By HATTIE KLOTZ
When Emma Doucet, owner of Grassroots Design, first clapped eyes on the turn-of-the-century semi-detached house in Hintonburg, it was in a sorry state. The pink-grey brick house had at one time been split into a duplex. It had vinyl flooring, and the fireplace had been torn out.
But some of the original features remained, such as deep baseboards and wonderful 10-foot ceilings, as well as a bay window that allows light to flood in. “The first thing we did was lay hardwood flooring,” says Doucet. “Then we got rid of the pot lights in the living room. We wanted to update this house but to do it with integrity, respecting the era.”
Rather than using colour on the walls — “I find high ceilings with a darker colour oppressive,” she explains — she chose to layer her decor with neutral walls, adding colour splashes and texture with accessories. “I find that good design doesn’t assault your senses,” she says, “and when you add colour through lamps and accessories, it’s easy to change it out.”
You might think that Doucet chose the blue and orange accent pillows to tie in with the painting in the dining room, “but the painting came after the fact. It belonged to the owner’s grandmother and works perfectly.” Once orange became the statement colour, Doucet and the owners opted to use it also on the wall of the basement stairwell. “Originally it was all dark grey neutrals, but this was the pop of colour it needed.” Doucet then carried the blue from the ground floor down to the lower level to tie the whole house together.