Born and raised in Toronto, interior designer Brian Chaput began flirting with another Canadian metropolis – Montreal – at the age of 16, when he boarded a train headed for Expo 67. The city is, as he puts it, “so not Toronto.”
For Chaput, it represents a chance to escape his day-to-day life in English Canada, which he has been doing regularly since 2007, when he purchased a pied-à-terre in Montreal’s Old Port district.
His loft-style condo is located in a limestone building, circa 1872, facing the St. Lawrence River. “We can literally hear the boats go by,” says Chaput, who shares the condo with his wife, Dianne, a Toronto real-estate agent.
Chaput decorated the open-concept space himself, adding some of his prized possessions, many of which can be found in his living room.
“This room,” he says, “is my favourite, not only because it’s beautiful, but becauseThe beams
“These typify the history and integrity of the structure. They measure 14 by 3½ inches. They are made of pine and have been stained by history, mellowing to a beautiful honey colour.”
“The three windows flood the room with light. They open onto the river and the Old Port and afford views of both Moshe Safdie’s Habitat and the geodesic dome from Buckminster Fuller’s U.S. Pavillion on the Expo 67 site – pretty inspirational for a designer.”
“The photo, by Yves Décoste, a contortionist with Cirque du Soleil, is a self-portrait titled Folichons. I purchased it at Galerie d’Art Yves Laroche in Montreal. He watches over the room when we are away.”
“This bowl was a gift from my wife in the late 1980s. It came from a store called Area, which existed for too short a time in Toronto but was hugely influential. It inspired many young designers like myself by making available examples of iconic pieces we had previously only seen in photographs, plus offering sensational items of their own design, such as this bowl. They are missed.”
“I put together this collection on a series of safaris through various antique stores in Toronto. They have never looked as impressive as they do here. They are my favourite pieces of sculpture.”
“These are Le Corbusier Petit Confort armchairs – another dream come true. Dianne and I had lusted after these chairs since we were first married. We got them from Palazzetti in Toronto.”
The nun painting
“This is by Toronto painter Mary Tuck Corelli. I purchased it from her show at the Arts and Letters Club. It depicts four nuns smoking. It is titled Bad Habits on Ash Wednesday. I love it.”