Tag Archives: Paul Semkuley


Decor Details: Eclectic Downsizing

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Decor Details: Eclectic Downsizing

A treasure trove of art and furnishings finds a new home

By Paul Semkuley • Photography By Paul Chmielowiec

Downsizing from a five-bedroom house to a three-bedroom condo, to most, would seem like an ideal opportunity to purge, finally ridding your home of ”all the stuff” that no longer serves a function or holds meaning for you. But when you’ve amassed a fabulous, eclectic collection of furniture and art: Oh boy, what are you do supposed to do?

“THE NEW HOME BECAME a re:vived curation of all the things they loved and treasured SO MUCH OVER THE YEARS.”


In 2009, I created my company, re:source lifestyles, which combines the love of art, fashion and design, and offers a unique styling service to clients where they can “re:use, re:new, re:vive” what currently exists in their homes. It was this green-minded approach, paired with a referral from a previous client, that sealed the deal for the ongoing relationship I now have with my new client, Kate, who presented a charming challenge.


My first visit to Kate’s house was meant to give me an overview of the items that she and her husband liked and wanted to keep for the move. But there was a lot! Without making any decisions, we moved through the house that held a host of unique objects. And let me tell you, some of the pieces of furniture and art were fantastic! I now know why there was so much that needed to come with them to the new condo. It was incredible. Pen and paper in hand, I feverishly wrote down all the items that were coming, not forgetting that there were a few more unseen items in storage that would be coming, too.


One particular sofa, up on the third floor, was a grand Stickley sofa with loose seats and back cushions. It would be reupholstered and ready to make its debut in the new condo. Just one “tiny” problem—it was too big to go down the stairs! It had originally been lifted by crane into the house, but that wasn’t going to be an option with the move happening in a few days. I looked at my client and said: “We are reupholstering this sofa anyway, so what if we cut it in half and take it down the stairs this way?” My upholsterer is stellar and knew he could do the job. My client looked at me with a bit of perplexity, but smiled and said: “Great idea!”


With all the notes of furniture and art, we proceeded to the new condo so that I could take in the new space. It was a large, newly renovated condo by an architect that took over two units, making for some very comfortable living quarters. I took measurements and started to imagine where all of their great furniture and art needed to be placed. I came back to my client with a few proposed floorplans and finally came up with a winner. We re:upholstered furniture, we re:worked draperies into a duvet cover, we re:created art collections and we re:newed the space with new carpeting, decorative pillows and accessories. The new home became a re:vived curation of all the things they loved and treasured so much over the years.


Trust and a positive relationship with your decorator are necessary when it comes to successfully moving and downsizing your home. A solid professional client relationship expedites the downsizing and helps with moving the familiar, while still decorating with new items and ideas. Working together to create a harmonized space will pay off in the end. Our goal is to help modernize and update any existing collection. The homeowner has to be ready for anything, whether it be a sofa that needs to be cut in half or a 126-inch-long dining room table that needed to be lifted up and over the second floor balcony… but that’s a whole other story.

“Trust and a positive relationship with your decorator are necessary WHEN IT COMES TO SUCCESSFULLY MOVING AND DOWNSIZING YOUR HOME.”

Paul Semkuley, A Toronto-based interior stylist and principal of re:source lifestyles, successfully incorporates the client’s existing collection of furniture and family treasures in unique and unpredictable ways. resourcelifestyles.com


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Decor Details: For The Love Of Art

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Decor Details: For The Love Of Art

A colourful Canadian art collection steals the show in a black-and-white backdrop

Photography By Paul Chmielowiec

Art has so many intricacies; it is bought because you are drawn and moved by its content, colour, and medium. It represents a time in your life, the moments of joy and perhaps even sorrow. Some art is bought for its monetary worth and its potential appreciation in value but most of the time, we buy art because we LOVE it and have a passion for the medium.

So if you are an art lover, then you may have acquired a fabulous collection during your lifetime. Or perhaps you are a neophyte and are just starting your collection. Wherever it is in your life, displaying and hanging your art is as important as the colour of your walls; to know how it needs to be seen and showcased in your home will ultimately elevate its presence.

