Interior: Eclectic charm

Interior: Eclectic charm Author: Style At Home


Interior: Eclectic charm

While Sunday drives with the kids might include buying ice cream for most, for Natalie Burke and family the takeaway was exponentially bigger but just as sweet. “We saw that there was an open house at what we already considered the most beautiful home in Halifax, so we went in just to check it out,” says Natalie of the family excursion. “We weren’t planning on moving, but we loved the home’s potential so much, we bought it!”

The former consulate’s centre hall, natural oak hardwood floors and original doors with ornate glass panels immediately spoke to Natalie, a dentist, and her CEO husband, Darren. They could envision turning this once entirely formal space into a comfortable home for their daughters, Charlotte, 10, and Lauren, 7.

Undaunted by its many less-than-desirable features – ’80s decor, drab colours and a tiny grassy green laminate kitchen – the Burkes enlisted designer Jonathan Legate to transform the interior into a family home that would embrace its history without looking dated and suit the Burkes for years to come.
Homeowner and designer
Homeowner Natalie Burke pictured with Jonathan, the designer who executed the vision for her home. eclectic-charm-tableau.jpg
Tableau vivant

The dining area of this Nova Scotia home is a lively mix of styles and periods. “Contrast makes new items feel familiar and old ones revitalized,” says designer Jonathan Legate. The casual vibe means nothing is off limits: Homeowners Natalie and Darren Burke have dinner here most nights, and their daughters often turn the dining room table into a crafts station. eclectic-charm-initalimpression.jpg
Initial impression

“I wanted the entryway to make a strong first impression of the rest of the house without dictating the direction of the other rooms,” says Jonathan of this simple vignette. The B, for Burke, is from an early 1900s store sign and lends a personal element. eclectic-charm-warmwelcome.jpg
Warm welcome

The welcoming entryway, flanked by the living/ dining room to the left and the family room/kitchen to the right, still features the home’s original front door. “The green wall paint feels fresh and happy,” says Natalie, “which is just what I wanted.” eclectic-charm-mixmaster.jpg
Mix master

In the living room, Jonathan deliberately avoided matching furniture. “I prefer an eclectic mix that gives the impression of a room that’s taken years to build when in fact it only took a few months,” he says. Pale walls and pops of black keep the mix of patterns from becoming overwhelming. eclectic-charm-funframework.jpg
Easy art collection

Framed botanical prints from The Art of Instruction, a book of vintage educational charts, are a cheap and cheerful way to add artwork to the stairway and achieve a gallery effect. “Black mats in black frames keep the flowers from feeling too pretty,” says Jonathan, “and the random white mats keep things looking collected rather than contrived.” eclectic-charm-restful-retreat.jpg
Restful retreat

In the master bedroom, Jonathan skillfully balanced masculine and feminine forms to offer an ideal retreat for both Natalie and her husband, Darren. “The warm grey walls are a neutral backdrop that’s soft yet strong, and the heavy presence of the wingback chair is tempered by the floral duvet,” says Jonathan.

Home office
One corner of the master bedroom houses Natalie’s ornate antique French writing desk. “It holds my personalized stationery, and I write notes and birthday cards here,” she says. “It’s my own space in the room.” The vintage landscape painting is a nod to the East Coast shoreline. Its moody colours have a restful effect.

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Interior: Eclectic charm