It only makes sense that award-winning Toronto-based landscape architect Janet Rosenberg, whose projects include HTO Park on her hometown's waterfront and the grounds surrounding the Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., would make the views into her own backyard a central focus of her home renovation eight years ago. "I've got huge windows on both sides" of the revamped 1940s house, she says. "It's like living in a tree house."
The best vantage point is from the living room, where she also showcases her personal collection of paintings, sculpture and modernist furniture from around the world. Some of the objects were purchased at auction or from galleries. Others were gifts from her art-collecting parents or from her famous cousin, architect Frank Gehry. "I've been in the house for
25 years," she says. "And no matter where I am in the world, I always look forward to coming home."
THE GLASS SCULPTURE: "This is a piece by [renowned Steuben designer]Eric Hilton, from his Solar System series. It's the sun. I have it on top of a metal side table I commissioned from Milan Mitrovic of Art Metal Works in Mississauga, Ont. He makes a lot of the art pieces that go into our gardens."
THE SOFA: "I bought it many years ago when it was hard to find modern furniture in Toronto. I really like the clean, simple lines. The cushions are by [textile artist]Bev Hisey and they have ants crawling all over them. I like them because they are humorous and not overly decorative."
THE PORTRAITS: "Cindy and Max, circa 2003, are by Robert Longo. Originally, I was just going to get one, but then the second, Cindy, became available and I had to have it. It's a portrait of the photographer Cindy Sherman. I don't know who Max is. But I love how he moves."
THE ARTWORKS FLANKING THEM: "They are both by Christo. The car is his Project for Volvo 122-5 Sports Sedan, which he wrapped in 1984. The other is his Wrapped Monument to Vittorio Emanuele, Piazza del Duomo, Milan, dating to around 1975. I love Christo because he creates environmental art, which resonates with me."
THE PLANT UNDER THE WINDOW: "It's a Zizi, one of the sturdiest plants there is; I keep it in a heavy lead planter that I bought at Five 0 Seven Antiques in Toronto. I love this plant because it's very architectural."
THE COFFEE TABLE: "This is from parents, if you can believe it. It's glass with a Plexiglas base and must be 40 years old. You can see where I get my taste for modern design from. The vase on it was my mother's as well. It's very heavy and I love using it for flowers because she always used to put flowers in it. Every time I arrange flowers in that vase, I think of her."