Fresh Livable Style
Decorator Elise Boyer knows that colour and texture, when used tastefully in home décor, have the power to create beauty and a harmonious flow from room to room. As owner of Veranda, an affordable and beautiful home furnishings, art and accessories store in Bracebridge, Elise attends design shows and liaises with innovative furniture companies to source unique and classic items that give character to cottages and residences.
When Elise opened her first Veranda store in Huntsville in 2002, it was supposed to be a strictly retail venture. However, customer requests for Elise’s assistance with their home’s interior decor started almost immediately. Before long, she was working on residential decoration projects throughout Muskoka. After closing the Huntsville location and relocating to the historic Odd Fellows building at 24 Manitoba Street in Bracebridge, Elise found the demand for her decorator services continued.
“My fundamental rule has always been to surround yourself with carefully chosen, timeless items that you absolutely love,” says Elise, a self taught decorator who versed herself in the home décor business and independently studied interior residential style. “I tell my clients that nothing is really out or in – everything is in and has been for thousands of years. It’s just a matter of doing it tastefully.”
Though Elise prefers to take on projects within Muskoka, she does occasional work south of Severn Bridge. One couple came into Veranda for over a year to convince her to decorate their southern Ontario home in traditional French Country style. When the owners and Elise were thrilled with the home’s beautiful new look, the couple asked her to redecorate their Muskoka sanctuary, a two-bedroom condominium at Grandview Resort in Huntsville.
Although the style of her clients’ retreat was to be entirely different from their urban residence, Elise was ready to switch gears and start planning.
“I have a very different sense of style and taste that is European influenced,” explains Elise. “I can decorate for anyone in any style. I’ve done modern, very traditional, lodge looks, and often use a palate of earth tones for a Muskoka look. This condominium decorating project was interesting because there were a lot of vibrant colours, remarkable fabrics and patterns, and lots of whimsical energy. My goal was to keep it all complementary and cohesive to unify the condominium and make it work. I wanted it to reflect my clients’ needs and tastes, and become a real sanctuary from their hardworking, hectic pace of life.”
Knowing her clients wanted a playful colour palette; Elise selected several fabrics featuring a healthy dose of fuchsia, mauve, turquoise and fresh green from her extensive fabric sample gallery at Veranda. The clients loved her selection of colours and large patterns that give their retreat its
“That sofa’s fabric started the whole colour scheme. We went with those lovely colours and they led to everything else.”
vibrant, fun-loving feeling. Elise’s exclusive use of high quality materials for furnishings, window treatments, carpeting and bedding provide an impressive and enduring base for the light-hearted look.
“It’s very exciting to have clients who like large patterns and bright colours,” says Elise, who notes the owners come up often and love to decorate their retreat indoors and out with accessories to mark seasons and holidays. “The bedding in the master bedroom, which is from France, is a gorgeous large fl oral on a white background. It is elegant and dramatic, but tastefully done.”
In the foyer, Elise designed a custom fabric valance for the entry’s window. A cozy reading chair in two complementary fabrics nestles beside a slim hall table lit with a fanciful lamp. The inviting space sets a ‘welcome home’ tone that Elise wanted to extend throughout the condominium. To accomplish this, the decorator had to warm up the long, unadorned hallway running from the condo’s foyer to the main rooms.
To give a homey atmosphere to the hall, Elise designed large custom cabinets with handy hooks and comfortable bench cushions covered in pretty and practical Sunbrella fabric. The hall was further enhanced with a reclaimed wood console set beneath a lovely bevelled and etched Venetian mirror. To ground the space between the foyer and living room, Elise designed a custom cream wool rug with a distinctive purple branch pattern.
“We have a custom rug program at Veranda where the client selects the shade of their rug from coloured tufts of wool, and then we have the rug made in India,” explains Elise.
The living room’s vivid, multi-hued décor reflects the clients’ desire for a memorable space with spirit and playfulness. A Victorian cream wood and tin cabinet with a large oval opening provides vintage charm, while across the room a circular purple swivel chair festooned with daisies and striped cushions adds moxie. A dark blue carpet and periwinkle blue walls leverage the colours around them. A traditional wing chair, brightened with fuchsia, coral and yellow stripes, sits beneath an amber pendant lamp beside a gas fi replace with traditional mantle. Double glass doors lead to a deck with open views of Peninsula Lake. The room’s focal piece is a deep and comfy custom pull out couch covered in a large floral pattern in purple, blue, green and red on a cream background.
“That sofa’s fabric started the whole colour scheme,” recalls Elise. `We went with those lovely colours and they led to everything else.”
Coral drapes reach level with the living room’s transom window with its graduated line of starfish. Although some people prefer to eliminate drapes to preserve views, the custom window treatments in this home actually enhance its views.
“Many people skip drapes because they think they are going to lose the view, but window treatments frame the view,” says Elise.” We don’t interrupt the view. The drapes look beautiful and it is another opportunity to add some colour, fabric and a little bit of pattern.”
In the dining room, located off of a kitchen finished in white cabinetry and custom granite countertops, a buffet hutch, painted in a soft Benjamin Moore turquoise, glows against the dark purple walls. Custom made in Quebec, the hutch fi ts companionably with the dark wood dining table placed beneath a dramatic crystal lighting fixture.
The master and guest bedrooms are both saturated with colour, in keeping with the fresh, livable style throughout the home. The master bedroom is encircled with whimsical wallpaper that complements the creamy furnishings. The turquoise walls in the second bedroom accentuate the fresh soft purple, green and yellow hues in the bed linens. Both bedrooms have walkouts to private decks for morning coffee or evening reflections.
As one of the most colourful projects Elise has worked on during her 12 years as a decorator in Muskoka, this Grandview condominium’s wide-ranging spectrum for remarkable custom furnishings and finishes let her use every key element of her approach to design.
“My first goal was to create a sanctuary for my clients, and my second was to create visual beauty with colour harmony, pattern and repetition,” says Elise. “I was delighted to pull it all together with style, distinction and taste. This has been one of my most exciting projects as Veranda’s principal decorator.”
Elise recently had something else delightful happen in her life as a decorator. The second storey of Veranda’s premises opened in April 2015. The new space makes fuller use of the landmark Bracebridge building and provides more product selection for her customers.
“It’s a beautiful building and totally different from my store in Huntsville because the space is so unique,” says Elise. “The building is very historical with high ceilings in the original tin. I restored the upstairs to its original condition from 1904. It’s amazing!”
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