Design Unleashed

  • Designer Kimberley Seldon placed an enormous ancient mill stone from Italy dead centre and aligned it with the front door, immediately creating a sense of order in the space.
  • Custom arm chairs flank a metal drum which acts as a coffee table, providing a perfect perch for quiet contemplation.
  • It's not uncommon to find large columns poorly placed in new condos but again, it makes decorating a wee bit more challenging. To give the column a sense of purpose Kimberley placed a tall wooden Buddha in front of the structural feature.
  • The comfy grey sectional (Jamie Alexander) surrounds a round wood coffee table from West Elm. Colourful salmon and navy pillows from ELTE fill the space with colour.
  • Behind the sectional, a low Asian bench tucks beneath a sofa table.
  • Sculptural pieces like the Buddha and bronze leaf offer big style statements.

Interior Design by Kimberley Seldon Design Group
Photography by Ted Yarwood

Who doesn’t want to feel zen at home?

Easier said than done when you have challenging spaces to decorate—like the pie-shaped entry hall that greets you as you enter the front door of this urban condo.

The cool couple who live here had lots of ideas when it came to decorating. They wanted to display some of the treasures they’ve collected on their extensive travels for instance. But when it came to the sitting area…they were stumped. How to deal with a severely pie-shaped space?

BOD Winning Living Room!

BOD Winning Living Room

Business of Design followers entered some stunning living room projects for a Dabble social media contest. Congratulations Theo Flamenbaum for submitting this winning photo.

Theo designed his small, urban condo to utilize every inch possible. This designer loves to entertain, and a sectional allowed him to maximize seating. A mix of textures­­—grasscloth walls, woven carpet and sleek furniture—creates a dynamic but comfortable space, where guests feel right at home. Theo clearly loves to reference his travels as evidenced by the elegant stone Buddha head. Well done Theo!

Snow White Kitchen

Issue-1-Home-Tour-Erin-Valencich-copy

We love this all white kitchen designed by LA’s Erinn Valencich. The curvy counter and mirrored mosaics are a playful counterpoint to the handsome lines of the cabinetry and sliding doors.

Question: Does an all-white kitchen work in climates where there’s snow on the ground for 4-6 months of the year?

#JustCurious

Kimberley’s Condo Main Living Room

Originally aired on Cityline.ca on December 13, 2012.

Kimberley’s Condo Kitchen

Originally aired on Cityline.ca on December 13, 2012.

Small Space Design

Make your small space a triumph of style over size. Kimberley tours one of her Toronto design projects as she provides tips on small space design.

Kimberley Seldon’s Condo Foyer

Originally aired on Cityline.ca in November 2012.

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

  • The living room’s sectional sofa is covered in creamy, textured linen. Sitting adjacent is the iconic Platner chair and stool. “To me, the Platner series represents ultimate glamour,” the designer says.
  • Steven opted for Resene Marsale paints in industrial hues—like the dramatic charcoal seen here—to complement urban views.
  • Floor to ceiling glass, dynamic city views and overscaled accessories create a dramatic setting for dining.
  • Europeans were fascinated with the Far East during the time of explorer Marco Polo. A closer look at the cabinet's details reveal animated people in ornate dress and elephants in ceremonial costume.
  • The luxurious silk-panelled walls embrace the bedroom’s cozy ambience.

Perched high on the cliffs in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm, this penthouse condo with its stylish “cocktails-at-five” mood reflects the talents of Australian designer Steven Stewart. The quiet inner-city dwelling suits his client’s busy lifestyle. As a bonus, it’s also an ideal meeting spot for friends to gather before heading out for a late dinner at one of the area’s fabulous restaurants.

Spacious and airy, chic open-plan living and dining rooms lead to outdoor entertaining areas as well as stunning, unobstructed views of the city and its brightly lit Story Bridge.

Although it’s an optical illusion, it almost feels that the illuminated bridge—which crosses the Brisbane River, connecting the city’s northern and southern suburbs— is within easy reach.

In the dining room, eight alabaster leather chairs border the gleaming black table, ready to accommodate the owner’s frequent dinner parties. Two vintage Chinese vases from a local antiques dealer sit on top. “We purposely chose white vases to add a spark,” says Steven.

Despite its ultra-urban vibe, the burgeoning neighbourhood of New Farm gets its name from the city’s early years as a rural community. “Since this is the condo’s only penthouse,” says Steven, “it’s affectionately called the New Farm Penthouse.”

The towering metal sculpture, purchased by the owner in Italy, strikes a pose against Brisbane’s evening skies.

“Black and gold Chinoiserie provides a stunning backdrop to the luxury textiles and finishes,” says designer Steven Stewart.

