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Favourite Room

Clearing out the clutter

Interior designer Jennifer Ferreira embraced minimalism to show off the charm of her historic home

"To me, the highest form of elegance is to have a room that is beautifully edited," says Jennifer Ferreira, a Toronto-based interior designer. Two years ago, during the process of moving into her Wychwood Park home, Ferreira KonMari'd her belongings, including much of her home decor. "I've become a bit of a minimalist lately," says Ferreira, though she is still fighting the clutter. "It's amazing how much we accumulate. I think our possessions own us; we don't own them."

Apollo Belvedere plaster sculpture, $690 (U.S.) at Artemest (www.artemest.com).

An efficient use of space is important for any minimalist, and accordingly, Ferreira flipped the order of the rooms during extensive home renovations. "The kitchen was in the middle of the house, so I opened everything up and put the kitchen in the back," she explains. The shift resulted in an open living space with a defined dining room that is now the heart of the house.

Mid-Century Long-Arm chandelier, $399 (U.S.) at West Elm (www.westelm.com).

Before any furniture went in, the first order of business was to restore some of the architectural details that the 1930s home would have originally had. "Those details add character to the house," says the designer, who installed the herringbone floors, high baseboards and the decorative ceiling medallion. The classic aesthetic of the latter is juxtaposed by a mid-century-modern-inspired chandelier from West Elm. "I'm a bit of a classic at heart, but I like to mix the old with the new to give a modern edge to it."

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Bertoia side chair with vinyl seat pad by Harry Bertoia for Knoll, $1,030 at Design Within Reach (www.dwr.com).

Ferreira opted for Eero Saarinen's marble top table and Harry Bertoia's wire rod chairs, both 1950s design classics by Knoll. She added an antique touch with a turn-of-the-century dresser that has followed her around for years. "It was my first time in Paris, and I had it shipped back. It's a piece that will always stay with me," Ferreira says. Perched on its marble top is a selection of fashion and decor books, as well as a classical portrait sculpture from L'Atelier.

Origo 22-ounce bowl by Alfredo Haberli for Iittala Finland, $35 at Design House (www.designhouse.com).

The designer usually sticks to a neutral palette. "I am kind of known for that. It's very black and white. But I do like to add something to give it a bit of a pop," she says. Ferreira does so through accessories such as the Portuguese handmade ceramic bowl from Saudade in Toronto: "I'm of Portuguese background, and it's so nice to see a cool little shop."

Round dining table by Eero Saarinen, starting at $2,670 at Design Within Reach (www.dwr.com).

The dining room gets a lot of action besides family dinners. "It's amazing how much I use that table. Even though I have an office, I work at home a lot," she says. Ferreira and her husband love to entertain as much as possible, so having a closed kitchen comes in handy. "Cooking is one of my passions. Sometimes when I'm in the kitchen making a huge mess, I like that privacy of having the doors closed," says Ferreira. The glamorous art deco-style double doors with brass flower handles are among the items that pay homage to the home's 1930s heritage. And behind them lies the sleek modern kitchen. For Ferreira, it's all about the mix.

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