When you're as gregarious and generous as Salah Bachir, Cineplex Media president, noted philanthropist and unstinting patron of the arts, where you live is bound to be as big as your heart. Take his Paris, Ont. country house, which was built in 1842 for the then-mayor of the town and boasts 21 rooms filled to the rafters with both contemporary art and Old World antiques.
Bachir's opulent dining room overlooking his gardens is his favourite. It's where the Lebanese-born Torontonian frequently entertains the artists, actors and activists whose causes he supports. "I love it because I can seat 18 people around the table," Bachir says. "It's been the scene for many great functions with people I hold important in my life."
THE PALETTE: "I worked with designer Ed Welker to make the room into a sumptuous feast for the senses - hence the beautiful art, the gold-leaf ceiling, the vibrant red walls. Red is a bold colour, but still warm. You can spend hours here and not get tired of it."
THE ANGELS ABOVE THE DOORS: "I got them from [antiques dealer]Robert Dirstein when I bought the house 17 years ago. They're from Paris, France and date to the 1820s."
THE CHANDELIER AND CANDELABRAS: "The chandelier is Russian from the 1840s and the candelabras are also from the 1840s. I got them at Jonnys Antiques in Shakespeare, Ont."
THE DINING SET: "The table and chairs used to belong to former governor general Roland Michener. They're from the 1870s and I got them through [now-defunct]Ritchies Auctioneers. The [porcelain]vases on top are antique Georg Jensen and the carpet is a 1950s Persian Tabriz from Imperial Rug Galleries on Church Street [in Toronto]"
THE ART ON THE WALLS: "The first [right of the door]is a portrait of my dog Ella and me by Canadian artist Shaan Syed. He wanted to create a stylized likeness of me with sunglasses on and the dog in hand, like a movie star from the 1950s. To the right of the chandelier are two Tony Schermans in the corner [one isn't shown] The painting above the [side]door is a scene of the mountains in Lebanon by London, Ont.-based artist Jamelie Hassan. The big portrait - it's six feet by four feet - is by Mona Shahid."