At the end of winter we find ourselves dreaming of escape. Grey days have us wishing we could hop a plane and explore the world. To help alleviate our yearning for travels, we're sharing our first home tour of 2018, a house designed with pieces from around the world.
When you walk into Jenn's house, it's impossible to overlook the wealth of colours. In a design world where white walls are ever present, it is so refreshing to see a vibrant palette.
"When we first moved in, the whole house had dingy white walls and was really in need of paint - so we painted the whole house. I wanted colour. There are three shades of yellow, then light green, deep garnet red, baby blue in the master bathroom, shades of mauve, powder pink and then the blue and pink in the children's rooms and the bold orange in the bathroom. I love colour - I love using it to add warmth and depth; to add a feeling to a room."
Describing the way the light changes the tones in each room throughout the day, Jenn insists this ensures each colour choice feels fresh every day even after years of living in the home: "I love the gold in the living room with the sunlight or the lights on in the evening. It’s such a warming feeling - that’s what's great about having colour - it changes as the day changes." And as colour plays into the vibrancy of the home, so does Jenn's collection of pieces curated and discovered through her travels.
TRAVEL AND DESIGN
How does travel become woven throughout your home?
I love that you can bring back a story to tell - someone can stand in front of my pictures and I can say, 'On that day we were on the Rialto bridge and it was 40°C - or that that brick is from Venice’. Bringing those elements home builds a connection to the rest of the world. That your home is this tiny place that's interconnected and not a stand alone microcosm. That and it keeps the travel bug alive in me.
What is a favourite item in your home you collected on a trip?
The hearts in my room and the hearts from churches in Italy; I saw them in Venice and wanted to find some to bring home. Even though I’m not religious, there's a feeling of reverence and grace in preserving and bringing beautiful elements back into your home.
What piece in your home is from the furthest place away?
The fabric from Asia and the ladder from France, the hearts are from Venice, it’s hard to say.
What feelings do you want your home to evoke? For both you and your guest?
I hope when people come in they feel welcome and warm. I love entertaining with family gatherings and so it’s this … my house. I love pulling out my grandmother's silver and the dishes my mom gave me that she had when she first got married, and we’ll have 12 - 16 people all in one room. I don’t want it to feel formal, I want to be comfortable in all those spaces.
Where do you find design inspiration?
I look for inspiration wherever I find it. I like what I like and it tends to come together in a pretty organic way. Once you have a sense of style you coincidentally choose similar pieces. For example the deer motifs in the house - there are antlers throughout the house and pieces from local designers that all fit together. I’m very inspired by Italian and French design, in Italy it's the art elements and in France, it’s the etched glass.
When did you start collecting mirrors?
In the past five years. I’ve always loved them, but once I had my own home and space, it was about gathering these pieces I admire and having the dark part of the mantle contrast to the reflective quality of the glass. The shapes on them, the glass itself - it's these tiny details that are so eye catching.
What changes would you like to make in your home?
I’d love to reno the kitchen - that’s my biggest, but traveling wins out. Buying and investing in this house was a big choice so I want to find the balance of traveling with home renovations and ownership. I don’t want to sacrifice everything in my life to redo my home, not just yet.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
I spend most of my time in the kitchen and family room, it’s an easy comfortable place. During the holidays it’s all about the living room with everyone playing music, but the family room is for curling up with a blanket, and during the summer we take advantage of the back yard.
What is your philosophy when adding something to your home?
I like to invest in pieces. If you get something good quality it’s going to last forever. Ikea things just don’t last. When I got divorced and was on my own I vowed I wasn’t going to go the Ikea route - I wanted things that were long lasting and meant something to me. I wanted intentional pieces versus just filling space. Consequently the living room was empty for a couple of years before it was set up, but it was well worth the wait.
Do you follow any design rules?
Nope! I have no design rules. I had a lot of things when I moved into this house so in terms of things, it was more about what I wanted - I picked the deer chair because I loved it with the linen that tied in with the rug and wanted the space to flow. I like a home that has a flow of colour or design or themes that work together. It’s too hulking to have really different pieces in every room. I’m naturally drawn to botanicals, deer - you know what you like so you need to trust that instinct versus buying something because you feel obligated. It has to be your own style or else it will come off contrived. I love that expression in a house.
What makes a house a home?
Being comfortable in the space - if you go into any kitchen you should look at it, open up the drawers and find the things you need. There’s this flow in a house that if you let it, makes sense. You work with the style of house to create that flow and having beautiful things that tell a story really contributes to that. I think a house is a home when someone can open up cupboards and be at ease in the space wherever in the home that is. It’s those things that tell a story and gathering them with intention.
Blue Painting from Monte Marte
Bamboo End Tables - Propellor design
Pasankas from Prague
Carpet Family room - Calgary, and ones in the front are from Ikea.
Ladder is from Antique Mall (originally France)
Fabric from East Asia
Urban Forest Design Studio Pottery
Tables from Propellor Design
Needlepoint - Grandmother's in original frame
Coal Scuttle - Ordered online from a shop in the United States I found through pinterest.
Paint- Benjamin Moore
Brass Piano Light - Gifted
Deer Chair - Anthropologie
Light Fixtures are all original, towel rack original, and hung in original places on all the outside corners.
Restoration Hardware (TV Easel, Chaise, Dining set, china cabinet, bed frame, cloches)
Anthropologie (bar cart, deer bottle opener, candlestick holders)
Home Sense (glass cabinet, floral lights and circular table)
Maven & Grace, Antique Mall / Markets for vintage touches