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(Janice Pinto/The Globe and Mail)
(Janice Pinto/The Globe and Mail)

Why this is designer Roger Edwards’s favourite room Add to ...

When he was a highly regarded Toronto fashion designer in the 1980s, Roger Edwards, known primarily for his leather creations, longed to return to rural Ontario, where he grew up prior to moving to the city to study at the Ontario College of Art. His desire eventually took him to the Beaver Valley, where, 20 years ago, he and his wife, Linda Groll, bought a riverfront property with the intention of building a farm. First up was a checkerboard barn where Edwards today creates large-scale metal sculpture, then a windmill silo and, finally, a 2,600-square-foot post-and-beam house including a family room decorated with Canadiana, the inspiration behind a new line of casual clothing, hats and accessories that Edwards has recently designed for Parks Canada. Available exclusively at Hudson’s Bay outlets in Vancouver, in Banff and at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Parks Canada Original represents the return of Edwards to his natural element. “I am a visual person and I like to look at textures and patina and timeworn pieces,” he says. “I am visually ‘vintage’ in whatever I do: this room, my art, my fashion.”

The sofa

“It’s covered in moose hide, and I designed and upholstered it myself when I was doing leather fashion on [Toronto’s] Queen Street East in the eighties. At that time, I was working with unusual skins and hides and was making fringe jackets, the kind worn by Pierre Trudeau, sometimes out of moose. So I have always loved this material.”

The butcher block

“This is a time-worn butcher-block table that reminds me of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting. I found it locally in a Beaver Valley antiques shop.”

The table

“It’s made of four gigantic stones that I found in a local quarry. They have a light turquoise [tone], which is unusual. Where do you see turquoise rocks this big? I had the glass cut in an irregular shape to suit their irregular shapes.”

The antlers

“These are caribou antlers from Quebec. I think they are very sculptural. I got them at a time when I was collecting antlers. You find them in the woods all the time. People think that you have to kill the animal to get them, but you don’t. They drop off naturally and grow back. What I love about antlers is that they are really nature’s sculptures. A lot of artists are influenced by them when doing free-form sculpture. They certainly have influenced me.”

The fireplace

“This is really me because I hand laid all the stone myself, at great pain and peril. Some of the slabs are 75 pounds each. It was hard to do but definitely worth it. After a day of skiing, everyone is in this room, gathered around the fireplace.”

The horn chair

I call it the Queen Street horn chair because, if you can believe it, I found it in a Queen Street thrift shop. It was originally purple leatherette. But I envisioned that it should be redone in cowhide because it is a cow after all. I reupholstered it myself.”

The ladder

“This is an apple-tree ladder that I use to display Native blankets. Beaver Valley is apple country and this ladder was really used for picking apples. It is wider at the bottom and narrow at the top. Everyone’s using them now for their bathrooms, but I’ve had mine for 20 years!”

The hutch

“I bought this at an antiques shop in the Valley. The inside is exactly the same colour as my stone table. The paint on the outside is original and has a beautiful patina that I never tire of looking at.”

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