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Home Decor

11 decor tips to add colour and creativity to your home

Canadian textile designer Bev Hisey and her partner, architect Dan MacKenzie, show us their newly renovated, row house
By Virginie Martocq; Photos by Donna Griffith
11 decor tips to add colour and creativity to your home

Make a splash

There’s definitely something intimidating about meeting Canadian textile designer Bev Hisey–at least on paper. She is, after all, a major player on the international design scene, a media and blogger favourite and just about the grooviest mom you’ll meet. But that’s where the intimidation ends. Step into her newly renovated downtown Toronto row house, and it’s clear humour and fun are her muses. While the sleek white shell seems modern and cool (her partner, Dan MacKenzie, is an architect), her quirky sense of colour and love of bargain hunting infuse the home with a comforting tongue-in-cheek quality. Take the stuffed bird (next page) that sits casually on the dining-room credenza, for one. Or the hilariously 1970s melted-rubber vase displayed in her bedroom—she picked it up at Goodwill for under $2. (Turns out it’s actually by Italian designer Gaetano Pesce, and worth around $600.) That pretty much sums up Bev: confident, funny, successful, with a keen eye and a killer instinct. No surprise, then, that her tiny one-of-a-kind house is jam-packed with brilliant solutions for small-space living.

home decor colour modern Bev Hisey

1. Shun pattern in favour of blocks of colour

Create fun pops of colour with solid throw cushions and simple fabrics. The clean backdrop allows for quirky art and playful furniture.



Get this look: Solid cushions, Bev Hisey Textile Designs and Creations. Scissor print by Alanna Cavanagh, Alanna Cavanagh. Small painting by Jerry Waese. Architecture and design by Dan Mackenzie. Construction by Crush Co, 416-803-2400. Project management and interiors by Bev Hisey Textile Designs and Creations.

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2. Forget upper cabinets

Clever planning means the kitchen works beautifully without upper cabinets. The back wall of the house has been replaced with glass to make the tiny space feel large and bright.

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3. Use vintage LPs as art

Steal one of Bev’s ideas by gluing vintage vinyl albums onto small canvases and displaying them as art.



Get this look: Bertoia dining chairs, Queen West Antique Centre. Similar table: Parsons glass-steel dining table, Crate&Barrel.

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4. Lay a wood floor in the kitchen

Keep the look of an open-concept home cohesive by using the same flooring throughout the entire space.



Get this look: Flooring, Efloor. Cabinets, faucet, sink, staron countertops, Ikea.

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5. Choose one wacky piece

A heavily carved Black Forest cuckoo clock is juxtaposed with the über-clean, minimalist design of the kitchen to inject humour into an otherwise serious space.


Get this look:
Clock, Waddington's. Flowers, No Frills. Acrylic vases, Atomic Design.

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6. Upholster your box spring

Instead of hiding your box spring, try wrapping it with a piece of fabric for a crisp, modern look.



Get this look: Wooden machine molds (on wall), Smash. Butterfly yellow cushion, Bev Hisey Textile Designs and Creations. Flokati rug, Goodwill.

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7. Use outdoor siding inside

A huge wardrobe acts as a wall between the master and the den. The back and sides are clad in the same wood as the exterior of the house.


Get this look:
Pax wardrobe, ikea.ca. Artifort tulip chair, Klaus. Diamond carpets, Bev Hisey Textile Designs and Creations. Side table, Machineagemodern. Gemthane clapboard siding, lakeshore Lumber-Home Building Centre, 416-251-2281.

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8. Make an art grouping with matching frames

If your art collection goes from ’70s pop to ’80s abstraction, pull it all together by showcasing all your pieces in matching frames. It’s also useful to have a common colour running through the pieces to unify the look.



Get this look: Moderna museet poster (left). Circle print (lower right ), Ruth Adler.

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9. Turn commercial skids into a cool, modern bed

In her daughter’s bedroom, Bev used industrial pallets topped with a melamine board and a mattress to create a low bed. Original art by Bobbie K. Owens sets the tone for the red-and-black colour scheme.


Get this look:
Letter cushion, Bev Hisey Textile Designs and Creations. Trapper-point blanket, Goodwill. Bed frame, Just Skids Recycling Inc., 416-232-0339. Painting, Bobbie K Owens.

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10. Make use of mirrors

Strategically placed mirrors maximize light . In this small room, the fl ooring runs diagonally to make the room feel bigger.


Get this look:
Eames chair, Design Within Reach. Credenza, Machineagemodern. Goose lamp, Goodwill.

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11. Replace a shower curtain with glass

Get the look of a free-standing shower by using a glass enclosure around a bathtub instead of a frilly curtain. For added interest, Bev ran the floor tiles up the wall of the bathroom.



Get this look: Fixtures, Roman Bath Centre. Towel, Anthropologie. Yellow ruler, Metropolis Living.

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