Jane Lockhart is owner of Jane Lockhart Design Communications in Toronto and host of Colour Confidential on WNetwork.
Red enhances the look of tired wood floors and furnishings, and renews the natural glow and deep rich colour
Some Like it Hot!
Design and Story by Jane Lockhart
For Wendy and David, both busy professionals and parents of two energized children, it was time to brighten things up in their 60-year-old, three-storey, semi-detached home. The dull beige walls were looking dreary and tired and did nothing to showcase their treasured antiques. It was time to breathe new life into their urban family home. And so began the couple’s adventure with colour – one that wouldn’t end with the walls. Jane created a sizzling colour scheme and a stunning new floor plan, featuring new and reupholstered furnishings, window treatments and accents in vibrant coordinating hues. Most people are intimidated by a strong and energizing colour. But the rich red that Wendy and David chose for the walls of their open-concept living and dining rooms instantly changed how the room felt.
Red is a power colour and encourages movement, appetite and discussion – the perfect choice for rooms used for family gatherings and entertaining. Red is also an ideal colour to enhance the look of tired wood floors and furnishings, renewing their natural glow and deep rich colour. The biggest challenge of this openplan space was its size and layout. The front of the space is narrow while the back area of the room towards the kitchen is wider. With the sofa and chairs jammed in the narrow front area it was an uncomfortable seating arrangement when entertaining, while the dining area looked too big and empty and appeared disconnected from the home. So a furniture swap was in order. The living room and dining area were flipped for a more proportioned look and comfortable arrangement. Although switching the location of the dining and
living areas seemed inconceivable at first to Wendy and David, it didn’t take them long to realize the positive effect created by simply changing the layout. “When you dine in a fine restaurant, the best table in the house is the one by the window and as far away from the kitchen as you can get,” says Jane. Typical of old houses, there are lots of odd corners and nooks. This is always a challenge in small spaces but by creating built-ins, these areas provide attractive space-saving storage and display
Photography, Brandon Barré
Jane Lockhart Design Communications 416.762.2493 janelockhart.com The red used in this project is Benjamin Moore Bonaparte Red.
areas where a standard piece of furniture wouldn’t fit. A white bench with storage inside was built into the tight area under the front window. It was detailed to look like wainscoting to enhance the traditional theme for the room and make the area seem wider. A vertical shelving unit was added to the jog in the long wall, used to display glassware and picture frames. This floorto-ceiling shelving unit makes the ceiling feel higher and creates a focal point that helps define the two spaces.
Furnishings are the key element to any room. They provide the comfort, dictate the style and add colour and texture to the space. Wendy and David’s comfortable mix of antiques and traditional furniture worked well, but now with the introduction of a fresh new colour scheme they needed a makeover of their own. The unassuming beige sofa, with its round arms and formal style, takes on a more casual look after Jane had the seat cushions covered in a rich red, patterned fabric. An inexpensive but dra-
matic way to update an old sofa. Chairs reupholstered in coordinating red and bronze-striped fabrics punctuate the rooms’ traditional style with a youthful contemporary edge. The exciting new look of the living/ dining room truly reflects the youthfulness and energized personality of the family. A few finishing touches, such as copper-coloured silk drapes and a mix of contemporary artwork, make this space interesting, dynamic and definitely hot. ■