Trained in fashion at Saint Martin's College of Art in London, England, Brenda Bell moved to Canada in 1976, her love of couture eventually morphing into a passion for interior design. "I turned my artistic training into schemes for homes," says the daughter of Irish motorcycle legend Artie Bell.
Among her projects is the award-winning replica farmhouse she helped design for her family eight years ago on a five-acre property in the Town of Blue Mountains, Ont., northwest of Toronto. The house is surrounded by beautiful gardens that Bell also designed; features include waterfalls, a lagoon pool and, best of all, a sunroom from which to enjoy it all. "It's simply a divine space to feel at one with the beauty of nature," Bell says of the room, "especially when it's filled with love, laughter and friends."
The lounge chair with ottoman
"This is my favourite seat in the house for sitting with my coffee and watching the morning sun come up. It's also where I chill out in the afternoon with a book, watching the birds at the feeder. And before the night is done, it's where I sip my cocktail and watch the skies change with the sunset to the west."
The red fabric
"Every interior should have the punch and pizzazz of a touch of red. In this case, it creates a sense of drama when seen against the different shades of green outside. The material is no-fade Kravet Sunbrella."
The loveseat and three-seat sofa
"They are both made of outdoor wicker and, placed opposite each other, create the perfect cozy spot for conversations and intimacy. I found the set in Naples, Fla., where we spend the winter."
The dining-room table
"This is the most-used table in the house. It can seat up to six at a time. A guest recently said it was the most pleasurable dining location they had eaten in all summer. Even when the temperature dips at night, I can rely on eating here with no bugs and no fuss."
The Tiffany light
"It's a fitting shade for an outside room, as it has a fruit motif. When the sun sets, we turn on the dimmer and use it as a background light."
The coffee table
"It's the perfect dimension for holding hors d'oeuvres when we have company or otherwise providing great storage for our books, magazines and newspapers."
"Sunflowers always feature in my floral arrangements. I love the colour yellow as much as I love red."