Willowdale Gets Walnut Panelling and Gold Touches


This warm, family-friendly modern design in North York has room to grow.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of  OUR HOMES The City of Toronto, p.28. Find local businesses in our Toronto directory.

This modern, custom home is just one of the many new and revamped properties quickly taking over the Willowdale neighbourhood of North York. It was a dream project for dynamic design duo Adolphina Karachok and Leanne Tammaro, principal designers of Designtheory in Toronto. “It’s a residential neighbourhood that over the last couple of years has completely transformed,” says Leanne. “There are barely any of the original homes left; all of the homes are being demolished and rebuilt with traditional, transitional and modern homes that are anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 square feet.”
This contemporary, multi-level home features four bedrooms and a nanny suite in the basement. The homeowners are a young, professional couple that wanted a house they could customize and would be able to grow into.
The home was already being constructed when the homeowners brought in Designtheory. “We loved the use of walnut, the modern custom millwork, the open, floating staircase with glass railings, the high ceilings, the large windows, the beautiful linear fireplaces and modern finishes,” says Leanne. “It was a great backdrop to work with.”
The only stipulation the homeowners gave was that they wanted the space to feel warm. The result: a calm, soothing palette and plenty of texture and pattern in throw pillows, area rugs and furnishings to make the space anything but boring.
One of the spaces the designers were most excited about was the room on the other side of the living and dining room, which is separated by a fireplace partition. “The challenge in this part of the house is that we have three rooms open to each other,” says Adolphina. “Everything has to be treated in its own way but still have a cohesive flow.” To achieve that, they selected a palette that would work throughout the main floor and varied the textures and patterns in the three spaces.
In the dining room, the homeowners wanted to use their existing table and chairs. “Instead of getting something new, we decided to paint the table a deep blue, and used that as our starting point,” says Adolphina. “Then, instead of reupholstering all the dining room chairs, we selected new fabric for the two armchairs, to give the room that modern feel. We softened the space by adding drapery that blends into the wall, a beautiful simple white linen that doesn’t stand out but adds visual softness.”
In the living room, metal finishes add interest. “Something we love to do in all the spaces we work in is mix metals for a more interesting, layered look,” says Leanne.