A collector’s work is never done.
Whether an expert accumulator or a more casual compiler, there is always something that evades acquisition, always one more object to add to the assemblage. As a consequence, the space in which the amassed items are exhibited is constantly evolving, and for many, that space is their home.
This is true of this stunning Stanley abode, whose expansive living areas and soaring ceilings serve somewhat as a gallery in which the family’s personal possessions take pride of place. And despite only having lived here for a few years, the couple – along with toddler twins and two very statuesque pets – have made the two-storey dwelling their own, thanks, in part, to their cultivated collection of custom-made furniture, antique appointments and vintage accoutrements.
As soon as you enter, you’re met with an embarrassment of riches, each item with its own story to tell. I love vintage,” explains the homeowner. It’s a way to make your home look quite design-focused without spending a fortune. It’s not matchy-matchy, it’s unique, and you get to show your personality and individuality.” Character is something that this dwelling does not lack and conversation pieces abound.
Aboriginal art hangs in the upstairs halls
The living space, which opens out to a wrap-around terrace complete with an ancient Banyan tree, features a trio of generous sofas and two inviting Donghia chairs – all hand-me-downs from the homeowner’s parents. Such is the scale of the open-plan ground floor and raised dining areas that furnishings do not dominate, allowing attention to be drawn to the details.
Contemporary art, classic appointments and a coffee table made of coffee-table books combine in the generous living space. A custom-made cabinet conceals three strollers and more, as well as serving as a surface upon which to display family photographs and vintage items
The home plays host to a symphony of curios: There are books that the homeowner’s father studied while he was at school, a bunny sculpture that was the first piece of artwork she bought with her husband when they were dating, and a statuette of a horse and rider from her husband’s parents. The couple’s charmingly eclectic style has developed naturally through their union. I met my husband and we moved in together, merging our possessions and family antiques.” The same occurred with their art: A triptych of wild cockatoos captured by Australian photographer Leila Jeffreys hangs comfortably in the same space as Aboriginal art and abstractions of the Canadian landscape painted by a family member. The art we’ve collected over the years is from around the world, and rather than souvenirs they are memories.”
The table is set for tea with a magnificent miscellany of vintage and contemporary crockery and silverware
In the dining area, the dark wood of the Chinese-style appointments is echoed in reproduction, vintage and custom-made cabinets. An antique rattan sideboard houses the enviable collection of crockery – included among it are cups and saucers realised by the Depression-era designer Dorothy C. Thorpe.
Art, much of it animal themed, lines the stairwell The children’s playroom with wickedly whimsical prints
The art-lined stairwell leads upstairs to the bedrooms and playroom, which has been nicknamed the naughty nursery” for the irreverent prints hanging on the walls. In contrast, the twins’ bedroom is whimsical and elegant, a sublime storytime escape replete with bunting, a beautiful vintage bed appropriated through the move of a family member, and evocative hand-painted gold spots on the wall.
The master bedroom is equally divine, with walls painted in a rich pinkish-grey. Throughout the day it changes colour and creates different moods, even standing in different places in the room it gives you different shades. I love that colour,” the homeowner says. A sanctuary of the highest order, it’s here that the handsome, 16-year-old cat Kenzo spends most of his time.
Evocative vignettes of Canada through the seasons, painted by one of the couple’s family members
Of their collection of treasured objects, the homeowner says, I don’t have a single favourite piece, I love how all of them come together. I like that each of them has its own little story and so every time I’m sitting somewhere, or walking somewhere or picking something up, it holds a memory.”
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A version of this article originally appeared in our June 2017 issue.
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