Photography: Lauren Miller
A 1900s Georgian-style home proves that even the most timeless interiors can go beyond beige.
"Most of us think of green as a colour and brown as a neutral, and we stop right there,” says designer Ashley Montgomery.
But what if we looked at our home’s palettes in a new way? What if we embraced rich hues and paired them with metals and leather to create a fresh new take on neutrality? One look at the dark olive green sofa and deep sage green kitchen cabinetry in this Toronto home, and the answer is clear – the look is as bold as it is timeless.
Yet this three-bedroom house is more than a design statement. It’s also ultra-functional. “A home is meant to be lived in. The goal should be beautiful items that can stand up to being used,” says Ashley. The homeowners, Brad and Jen, have two sons, Rowan and Carson, aged 9 and 12. “So we created this whole basement lounge area just for them, and made the most of easy-clean performance fabrics down there,” says Ashley. “Meanwhile, upstairs, we splurged on mid-century vintage furnishings and rugs that will someday be family heirlooms.”
When the family purchased the home, they chose to redecorate but not renovate the original bathrooms and kitchen to save money. “That didn’t stop us from updating the existing cabinetry in the kitchen,” says Ashley. Formerly grey, she elevated the kitchen to a deep, yet soft sage green, and expanded a tight little island into a family-friendly seating area. “Even something as simple as adding a vintage credenza to an otherwise busy entryway can completely transform your home. Look around at what you have, and ask, what’s one small change I could make?” says Ashley. “Small changes really add up.”
Vintage is Inviting
Photography: Lauren Miller | CREDENZA, Vintage Home Boutique; ART, Christine Flynn; ART LIGHTING, RH; FLUSH MOUNT LIGHTING, CB2; BLACK BENCH, Wayfair.
A mid-century credenza topped with vintage pottery warms the tiled entry and is perfect for stowing mitts and hats. Contemporary over-sized art is illuminated by a wall-mounted lamp. A black bowl catches keys and phones.
A little bit country
Photography: Lauren Miller | VINTAGE POTTERY, Smash; CHAIRS, StyleGarage; TABLE, LD Shoppe; LIGHT FIXTURE, Elte; RUG, Wovenry.
A whitewashed wooden table contrasts with modern farmhouse chairs in black. These light and dark tones are echoed in the vintage rug. The antique pottery and the brass chandelier add warm tones that ensure the space, though modern, is welcoming.
Photography: Lauren Miller | PENDANTS, Union Lighting; STOOLS, CB2; VINTAGE ART, Vintage Fine Objects; BOWLS, Ashley Montgomery Design; ISLAND VENEER, Centro by drôrs M7; ISLAND COUNTERTOP, Ciot; COLOUR, Boreal Forest AF-480, Benjamin Moore.
During the update of the kitchen, Ashley had the formerly grey cabinets spray-painted a dark, soothing sage green. A fresh coat of white on the range hood and a new white brick veneer backsplash brightens the room. Ashley opted to keep the original countertops, including the slate top at the island, but she built out the island base to add seating and storage. “For warmth, we wanted a modern chandelier of glass with warm brass accents that would tie in with the rugged leather bar stools.”
Photography: Lauren Miller
The worn surfaces of vintage cutting boards and ceramics brings a sense of history to the kitchen, as does the home's 1900s leaded-glass window and a gold-framed still life.
All together now
Photography: Lauren Miller | CHANDELIER, RUG, SCONCES, Elte; ROMAN BLINDS, Fine Decor Ltd.; SOFA, WOODEN STOOLS, CB2; COFFEE TABLE, Guff; CHAIRS, Shoppe LD; CANDLESTICKS, Vintage Fine Objects; JARS on mantel, Ashley Montgomery Design; PILLOWS, The Citizenry.
A brand new mid-century-style chandelier graces the living room with its authentic vintage mid-century coffee table and antique rug, both splurges. Linear slatted armchairs contrast with the soft curves of a new neutral olive-green leather sofa. “To define the fireplace we painted it white, then added shiny brass sconces, vintage ceramics and a mirror passed down from the homeowner’s grandmother,” says Ashley.
Woven pillows and a towering houseplant keep the room California casual.
On the bright side
Photography: Lauren Miller | SOFA, COFFEE TABLE, RH; DRUM SHADE FIXTURE, Rejuvenation; POOF, OTTOMAN, Memo; RUG, Overstock; ROMAN BLINDS, Fine Decor Ltd.; PILLOWS, BOWL, Ashley Montgomery Design
The sunroom is a favourite place for morning coffee. The sofa has the luxe look of linen but is actually covered in a durable outdoor upholstery fabric that resists staining and fading. Warm wood and a woven rug pair with the grey ottoman and pillows for a space that’s all about soaking in the sunlight. The drum shade and Roman shades “disappear,” keeping the room airy.
Photography: Lauren Miller | ART OVER BED, Christine Flynn; LIGHTING FIXTURE, Triple Seven Home; BEDSIDE LAMPS, Elte; NIGHTSTANDS, RH TEEN; PILLOWS, WOOL BLANKET, BEDDING, The Citizenry; HEADBOARD, BED, EQ3; RUG, Smash Salvage.
Rich blues and warm browns set a serene tone. The low-profile walnut bed is modern yet pairs seamlessly with vintage-style nightstands in rich navy blue. The woven wool blanket, handcrafted pillows and expressive ceiling fixture add subtle layers of interest. Unexpected blues, such as Robin's Egg, appear in the bedside lamps.
Photography: Lauren Miller
The deep neutrals of the dresser and vases in the master bedroom are warmed by the gold tones of the mirror’s frame.
Reclaim, don't replace
Photography: Lauren Miller | WALLPAPER, NewWall; MIRROR, Rejuvenation; PENDANTS, RH; BASKET, IKEA.
Rather than spend the money to redo the floor tile and wainscotting already in the powder room, Ashley focused on the walls. Sea-grass wallpaper picks up on the basket-weave pattern in the tile. Pendants and a black mirror add drama. Brass serves as the room’s warm neutral.