This Colorful Home Shows How to Add Personality to a Cookie-Cutter New Build

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Name: Rachel Yeager, husband, and two kids
Location: Midtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Type of home: Detached house; modern, fairly new build (five years old)
Size: 2500 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I have been wanting to share my home with Apartment Therapy readers as I’m a longtime fan of the site. When my husband, our now 8-year-old twins, and I moved into our modern new build in Midtown Toronto, it was sterile with not much personality. In fact, it had been on the market for quite a while probably for this reason, and as such we were able to get a bit of a deal in Toronto’s otherwise ultra competitive real estate market.

Because we were upsizing, we had to find a way to furnish our home on a budget (we spent our extra dough on the house itself). I also wanted to warm up the bland greige palette. My husband painted the walls “Stiffkey Blue” by Farrow & Ball, which gave me the inspiration to recover my grandparent’s vintage sofa in a mustard velvet that I sourced on clearance at Fabricland. The rest flowed from there.

The majority of the furniture in the house is repurposed or re-upholstered hand-me-downs from family, mixed with vintage and secondhand finds from Kijiji. The only “new” thing we purchased was a set of glass pendant lights from Niche Modern for our kitchen, as I have always been a huge fan, and the two large framed prints in the dining area by a local artist, which I had fallen in love with. We are proud of our vintage-eclectic-modern mash up and that we took risks with color for a look that makes us happy.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Modern, eclectic, vintage, thrifted, bold

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is our open concept living/dining room. Even though it’s now trendy and in the vein of the Classic Blue Pantone color of the year, I never tire of it. I find it exciting yet soothing. The living/dining area is filled with hand-me-downs from family, including my grandparents’ living room sofa, which I upholstered in mustard velvet, mixed with a velvet zig-zag fabric on the back and under the cushions.

The upholstered Missoni-inspired wing back chairs were my mother’s, and originally a floral print. The glass side tables are Italian, which she purchased in the ’80s, and the marble coffee table was my husband’s aunt’s, also from the ’80s. The dining set was bought from Kijiji and the ivory sideboards are from my mother. The two large Persian rugs were my grandparents. The light fixtures and lamps were sourced primarily from Kijiji and the dining chairs are vintage Knoll, which were originally designed for the Yale law library. I love that these pieces come with stories and history; they give the room a lot of personality.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Aside from plants, the last thing I purchased was a large black and white photograph of Lake Ontario by Prince Edward County based photographer Johnny Lam. I won it at an art auction fundraiser for the Picton Library.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Most people are afraid of color, and of taking risks in decorating. They will deny themselves the thing they really love (sofa, art, rug, furniture, paint color, etc) in favor of the choice that is safe. My approach is to fill the house with pieces I love, that I want to have around me, that are unique and have a personality. If you fill your home with things you love, then chances are you will love your home!

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.