A gleaming bar cabinet with glass shelves and mirror backing displays crystal wine goblets, ready to oblige a future soirée. The decorative details of the chinoiserie work beautifully against the dark and dramatic interior accents. Steven explains the term Chinoiserie is a French word that means ‘in the Chinese taste’ and describes a European style of decorative detail, wildly popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Clearly, it’s still fashionable today.

Bedroom walls are seductively panelled in a sophisticated silk textile, custom-dyed to match the paint finish on adjacent walls. Not only does the treatment create a cozy environment for sleeping, it’s an effective way to dampen noise as well. Underfoot is a cozy taupe carpet.

“Bedrooms don’t experience the same heavy use as say, the kitchen, so I took the opportunity to use more extravagant materials,” the designer enthuses.

In addition to carrying the home’s industrial colour scheme throughout, Steven introduces a Chinese motif on the decorative pillows to echo the chinoise elements throughout the condo. The faux fur throw adds a welcome layer of luxury.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY KYLIE HOOD

Masterful Mixing

  • In the living room, he transforms a formerly heavy, Indonesian coffee table by swapping its carved wood base for a new, sleek metal frame. The change lightens up the space and adds a contemporary accent to the more traditional furnishings.
  • LEFT Dave is the author of several books including Daytime Drama, Male Model and Summer Cruising.
  • One way to improve styling skills is to start by producing small vignettes. This table scape features framed pieces of photography, clear and pottery vases and coral. 
  • LEFT Fluted wood lamps from Target mix handsomely with woven console table and repurposed stools. RIGHT A cozy side chair, is layered with a kidney shaped sisal pillow, 18” x 18” block print pillow and Belgian ticking stripe runner. Dave painted the blue coral artworks to add punches of colour to the white walls.
  • In the living room, two ottomans tuck neatly beneath the large coffee table, taking up little floor space but providing extra seating when required.
  • Bookshelves line the walls, providing an artistic backdrop to the predominately blue and white design scheme as well as a creative canvas for displaying objets d’art and accessories.

Nothing matches but it all goes together.

You’d expect Dave Benbow to have a well-designed life. After all, he’s a manager and buyer for one of LA’s hottest La Cienega design shops, Mecox Gardens. Naturally, his passion for work translates seamlessly into stylish living quarters.

Dabble jumped at an invitation to visit the Runyon Canyon condo and see firsthand how this “master of mixing” brings it all together.

Never ask a designer for an opinion….that is, unless you want one. Dave Benbow, like other successful decorators, says his personal design philosophy works for anyone, “Rooms should look collected, not purchased.”

But Dave is not one of those ‘anything goes’ designer types, insisting instead, “There has to be a cohesive vision.”

Certainly, quality is part of Dave’s vision. Some of the items in his home—the William Birch armchairs and down-filled sofa—are investment pieces he’s had for years. When it’s time to revitalize rooms, instead of starting from scratch, he recovers and repurposes, getting lasting value from his purchases.

According to the industry veteran, mixing price points is also part of his philosophy. “It keeps everyone guessing,” says Dave, and it’s one of his favourite ways to stretch a budget. Case in point, he pairs a high-end woven console table with well-priced lamps from Target in the dining room (see page 36).

Despite a philosophy that espouses mixing and matching, Dave is serious about starting every design project with the right floor plan. Function is first, then decorating. He relies on casual furniture (and it must be comfortable) to set the tone, typically upholstering major pieces in neutrals, then accenting with colour.

SAND, SEA, SKY

The Georgia native says he’s naturally drawn to colours that work well in his adopted LA homeland; tones that mimic sand, sea and sky. “Khaki,” he jokes, “may not be from the earth, but I live in it,” so that’s another favourite choice. A former Ralph Lauren Home employee, Dave says he appreciates the brand’s tailored colour palette and chose Ralph Lauren’s Cove Point (WW29) for walls throughout the spacious condo. Painting the cabinet backs in Shale Blue (VM124) brings white and off-white accessories into sharper focus.

“Be true to yourself. If you like it, that’s what matters.”

ARTFUL STYLING

A collection of organic-shaped vases in shades of oyster and white, stacks of books and personal photos fill the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. The artful display features a wide range of price points and changes frequently according to the designer.

Like most professional decorators, Dave doesn’t redecorate often, preferring to work with classic pieces that age well.

In the dining room, Dave searched for a fabric as comfortable as his favourite khakis. Turns out, a fashion fabric supplier had the real thing. Perfect.

“I know from experience that people keep things they don’t like because they cost a lot,” says Dave. “My advice then, is don’t spend a fortune unless you absolutely love the piece or can afford to change it down the road.”