A Westmount home is gutted and redesigned in the elegant style of the 1920s
BY JULIE GEDEON
PHOTOGRAPHY: DREW HADLEY
STYLING: GRANT KEFALAS and ISABELLE PEREZ
A successful young family man with an Old-World soul and an eye for exquisite details wanted his Westmont home to be renewed as a light, airy canvas infused with jewel tones. The co-founders of Evolution Design achieved his vision with a classic decor spiced with Art Deco influences.
The homeowner contacted designers Grant Kefalas and Isabelle Perez after admiring the design of one of their projects, which was featured in Montreal Home. He originally planned to renovate only the bathroom and kitchen, but instead gutted the whole house.
“We came on board after the architect, Adam Borowczyk of Atelier URA, had erected the beautiful wall panelling, which we painted in a neutral tone to make the overall space feel larger,” Kefalas says. “Our mission is always to collaborate with our clients to determine their specific needs, preferences and lifestyle so we can evolve those elements into a uniquely personal statement.”
The foyer sets the stage with the dramatic contrast of the China Black and Statuario marble slabs in a customized pattern, inspired by a photograph of Renaissance flooring at the Vatican. “Adam worked with us to rescale the design for the home’s dimensions,” Kefalas adds.
He and Perez also designed the console tables, each of which features a hand-polished black-lacquered top and apron with a brass inlay.
Nickel plating and hammered nickel doorknobs speak to the homeowner’s attention to detail. “When we saw the faux emerald green malachite spokes, it was exactly the gem we envisioned for this foyer,” Perez says of the mirrors that hang above the tables.
The Art Deco influences continue in the living room with the customized herringbone flooring with a dark inlaid perimeter and a customized rug from Nepal. “It took us months of back and forth to achieve the ideal colours and fibres based on a classic ikat pattern,” Kefalas says.
He and Perez took into consideration the family’s young children in selecting a sofa with a durable yet velvety upholstery. “We achieved a subtle but essential balance by having the bright cushions on the grey sofa connect with the purple fauteuils on the other side of the room,” Perez says. “We likewise created an equilibrium with the doorway into the sunroom by installing mirrored, nickel-framed doors to a small bar area.”
The furnishings reflect the home’s regency but also its worldliness. “We chose pieces that looked as if they had been collected during travels over the years rather than all purchased at once,” Kefalas explains. “Our upholsterer built and covered the purple chairs based on a photograph of an Art Deco model that he’d taken apart to repair.”
All the paintings were selected to add those rich gems of colour that the homeowner desired. Teal-coloured furnishings were likewise chosen to give the sunroom its unique punch with the intensity playfully reflected in the drapery.
Limited dining space prompted the designers to track down a California company to reproduce a Josef Hoffmann (circa 1905) chandelier with its palm tree motif, albeit in smaller dimensions. The designers also ordered a Louis XVI-style dining set in raw wood that they had lacquered in black. They upholstered the chair seats in a traditional Greek key design with gold and white hues on the chair backs.
Marble with black, white and lime colouring was selected to reframe a former coal-burning fireplace that had been transformed into a gas unit. It served as the inspiration for the mossy and woodsy hues in the upstairs family room. The masculinity of the oak panelling is softened by floral and pastel elements.
Grandness is achieved in the master bedroom with a tufted velvet headrest and footrest, along with the simple but exotic finish of the Makassar ebony veneer on the night tables.s
The ensuite bathroom was designed to remind the homeowner of the opulence found in posh hotels of yesteryear. “We book-matched the marble to create that mirrored effect and included the slabs in the front of the sinks not only for the effect but to protect the wood cabinetry from water,” Perez says.
A stickler for details, the homeowner asked the designers to source a chrome-framed shower stall with an etched pattern in the frosted glass that’s more reflective of the Art Deco period than a frameless enclosure would be.
The kitchen suite, imported from Florence, Italy, is also true to an earlier age but it has all of today’s modern conveniences. “The way the subway tiles wrap around the wall edges is an indication of the attention that we paid to every aspect of this project,” Kefalas adds.
It may recall the past but this is a home that is very much for today.