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Highly Whimsical Victorian Channels 1,001 Nights and Gaudí

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Painter and interior designer Vivian Reiss' dining room table—glass top, curving blond wood base—was designed in the shape of a roast chicken. Yet, like many of the centerpieces in her adventurously decorated Victorian home in Toronto, it is surrounded by objects that would seem to not match it at all: turquoise-and-pink pastel chairs with scalloped edges, a window that looks like it was salvaged from a Moroccan mosque, and the kitschiest of plastic chandeliers. Reiss has traveled the world and brought back daybeds from Bali, antique mirrors from France, and sideboards from Rajasthan, but instead of separating them she has mashed them up. If the film version of 1,0001 Nights had been art directed by Antoni Gaudí, and then transposed to a 1880s redbrick house, it might look something like this.

Over the course of a multi-year renovation, Reiss salvaged thousands of items for the house; the entire first floor was made from pieces of reclaimed mahogany and marble, and the wooden kitchen with its sunflower-shaped chairs was carved by hand. The home has a library, music room, office, and a painting studio on the top floor (many of the colorful paintings adorning the walls were created here). Most of the home's windows came from churches or other illustrious buildings, while the bathrooms (one of which has a fireplace) all have elaborate tiles, and antique light fixtures and mirrors.


· All Adventures in Interior Design posts [Curbed National]
· All Artists in Residence posts [Curbed National]