Can­con Job

A Cab­bage­town Vic­to­rian is re­vived with savvy cus­tom so­lu­tions and Cana­dian tal­ent

Designlines - - Contents - By Iris Benaroia

De­signer Ali­son Milne taps savvy cus­tom so­lu­tions and Cana­dian tal­ent to re­vive a Cab­bage­town home BY IRIS BENAROIA

IT’S THE MODERN HOME­OWNER’S DILEMMA: they want a quin­tes­sen­tial Vic­to­rian’s quirky de­tails and nooks to ex­plore, but none of its drafts and dearth of clos­ets. The best ap­proach is to em­bel­lish the old bits, then blend them into a new look. Ali­son Milne De­sign re­cal­i­brated just such a house in Cab­bage­town, and the re­sult is a stun­ning study in cus­tomiza­tion.

The home­own­ers, who have three girls un­der the age of eight, wanted a light-hearted, colour­ful space to show­case their col­lec­tion of Cana­dian art­work, all in a set­ting that re­tained its her­itage con­text where it made sense. (In Milne, per­haps they found the per­fect co­hort, since she also hap­pens to own an art gallery that fo­cuses on Cana­dian tal­ent.)

Tra­di­tional el­e­ments at the front of the 210-square-me­tre house are mostly orig­i­nal, but for some nips and tucks. A vestibule mod­ern­ized with mar­ble-and-oak cub­bies sig­nals the old/new mo­tif. Fur­ther in­side, a grand stair­case is doused in black-and-white paint and warmed up by a Y&CO run­ner – that’s one Can­con mo­ment. “We cel­e­brated Canada in this house,” says Milne. “Sev­enty-five per cent of the prod­ucts are from Cana­dian mak­ers and artists.” Out­side the girls’ room, there’s one of two cu­rated li­braries by Type Books with candy-bright cush­ions by lo­cal tex­tile artist Bev Hisey tucked un­der­neath the chunky white oak-and-metal shelves. 

But Milne’s high point comes in the res­i­dence’s sump­tu­ous, sun-splashed rear. Here, dra­matic floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows frame the hard­work­ing back­yard, with room for a car and a kid­die rock-climb­ing gym that dou­bles as a pro­jec­tion screen for sum­mer movies. Move in­doors to the mud­room to peg a jacket on an ele­phant head against a wall of hand­made tiles by Toronto’s Black Rock Stu­dio; its cool built-in Cnc-milled bench by AMD is wal­nut that has been made to look like tufted fab­ric.

“It was dif­fi­cult to put a full din­ing space, kitchen and lounge for the girls in a 15-by-35foot space, so we had to be smart about lay­out and cus­tomiza­tion,” says Milne. Hence, the dis­tinct zones, such as the sleek ban­quette an­chored to the wall. Milne clev­erly made extra leather cush­ions for it, so when stacked they dou­ble as stylish booster seats. It’s a small de­tail that il­lus­trates the de­signer’s dogged­ness when it comes to the cu­rated homes she’s known for.

More of her ea­gle eye is upstairs. The master isn’t huge, but is as ship­shape as a fash­ion­able ho­tel room. Re­cessed shelves flank the bed snug against a fetch­ing her­ring­bone wall. A cush­ioned win­dow bench of­fers oo­dles of stor­age un­der­neath. Out the win­dow, Milne cre­ated a green roof where in spring, na­tive flow­ers bloom – some­thing you won’t get in an un­touched Vic­to­rian.

Colour and tex­ture dot the home. Quilted ce­ramic tile by Black Rock Stu­dio and a cus­tom wal­nut bench with a “tufted” seat de­fine the mud room. Run­ner from Y&CO.; chair from Klaus; rug by Stu­dio Euewes; vase from Mjölk.

 The cus­tom white oak head­board dou­bles as master bed­room fo­cal wall. Pen­dant and bed­side lamps from Light­form; cus­tom area rug by Y&CO.; art by Nacha Can­vas.

 Light­ing the way to the master bed­room are these folded metal sconces by Arik Levy for Vibia from Light­form.

 The orig­i­nal cathedral ceil­ing and stained glass win­dows are the main at­trac­tions in this kids’ bed­room. Bed­side shelves by Alki; Nel­son pen­dants from Light­form.

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