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Why artist Madeleine Lamont describes her living room as 'the hub of the house'

Artist and Winnipeg native Madeleine Lamont moved to Toronto in 1986 to study fine arts at York University, eventually settling into a Cabbagetown semi that she shares with husband George and their two school-age children. The property was in terrible condition when she purchased it 17 years ago. “I had to rip it apart,” Lamont says. When it came time to decorate it, she looked to her own body of work – lush portraits of flowers and exotic animals – to line the walls of her living room. “It’s where we come to enjoy and relax in the evening,” she says of the space. “It’s the hub of the house.”

Kevin Van Paassen for The Globe and Mail

The ostrich painting

“This is part of a series I started in 1998, called The Bird Hall. Since the start of the series, I do about two commissions a year. I saw the model for this painting at the Bowmanville Zoo. Ostriches are about beauty. They are nature’s show girls, embodying grace and power at once.”

The chairs

“These are Harry Bertoia chairs that I got at 1st Dibs in New York City. They are so funky. I love the blue colour and I have always loved the diamond shape. This is the original leather.”

The fireplace

“There was originally an awful brick one there and I rebuilt it. I added the insert in the last two years. In the winter, the fire is constantly roaring and the family congregates around it.”

The flower painting

“That is from my ongoing peony series. I was deeply inspired by a trip to Belgium and the Dutch masters. The botanicals are infused with notions of modern decay and I have invested them with a kind of psychological intensity. I will show the series next at my studio in Toronto and also in Calgary at the Christine Klassen Gallery in 2015.”

The photograph

“This is by Michael Snow. My husband and I sat for his Flash series; this image is an artist’s proof. The real one is life-scale and hung at Snow’s retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.”

The curtains

“These are by my friend Penelope Stewart, a fellow artist who had a custom-design silkscreen fabric company. They are beautiful gold and silver on dupioni silk. They are just stunning.”

The tray

“It is an inlay Moroccan tray from Artifact on Yonge Street in Toronto. I so love the graphic black-and-white quality, that punch. It is exquisitely decorative.”

The ottoman

“That is from 18Karat in the Distillery District. It was designed by Peter Cardew. I use it as a coffee table because we always have our feet on it.”

The carpet

“That is a second-life Persian dip-dyed carpet. I got it from Modern Weave in Toronto. The colour is stunning and matches my ostrich painting

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