Photography: William Reid
The Danish art of living comfortably gets a sophisticated spin.
It could have looked cold. With its 19-foot-high concrete ceilings, double-storey windows and skyscraper views, artist Sonya Spilkin’s Toronto condo has a chilly industrial envelope. But she craved somewhere inviting and eclectic, a place that showcases her passion for travel, yet is muted enough that she could live, create, work and entertain unencumbered and undistracted, all in a tidy 715 square feet. (It could have looked cluttered, too.)
Luckily, designer Sarah Walker of The Curated House saw the light. She envisioned a luxe look that is pared back yet brimming with personality, a perfect reflection of the artist, adventurer, hostess and nester who lives here. With Scandinavian simplicity in mind, Sarah devised a space that delivers on all fronts.
Since homeowner Sonya Spilkin wanted to work and entertain here, designer Sarah Walker needed to devise a serene area that included “as much comfortable seating and practical storage as possible, while keeping the look light, airy and welcoming,” says Sarah. To that end, she opted for pieces like movable armchairs with open frames, a petite pouffe in lieu of a coffee table and a long sideboard for storage. The cohesive look feels neither cumbersome nor intrusive.
“When choosing a quiet colour palette, create interest with texture,” says Sarah, who mixed luxurious materials like wool, leather, marble, brass, oak, cowhide and velvet with masterful subtlety. “Each of these details is a moment of expression and discovery. Neutral doesn’t have to be boring.”
Though she lacked the square footage for a studio, Sonya sought a dedicated zone for creating. So Sarah got inventive and delivered two: The desk under the staircase serves as a workspace (and still feels open and bright since the stairs don’t have risers), while the sofa’s wide arms offer places to rest her sketchbooks and work on smaller pieces.
Muted colours with serene undertones make a magical statement. Dove grey, creamy white, soft taupe and blond wood emit warmth and elegance and are energized by a few polished touches: pops of tan, black, navy blue and pink (check out the pretty pattern on the lumbar cushion and the delicate yarn on the side table.)
Sonya’s place boasts big-time personality thanks to carefully curated accents, including her own artwork, that speak to precisely who she is. Details like the Moroccan pouffe and exaggerated Greek-style tassels on the toss cushion reference her love of travel, as does the condo’s entire palette, which was adopted from a natural undyed wool blanket that Sonya bought in Copenhagen a few years ago.