Luxury and Colour in Toronto’s Little Italy

We appreciate a minimalist, streamlined interior. We love the serenity they offer, the space they provide for moving and thinking, the gentle relief they give from the at-times overwhelming stimuli of the outside world.

These days, however, in our temporary homebound state, we find ourselves hungry for colour. Texture. Visual interest, playful details, bold choices. The sights and sounds of the outside world are beyond our reach for the moment, and so we’re appreciating the kinds of interiors that stimulate the senses and bring the outside in. We especially love homes designed around the idea of experience and discovery. Rooms that differ from one another in style; sight lines that evolve and offer new delights with every passing turn.

This home in Little Italy, one of Toronto’s trendiest (and most foodie-centric!) neighbourhoods, hits just the spot.

While by no means a maximalist space, there are plenty of bright and lavish details that offset the more pared-down elements of the home. The design firm, Audax, recently caught our attention with a project that transformed the second floor of a Yorkville cosmetic surgery office into a sophisticated luxury flat. There, too, we fell for the firm’s eye for layering: layering of materials, of textures, of colours. Each section of that flat seemed to serve as a well-framed vignette, with just the right amount of visual interest at every turn. This Little Italy home shows that these choices are seemingly the firm’s signature approach to upscale interiors. Every angle seems worthy of a painter’s brush.

This home, too, is situated within a commercial building. Something that makes it entirely unique from other projects? It’s the private home of Gianpiero Pugliese, the firm’s principal designer! Pugliese and his wife longed for something more unique than a standard Toronto townhouse for their family of four, and they wanted to stay downtown to maintain their city lifestyle. Their needs were unexpectedly met not by a house or condo, but an entire floor of this commercial building.

This family-friendly home is inspired by the quintessential standard of urban living: a New York apartment. It is accessible from the street via a private elevator. Entering the home, one is met by a formal foyer, with its grand Nero Marquina and Statuario marble stone inlaid floors. The open concept living room features a symmetrical layout with mirroring sofas in a vibrant blue velvet. Between them, a Fibonacci coffee table draws the eye towards a marble clad two-way fireplace. The living room and dining room are open concept, both flooded with natural light. A Vasari dining table and emerald green Raphael dining chairs make this a gorgeous space for formal dinner parties. The addition of a dramatic, angular pendant lighting fixture above this table helps to define the space and visually distinguish it within the open concept layout.

In the kitchen, cabinets feature a wire-brushed oak veneer. This space, more restrained than others in the home, does feature some geometric detailing with a smoked oak herringbone floor.

One of the home’s most luxurious elements is an enviable winter garden. Adjacent to the living room (and enjoying the other side of that double-sided fireplace), it is a cozy space filled with pale furniture and a Mutina Azulej tile by Patricia Urquiola on the floor.

The master bedroom offers a softer palette than the main living spaces, blending muted greys with gold accents and the blush pink of an Evelyn chair in the corner. This gentle colour scheme is continued in the master ensuite, where one will find marble countertops on the vanity, polished chrome hardware, and a deep soaker tub.

Audax’s previous project made it clear that the firm has a penchant for wallpaper. That passion is further evident in Pugliese’s personal home. In the powder room, a dark Fornasetti wallpaper offsets the antique-style mirror and metallic fixtures. It’s a small but luxurious space. In the baby’s room, described as a “modern take on a Victorian nursery,” a bird-patterned wallpaper looks as though it has been plucked from the pages of an artist’s sketchbook. It is complemented by subdued yellows, ebony furniture, and wicker accessories.

The contemporary boy’s room maintains a subtle palette of gentle greys and creams, relegating colour to the contents of the room’s floating shelves and a tiny, winged Eiffel chair in a cheerful canary yellow. On the shelves, children’s books are displayed like rows of artwork.

This Little Italy residence is a beautiful example of the opulent sensibilities of Audax and its knack for balancing just the right amounts of drama and tranquility.

Images via v2com
Photographer: Erik Rotter