Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

How these designers make a room feel contemporary and timeless

By layering colour, pattern and texture, Feasby & Bleeks gave this Toronto living room energy.

Jessica Lin

Interior designers Erin Feasby and Cindy Bleeks have a knack for creating rooms that feel both contemporary and timeless. The Globe asked them to reveal the colours, materials and secrets behind the Feasby & Bleeks style.

Favourite paint colour: "Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC-23. This is a great paint colour for walls in any room because it's a warm yet fresh neutral. It can read either grey or natural, depending on what else is happening in the space."

Favourite front-door colour: "Farrow & Ball Hague Blue 30. The go-to for front doors had always been black, and this rich navy is a perfect alternative with the same sort of depth and presence. It pairs really well with any exterior material whether it be stone, brick or siding."

Story continues below advertisement

Favourite countertop material: "Caesarstone Organic White 4600. For style and durability, you really can't beat quartz countertops. They don't scratch, stain, burn or require much maintenance at all. This is our favourite white because it's warm yet very natural in appearance and doesn't feel so man-made. It works with just about any style and colour of cabinetry."

Favourite tile: "Creekside Tile's Arto Brick concrete 2-by-8-inch tile in natural grey. These are an updated version of the classic subway tile. They are very matte and very cool. Made from concrete, they feel modern yet timeless and come in a beautiful range of subtle tones."

Favourite piece of furniture: "A tailored, comfortable wing chair – anything from refurbishing grandma's chair in a great linen or statement fabric to one of the new, sleek versions of this classic shape. One of our favourite things to do is to upholster the body and sides of the wing chair in a different fabric from the back and the seat for a totally custom look."

Best way to make a room feel more spacious: "We really like to emphasize and make use of the vertical space in a room. We always take our cabinetry and drapery right to the ceiling for maximum effect."

Your design rule: "You can never have enough storage. Try to utilize every square inch and build in custom wherever possible. It also adds great architectural detail and adds to the resale value of your home. We often find that clients in smaller homes are hesitant to do built-ins fearing they will crowd their space. We find the opposite to be true and that when we design storage that fits perfectly in a room, that space always ends up feeling larger."

Favourite lighting trick: "Lighting is most effective when it's layered. We use recessed fixtures for overall lighting, pendant and task lighting in work areas, under-cabinet lighting in kitchens and table and floor lamps to soften corners and add ambient lighting in living spaces."

Best DIY project: "Paint an old or inexpensive cabinet or chest of drawers with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. Then change out the hardware and you'll have a really expensive, custom-looking piece of furniture."

Story continues below advertisement

Best use of $500: "Custom frame your own photography. Choose slim profile frames and oversized mats for the best results. Travel photos always turn out amazing and are a great way to add your personality into a room."

Signature room: "We love the simplicity and sophistication of symmetry, yet we also like to have a bit of fun in each space that we design. We work with a lot of young families and find that even though our clients often want us to create a grown-up look for them, they also need it to be comfortable. This room is a great example of this where we have a fresh, neutral backdrop, using durable and cozy fabrics. Then by layering in colour, pattern and texture through cushions, accessories and drapery (not shown), it really gives the room life. Statement pieces, such as the chairs, add great shape and so much personality to a classic room. The rest of the room's key elements, such as the fireplace, are simple in their design, which showcases their beautiful materials and allows you to appreciate them that much more."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to