The Suite Hereafter: four of the most impressive master bedrooms in Toronto
Oversized and opulent master bedrooms are the busy Torontonian’s favourite new indulgence. Here are a few of the city’s best
The Person: Vivian Reiss, a 61-year-old visual artist and renovator
The Place: A 5,000-square-foot house in the Annex with an 800-square-foot master suite
When Reiss moved into her Romanesque Revival mansion 26 years ago, it was a dilapidated warren of small rooms and gloomy corners. The woman who built it in the 1880s was the widow of a prominent Upper Canada politician and had 11 children; Reiss only has two, both of whom have now moved out. She’s an artist and she wanted her home to be as brightly hued and full of light as her exuberant oil paintings. Unafraid of taking on a top-to-bottom overhaul (she now renovates apartment buildings and offices professionally), Reiss immediately started tearing down walls. She turned three bedrooms—two on the second floor and one on the third—into a two-storey master with a sitting area, and filled it with salvaged fixtures from old Toronto buildings and curios from frequent trips abroad. Her dressing salon was formerly a porch, which she glassed in, adding curtains for privacy. Finally, Reiss repurposed the library to create an enormous tiled ensuite inspired by the Moorish tiles of the Alhambra palace. Her reasoning: she loves books, but enjoys bubble baths by the fire even more.
1) The peach paint on the walls reminds Reiss of sunlight hitting the stuccoed villas in her favourite Italian towns. “Warm colours help me dream,” she says.
2) Reiss has kept all the palettes she’s ever used. She lets the paint build up until they become too heavy to lug around when she’s doing landscapes outdoors.
3) She painted the self-portrait when she turned 50. In it, she’s fencing, a skill she learned at a theatre arts school in New York in her late teens.
4) Reiss snagged the set of carved wood doors from the CHUM-City Building on Queen West when it was being refurbished in the 1980s.
5) The abstract painting is by Reiss’s son, the artist and composer Joel Garten. They tried out three others in the space before settling on this one.
6) The ensuite was the setting for a scene in the 1988 romantic drama Cocktail—in which Tom Cruise takes a dip in the mirrored, hexagonal Jacuzzi.
7) Olivier Mourgue’s 1960s Bouloum chair was named for one of the French designer’s old friends. Reiss loves that it’s like a portrait; it’s also very comfortable.
8) Reiss often spends Sundays hunting for treasures at the St. Lawrence antique market. She spotted the hanging wicker chair there five years ago.
The Person: Rundi Phelan, a 62-year-old painter
The Place: A 3,000-square-foot Yorkville townhouse with a 500-square-foot master suite
After the last of her four kids left home three years ago, Phelan downsized to a townhouse in Yorkville. She wanted her new place to capture the relaxed, Hollywood glamour of the Beverly Hills Hotel. For that, a plush bedroom was essential. The master suite already had a fireplace, a marble-clad bathroom and a dressing room big enough to house her vast shoe collection. She added another hotel-worthy luxury: a shower that doubles as a steam room.
1) The pair of pony-hide Le Corbusier chairs and the coloured glass light fixture were both holdovers from Phelan’s old house in Rosedale.
2) A partial wall between the bedroom and dressing room doubles as a headboard. She used the same Designers Guild wallpaper on the water closet ceiling.
3) The dressing area contains dozens of photos of Phelan’s family. She likes to look at them every day when she’s getting ready.
4) Phelan had long lusted after the white twig chandelier from L’Atelier. Redoing her bathroom finally gave her a good excuse to buy it.
The Person: Sladana Tukulj, a 55-year-old marketing executive at electronic retailing company Thane Direct Canada
The Place: A two-storey penthouse near Yonge and St. Clair with an 800-square-foot master suite
1) Tukulj, who is training for a marathon, saw this papier mâché hippo in the window at L’Atelier while out running.
2) The flocked silk wallpaper is from Primavera. “It looks like lace,” says Tukulj. “It’s very feminine—and even sensual.”
3) The pastel by Toronto artist Cathy Daley depicts a female figure twirling in a frothy skirt.
4) The chandelier is made from hand-blown Murano glass.
5) The reading chair and chaise are the only pieces of furniture from Tukulj’s old house.
The People: Doug Mutton, a 58-year-old clothing importer, and Ali Gibson, the 50-year-old owner of design firm Beach Interiors
The Place: A two-storey house in the Beach with a 350-square-foot master bedroom and bathroom
1) Gibson, an amateur photographer, took the shot of the mountain peaks that surround the couple’s cabin in British Columbia.
2) The sculptural soaker tub, which easily fits two people, is by Philippe Starck. The bathroom sink is also by the French designer.
3) The fur-covered stool is from Zenporium. “I like the raw and rugged mixed in with the sleek, minimalist decor,” Gibson says.
4) The couple bought some of the accessories, like the lamps, from IKEA so they could splurge on the bathtub, and the marble floors and walls.