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(Geoff Robins for The Globe and Mail)
(Geoff Robins for The Globe and Mail)

Des McAnuff's living room: Work and play combine in his Stratford home Add to ...

In 2009, American-born Des McAnuff, co-artistic director of Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Festival, purchased a three-bedroom 1950s bungalow in Stratford, Ont. to be closer to work. Before moving in with partner Bryna McCann, the multiple-award-winning director of the mega-hit musical Jersey Boys, set about renovating with the help of local architect Terry Marklevitz. Together, they created an open-concept design incorporating a kitchen, dining room and living room, his favourite area of the house for being as multi-tasking as he is. "This is where I play music, entertain friends and conduct meetings related to the theatre," says McAnuff, who is directing Twelfth Night and Jesus Christ Superstar at Stratford this season.

The coffee table

"This is an art deco table, purchased in Toronto, dating from the 1930s. Both Bryna and I love art deco furniture. I think it suits our taste. I also like the way art deco goes with modern and Biedermeier design, other styles we have in the house. Like Biedermeier, art deco was designed for the common people. I like that it was an affordable style in its day. The onyx colour goes with the white in the room." 

The coffee-table books

"Last year, Bryna and I went to the Leopold Museum in Vienna and I bought book [on the right]as a souvenir. I love the artist Egon Schiele. He's been an influence on my work, particularly my production of [Austrian composer Alban Berg's] Wozzeck for the San Diego Opera in 2007, during my final season as artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse. The other book, with the Vermeer on the cover, is on hyperrealistic art."

The paintings

"One of the artists in the hyperrealism book is British painter Tom Martin, who did the work on the far right. He's a young artist who has already made a lot of noise. The other painting is by John Gould, a hyperrealist artist from Stratford. His subject is gems and marmalade. Robertson's Thick Cut Marmalade was one of my father's favourite foods, so this painting is a reminder of him." 

The lighting

"I put in the track lighting because I love bright rooms. It fires the room up at night, making it look like sunlit at midnight. I also have track lighting in my condo in Manhattan. It [accommodates]playing music and reading. I think a lot of my activities involve light. I gravitate toward being able to control light in whatever environment I'm in."

The sofas

"Bryna purchased these in Toronto. They're white, oversized and comfortable. I have a lot of meetings in this room and this is where people stretch out. The winters here are pretty bleak. But when the snow is on the ground, the exterior seems like a visual extension of the interior, which makes all that white seem as if by design." 

The carpet

"We got this from a carpet dealer on Greenwich Street in New York. We loved the colour. When we got it, we already knew that red and orange were going to be our accent colours in the house. It was completely unintentional, but now we look like a pair of designer freaks as the carpet matches the colour of the fall leaves on the sugar maple we planted in the front yard."

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Follow on Twitter: @Deirdre_Kelly

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