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The Globe and Mail

A Toronto condo rich in the language of design

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The Thomson Building, 552 Wellington St. W. in Toronto. Architect John Shnier liked the potential to customize the 1,800 sq. ft. space and bought before construction was complete. ‘I was looking for something on one floor with a view of the city that’s uninterrupted ... and I wanted something that, when you walked into it, wouldn’t immediately say ‘domestic.’

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Patricia Gaviria works in the office area at left of the bedroom, right. The custom ‘Up-ward’ blinds in the office are from Lumen Lighting and Shading.

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The guest room, with gold and silver curtains by Paul Mezei, Relish Design. ‘We asked my good friend Paul Mezei for a balance between something opulent and natural and something that looks really artificial,’ Mr. Shnier says. ‘I was thinking the foil insulation you see on early Mercury space capsules – and for the other I was thinking raw silk.’ The material in the end is part acetate and part silk, woven together.

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The large and unstructured living room houses that jumble of upholstery – actually a few pieces of ExtraWall furniture, by designer Piero Lissoni, which can be rearranged into many comfortable configurations.

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The bathroom. Travertine marble, that beige variety that is synonymous with Rome, is present in a few places in the apartment.

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The view from the balcony. The building is a mixture of uses; a hotel, the corporate office of Freed Developments and, of course, the apartments.

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Ms. Gaviria enjoys the view from the balcony. The white synthetic lawn is from SynLawn Modular Landscape through Living Divani.

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The large painting in the living room is by Ms. Gaviria’s sister Paola. The apartment is, in its layout, a relatively simple space. It has few rooms and the largest area can be easily divided. It is big, not enormous, but sparse and comfortably so. The absence of stuff is its most important attribute.

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