As the saying goes, mixing family and business can often be a disastrous combination. But when one Toronto-based interior designer created a first home for close relatives, there was no trepidation to be found. “This home was for my brother, Lucas Labelle, and his partner, Tyler Reaume, who is also my director of marketing and operations,” says Montana Labelle, the founder of her namesake design studio, a flourishing creative firm that offers full-service residential and commercial design in her hometown and beyond. “Together, they gave us full creative control when it came to the design, which always results in the best projects,” she says.
Their house, located in Toronto, is nestled in an area called Yorkville On The Park, a part of the city that overlooks a midcity park. “With this project, we were going for a laid-back, California-inspired design with an almost hotel-like feel,” Montana says. And since the duo likes to spend as much time in California as their hectic schedules permit, infusing the earth tones of their favorite locale into their abode was nonnegotiable. “The clients love traveling to the west coast and we wanted to create a space that brought that feeling to Toronto,” she adds. “The concept going into this project was to create an oasis in the middle of the city where they could entertain but also have a calming atmosphere to relax from their busy lifestyles.”
For Montana, texture (and a color palette that has come to define her point of view) played a key role in this project. Both elements helped bring forth an array of materials throughout the space to give depth and dimension to the home. “We try to play with materials wherever we can—the walls, the floors, the furniture—you name it. And, we typically start with the walls,” she says. “The entire home is done in a beige Venetian plaster and all the showers are done in a textural micro-cement. With furniture, we used a mix of earth tones, worn leather, cream bouclé, and beige linen to carry that feeling throughout.”
Like any home, there’s a focal point—a place of convening that serves as the meeting spot for lounging and entertaining—and for the Yorkville property, it all culminates in the kitchen. Montana and Tyler wanted the kitchen to feel like an extension of their dining area and living room, as opposed to an entirely separate space. Spatial planning provided challenges throughout the design process, as they were working with a semidetached four-floor home with rather small floor spaces. To maximize the space on each floor, design elements were meticulously thought through and considered.
Aside from the kitchen, the top floor of their home is where many additional changes were made. “The only structural changes made were on the top floor where the primary suite is,” Montana says. “We flipped the location of the closet and primary bathroom to create a larger bathroom fit for two as well as a walk-through closet that guides you into the bedroom. The top floor has an open loft feeling to it and is where the clients spend a lot of their time.”
“The original kitchen made the main floor feel very small and choppy,” she says. “There was a small countertop to sit at along with upper cabinets that took up a lot of space. We converted the kitchen into a galley kitchen, opening up one side to the ceiling and adding a beautiful, bullnose travertine shelf. The paneled appliances and push-to-open millwork all create a seamless transition from the kitchen to the rest of the main floor, with clean lines wherever you look. We also used elements, such as curved walls and a curved staircase, to help create flow from one floor to the next.”
The pièce de résistance? The downstairs wine cellar, which was a way to show her brother’s vast wine collection and bring his guests downstairs for a tasting. For these two, the kitchen has some strong competition, but all in all, it was a family affair.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest