Images: Donna Griffith
Smart storage and a lively blend of old and new add up to smart city living for a doctor, her partner and their dogs.
In every space, there’s something you have to work around,” says Toronto-born, New York-based designer Brendan Kwinter-Schwartz of Kwinter & Co. “In this case, it was the dogs,” she says of the Toronto townhouse she decorated for her long-time friend, psychologist Dr. Stephanie Bot, and her partner, a lawyer. Central to Stephanie’s life, her two Bernese mountain dogs, Shakespeare and Destiny, had to be factored into the decor. Brendan’s design combines elegant heirloom pieces with chic contemporary textiles and an organic colour scheme that’s soothing to come home to at the end of a busy day. But for this compact, narrow 2,100 sq. ft. townhouse, there were also a few puzzles to solve: namely, how to efficiently organize the small space and provide ample storage for the couple’s extensive book collection, and at the same time keep things breezy and open – not just for entertaining, but also to allow room for eight paws and two wagging tails.
Dr. Stephanie Bot in her family room, with Shakespeare, one of her two Bernese mountain dogs.
Windows and round table
“It’s important to keep window treatments simple in a space like this,” says designer Brendan Kwinter-Schwartz. Off-white draperies trimmed with black ribbon and a simple box valance echo the lines of the built-ins. The round table features drawers all around its top, which help keep odds and ends hidden but handy.
The great room
The sunny great room at the back of the house provides a perfect spot to stretch out and relax, read or watch TV. Pieces like the large ottoman can multitask as extra seating or even as a serving surface for gatherings.
In the living room, two of Stephanie’s most treasured pieces – the sofa, re-covered in olive silk, and an unusual pewter-and-glass coffee table, which came from the legendary Eaton’s College Street store – belonged to her grandmother. To temper their formality, Brendan added a casual cowhide rug and a clean-lined vintage alabaster lamp.
Stephanie saw this giant tapestry at Angus & Co., a Toronto furniture store, and fell in love with it. “It has so many layers to it – if you look closely, you can see pink and blue threads,” she says. It receives pride of place in the dining room, located at the front of the home, helping to frame this section of the open plan.
Lightening up a formal space
Books, magazines, flowers and decorative objets are coralled on a tray. Soft details, like this pink glass jar and delicate beautiful blooms, lighten up this formal space.
Though extremely compact, the kitchen is open to the great room and its storage cupboards. A pass-through allows light to cascade in from the windows at the back of the house.
Yellow colour scheme
The uniform yellowy ochre colour scheme pulls together the second floor. A medicine cabinet and simple under-sink storage keep bath necessities out of sight but close at hand.
The black-and-white palette adds crispness to the bedroom, with its sumptuous leopard-print bed linens and softly draped bed curtains. A nautical-inspired mirror above the bed focuses the composition.
At the top of the stairs
Stephanie loved the print on these chairs, so Brendan made them the focal point of this landing space at the top of the stairs. The plaster bust and ornate console table add another layer of casual elegance.