“ . . . D I S P L A Y I N G A N D H A N G I N G
T H E C O L O U R O F Y O U R WA L L S . . . ”


My dear friend and client Mary has a wonderful collection of art that she has acquired over the years; the commonality in her pieces? “They must all be Canadian artists,” she proudly claims. Artists like Tony Scherman, Simon Casson, Mark Lang, Kevin Sonmor, Luce Meunier, Janna Watson, Kristofir Dean and Paul Belliveau, to name a few. Though there is not one specific style that she is drawn to, she does have an infinite love for apples and tulips (which can be found in many pieces of art and sculptures in her home), but these artists have very strong points of view and require much breathing room to allow them to sing their own song. “They need to be a part of my daily life,” says Mary. And this is why we chose a black-and-white colour palette for her new midtown condo. It is meant to complement, not compete with the collection.


The simplicity of a black-and-white colour scheme allows the space to take a step back from the beauty and boldness of her art collection. Undoubtedly, each room has some very beautiful pieces of furniture, many customized to provide an everlasting layering of black-and-white tones, but what really stands out, is the artwork. The furniture becomes secondary yet grounding to the rooms. They all have weight to them, giving them presence, but it’s all about the art and always will be.

“. . . W E B U Y A R T B E C A U S E W E L O V E I T
A N D H A V E A P A S S I O N F O R T H E M E D I U M .”


With 14-ft. ceilings, we also had volumes of space to fill. We decided the light fixtures needed to have a sculptural element to them, which complement the artwork and surrounding furniture. We chose more round and soft shapes in these fixtures to balance out the severity of some of the art pieces.


This colour scheme also made the space appear visually larger than it actually is. With limited wall space, the entire north wall of the condo is a wall of glass, providing in its own right, a natural art landscape of the city. The decision to choose Ralph Lauren’s Brilliant White paint was the way to go. It isn’t too blue, green or yellow. It’s perfect; a white-walled gallery in the sky.

Art in your home is a wonderful thing. It shows who we are without saying anything at all. Art speaks for itself, and as the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Paul Semkuley, A Toronto-based interior stylist and principal of re:source lifestyles, successfully incorporates the client’s existing collection of furniture and family treasures in unique and unpredictable ways. resourcelifestyles.com


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National Home Show 2017 - ReCap

National Home Show 2017 – ReCap

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National Home Show 2017 – ReCap

The Reno and Decor booth for the National Home show was a wonderful opportunity to have visitors to the show experience two very different colour pallets and to visually get the answers to questions they often struggle with at home.  Each side was like two separate pages of the magazine but each designed and styled beautifully.

The ideas of good design are consistent regardless of whether a homeowner wishes to like in that colour palette.  Being able to work with a variety of attendees of the “Design Intervention” workshops in an environment that often exemplified the answers to challenges was amazingly helpful. 

The caliber of questions and the preparation that went into the questions, made it very clear that many many people  can use the assistance of a design professional, regardless of the size of the project.  It was a wonderful collection of extremely talented design professionals we are proud to call colleagues and friends.  This was a success for the magazine, for the consumers and for the design professionals who worked on the space and with those consumers. 


Design Intervention: We would like to thank the following experts who were on hand for free 15-minute consultations advising on design, decor and reno concerns:

RENO & DECOR would like to thank the following sponsors of Design Intervention:


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National Home Show & Canada Blooms 2017

The National Home Show & Canada Blooms – March 10 – 19, 2017

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The National Home Show & Canada Blooms – March 10 – 19, 2017

Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place
Toronto, ON

RENO & DECOR Magazine presents:

“Design Intervention”

From March 10-19, 2017 at the National Home Show, visit RENO & DECOR at booth 4118 to have all of your Design and Decor concerns put to rest. Design Intervention runs every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. On-hand will be a host of design and decor experts along with your favourite R&D contributors offering free 15-minute consultations. Be sure to bring along your photos, samples and floor plans to ensure you get the most out of your appointment.

Returning to design the space will be the ultra-talented duo of Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander.

A word from Glen & Jamie:

“We hope that you join us a the Reno and Decor space to not only to get some expert advice about your home renovation but also to be inspired by the rooms that we are creating to enhance the space. The furniture and accessories take your space to “magazine picture” perfect.

Come and see some of the latest trends in home decor, ways to layout a room and understand how to layer with luxury. When you really fall in love with something, it is available at our retail store on King East in Toronto’s Design district.  Looking forward to meeting you!”

