Stephane Chamard welcomes change when it comes to the personal environment he shares with his husband. When the opportunity arose to sell their Victorian-style home and purchase a modern industrial loft, both jumped at the chance.
The challenge? The loft, a 1990s conversion of a candy factory in Toronto’s West Queen Street neighborhood, wasn’t quite modern enough for their tastes. With Chamard in charge, they decided to renovate, creating an edgy, airy setting with a decidedly 1970s design theme.
The post-and-beam warehouse, which dates to the 1930s, once housed the Ce De Candy Company, makers of Rockets and Smarties candies. When the six-story building was converted to residences, it was dubbed the Candy Factory Lofts, featuring units with wood floors and exposed brick walls. “Our loft hadn’t been touched since it was originally done in the ’90s,” Chamard says. “It was a bit too woodsy-orange for us. We decided to redo everything and lighten it up.”
In the living area and throughout the loft, Chamard opted to paint the floors, beams, walls and ceiling white, creating a blank backdrop for the furnishings. The color also helped bounce more light into the interior from the north-facing windows. “I wanted a white canvas for the setting,” he says. “It looks like a white bowl of paint exploded everywhere. The white paint makes everything else stand out.” more >
“I love the ’70s,” Chamard says of his design approach to furnishing the loft. “To me, it was the last, great optimistic era in design, when all the plastic was fantastic. I wanted to honor that era here with furniture and colors.” The designer created that retro vibe using a carefully edited collection of classic furniture, period finds and whimsical pieces.
In the living area, vintage Djinn chairs by Olivier Mourgue (made intergalactically famous in 2001: A Space Odyssey) set the style and inspired the vivid color scheme for the loft’s main level. The chairs were originally a pinkish brown, and the wool jersey fabric Chamard was intent on using came only in electric blue. “That was our starting point,” he says.
He added the specimen plants to create a winter garden effect. The Roy Lichtenstein-inspired pop-art print hides the television. An Italian-made articulated mannequin from the 1970s lounges in the living area’s window, next to an overscale pendant lightbulb used as a sculptural element. “The mannequin is a permanent guest,” Chamard says jokingly. “I found this one in a Paris flea market and another one on the street in Toronto, next to a garbage can. Furniture companies used them in displays.”
The homeowners’ initials create a vignette in the living area. “We bought them on a holiday,” Chamard says. “They were painted red in our previous house and will probably change color when we move again.”
A collection of family photos greets the homeowners and visitors inside the entry door. Near the entrance, two more mannequins — these used for fashion — mingle against the brick wall next to a vintage lamp.
The dining table came with the loft, and Chamard had it stripped and painted black, surrounding it with a collection of classic chairs, also in black. The artwork is a blown-up version of an avant-garde Belgian fashion magazine cover.
The kitchen’s white lacquer cabinetry and countertops are in keeping with the pristine theme of the loft’s backdrop.
A photograph of Morrissey, a favorite musical artist of the couple’s, hangs above the sink. “I like to use art that’s not food-related in the kitchen,” Chamard says. “It makes the kitchen seem more like it’s part of the rest of the space.” Chamard elevated the kitchen’s bar to hide the prep space from the living area, and he added custom library shelving for a large book collection. The Paper Clip tube bar stools and the molded plastic chair were vintage finds.
Chamard wrapped the bookshelves around a low wall that screens the mezzanine bedroom from the main level. He also moved the bedroom staircase. “I didn’t like exiting the bedroom directly into the living room, so I moved the stairs to one side for more privacy.” A vintage Concorde lounge chair by Pierre Paulin was reupholstered in electric blue; the table lamp is an Ettore Sottsass prototype.
A Raymond Loewy credenza set the color scheme for the bedroom. A collection of The Smiths album covers creates an art piece above the credenza. The custom bed includes a felt-covered headboard. Eero Aarnio’s 1973 Pony stool adds a touch of whimsy to the bedroom. The area rug is made of recycled saris, and a vintage Spider lamp by Joe Colombo casts light on the setting. Vintage Dansk silverplate animal paperweights congregate on the bedroom wall.
Chamard used inexpensive white penny tile throughout the bathroom for a unified, clean look and built out an illuminated shelf for storage in the shower. He found the tooth stool at a local vintage shop, and a sculptural wall-mounted sink adds interest in the master bathroom.