Written by Jane Lockhart
As the holidays approach our thoughts turn to all the trappings of the season, shopping for gifts, planning menus and of course, decorating. With our homes filled with family and friends over the holiday celebrations, it’s the one time of the year that we take great care to make them look their best.
For Matt and Megan hosting a holiday party in their new 100-year-old Victorian home in Toronto meant more than just adding a few traditional holiday touches. This formerly elegant century home had sadly been converted into a boarding house consisting of several small rooms. With a keen eye and the desire to bring the Bay and Gable style of 19th century architecture back to its original glory, Matt and Megan immediately began the restoration of their stunning home.
With plans to entertain over the holidays the couple started the renovations on the large front living room featuring beautifully carved double doors, soaring ceilings detailed with stunning 13-inch deep crown moulding and a bright east-facing bay window. This lovely, once graceful parlour was divided into two small rooms by a full wall. Surprising, with a few careful cuts and strategic knocks, the wall came down creating a spacious living room approximately 20 feet long. Now the fun could begin, the decorating!
Megan and Matt wanted to create a dramatic yet comfortable space for entertaining while honouring the heritage and era of the house. To highlight the beautiful Victorian architectural details in the room, the trim moulding and doors are painted a fresh white to contrast with the deep purple ceiling and rich charcoal gray walls. For added drama, a black maple engineered hardwood floor was installed over the original pine floor that was beyond repair.
With the holidays approaching, decorating the new living room involved not only adding the furnishings but also all the holiday trimmings to create a festive look for their holiday celebrations. “This is a formal space and not a family room for kids, so the look required a sophisticated and elegant touch”, says Lockhart. As in any formal room it’s important to create a focal point. With no fireplace feature, a beautiful crystal chandelier with black drum shade is suspended from the original ceiling medallion over the central seating area to create a wonderful focal accent in the large room. Existing family furniture reupholstered in white and cream add dramatic contrast set against the dark grey walls. The sofa, two armchairs and large square marble coffee table are arranged in a conversational setting that’s perfect for entertaining. Drinks and appetizers can be easily served on silver or mirrored trays from the coffee table. Decorative occasional tables and credenzas provide surfaces around the room for candlelight and lamps. Decorating with candlesticks and lamps in metal and glass add a layer of light- reflecting accents throughout the room. A full-length mirror framed in silver is positioned opposite the elegant double entry doors adding instant glamour.
For festive touches throughout the room Megan and Matt dotted the room with shimmery ornaments in non-traditional holiday colours. Clear glass vases and containers filled with black, purple and silver balls of various sizes pick up on the room’s colour scheme. A silver wreath accents the full-length mirror that’s flanked by evergreen topiaries sparkling with twinkle lights and tiny silver balls. “The topiaries can be kept year round so they’re a great alternative to purchasing a Christmas tree each year” says Lockhart. Small wreathes are hung on silver ribbon in each of the bay windows to draw attention to this lovely feature and add to the holiday feel of the room.
Elegant, sparkly and classic, Megan and Matt now have a space that’s ready for year round entertaining but especially for celebrating the holiday season at home!
Catch Jane at the Seasons Christmas Show at the International Centre. Jane will be live on the Toronto Star stage, Fri., Nov 22 at 12:30pm and 3:30pm
Jane Lockhart Interior Design