On Monday March 13, be sure to catch Glen & Jamie on stage along with Evelyn Eshun and Michelle Mawby as part of Reno & Decor’s “Designer Panel”. The panel will be discussing “Kitchens and Baths: Why the Most Expensive Home Renovations? & How to Keep Costs Under Control!”

Design Intervention appearance schedule:

For updated designer appearance schedules, please keep checking back here and the show’s website: nationalhomeshow.com

Monday, March 13 = 11 am – 4 pm

Wednesday, March 15 = 11 am – 5:30pm

Thursday, March 16 = 11 am – 5:30 pm

Sunday, March 19 = 11 am – 5 pm

Friday, March 10 = 11 am – 6 pm

Saturday, March 11 = 11 am – 2:30 pm

Monday, March 13 = 11 am – 3 pm

Tuesday, March 14 = 11 am – 3 pm

Thursday, March 16 = 11 am – 3 pm

Friday, March 17 = 11 am – 6 pm

Sunday, March 19 = 2 pm – 5 pm

Sunday, March 12 = 2 pm – 5 pm

Tuesday, March 14 = 11 am – 2:30 pm

Saturday, March 18 = 1 pm – 4:30 pm

Sunday, March 19 = 11 am – 2 pm

Sunday, March 12 = 11 am – 1 pm

Saturday, March 18 = 11 am – 1:30 pm

Wednesday, March 15 = 2:15 pm – 4:30 pm

Saturday, March 18 = 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm

Saturday, March 18 = 4:15 pm – 6 pm

Monday, March 13 = 4 pm – 6 pm
Thursday, March 16 = 3 pm – 6 pm

Saturday, March 18 = 2:30 pm – 6 pm

Friday, March 10 = 11 am – 1 pm

Saturday, March 11 = 2:30 pm – 6 pm

Saturday, March 11 = 11 am – 3 pm
Sunday, March 12 = 11 am – 2 pm

Tuesday, March 14 = 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Wednesday, March 15 = 11 am – 2 pm

Monday, March 13 = 4 pm – 6 pm
Sunday, March 12 = 11 am – 2:30 pm

Saturday, March 18 = 11 am – 2:30 pm

Friday, March 10 = 1 pm – 6 pm
Saturday, March 11 = 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Monday, March 13 = 4 pm – 6 pm

Wednesday, March 15 = 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Tuesday, March 14 = 3 pm – 6 pm

Saturday, March 18 = 11 am – 1 pm

Sunday, March 12 = 1 pm – 5 pm

Friday, March 17 = 2 pm – 6 pm

Friday, March 10 = 11 am – 3 pm

Saturday, March 11 = 11 am – 3 pm

Friday, March 17 = 11 am – 2 pm
Sunday, March 19 = 11 am – 5 pm
Saturday, March 11 = 3 pm – 6 pm

Sunday, March 12 = 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm

RENO & DECOR would like to thank the following sponsors of Design Intervention:

Thanks and see you at the show!


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Around The Globe : At Home In Tuscany

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Around The Globe : At Home In Tuscany

Photography By Andrea Vierucci (LOCANDA)

Quaint guesthouses in the Tuscan countryside take their cue from the comforts of home.

If you crave design and decor inspiration, travel is one of the best ways you can feed your creativity. From the architecture and culture, to indulging in the local food and wine while taking in the sights, one of the key design influences while abroad is the hotel you choose and its surroundings. When in search of accommodations, for some there is always some apprehension. Nagging questions like, “Is there a place to sit other than my bed? Will the bed and pillows be comfortable? Is the furniture new or is it like being in a corporate office setting? What kind of view will I have?” These considerations are key when booking a place to stay.

Porcellino Gallery Art Boutique


On a recent trip to Italy this past summer, I found accommodations that not only quieted my reservations but surpassed my expectations. Our first stop was Florence for a four-day stay to tour the city. As far as lodging, I wanted a place that felt like home and not a hotel. The Porcellino Gallery Art Boutique is a mere two cobblestone blocks away from the Piazza della Signoria, with the Medici Palace and Uffizi Gallery just beyond. You couldn’t have asked for a better location, but what made it even more special were the furnishings and surroundings within the 16th century Palazzo Cavalcanti that has been in this Florentine family for many generations.

