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Great Spaces: This designer’s retro home office is punctuated by pops of colour

“The 1960s office is the only room in the house I didn’t touch”

By Iris Benaroia| Photography by Derek Shapton
Designer Shirley Meisels in her retro home office

Who: Shirley Meisels, a designer Where: near Eglinton and Allen Road


Shirley Meisels likes being in the thick of things, so she plunked her home office just off the entrance to the Forest Hill home she shares with her husband, Mitch Altman; their three grown kids; and Penny, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. From her desk, Shirley has a view of her leafy street through large windows that fill the interior with light.

She runs the design firm Mhouse Inc. while Mitch takes care of back-of-house details, like accounting and updating the website. Pre-Covid, the couple shared the space, and Shirley was out of the office so much that they didn’t get in each other’s way. But, during the pandemic, they were on top of each other and outgrew the space—so Mitch migrated to the basement.

“The office is the only room in the house I didn’t touch,” Shirley says. She respected its 1960s provenance and kept the dark panelling and matching shelves as well as the flagstone fireplace. “I used to meet every client here in person,” Shirley says. “I still visit showrooms and see some clients, but now a lot of those meetings can be virtual. It’s cut down on my travel by 50 per cent.”

A designer's retro home office punctuated by pops of colour
The matching chairs came from Shirley’s father’s 1960s office. She bought them off her uncles for one dollar apiece and has since reupholstered them four times, most recently in this black-and-cream patterned fabric

 

Designer Shirley Meisels picked up this multi­coloured poster from PI Fine Art in North York
Shirley picked up this multi­coloured poster from PI Fine Art in North York

 

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A triangular canvas sculpture by Toronto-based artist Christopher Reyes
The triangular canvas sculpture is by Toronto-based artist Christopher Reyes. “I saw it on Instagram and thought, I need that in my house,” says Shirley

 

A painting of Scarlett O'Hara
Shirley’s assistant gifted her this Scarlett O’Hara painting. “I love Scarlett’s tenacity—her ‘tomorrow is another day’ attitude,” says Shirley

 

A vintage camera balanced on art books in a bookshelf

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