A cosy family home
Decorator Margie Doyle-White and her business partner, Glenn Dixon, love to fill their clients' rooms with comfort. And nowhere is this passion for cosiness indulged more than in Margie's own Toronto home.
The demands of a busy decorating practice and two preschool-age daughters mean that time for decorating is limited. But that doesn't mean that style and even the occasional touch of luxury are out of reach. "When my husband Brad and I get home, we just want to relax and take a breath -- we want the house to reflect that feeling," says Margie. And since the house had little architectural interest of its own, personal touches were especially important. "It was just a typical cookie-cutter 1920s Toronto house, with a lot of dark-stained wood and no character," she recalls. "So the trick was to give it personality by decorating."
First on the list was lightening things up. All the dark wood trim was painted pure white, and a delicate palette of soft washes, ranging from buttery creams to key lime green, soft blue and pale pink, was chosen for the walls. "For some reason, people are always hesitant to paint over wood trim, especially if it's a good-quality wood," says Margie. "But stained wood can be dark and gloomy. For me, anyway, it's much better to just paint it all white."
The decor's light, uncluttered feeling was extended to the furniture and other decorating elements. For instance, white or pale slipcovers and white or neutral-finish country furnishings take centre stage, and the floors throughout were left bare or covered with sisal rugs or light-colour broadloom.
Margie points out that even though white upholstery and children aren't always a practical combination, she hasn't had a problem yet. "After all, if the kids had really dirty hands, I wouldn't let them touch the furniture, even if it was black!" she laughs. "Besides, I think it's much better to teach them early on to take care around lovely things and appreciate them." Nonetheless, she's not completely unprepared for the inevitable smudge or spill: most of the slipcovers are made of washable cotton.
With its relaxed, comfortable furnishings, soothing palette and imaginative details and accessories, Margie and Brad's home has a friendliness that's wonderfully welcoming. "We really want our home to feel comfortable, approachable and familiar, for both our family and guests," says Margie. "The idea is for people to walk in and immediately feel right at home."