When Michelle Mawby, the newly appointed design expert on CTV's The Marilyn Denis Show, gutted her century-old Toronto home seven years ago, her goal was to create an open-concept showcase for her decorating talents. "It was an old house with boxes for rooms," says Mawby, a native of Richmond, B.C. who also runs her company, Lucid Interior Design Inc., out of the midtown home. "I opened the whole thing up and added a large rear addition, where I transplanted the living room from the front of the house. I wanted the house to feel less traditional."
French doors opening onto a landscaped garden flood the room with natural light, which is why Mawby, a resident of Europe until eight years ago, calls it her favourite: "It's elegant enough to entertain in, but also comfortable enough to live in."
The chair and ottoman: "This is an authentic Eames lounge and ottoman that I bought at Harrods when I was living in London. My husband at the time wanted a leather chair - a classic male urge - and I wanted the chair to be a piece of art, so this fit the bill."
The gas fireplace: "I designed the custom plaster mantel myself after I couldn't find anything on the market that I liked. I wanted something classic with a bold shape. The imperial chocolate brown marble surround has a gas insert. My cat, Holly Golightly, loves sleeping in front of it. The stools are walnut Eames stools that I use as extra seating, tables and displays."
The sofa: "This is a 10-by-10-foot down-filled sectional that I bought at the Art Shoppe in Toronto after moving back to Canada eight years ago. It's very deep, so it's great for napping. The pillows accommodate chatting over coffee. I often hold my client meetings on this couch. I love the luxuriousness of it. It's big enough to take on the scale of the room."
The coffee table: "This a classic Noguchi table that I also bought while living in London. I love how it serves as a piece of sculpture in the middle of the room."
The carpet: "I always wanted an antiqued, faded carpet after first seeing one while living in Amsterdam. I finally found one big enough for this space years later at Elte [in Toronto] I love the idea that the carpet looks old, faded and contemporary all at the same time."
The cushions: "To me, the most interesting ones are the linen skull-damask printed pillows with mohair that I had custom-made from imported fabric. I love the mix of traditional soft damask print with the cheekiness of the skulls. There's another pillow there, with the words Designer Pillow embroidered on it, that I find hilarious."
The standing lamp: "I got this reproduction of a sea master light at Restoration Hardware in Toronto. It's a limited-edition item and I bought it because it's big and industrial-looking and serves as a great foil to all that silk and damask. It's also useful for sending SOS messages to people on the other side of the room - in case I'm in need of a glass of water."