House Tour: An Empty Nest In Toronto Pays Homage To Coco Chanel

In Toronto's tony Forest Hill neighborhood, designer Anne Hepfer finds a rare client with a refreshingly untamed passion for color.

Virginia Macdonald

The all-white, maple-and-oak lined exterior of designer 's latest project belies the vibrant decor inside. It's a classic study in contrast, really, with punches of color hitting you the moment you step into the home's gallery style entryway.

Virginia Macdonald
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There, Carrara stone floors meet black base boards, and a bench and mirror above, trimmed in a splashy shade of tangerine.

"It’s liberating to have someone say 'just go for it,'" Hepfer says, of her clients, a pair of empty nesters with an eye for interesting art and a passion for colorful decor. "She would be the fabulous lady wearing the pink dress at the party," Hepfer adds.

And though she may be partial to pink (she even contemplated painting her front door in the rosy hue, according to Hepfer), her client agreed to a more verdant color for the home's main entertaining space — the dining room.

Virginia Macdonald

The jury's still out on whether the green leather chairs or the pair of Robert Longo prints flanking the marble fireplace make the bigger statement in this space, but what is clear is that there's no shortage of interesting details, like the malachite-inspired wallpaper by Cole & Sons.

Virginia Macdonald
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"[The wallpaper] provides some animation to these dancing figures, which are still in time, caught in the moment," Hepfer says.

Far less conspicuous, but no less interesting, is the room's Bolon flooring (a woven rubber that looks like sisal), which offers not only utility in a space where the homeowners frequently entertain, but also a clean palette for Hepfer to layer on a mix of bold patterns and French antiques.

A bonus? "You can pour a glass of red wine and it won’t stain," Hepfer says.

Virginia Macdonald
Virginia Macdonald
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In keeping with the dining room's drama, the living room features an antique Japanese black lacquered screen, which Hepfer notes mimics one Coco Chanel was know to have inside her Paris atelier. "I loved the dramatics that it provided. And the contrast with the white Bolon floor makes it feel very fresh and crisp," she says.

McCoy rock crystal lamps, a coffee table from Hepfer's ostrich collection, and chairs upholstered in a Scalamandre tiger print round out the room's Paris-meets-Hollywood Regency vibe and underscore Hepfer's "more is more" approach to design.

Swipe up to see more of the colorful home.

Virginia Macdonald
Virginia Macdonald
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Virginia Macdonald

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