A guide to de­sign week in Toronto, in­clud­ing Anya Ge­orgi­je­vic’s ex­hi­bi­tion picks

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - GLOBE STYLE -

Com­pa­nies that spe­cial­ize in her­itage-in­spired pat­terns for wall­cov­er­ings and tex­tiles are boom­ing.

Matthew Hague pro­files a re­cent Cana­dian ad­di­tion to the mar­ket, Bet­ten­court Manor

M atthew Bet­ten­court’s tex­tiles are un­ques­tion­ably as­pi­ra­tional. They de­pict op­u­lent Euro­pean ar­chi­tec­ture, lux­u­ri­ous ma­te­ri­als like mar­ble, and even im­ages of Marie An­toinette. But the prints, which are of­fered un­der the la­bel Bet­ten­court Manor and sold as ei­ther wall­pa­pers, up­hol­stery or gift wrap­ping, are also highly per­sonal, rep­re­sent­ing Bet­ten­court’s pas­sions (travel), predilec­tions (an­tiques and all things vin­tage) and fam­ily his­tory (a tex­tile called Sheila is pat­terned with black-and­white pho­tos of Bet­ten­court’s grand­mother).

The look of the col­lec­tion is in line with clas­sic la­bels such as Wil­liam Mor­ris – and their con­tem­po­rary off­shoots in­clud­ing London-based House of Hack­ney – but many of the of­fer­ings are based on his own pho­tog­ra­phy of places he’s been or things he’s seen, which cre­ates a sense of in­ti­macy with the sub­ject mat­ter. The tex­tile Hep­burn, for ex­am­ple, fea­tures the ethe­real tex­ture of a white mink coat. But the way it’s cap­tured and cropped is al­most quirky, like an in­ter­est­ing In­sta­gram im­age, as op­posed to in­tim­i­dat­ing, like a high-con­cept spread from World of In­te­ri­ors. Rather than high-priced fur, it al­most looks like ab­stracted clouds or waves.

And de­spite the grand names of some of the pieces – Chateau or Jean Louis, for ex­am­ple – there’s a sense of prac­ti­cal­ity be­hind the col­lec­tion. The Re­gency col­lec­tion fea­tures a pat­tern of in­laid, richly veinedd mar­ble.bl But when used for an ac­cent pil­low, it in­fuses a space with a sense of lux­ury “with­out hav­ing to re­model the home,” says Bet­ten­court. “Mar­ble is ex­pen­sive,” he adds. “Not ev­ery­one has the abil­ity to tile their theirhi floor with withih it.” iit.” ItI helps that the fab­rics,fab­rics sol­dso through www.spoon­flower.com, are rea­son­ably priced, start­ing at un­der $20 per yard.

Per­haps the jux­ta­po­si­tion of the as­pi­ra­tional and the per­sonal is a re­flec­tion of where Bet­ten­court is in his own life. He’s ex­cit­edly build­ing his fu­ture. Last fall, he mar­ried his part­ner, Rick, a vice-pres­i­dent at Nine West Canada. (Nat­u­rally, the wed­ding’s decor fea­tured Bet­ten­court Manor de­signs, in­clud­ing the bar, which was fronted in Knock Out, a pat­tern of bold, brass, lion-headed door knock­ers). As a hon­ey­moon, the two toured France (hence the al­lu­sions to Ver­sailles in his lat­est fab­rics).

He’s also build­ing his busi­ness. In ad­di­tion to Bet­ten­court Manor, he runs the Toron­to­based res­i­den­tial de­sign agency Heir­loom & Knot, which he started in 2014. “My back­ground is in pub­lic re­la­tions and mar­ket­ing,” he says. “I used to do a lot of events, where there was a fo­cus on de­sign and how things looked. That sparked some­thing in me, so I de­cided to ven­ture down this other road.”

And ven­ture he con­tin­ues to do. With travel be­ing an im­por­tant source of in­spi­ra­tion, it’s no sur­prise he al­ready has his next trip planned: He’s headed to Por­tu­gal and the Azores. “I’m sure there will be col­lec­tions fol­low­ing up to that,” he notes. Be­yond Por­tu­gal, “there are so many pos­si­bil­i­ties,” he says. As he sees the world, his fab­rics will be the di­ary of the beau­ti­ful things and places en­coun­tered along the way.

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