Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Decor expert Karl Lohnes’s favourite room? The one rich with stories

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

For the past nine years, home decorating expert Karl Lohnes, a founding editor of Canada's Style at Home magazine, has resided in a townhouse, near Toronto's Yonge and Bloor streets, that was once a bed and breakfast. "I lived in it for two years without making any changes," says Lohnes, who is currently writing a decorating book for Random House. "I then took another two years to renovate it section by section and only now am I adding the finishing touches." His niece lived there with him for three years while attending postsecondary school, but his only roommate now is Monti, the cat she left behind. She has her own leather egg chair off the kitchen, leaving Lohnes to enjoy the living room, which he filled with furnishings that are rich with stories. "I added extra-high French doors to make the room feel larger," he says. "The little deck off the living room is perfect for me, becoming an extension of the living room in the summer, as the doors open up. It reminds me of a pretty store window."

The white horn lamp

"This is a vintage find from the 1950s from one of my antique dealers. I love interestingly shaped lamps. I have many, but this is my favourite. I love rectangular shades, as they help to slim down proportions, especially on consoles and bedside tables."

Story continues below advertisement

The art

"This is by Canadian artist Suzanne MacRury, a native of Kelowna, B.C. Her work has been sold through the Art Gallery of Ontario and various other international galleries. I only buy art I love. I'd rather it match my personality than a room. To me, rooms are disposable; art should stay with you for life."

The couch

"This is a very high-quality sofa that I purchased off Craigslist. It was covered in off-white shiny damask silk fabric and had three humps on the back. I had the upholsterer smooth out the humps, recover it, add nail-head trim and make a new down seat cushion. For the cost of redoing it, I could have bought a brand new sofa, but that would be boring. I like things to have a story."

The throw

"This is a two-metre piece of fauxcoyote fur that I bought in New York last year. My intention was to trim the edges of my woollen Hudson's Bay blanket. But it ended up on the end of the sofa. Monti the cat is scared of it, which makes me happy, as it keeps her out of the room."

The rug

Story continues below advertisement

"This is a semi-antique that has been overdyed with a vibrant deep purple. I bought it online and when it arrived I loved it even more. I shop online a lot, sometimes too much."

The coffee table

"I found this on Craigslist as well. It came from the Royal York Hotel and is a style that L.A.-based designer Kelly Wearstler uses over and over again in her interiors. My friends think it is grandma-ish, but I think it's elegant and airy for the space."

The flowers

"I have flowers delivered to the house at the beginning of each season and for special holidays. I e-mail Fresh Floral Creations a picture of my room and allow them to create whatever they think will look best. They have never disappointed."

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Deirdre Kelly is a features writer for The Globe and Mail. She is the author of the best-selling Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection (Greystone Books). More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