Take a tour of this boldly decorated home.
With a house decorated in bold colours and eclectic finds, this worldly family doesn’t have to go far to feel like they’re travelling the globe.
I don’t really follow any trends – I just know what I like,” says Carolyn Gavin – the designer behind the fun patterns on Ecojot’s stationery – about her eclectic-inspired decor choices in the Toronto home she shares with her husband, Derek Novak, and their 11-year-old daughter, Lily. The 1,800-square-foot Victorian home stole the couple’s hearts 15 years ago and, quickly after that, their wallets, with two major home renovations. “Derek is the one with the big vision,” says Carolyn. “His plans opened up the rooms and brought in light. As for adding personality and colour to the space, I took over!” Here, the South African-born artist gives insight into her spontaneously cohesive design, which uses bold colours and a mix of textures, all with a global feel.
1 Bold colours
“These patterns work together because they’re all bold colours,” says homeowner Carolyn Gavin. She uses this cozy nook to feed her love of pattern and change with an affordable solution: toss cushions!
2 South African wicker baskets
“I like to keep my walls very neutral so that the colours and textures I bring in really pop,” says Carolyn. Normally used for holding grain and rice, the South African wicker baskets serve as an organic element on the white walls of the dining room.
3 Kitchen island
Chalkboard paint on the back of the kitchen island offers the perfect tableau for budding artist Lily, and keeps her busy while her mom and dad cook! “The electrician left the cords loose on the pendant lights and I didn’t fix them because I like the quirky interest they create,” says Carolyn.
The dining room reminds Carolyn of her home in South Africa, which is no surprise considering the handwoven cord chairs were shipped from there. “They’re super comfortable, but their shape is also a really interesting design feature. The backs are modelled after the horns of the indigenous Nguni cow,” she says.
This handy mini curio cabinet houses Carolyn’s tablecloths and tchotchkes. “At one point, the rooms were feeling a little cluttered,” admits Carolyn. “I’m not a minimalist because I love to have inspiration around me, but I did simplify, keeping only my favourite things. That brought a lot of tranquility back into the place.”
6 Coloured walls
Lily’s room is the only space in the house with coloured walls. “You can let go and be free and creative in a child’s room,” says Carolyn. Since the walls are so vivid, she minimized the other hues in the room. One of her own youthful designs adorns the lampshade.
7 Jewellery decor
8 Moroccan blanket headboard
“I don’t like big, heavy pieces of furniture,” says Carolyn, hence the inconspicuous nightstand and the Moroccan wedding blanket used in place of a headboard. The beautifully aged walking stick was picked up on her travels.
9 Decorating with clothing
Why not decorate with clothing you adore rather than hide it away in a closet? “This dress is exquisite,” says Carolyn. The floating dresser provides storage while maintaining the master bedroom’s airy vibe.
10 Toss cushions from India
“I don’t normally like emerald green, but I fell in love with how the colour worked in these shams and I knew it would complement the quilt,” says Carolyn. She also layered on a few toss cushions made in India from repurposed vintage cotton saris. “The colours are faded, not bright and garish. Mixing old and new always works.”