In this pared-back retail-turned-residential space, Toronto designer Shirley Meisels reveals the sleek side of bohemian decor.
When you convert a retail space into a home, the result may fall short in the personality department. Though this midtown Toronto building had been transformed from cavernous convenience store to radiant residence years earlier, when Kyla Fox and her partner, Patrick Hembery, moved in last year, the 2,200-square-foot open-concept house still lacked hominess. Luckily, trusted designer Shirley Meisels was on their speed-dial. Having beautified Kyla’s previous abode and her eponymous eating disorder treatment centre, Shirley knows the homeowner through and through. Channelling the free-spirited gal (“I think I was a hippie in another life,” quips Kyla), the designer energized the clean-lined white-walled space with eclectic furnishings and accessories in a variety of cozy textures, lively patterns and earthy tones. “I love friendly, collected interiors,” says Kyla approvingly. However, the disciplined designer layered elements lightly, careful to avoid a cluttered feel. “Our place is bohemian in nature, but it has a modern vibe,” Kyla says, summarizing the fruits of Shirley’s labour. “It’s totally us.” Perfectly suited to its owners, this unique property now has no dearth of warmth or character.
A simple vase holding a few verdant branches is a striking organic touch, an excellent example of the minimal yet thoughtful decor in Kyla fox’s spare but welcoming home.
The airy whitewashed main floor impressed designer Shirley Meisels with its 10-foot ceilings but lacked character, so she layered the space with unique pieces. For instance, a metal-rod light fixture adds interest in the formal dining area without blocking sightlines.
“This house is a natural extension of Kyla,” says Shirley. Perhaps no space personifies the free-spirited homeowner as well as the family room. Globally inspired items, both old and new, all bear low-lustre finishes and earthy hues, lending a well-loved, lived-in feel.
The white-on-white kitchen would decoratively fade away were it not grounded by black floor tiles and warmed up with wooden elements, such as the bowls and island base.
Aside from some blue-hued accessories, Shirley kept things white and light in the seriously small master bedroom. Even the artwork – a framed piece of canvas – is colourless.
The entryway is brilliantly sunlit, thanks to the wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling windows left over from the area’s days as a storefront. From the rough-hewn wooden console to the concrete-based table lamp to the evocative painting, each piece here is more intriguing than the last, yet nothing is superfluous, amounting to a warm welcome befitting this boho-chic Toronto home.
“I love connecting to nature,” says Kyla. “Living in the city, we’re lucky to have two amazing outdoor spaces.” This one, just off the kitchen, is modest in size but offers plenty of room for alfresco meals with family and friends alike. The neighbour’s vine-clad house makes a fortuitous green backdrop.