Home Chic Home: Modern-Meets-Vintage Design At Mhouse Inc.

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Toronto interior designer Shirley Meisels of Mhouse Inc. began collecting vintage fabrics before her daughter, now 8, was even born. They’re just one of the many details that make up this covetable girl’s room, which eschews pink in favor of rich textures and bold accents. We caught up with Shirley to get her unique take on style.

How would you describe your personal style?
I like an eclectic mix of new and vintage items. Most people are surprised by how warm my spaces feel for being so clean and modern. I think it’s because I usually introduce a surprising burst of color or texture and there is always at least one item that makes you smile.

What was the inspiration behind your daughter’s bedroom?
For kids’ rooms, I tend to gravitate toward kitschy items from the 50s and 60s.  I love the colors from those decades and  I started collecting vintage fabrics before my daughter was even born. Then I came across the wallpaper and fell in love. I knew I didn’t want to do a “pink” room  so I just ended up incorporating all of the bits and pieces that I loved. Though nothing really matches, it somehow all works together.

I love the selection of art above the dresser. How did you go about sourcing them?

Some are vintage paint by numbers that I have collected over the years. I remember loving those as a kid so whenever I found one here or there I had to have it. Someone had also given me a stack of old salesmen’s brochures for suits and clothing patterns. I have to admit, I tore some out and framed them! And then, of course, there are pictures of my daughter as a baby – can’t live without those.

What should  parents keep in mind when designing their child’s bedroom?
I always try to encourage people to fill their kids’ rooms with things that both they and their kids love to look at. There is no reason why a child’s rooms can’t bend well with the rest of the house. I find it really unusual when I walk into a home that is, say, all creams and beiges, then the kids rooms are all primary colors!

Did your daughter play a role in decorating her bedroom?
She loves her room and has been my best client so far (she hasn’t questioned a single decision!).  Of course, every morning the pillows and dressers are arranged in a way that is all her own.

What’s the secret to designing a home that’s at once stylish and kid-friendly?

I think the main thing about kids in a home is that they seem to create clutter wherever they go. Storage is key. And I have a rule: If one thing comes in then another gets passed along. That way, we never overflow and there is a place for everything.

How do you manage your thriving career with motherhood?
It’s not easy! But as long as I keep myself organized, I somehow manage to fit it all in (though I’m usually running, literally!). I’m a list freak and can multitask like nobody’s business. It helps to have a structured schedule so that I can plan my appointments around my daughter. Once in a while, even the best laid plans can fall through – that’s when comes along as my assistant!

(Photos: Donna Griffith)