Colour bursts forth in our first-ever special home style section
A passion for colour
The warmth of the French countryside flourishes at Toronto decor haven En Provence — and it all starts with colour
A French country flair For 12 years, the owners of En Provence have imported the spirit of the French countryside to their decor boutique. It’s a joyous approach, blending painterly fabrics with handcrafted materials in nature’s most exuberant hues: Here’s how to incorporate that French country touch into your home.
* Sunny showcase: the French love of pure colour and polished yet rustic materials takes the stuffiness out of a formal setting. Take yellow — it’s splashed throughout the store to brighten every shade and finish, from dark woods to tomato-red plaids. Cotton pillows and slipoovers in energizing reds, greens and golds liven up wrought-iron furnishings and tone down a tailored Bergere chair.
* Global allure: the French country approach blends Provencal influences with other cultural styles. This bedroom incorporates an Indian-inspired bedspread and carved cane bed with pillows in an artistic version of a French toile fabric.
* Year-round charm: a vibrant yellow dining table and chairs make the perfect setting for summer brunches or festive parties. En Provence changes the porcelain and earthenware to suit the season. Here, leaf green paired with red and yellow serves up an autumn harvest-inspired lunch.
* A serving potpourri: a colourful jumble of patterned and solid dishes makes your tabletop a feast for the eyes — they won’t clash if you choose the same colour intensities and incorporate glassware in complementary hues. Collect pieces that catch your eye — and you may never bother with perfectly matched sets again.
The owners of En Provence bring their cherished hues and country accents home
* Living in harmony: extravagant colours and lush prints don’t demand picture-perfect matches if the shades (like these yellows and reds) share the same intensity. Rug, Elte.
* Animal house: a decor theme that flows throughout your home repeats colours and details in each room. Here, a series of monkey prints reflect the monkey-and-ostrich toile fabric wallcovering — you’ll see the same fabric in different colours in other rooms of the house.
* Surprising twists: you might expect elaborate dark wood furnishings in the living room. Instead, incorporating delightful pieces such as hammered-bronze lamps and a wrought-iron table with a painted tin top give it a welcoming charm.
* Timeless hues: the owners have always cherished sunny hues and country accents — like the glorious yellow door and blossoming urns of their Toronto home.
* Sweet dreams: used as an accent in the rest of the house, warm green wakes up the bedroom. From the walls to the painted pine Canadian-made bed, green gives the master bedroom a rich peaceful mood. The home’s signature cheer carries over with dashes of red in the quilted print bedspread and shams and lipstick print by Canadian artist Joyce Wieland.
* Colourful backdrops: who says neutral cream walls should highlight vivid decor? Not the French — they’d add even more colour, such as Para Paints’ Sierra Gold on the dining room walls. Notice how it continues the colour from the living room and provides a glorious setting for everything from the striped curtains (the same as in the living room but different shades) to the rug and Pierre Frey tablecloth. Rug, Elte.
* Country accents: the smallest pieces play a major role in your decor by repeating touches of colour — such as the red handles of this practical, no-polish-required pewter tea-and-coffee set.
* Table talk : a colourful melange of porcelain dishes and heirloom silverware on a paisley cotton tablecloth combines to make a perfect setting for dining.
Let the sunshine in
Shades of yellow unify a cluttered space, transforming a rainbow-hued kitchen into a cheery sanctuary
* Patio ambience: to take advantage of its bright southern exposure, the sunroom — home to a loveseat and TV — was transformed into an informal dining area. A wrought-iron patio table and chairs from Limited Addition, topped with striped pillows from IKEA, helped create an alfresco theme. We used an inexpensive canvas twill for the easy-to-make curtains and blinds. Rug, tablecloth and flowerpots, all IKEA. Moroccan bowl, Club Monaco Everyday. Curtain fabric, Mac Donald Faber.
* Storage helper: to make the dining area feel more spacious, we chose a creamy distressed-wood bookshelf from Quintessence Designs that blends in with the tone of the tile floor. The country prints reflect all of the kitchen’s new colours. Prints, French Country. Baskets and tea towels, all IKEA.
* Paint primer: warm shades of yellow make this kitchen look twice the size. instead of contrasting colours, we chose the top three shades of a seven-swatch paint chip — Benjamin Moore 169 to 175. Each shade is one step darker but all in the same value to give us a unified colour flow. We used the lightest (169) on the ceiling to add height and hide the uneven plastering — conventional white would show every bump and chip. A buttery yellow (170) on the walls adds width to the space and ties the kitchen to the sunroom. The next hue (171) on the cupboards mimics the sun’s own natural shading, giving a feeling of depth and texture. The darkest chip (175), a rich golden yellow — not cream or brown based, which would change our colour flow — helped guide our tile and accent choices such as the throw rugs, china and artwork.
* Rainbow room: we’ll remember early ’90s decor by novelty faux paint finishes and stencils — such as this gingerbread cottage-inspired kitchen and adjoining dining area. All that colour — 10 different shades — made the airy space feel cramped and choppy.
* Spicy details: for a sunbaked Tuscan mood, we chose paprika, a rich golden-based red, as the main accent. It’s repeated around the room — in flowerpots, stripes and the picture frames and dishes surrounding the cooking area. Framed prints, French Country. Kettle, Embros. Yellow dishes and bowls, the Bay. Chili-coloured dishes, Pier 1 Imports. Ovenware, Sears.
* White’s right: we didn’t want to clutter up the airy new space with too much colour and pattern. Simple white bowls look freshest. Mixing-bowl set, Sears. Cup and saucer, the Bay. Tea towel, IKEA.
* Play It again: a room projects harmony when you echo similar shapes, colours and materials throughout. The tiered plate holder repeats the wrought iron of the table and chairs and helps divide the kitchen from the dining area. The glossy white of the moulding and window trim also pops up in the drawer pulls and serving dishes. Plate holder and dishes, all French Country. Toaster and blender, both Embros. Earthenware bowl, Absolutely. Mixing bowl, Sears. Baskets, IKEA.