Taking colour and pattern to build a world of whimsy

Taking colour and pattern to build a world of whimsy

Our clients, a young fun couple, loved the layout of their new condo located in the epicentre of culture and nightlife in downtown Toronto, but they were not in love with the boring and cookie cutter basic finishes, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. They were looking to add colour, pattern, and personality with mid-century modern touches throughout the entire interior. This is where we came in with plans to create a more functional interior, one that is joyful and whimsical, and, most importantly, feels like home.

Interior Designer: Cori Halpern, ARIDO
Design Firm: Cori Halpern Interiors
Photographer: Virginia MacDonald

Colourful living room area with plenty of pattern and texture along with mid century modern touches like the freform coffee tables and contrasting lounge chair. The room is surrounded by city views.

Even before they were in possession of their new condo, we got to work and started thinking about the finishes, bold colours, and patterns along with the mid century modern touches that would reflect the couple’s joyous personality.

Our starting point in terms of design and colour scheme was the stunning colourful fabric we used to dress up the endless floor to ceiling windows on all sides. The lively pattern on the fabric recalls colourful tattoo art that adds movement into the space and serves as the perfect colour inspiration for the rest of the interior.

The foyer was turned from an empty, bland space to a welcoming one, with a sunny yellow console table and a small gallery wall that adds character while  hiding the electrical box.

Foyer with bright lemon yellow console table against the light blue walls with a small gallery wall
Vanity in the powder room, with gold details and teal coloured cabinets and armoir, while the whimsical mermaid wall paper dresses the walls

The little powder room located off the foyer was originally combined with the laundry room, which was aesthetically not pleasing and not functional at all because both areas were really small. The main goal here was to make it feel like one unified space as opposed to two separate rooms, which we achieved with custom millwork, leveled ceilings, better lighting and keeping the machines enclosed behind doors. With the addition of luxurious finishes and whimsical details, this space now has a magical feel.

The basic, super modern original kitchen needed to be gutted and reconfigured into a space that will become the heart of the home, the star of the entire space. Right from the start, we all gravitated toward teal as the new colour for this dream kitchen.  We wanted to create a seamless look by painting the bulkhead and the range hood in the same colour as the kitchen cabinets, and decided on a panel-ready, or built-in, 36” fridge,  so the eye can travel through the space easily and seamlessly. 

We designed a significantly longer and deeper island with more functional storage, which was possible because the clients didn’t want any seating at the island. By not placing the sink or stove on the island counter, we created a full run of counter space and maximum flexibility to use as they please, depending on the occasion.

Teal coloured, fluted kitchen island with smooth top counter surface displaying large bright yellow flowers in a vase, and seamless cabinets in teal on the wall. Sculptural golden light fixture is above.
Teal coloured, fluted kitchen island with smooth top counter surface looking onto the living room area and city views out the floor to ceiling windows

The curved edges on the fluted kitchen island create a more inviting and traffic friendly space, while softening up the otherwise square edged, boxy floor plan.

One of the challenges in this condo was not being able to move the junction boxes in the dining, kitchen and living room areas, which meant we had to make all the light fixtures in these spaces work together and complement each other. We chose a unique piece by a local Canadian manufacturer, a stunning sculptural light for the kitchen, and a quiet, mid-century Nelson pendant for the living room.

Colourful dining, kitchen and living area in bold colour combinations inspired by the lively pattern on the window drapery

In this room, it was all about the mix of fun modular pieces that add flexibility. The custom-designed freeform walnut cocktail tables in a natural stain finish add to the MCM vibe and can be configured in multiple different ways for maximum flexibility and functionality. The space is kept modern and fresh by the lounge chair in graphic black and white patterning which harmonises with the cozy textured rug underfoot. 

The primary bedroom is dressed in softer blush hues and a beautiful floral wallpaper to create a romantic atmosphere the clients wanted in this space.  Originally, the bedroom and ensuite entry sliding doors were flimsy and provided no privacy. So we added new sliding doors and hardware that were completely custom designed and then supplied and installed by a local Toronto company. They resemble works of art while creating more privacy and sound absorption for anyone using the space.

Romantic bedroom space with floral wall paper, mid century modern furniture and elegant drapery

The stunning blush pink sliding door leads to the ensuite bathroom, which was originally very dark, with dark wall tile, and very little lighting. Our solution was to play with the surfaces and brighten the space up by using reflective tile that brightens and reflects back the light, and better, more functional lighting.

We injected so much life and joy into this previously empty interior, to reflect our clients’ personalities and create a home they feel and look good in. It was important for them to have a lot of colour and pattern, with custom and unique pieces and mid-century modern touches. And we delivered. The entire space is now infused with pattern, colour and whimsy, and is also a more personalized, functional and liveable home.

Cori Halpern

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Cori Halpern

Cori Halpern Interiors

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