Personality Abounds

It’s really not difficult to inject character into your house — designer and owner of KARE Toronto Edilka Anderson did it perfectly in her Toronto townhome. Here’s what she says about adding statement pieces and how to make your abode an extension of who you are.

Ask Edilka Anderson and she’ll tell you that anyone can bring personality into their homes — and you don’t have to be a design professional to do it.

Anderson, a designer and the owner of KARE Toronto, a lifestyle design and decor store offering everything from chic furniture pieces to glam accessories, has lived in her downtown Toronto, three-bedroom townhouse for nearly 20 years. She had done smaller home-improvement projects over the years, but it wasn’t until a life-changing event struck that she decided to do a full renovation. “I wanted a completely new start for me and my three children — a fresh start. It was so dark in my home, and I wanted to bring the light in.” So, Anderson decided it was time to renovate from top to bottom and embarked on a remodel. “I brought in another designer and a builder, and I decided on a very custom-built space. I chose all the finishes and got creative by finding corners for built-ins and storage. I found ways to make 1,300 square feet work harder for me and my kids,” she says.

As the owner of KARE Toronto, Anderson is no stranger to bringing in those finishing touches — adding ways to incorporate personality and uniqueness to spaces. “I love to showcase what I own while staying true to my design style. My personal style tends to gravitate toward French modern — I love the antique and old style look combined with modern pieces,” she explains. “I love to play with accessories — they can be so versatile in a room and can really make the space unique.”

She’s also no stranger to being asked about how to incorporate statement pieces into a home — KARE Toronto carries exquisite, distinctive pieces that can really inject personality and fun into spaces. “I always recommend your bigger pieces — sofas and chairs, for example — to be more neutral. Buy neutrals that are quality pieces and will last so you have them for a long time; these are the main things to invest in. Then, once you’ve made those important selections, work from there — now it’s time to per- sonalize and add your style.” For example, Anderson says she’s a fan of brass and gold. “I’m a bit flashy,” she laughs. “My neutrals are always blacks and whites, so I design
on top of those hues. I’ll add in rusty shades in the fall, for instance, in my pillows, throws and accessories. In the spring, I’ll lighten it up and change my cushion covers to feature botanicals, tropical prints or palms.” She says her powder room is a prime example of how to add personality into a small space. “It’s done in black wallpaper that has green palms all over it. Then, there are art pieces and a mirror that bring in gold accents. When someone walks in, they’re immediately wowed — it feels like you’re away in the tropics.”

Anderson says many homeowners tend to be safe and decorate their homes in neu- trals, but we shouldn’t be afraid to add colour and accessories that speak to who we are. “The same is true in fashion. What I wear tells a story. For me, I express the way I live and dress in how I decorate and what I wear. My style speaks for itself.”

For clients who come into KARE Toronto and don’t know how to bring in colour, bold accessories or personality, Anderson makes the process as easy as possible. “I
ask them, ‘Where do you want to put it, what do you want to use it for and how do you want to feel when you look at it?’ For example, if they want to put a conversa- tion piece in their living room because that’s where they entertain for cocktail hour, or in their home office because that’s where they spend eight hours a day, those are good choices for places where they can inject personality in the pieces they choose,” she says. The store is full of incredible furniture and accessories, but also statement pieces — think giant black gorillas and silver bulldogs — that people gravitate to. “Our objects are playful and add character. They’re fun. A client recently came in and pur- chased a life-sized multicoloured horse for her hallway. We often have people come in who say they’ve never seen a store like KARE — our products stand out with all the colours, sizes and textures they come in. We can bring a space to life. You don’t have to compromise your style to add bold pieces. That’s ultimately how you bring personality into your home.”