Chinoiserie Cabinets and Confident Colour Create Synchronicity


Unexpected blend of colours in Toronto home are easy and cohesive.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of  OUR HOMES The City of Toronto, p.32. Find local businesses in our Toronto-York Region directory. 

The owners of a downtown home were stalled on their renovation project until contractor Evan Bramson of Bramson Construction introduced them to Meredith Heron. They clicked immediately with the television host and owner of Meredith Heron Design. “I could tell right away, even from just a phone call, that this was going to be a good relationship,” says the homeowner.
From there, things took off. “Meredith really does push the envelope and some of her decisions might have been out of my comfort zone, but I trusted her,” the homeowner says. The kitchen, for example, features upper cabinetry in an inky shade of grey. “I was surprised when she first proposed the colour, but I also immediately liked it.” The colour wasn’t out of left field – Heron took inspiration from the couple’s belongings – many collected from time spent in far-away places – including a rug by the front door purchased in Turkey.
While there was no way to alter the kitchen’s narrow footprint, Heron added a banquette and custom-built table in a previously unused nook. 
In the dining room, Heron created a custom wine unit built around two dual-temperature refrigerators to store the couple’s growing collection. “It’s made out of this amazing Italian laminate that looks like lacquered smoked wood, and also has that purple tone to it,” says Heron. Then, her team designed and installed Chinoiserie inserts. “I’m all about juxtaposing modern and traditional,” says Heron, “and the homeowners have spent a lot of time in Asia, so a Chinoiserie made perfect sense.”
Another favourite element in the room, for both the homeowners and Heron, is the unique chandelier over the dining table. “I told them, I have the perfect light for this room. It’s got a 1950s sort of Italian feel,” says Heron. “When they said they liked it, I was thrilled!”
She adds, “I really enjoy analogous colour schemes – mixing together shades that live next to each other on the wheel.” A cabinetmaker created the table and stained it an inky blue-grey but not exactly the same colour as the grey in the chairs or the cabinetry.
In the two-storey living room, Heron added plaster moulding halfway up the walls to help to break up the line. “Then we added silk tourmaline drapes in a deep green that go all the way up,” says Heron. The makeover included a new sofa, new chairs, refinished side tables and fresh accents. A brand-new fireplace is completed with a marble mantel, and new built-in shelves showcase some of the couple’s collected treasures.
Like the dining room, there’s an unexpected blend of colours that’s still easy and cohesive: from the gold and grey of the couple’s own art and rug, to the shades of blue, purple and green in the new furnishings.
“I can’t say when I’m in my house that I feel like I’m surrounded by colour,” says the homeowner. “I really don’t. Everything here feels right and feels comfortable.” She adds, “It’s like the best, most elegant representation of us, but in a relaxed and completely accessible way.”