Article Share: The Globe and Mail's Favourite Room
While you were celebrating Earth Day, you might have missed Tom and Ingrid’s feature in the Globe and Mail. A little while ago they embarked on a living room reno to update their home with some calm, beachy vibes. They wanted something sophisticated, welcoming and, most importantly, kid friendly. The result is a stylishly serene space that is both tranquil and approachable. The best part? Everything is eco-friendly, a mix of old and new and repurposed. Enjoy the full article below!
Favourite Room: How one couple brought beach vibes to their downtown Toronto home
by Kristina Ljubanovic
Tom Barnett and Ingrid Doucet have much to celebrate this Earth Day. Their company, Clementine Fields, an e-retailer offering natural skincare, haircare and lifestyle products, is turning five. “It feels good,” Barnett says, “like we’re changing the world in our little niche area and that we’re bringing something really positive and healthy to all of Canada.”
The couple’s commitment to mindful, environmentally friendly living extends to their home, their furnishings and everything they and their daughter, Violet Love, come into contact with. “Once you start something like that, it really blooms. You start to examine all the things that are in your life that may not be as healthy as they could be.”
When the couple embarked on a renovation of the living room in their high-ceilinged, Toronto heritage home in Toronto’s west end, they enlisted the help of Enza Ricco of Fig Interiors. “We wanted to go with something airy and beachy and calm,” Doucet says. “And we wanted everything to be eco-friendly, with no flame retardants.” The addition of a fireplace brought a much-needed focal point to the space and built-in, reclaimed wood-topped cabinetry provided extra storage for their daughter’s board games and puzzles.
“That renovation really changed the complexion of the room and made it much more inviting,” Barnett says. Then the couple turned their attention to the furnishings, which were, according to Doucet, “a mess, a mishmash of everything.” That’s where Ricco came in, selecting fabrics for reupholstering items such as the settee and even custom designing the rug that defines the seating area. “We were like, ‘White? Are you kidding? We’re getting a white rug?’” Doucet says . But the subdued colours and patterning are surprisingly forgiving of common mishaps – and exceptional ones too (Doucet recalls tracking red ink from an exploded pen mysteriously deposited in her boot, but there’s no evidence of that today). “Even though it’s on the lighter side, it’s family-friendly. It’s Ingrid-friendly,” she says.
“Our feeling is that a living room is meant to be lived in,” Barnett says . The mix of patterns and textures, in addition to evoking the eclectic vibe they were after, are comfortable and easy. An aerial print of a beach that hangs above the fireplace, found at local vintage shop Morba, says it all. “Obviously, we live in downtown Toronto, so we don’t look out the window at the ocean,” Barnett says . Though Doucet claims a personal association, which may have inspired the look. “I’m from Nova Scotia. So, it’s on my mind. I wish for it,” she says.
In addition to prioritizing furnishings and fabrics that are chemical-free and organic, Barnett and Doucet like to shop local, such as the Trinity Bellwoods Flea, a curated market in their neighbourhood. Their sofa and cabinets are Canadian-made and the task lamp and matching mirrors are locally sourced. Wine goblets are from NovaScotian Crystal, an east-coast institution that Doucet has known about for years. “I never really thought I would be a crystal person,” she says, “but [their pieces] are just so beautiful and interesting,” catching and reflecting light in their bright, west-facing space.
Barnett articulates the eco-minded couple’s philosophy when it comes to furnishing their space: “[We] try to buy quality pieces that are going to last, coupled with reusing and repurposing things,” he says. “Like this 1920s settee that has been in my family for a hundred years. It’s incredibly well-made. It needs attention every now and then, but it’s timeless and beautiful.”
Photos by Tim Fraser