Carte Blanche

Designer Peter De Simone’s long-time clients kept him busy and content through a challenging 2020. His classic-contemporary design is precisely what the homeowners were looking for in their impressive new abode.

When his long-time clients called him with a job during the lockdown, early in the pandemic, they truly brightened designer Peter De Simone’s day. Louise and Tony Volpe first hired De Simone about seven years ago when he designed their 3,500-square foot home in Oakville. Last year, the couple — now empty-nesters — decided it was time to move again, but instead of downsizing like most homeowners in their stage of life, they opted to upsize to a glorious 5,000-square-foot abode. “They wanted this home to be all about the details — all about custom pieces, warmth and spectacular lighting. They wanted it to have that feeling of home. I always say you’ve achieved this feeling when you open your door and it feels like you’re home. That’s what they were looking for,” De Simone says.

It wasn’t a difficult task for De Simone to give the Volpes that inviting feeling. Not only did he have carte blanche with the project, but he’s also friends with the couple and fully understands their taste and lifestyle. “We worked so close together — we just had an instant bond,” he says. He immediately decided he would take a different approach to this house — instead of designing in a more traditional style, the way he did in their previous home, De Simone chose to go classic contemporary. He would bring in select pieces from the old house and mix in new modern pieces to achieve the look he desired. He also selected a gorgeous palette filled with golds, creams and navy-blue accents and aimed to bring that warm and cozy yet opulent feeling to the space.

Of course, he didn’t disappoint. The living room is the space where Louise enjoys relaxing after dinner with her tea and dessert, so De Simone knew it had to be comfortable but chic. The inspiration for the room was a brilliant arabesque pattern that’s seen on the mirrored doors of the custom closet in the hallway. He applied this same detail to the ceiling in the living and dining rooms. “Design is based on repetition — it brings unity and harmony when you repeat forms and lines,” he explains, adding the eye fixates on these details in wonderful ways. When it came to the palette, he brought in creams in the drapery and furniture, navy in the throw cushions and gold in the pieces on the mantel and the elaborate backs of the chairs — in a complementary pattern that works perfectly with the arabesque.

When he conceptualized the dining room, De Simone knew he wanted to go ultra-luxe. “I took their traditional buffet, which has amazing inlay detailing in the wood, and mixed in a modern look with the detail in the ceiling. This is a great example of how to mix old with new. We reupholstered the chairs and did the captain’s chairs in blue to bring in that accent colour.” He took a similar approach in the family room, knowing he wanted to create a glam space. The flanked channel-back grey sofas with blue pillows are impressive, but the true pièce de résistance in this room is where that modern flare comes in. “We got these life-sized sculptures from Guild Design Gallery. They are six-feet tall and create a magnificent feature wall. They’re titled the “Contemplation Sculptures.” One looks up and one looks down. I put them in 12-foot niches that are mirrored in the back. It’s very evocative of an art gallery. It’s what I call ‘gallery chic,’” he says. “They really invested in that modern feel with the art and the incredible martini tables in this room.”

Upstairs in the principal bedroom, De Simone designed the custom-made headboard, which features detailed nail heads in a pretty pattern. The feature wall has mirrored doors, which act as dressing mirrors, and there’s plenty of storage behind the doors. The rest of the wall has a contemporary 3D tile that creates a wave-like look and feel. The TV and fireplace add coziness while the feathered poof light fixture appeals to Louise’s love of all things glam. The benches at the foot of the bed bring in more of that custom detail the homeowners were so keen to incorporate. “They were just so excited and happy when they saw their new space. It really exceeded their expectations, and I’m glad — it took about a year for this project to be completed because of the pandemic,” says De Simone. “The Volpes are so proud of their space and it was a pleasure working with them, as always.”