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The Globe and Mail

Why designer Alex Donovan’s ‘Throne Room’ is his favourite

Alex Donovan's favourite room, the bedroom. A chandelier hangs over the foot of the bed upon which a large red throw sits.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Interior designer Alex Donovan has lived in an art moderne apartment building on the perimeter of Toronto's Forest Hill neighbourhood for 13 years, sharing his home with Flanders, his bichon frise, and a treasure trove of French antiques. The ebullient Donovan, co-owner of Bentley Flanders, a retail design emporium in Toronto's Corktown district that he opened last summer with partner Jack Lochhead, decorated his home with his own distinctive style. His decor influences range from Versailles and Le Corbusier's Villa la Roche to Dorothy Draper's Greenbrier hotel and Tony Duquette's Dawnridge, echoes of which can be found in his opulent bedroom. "This is my bed chamber or as others have called it, the Throne Room," says Donovan, a native of Woodstock, Ont., who originally moved to Toronto to study fashion at Ryerson University, followed by studies in experimental painting and sculpture at the Ontario College of Art and Design in the 1980s. "It is my private utopia, where I can dream in Technicolor and wake up to beauty every morning."

1. The throw

"This is by Christopher Guy. The faux fur is an aubergine-tipped red showing an incredible depth of colour. I got it from 1212 Decor [the Toronto boutique where he used to work as creative director, which has since closed]."

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2. The bedding

"The custom Legacy Home duvet cover is a white piqué cotton with red grosgrain ribbon applied in a Greek key pattern. The sheets are sateen with a three-line red embroidered pattern and are also by Legacy Home. Most people don't go to the extreme of having custom bedding. They probably think it is extravagant. But you spend a third of your life sleeping, so why not enjoy every moment?"

3. The bedside chests

"These are hand-painted chinoiserie-inspired Louis XIV-style chests in solid walnut. They have more than ample storage for my somewhat extensive wardrobe. They anchor the bed on either side, adding symmetry."

4. The table lamps

"These are by Currey and Co. and are porcelain with an antique brass chinoiserie-inspired base and an ivory raw-silk shade."

5. The cushions

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"The Dransfield & Ross toss cushions are made of fabric consisting of grosgrain and Greek key ribbons sewn together in bold hues of pink, chartreuse and turquoise. I got them at 1212 Decor as well."

6. The bed

"This is a Louis XVI hand-carved sleigh bed in high-gloss Dove Grey. I got it from Horsefeathers, which has since closed. I just love the lines of the bed and it is exquisitely carved."

7. The canopy

"This late-1800s ciel de lit is hand-gilded in gold leaf and draped with a silk Louis XV lampas damask in cocoa with turquoise peau de soie with gold bullion fringe and matching silk tassels from the luxury fabric house Scalamandre. The fabric was a gift from clients. I had used it first in their master bedroom and had fallen in love with it. I offered to buy it, but they refused."

8. The mirror

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"This antiqued eglomisé mirror has a gold-leaf baroque frame. It came from an auction in Toronto and is one of the newer acquisitions in the room."

9. The chandelier

"This is by Corbett Lighting. It is chinoiserie-inspired and made with German rock and optical crystal and has metal-beaded tassels and an antiqued silver-leaf finish."

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