Who lives here: Architectural designer Alison Strickland and her husband
Size: Bedroom of 320 square feet (30 square meters); bathroom of 72 square feet (6.7 square meters)
This Toronto master suite renovation reflects architectural designer Alison Strickland’s eye for precise architectural details and clean lines, yet it is soft and welcoming thanks to elements like mother-of-pearl tiles, linen upholstery, and eye-catching quatrefoil and other motifs. Strickland shares the bedroom with her husband, who was happy to have his wife take the design reins.
Scope of work. The changes included replacing wall-to-wall carpeting with new hardwood flooring, replacing an overly fussy fireplace surround with a clean-lined one and adding new millwork on the ceiling in the bedroom. Next she redecorated, layering in her favorite materials, such as mother-of-pearl and linen, and adding well-edited dashes of pink. The bathroom was a complete renovation.
Style. “I like things architectural but a little softer,” the designer says. “I wanted everything to be fresh and put my personal stamp on it.” She gleaned inspiration from a favorite small oval tray — it is polished nickel with a mother-of-pearl inlay. After talking about what she liked with her colleagues at One Three Design, they helped her decide on a calm color palette in white, ivory and a range of pinks. The result is that the room has a tailored yet soft and airy feel.
Flooring: Chamonix, Pur Neue collection, Neue Floors; glass doorknobs: Emtek; find glass doorknobs
Fireplace surround. Strickland knew she could import the exact mother-of-pearl tiles she wanted for the fireplace from England, where she had lived for years. The real mother-of-pearl mosaic tiles, each three-quarters of an inch square, shimmer and add glamour to the once-uninspired fireplace. She also carefully considered the millwork, designing a clean profile for the new mantel and surround that was less fussy than the original one, which had scrolled millwork and fluted legs. Her trim carpenter made it to her specifications on-site.
This mantel also gave her a place to display some favorite things. She found the artwork at House Warmings, a local shop. The child figurine under the cloche was her grandmother’s, and the candlesticks are vintage Scandinavian.
Tile: Fired Earth
Nightstands. On the left, a petite white lacquered desk with X-shaped legs, combined with a raspberry stool and a mirror, serves as Strickland’s dressing table. “I was tired of cleaning hair out of the bathroom sink and decided to make a spot for hair drying right here,” she says. She found the little stool at Target and gave it a skirted look with a slipcover in a deep raspberry velvet from Kravet. She replaced the original knobs on the desk with mother-of-pearl knobs she found on Etsy.
On the right is a custom chest she had made for her husband. They store the bulk of their clothing in separate walk-in closets, which she customized with Ikea drawers, shelves and rods.
Mirrors. The designer continued the architectural look by flanking the bed with two large rectangular mirrors from CB2. The reflection helps keep the room looking light and bright.
Dressing table: Crate & Barrel; duvet: HomeSense, pink woven pillows: Bouclair; tilting mirror: The White Co.
Lighting. To cut down on bedside clutter, Strickland installed pendant lights, which save valuable bedside table space. The beautiful floral design is composed of Capiz shells, which look similar to the mother-of-pearl on the lovely tray, pictured on the nightstand, that inspired the room’s style.
Pendant light: Venus, Worlds Away
Light. A white metal quatrefoil sconce plays off the white chains that suspend the floral pendants across the room.
Rug. This image gives us the best peek at the rug. It is wool with silk floral details.
“Originally I just thought I would add some new lighting in here and call it a day, so I picked these sconces up at Home Depot,” Strickland says. But the project soon blew up into a full renovation. At 6 by 12 feet, the bathroom was generous in size, but the proportions were off — it had a ridiculously large bathtub and a tiny 3-by-3-foot shower. And its ho-hum vanity, lighting and flooring looked even worse when paired with the beautiful new bedroom.
Scope of work. This was a down-to-the-studs renovation.
Walls. She added the clean lines of V-groove paneling to the walls to give them depth.
Vanity. The old vanity was oppressively large and weighed down the room. The new light-colored wood vanity with an open bottom makes the room feel bigger and breezier. Strickland swapped out the black knobs that came on it for mother-of-pearl knobs she found on Etsy.
Bathtub. “I knew I wanted a petite one-piece tub in this racetrack shape,” Strickland says. “This one is monolithic and minimalistic.”
Floor. The flooring is a large-format porcelain tile that looks like marble.
Lighting. “This is a great designer’s trick,” she says of the recessed waterproof LED lights that run along the shower ceiling where it meets the wall.