The French connection
Breaking down three key rooms in a new home inspired by traditional Parisian style and modern drama.
Robyn Manning is always thinking big picture. With a background in fine art, textiles and furniture, the principal designer behind Bricks & Birches—a design and consultation firm she founded in 2016—has her mind on sightlines, proportions and connections. It’s all about the collective concept, not just beautiful bits and pieces.
Her latest feat of design strength? A model home in Timberlea’s Brunello Estates. A creative collaboration with Bowers Construction’s Suzanne Bowers, a house with no cookie cutter buyer in mind allowed Manning to test some limits and transcend a single aesthetic.
“We wanted to take these recognizable architectural details and evolve them in a way that would appeal to a modern audience,” she says of the job. “We started looking at different Parisian apartments and really wanted to create this feeling of modern chicness, but traditionally rooted. I was envisioning some really chic French girl. How would she want to live in this neighbourhood?”
The result is a space where a chalky palate of soft blushes, greens and nudes work together with dramatic black anchor details, where the walls are cloaked in a cozy cream instead of a classic white and where a pop of the unexpected ties it all together. “We tried to put ourselves in the perspective of whoever this elusive homeowner is,” says Manning. Here, she outlines how she made some of the design decisions that carried her creative vision through the entire home.
Bowers wanted art deco influence to shine through in the lighting. Manning says these milk glass fixtures “were the first lights we bought for the whole house.”
“It’s really, really chic and the sightline when you’re standing in the bathroom looking out to the bedroom and seeing those mouldings—it totally works somehow.”