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The client's former home was filled with family heirlooms as well as treasures she and her husband had collected together. Styles ranged from Louis XV to 60's and 70's modern, and most of the pieces came with a story.

Fortunately, her new home is a large apartment with generously sized rooms, and we were able to accommodate most of her sentimental favourites. The key was to combine pieces in a new way -- for the client, at least -- and to add cheerful and whimsical touches wherever we could.

We divided the huge main living space into distinct zones. In the dining area, we initially used a complete suite which had been the first purchase made by the couple. However, when the china cabinet proved to be too small for the generous space, we re-purposed it as kitchen storage. To replace it, we found a vintage English-style sideboard whose imperfections (wabisabi) complemented those of the dining table perfectly. Another trip to the consignment store netted us a tromp l'oeil hand-painted mirror to hang above and reflect a gorgeous new crystal chandelier. Rounding out the furnishings in this area is an old baker's rack laden with heritage silver pieces.

A corner of the living space close to the kitchen became the breakfast room/games area. Here, an odd couple of Regency chairs sit at a 60's glass table, with a 70's étagère as a backdrop. In the main sitting area, we started with more of the client's own pieces, reupholstering chairs in a mix of plaids, damasks, and animal prints in bright pink, green, and yellow. A mismatched pair of tables, topped by 50's table lamps, flanks a new sofa: a navy, tailored contemporary piece, with the custom addition of a traditionalskirt. A new coffee table was purchased to complete the seating area, but not intrude. Underfoot, a new Persian rug in sunny yellow combines all the colours in our cheery scheme.

The kitchen is a basic rental kitchen with painted white cabinets and laminate counter, but the addition of the china cabinet inspired us to dress it formally. From the client's large collection of heirloom china, we selected several plates to hang along the bulkhead and around doorways. A change of hardware on the cupboards, installing a formal fixture, and laying an area rug on the boring beige tiles have transformed the formerly utilitarian space.

The large master bedroom is dominated by a new headboard and over-sized pendant lamp -- both lending an exotic Moorish note. The rest of the furnishings hold memories for the client, from the night tables that once served as living room lamp tables, to the chest of drawers and lady's armchair. A kitschy over-sized lamp is a reminder of her childhood, and paintings by her mother are given pride of place.

In the guest room/TV room, we once again partner the new -- sofa bed, ottoman, and whimsical armchair -- with the old -- a 60's Plexiglas shelving unit inherited from an aunt, and a drop-leaf desk painted long ago by her mother. To finish it off, we found the perfect rug: a patchwork of vintage carpet scraps dyed vivid citrine.

Throughout the home, starting right at the front door, we have managed to display a huge assortment of tchotchkes on walls, shelves, tables, and even windowsills. Shopping in the client's moving boxes was a fun and rewarding experience for client and designer alike, as each piece brought with it a story.

We knew it was all coming together beautifully when an old painting we unwrapped to hang above the sofa proved to contain all of our design elements within its imagery. And when we were missing a miniature artwork and a sconce to complete the wall arrangement, we rooted through the packaging and dug up just the right pieces.

The result: A happy new home with instant "soul" and fond memories.

We invite you to continue exploring our site for design inspiration, then contact us to find out how we can provide 'just the thing' for you!

Also in this Portfolio:

VIEW | A 'NY-Style' Apartment
A Case of Scope Creep
VIEW | Jewel Box Condo
VIEW | A Very Personal Home
Entertaining Adults
VIEW | The Art of Compromise
VIEW | Pulling It Together
VIEW | Classic Modernism
Executive Townhouse
To the Next Level
VIEW | Calm, Cool, and Collected
VIEW | Home Sweet Home
VIEW | Going with the Flow
VIEW | Making it Work
Room with a View
Curated Downsize
VIEW | Downtown Pied-a-Terre
Designed to Sell
VIEW | Condo Kitchen

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JUST the THING specialises in makeovers of fine homes -- large and small -- throughout Toronto and the GTA.
JUST the THING can be found in the major search engines under: Toronto Interior Decorators, Interior Decorators Toronto, and Interior Decorating Toronto.