Tour This Modern Toronto Home, Which Was Inspired by Coastal California
Toronto's beautiful Rosedale neighborhood may be filled with old, historic mansions and plenty of character, but by the time Ashley Montgomery's clients were taking up residence in their three-bedroom, three-bath home set in the sought-after locale, most of its original charm was long gone. So, they infused personality back into the space through thoughtful layers, vintage furnishings, unique art, and curated displays.
"I wanted to encompass that California cool feeling in this space using light, airy, and natural elements," Montgomery explains. She set out to design a home where you can truly relax and feel comfortable in any room, without sacrificing an ounce of style. A balance of lived-in furniture and dramatic details complemented each other for a final result rooted in casual, approachable luxury.
While there were certainly challenges to overcome—namely, a lack of original architecture throughout the house and oddly shaped walls in the master bedroom—Montgomery took the design process one step at a time, and noted that they started with key pieces and built the rest of the rooms gradually, allowing the vision to evolve over time.
Of course, it was also a priority to reflect the clients' personality and lifestyle throughout the home, which inspired one of the most striking elements of the overall design: the artwork. Thanks to Montgomery's clients' love of travel, they had recently ventured to Costa Rica, Bali, and California, to name a few, and the art was selected to give a sense of those destinations. Ahead, Montogomery takes us on a full tour of the 2,500-square-foot home and divulges even more details about creating this relaxed, welcoming space.
Mixed Medium Kitchen Details
The marble and wood kitchen island was original to the home. Rather than start fresh, interior designer Ashley Montgomery and her clients decided to leave the island as is and simply switch the hardware throughout the rest of the space to match the brass faucet on the structure.
In the end, they were left with a modern, yet warm statement piece that perfectly complements the dark and moody kitchen cabinets. Montgomery's advice on making dramatic colors work in the kitchen? "If you're going dark then add in another element to balance the drama. It could be a statement backsplash or wood accents—keep them bright and airy," she instructs.
While the floating kitchen shelves bring the perfect amount of personality into the space, they're not just for show. "We styled the shelving to be practical with items that our clients use every day—they aren't just styled to look pretty but actually function in the space," Montgomery tells us. A mix of vintage paintings, sculptural pieces, and dishware creates a varied, but thoughtful arrangement.
Upon first glance, it's obvious that Montgomery carried over her philosophy of balanced, juxtaposed design to the living space. "The lived-in sofa is one of my favorite pieces and I love that it's tucked perfectly into the bay window. There are some really fun modern details, but the room as a whole feels textured and cozy," she explains.
The secret ingredient to finding the perfect mix of cozy and modern? "We achieved this by adding in lots of layers, as well as a mix of vintage pieces. I always find vintage items bring a certain depth to a room," Montgomery divulges.
In terms of styling, Montgomery insists that simplicity is key. When asked about arranging the existing open shelving in the living room, she tells us, "It wasn't the easiest since there are so many cubbies—it got overwhelming very quickly. The key to this was to be very curated."
A Kilim Rug
To accommodate larger crowds, Montogomery selected an extendable dining table, allowing her guests to play host no matter the occasion. The real showstopper of the room, however, is the antique kilim rug that grounds the space with tons of history and character.
A Dramatic Wall Color
"The office was definitely one of my favorite spaces. It was the one room in the house that still had some original historic details—it deserved something special. We wanted a lot of drama in this space," Montgomery shares. "The color is Polo Blue by Benjamin Moore. There was the perfect trim detailing near the ceiling that acted as an endpoint for the paint, allowing a part of the wall and ceiling to stay white."
A Unique Installation
In an effort to bring more texture into the guest bedroom, while also sourcing an above-the-bed art solution on a budget, Montgomery created a mini gallery wall of woven baskets, varying in size and pattern. Cozy textiles and a mid-century style nightstand completed the look.
Montgomery played with scale in the master bedroom with the addition of oversized bedside lamps—which bring a dose of drama to an otherwise calm and serene space. A light, neutral color palette sets the tone for a peaceful slumber, and curated furnishings lend a simple yet sophisticated vibe.
A Well-Utilized Nook
One of the greatest challenges Montgomery faced in the design process were the awkward corners in the master bedroom, the result of abruptly angled ceilings. "The nook we created for the makeup desk turned out so well. It's the perfect way to use what would otherwise be dead space," she shares.
A Show-Stopping Tub
Since the master bath is open to the bedroom and divided only by sliding barn doors, it was imperative that it be just as well-designed and calming as the bedroom. The statement light fixture above the jaw-dropping tub was born out of Montgomery's desire for texture. "There was a bit of a challenge since we were dealing with a sloped ceiling and couldn't have too large of a [light] fixture either—this piece checked off all the boxes!" Montgomery says.