Singer-songwriter Megan Bonnell and her husband, Evan, found the perfect spot to begin their married life together on a quiet street in Toronto’s trendy Queen West neighbourhood. The couple had been casually house hunting (think: checking out open houses on weekends, just for fun) since before they got hitched in 2016. When they heard through the grapevine about this 2,600-square-foot contemporary new build, the couple didn’t necessarily know if it was meant to be. “I thought it would feel too modern to us, since we’d always liked character-filled older homes,” says Megan. “But I fell in love with all the light and the smell of the oak flooring, which reminded me of my grandparents’ farmhouse. It felt warm, fresh and inviting.”
Although the bones of the structure were intact, the fireplace lacked personality. “It’s more open concept than what we’d been used to,” says Megan. And since she and Evan had different vis ions of where things would go – for instance, would the living room be situated in the front or the back? – they called in designer Lisa Lev to provide her expertise. “We want to be here for a long time, so we thought we’d better get it right the first time,” says Megan.
Lisa’s design is a toothsome mix of vintage and contemporary, high and low, streamlined and boho. “There are nods to MidCentury Modern style, but there are also lots of pieces that are fresh, organic and current,” says the designer. One of the most impactful elements is the living room’s over sized wall mural of a forest, which references Megan’s rural upbringing and Evan’s childhood summers spent in northern Ontario.
Though she had reservations about this house at first, today Megan is singing a different tune. To her, the look is light, bright and laidback. “It feels relaxed and easy,” she says. “Whether we’re entertaining or it’s just the two of us and our dog, Dave, it’s such a cozy place to hang out.”
Both designer Lisa Lev and homeowner Megan Bonnell point to the bamboo-and-paper pendant light as one of their favourite elements in the cozy living room. “It scatters light and shadows in a beautiful wild way, like you’re in a forest,” says Megan.
Megan (pictured with Irish-doodle Dave) loves how the wall of windows at the back of the house floods the entire main floor with light. The fiddle-leaf fig tree is one of many plants you’ll find throughout this house. “I love plants, and luckily, my husband, Evan, keeps them alive,” she says.
The gallery wall situated across from the kitchen is an expanding collection of personal pieces, including photographs, framed album covers and handmade artwork. Megan and Evan already owned a mid-century teak sideboard, and Lisa found a vintage wall-mounted cabinet to match.
Lisa used statement lighting to define the different zones throughout the main floor. This striking modern chandelier — an investment piece — marks the dining area, which features a curated mix of contemporary, midcentury and vintage pieces, including the coloured glass decanters and a picture of Bob Dylan taken by renowned photographer Don Hunstein.
The bedroom is a balance of comfort and sophistication. Note the skilful layering, which is key to a pleasing room.