Walking through the garden of Casa Barrera you’ll pass a statue of Demeter, the Greek Goddess of Harvest. This family heirloom sets the stage for what you’ll find inside—an abundance of storied antiques and objects of virtue.
Casa Barrera is a heritage home and the residence of our co-founder Jessica, her husband Dave and their four-year-old daughter, Isa. Like many heritage homes in the city, Casa Barrera was renovated in the 1970s and sadly lost much of its character and some original features. During the design process, Jessica dedicated time to researching Edwardian detailing and worked to restore these historical elements through a contemporary lens.
Jessica’s late grandmother Margaret was incredibly fashionable, glamorous and a true art historian and collector. Naturally, she was our muse for the project and we focused on exploring the key themes of homage, nostalgia and family. From literature on Greek mythology to a collection of tiny bird sculptures, Margaret’s vibrant personality, style and eclectic interests can be felt in every corner of the home. Most of the antiques were once hers and the overall design evolved from these heirlooms—a dining table with a fluted base and natural wood tone, an antique column, and a ‘club princess’ phone that once belonged to a Montreal nightclub in the 60s.
These pieces inspired a warm, earthy colour palette of ochre, gold, muddy pinks, antique white, pale green, muted blue and natural stones. The panel moulding on the entry wall and the phone niche are new additions, as is the round window that provides Isa with a lookout from her secret play space under the stairs. In the kitchen and bathroom, we played with more contemporary lines and detailing. The lower kitchen cupboards are painted antique white and have weathered brass recessed pulls while the bathroom features contemporary, handmade tiles. These design choices are intentionally contemporary but still feel very much at home.
The space reflects our approach to design, a refined maximalism that doesn’t shy away from layering colours and textures or mixing antiques with contemporary pieces. As a final flourish, we added ‘Casa Barrera’ in gold leaf vinyl to the entry door. It is just the right amount of drama for this beautiful heritage house.
- Lauren Zbarsky