Porcellino Gallery Art Boutique

The front door of the palazzo is tucked behind the vendors of the Piazza Mercato Nuovo, and is very unassuming (except for the Egyptian sarcophogus). Yet beyond the glass door, the aroma of sandalwood and cedar fill your senses and the surrounding decor starts to delight your eyes. The iron-andstone staircase leads you up to the main common area of this gorgeous guesthouse.


Porcellino Gallery Art Boutique

With only five guest rooms, there wasn’t anything that said, “Look at me, I am a hotel.” It was more like, “Look, I have my own palazzo for the next four days!” Our room was one of the larger ones overlooking the square where the famous bronze Boar statue sits. With high ceilings and a double-door window, the room screamed old-world charm. But there was something more. It was the combination of the brass-bed frame with a ‘70s-style globe chandelier, zebra rug and low-fringed tub chairs that gave this room so much style and appeal. It could have been a chic bedroom in the home of a design-savvy person anywhere in the world. This was not your standardstyle hotel room. It truly made you feel like you are a guest in someone else’s home…and a palazzo at that…


After four glorious days at the Porcellino Gallery Art Boutique, we headed to our next destination, further into the Tuscan countryside, to the beautiful Locanda al Colle. Located in the green foothills of the Apuan Alps and the township of Camaiore, we settled in for nine nights of perfection.

Locanda al Colle

The original house dates back to 1760 and became a five-bedroom guesthouse in 2000, then expanding to 12 bedrooms in 2010. The grounds are meticulously maintained, with olive groves surrounding the property and the panoramic views of the Tyrrhenian sea are breathtaking; rolling hills, clay-topped roofs, olive and cypress trees are bountiful and the air is so fresh and clean.


As we walked up to one of the doors leading into the guesthouse, I once again felt that this is not going to be your ordinary stay. The entrance doors lead you into a seating area that is decorated and appointed with the best mid-century furniture, art and accessories. There is no front desk or check-in area, just beautiful surroundings that you would find in a home. The owner has curated a refined collection of art and furniture from around the globe and it shows how much he cares about his guests as the attention to detail is literally everywhere.

We were lucky enough to have a small suite for the next nine nights, with a bonus outside terrace to lounge about after being out at the pool or touring nearby Lucca and Cinque Terre. Once again, our room did not fail in wowing us. Filled with a modern and refined point of view, retro and antique furnishings were mixed to combine a magnificent setting. Why would I ever want to leave and go home?… I am home!

Locanda al Colle


Besides the sumptuous setting, there is still one more important detail in your home away from home and that is the bedding. We yearn for comfortable bedding and pillows and we know taking a pillow from home takes up way too much valuable suitcase space. Most places that I have stayed at, even the five-star hotels, the sheets are barely tolerable; crispy and course due to the commercial washing and detergents, not the thread count. At both of these outstanding establishments, it was just like nonna had washed the sheets, hung them out to dry and put them back on the bed. They were both sublime, the pillows full and plump, making every sweet dream possible while being away.

Locanda al Colle


Some of us have taken influences from our travels, mostly seen in the “hotel style bedding.” But it seems like these splendid establishments have taken their cue from the comforts of home, and reversed the chain of ideas. By knowing what a beautiful, comfortable home is and bringing those comforts to a paying guest, the chain of influence has gone full circle. These magical guesthouses confirm that there is comfort away from home while you travel abroad. I say continue to take your influences from travel and make your home, your home. This will maintain the cycle of creativity between you as a homeowner and the establishment of the hotels and guesthouses around the world.

Now get out there and live. I think I need to call my brother now and ask him for my brass bed back. A little Tuscany in Toronto is in order.


PORCELLINO GALLERY ART BOUTIQUE Piazza del Mercato nuovo, 4 50123 Firenze, Italy +39 055 288464 info@porcellinogallery.com

LOCANDA AL COLLE Via la Stretta, 231 loc. Capezzano Pianore 55041 Camaiore, (LU) Italy +39 0584 915 195 info@locandaalcolle.it


Paul Semkuley, A Toronto-based interior stylist and principal of re:source lifestyles, successfully incorporates the client’s existing collection of furniture and family treasures in unique and unpredictable ways. resourcelifestyles.com


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