The Toronto Star .  Jan 20 2007 . Diane Tierney

Style ‘strikes chord of sensibility’

Monarch’s Upper Millcroft model townhouse in Burlington showcases warm, comfortable, earthy style, punctuated with bittersweet colours of red and orange for personality and panache.

There’s a selection of bungalow and two-storey townhomes and villas at this award-winning golf course community. There are two models you can tour.

Janice Wilson of Janice Wilson Design in Mississauga created the design for the three-bedroom Apple Gate townhome, which is 1,909 square feet. “My approach to this home was to create a design fusion of colours and textures. Design fusion means expressing a sentiment about who you are. I believe a house should be designed to make you feel instantly comfortable, as well as display the things you love,” says Wilson.

“I’m not a big believer in trends because they come and go. French designer Philippe Starck once said that trends are not where it should be at for designing homes and I subscribe to that. You need to strike a chord of sensibility. I didn’t want this home to look like a retail showroom or stage.”

Wilson used earth tones to make the space look relaxing, inviting and give it a grounded lifestyle setting. “The whole home has a warmth to it. But you still have to add some punch to bring it up a couple of notches and give it panache. So we used orange and red pillows, art and other accessories,” says Wilson.

“There’s hardwood flooring throughout the main floor, with the exception of the foyer, which has a limestone tile. I had the hardwood laid on a diagonal because the look of the lines stretches the floor plane. That creates a bigger sense of space. I didn’t want to create a very determined line that’s suddenly ends at a wall. These lines seem to disappear gradually and give the room a widening effect,” she says. The staircase pickets are black wrought iron. “Iron pickets tend to lighten up the look of a staircase and give it a modern and contemporary feeling,” explains Wilson. “I also installed black wrought iron hanging pendant lights across the breakfast bar in the kitchen which is nearby. The lights create a focal point for the granite counter, which is a called brown pearl.”

The kitchen cabinetry is an oak Shaker style with an antique brown finish. The flooring features 12-by-12-inch cream-coloured tiles and the walls are also painted a cream colour to lighten and brighten the space.

“Since the hardwood flooring is such a rich, dark oak colour and the cabinetry is also brown, I wanted the flooring to be a bit of a surprise when you come around the corner. You might expect to see more hardwood, but this is a switch-up and the light colour brightens up the kitchen,” she says.

The family room features artwork of Petra in Jordan adding a touch of world travel – as do some of the accessories throughout the home that range from wooden, African-style sculptures to Asian-red ceramic bowls.

“The home has an eclectic look created by the imagery used in the pictures and some of the accent pieces throughout. The floor lamp in the family room has a highly textural base,” she says.

The ropelike coiling creates a rustic theme and the fabrics on the chairs are textural, she says.

Texture is important to the style of this home’s decor. “In general, I like to mix fabric textures such as satins and silks, with linens and wools. I like to achieve contrast, as well as balance,” she says. In the ensuite bathroom off the master bedroom upstairs, Wilson used textured wallpaper. “There isn’t a lot of opportunity to use fabric in a bathroom, so having a textured wallpaper and a rough, natural stone flooring, adds depth and interest,” she says.

Downstairs, the basement walls are a sandy brown colour. “There are about 12 pot lights that make this room much brighter than what the wall colours would normally create. When you have a lot of down lighting and a light carpet, then you can use dark colours. If I had chosen a cream colour, it would have looked washed out,” says Wilson.

The custom built-in cabinets display accessories. Halogen lights create a strong focus on these items.

“I had the backs of these built-ins made in the same veneer as the cupboard fronts. This makes them look solid and complete. The cupboards are also handy for storage and the way they flank the fireplace makes this a wall that anchors the look of the room,” she says. “A home should be as comfortable as your own skin,” says Wilson.

“I wanted to create a welcoming style for this model to convey a feeling of kick-off-your-shoes comfort,” says Wilson.