by Two Degrees North, while the kids table is a banquette featuring a custom oak table. Powell & Bonnell Collection Kudu chairs are the host chairs; the side chairs are designed by Barbara Barry for HBF and upholstered in Trevira yellow velvet, a polyester that can withstand sticky fingers. The dining table sits below a sparkling Shooting Stars light installation by Yellow Goat Design. A hand-painted Porter Teleo fabric was chosen for the drapes, edged with a Samuel & Sons Greek key border, while a fireplace is below a mirrored sculpture by Mathias Kiss.
Blue and green dominate the family room with a custom-designed lime sectional, a substantial turquoise leather tufted ottoman and lime window bench offering many places to read, play or watch TV. A feature wall alternates art display and hidden storage, while a double desk area includes a pair of task chairs sourced from Klaus by Nienkamper in two different shades of blue. The adjacent breakfast room has a set of classic Knoll chairs upholstered in emerald green, a Powell & Bonnell Collection dining table with a Corian table top, lime-trimmed white curtains in front of French doors to access the backyard and overhead, a fantastical bird and crystal chandelier by artist Sebastian Errazuriz.
The sleek white kitchen was not altered for the current homeowners, but two things were added: a stainless steel catering kitchen with every possible chef amenity and a playful red and orange Balloon Bench by Satoshi Itasaka, which defies its illusion to easily support the weight of an adult. The lower level features a spacious laundry room, a gym with a photo mural wall and a snug screening room in deep purple with oversized screening chairs.
French doors lead to the side yard and a life-size tiger sculpture made from miniature metal butterflies by Kim In Tae. The home’s staircase underscores the design plan with a multi-coloured striped runner by Y&Co. Thinking of the younger members of the family, Limshue created an area beneath the stairs, adorning a comfy reading nook with Les Bidules, a Pierre Frey wallpaper and textile in addition to built-in storage for books and games.
The upper level design scheme embraces softer colours in the bedrooms, bathrooms and dressing rooms. A whimsical butterfly bedroom is wrapped in muted shades of pink and green, featuring a Y&Co textile on the headboard and blind, a quirky ceramic lamp with cats featured on a Restoration Hardware desk set and a Barbara Barry for Henredon Starlet chaise, redone from the previous home in pale pink. A children’s bathroom is minimal in navy and white, with a Powell & Bonnell Collection Cockatoo cocktail table used beside the bathtub, sourced from Montreal’s WetStyle.
The homeowners treated themselves with many luxe options for their private areas: a master suite, sitting room, his and hers bathrooms and dressing rooms. His bathroom is modern and white, while hers is warmer with wood accents; his dressing room is perfectly practical, hers is spacious at 200 square-feet, with ample storage for all her wardrobe necessities, including a fun (and accessible) shoe display.
The master bedroom is a soothing combination of pink and green. A curved headboard features a bold floral and fauna pattern in linen with the bed dressed by Crisp Linens and flanked by a pair of white Powell & Bonnell Juan nightstands. Two South Hill Home stools are at the foot of the bed across from a striking console table, while a Powell & Bonnell Collection Phoenix sofa in green is paired with a delicate Julian Chichester chair in pink. The room is illuminated with the nature-inspired Ivy chandelier, designed by Tord Boontje/Porta Romana.
Next door is the master sitting room, with its many shades of green, from the marble fireplace to the pistachio covered walls. A tufted sofa and ottoman were sourced from A Rudin, the side chair from Baker and the Console X table is Powell & Bonnell Collection, with the iconic Porta Romana Duck Feet lamp adding a humourous touch to this elegant room.
“Each project, each house, represents how we reflect the relationship we have with each client,” explains Limshue. With bold hues and an extensive collection of contemporary art, this Forest Hill home encourages a family’s personality to shine.