In our chats with designers, we’ve learned some clients want to be totally hands-off with the design of their home, while others are eager to collaborate. It’s the latter in this home, located in Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighborhood. Designer Olivia Botrie of Dart Studio actually met the client years prior and was eager to help her create her dream home – a contemporary space, with traditional architectural elements, sleek modern details, and a great blank canvas for displaying a fantastic art collection. It sounds like a lot, but all works so well together. In a recent chat, Olivia told us more about the unique 2-year project. 

You knew the homeowner long before this project, right?
Avryll, the homeowner, is a realtor who has a passion for design and renovations. She went to the Ontario College of Art & Design and she has accumulated a fantastic collection of art. She has a great design sense and knows what she wants. Working with her is much more of a collaborative process rather than me being the lead on the project. 

I originally met Avryll 15 years ago when we worked together at a furniture store. Since then, we have collaborated on several properties from decorating to full scope renovations/additions. 

In the early phases of this collaboration, what were your goals with the home?
This home reflects the homeowner’s contemporary taste mixed with traditional design elements. The goal was to create a warm neutral backdrop to showcase her colorful art collection. 

What did you have to work with here? Was the home in decent condition or was this a big project?
Prior to the renovation, the house was a run-down century home badly needing an update. This was a full gut renovation with no stone left unturned. The walls were covered in old wallpaper and floors were badly damaged.

We reworked the layout including the stair location, added a two-story addition off the back and dormers to the 3rd floor to create more useable space. 

You did a fantastic job of blending modern, art-forward elements with more ornate details. How did you strike this balance, and why do you think it works? 
We thought a lot about how to balance two elements of design that my client loves, ornate traditional and sleek modern. We considered each room individually and made sure to represent each style in each room. I think the mix is what makes this home special!