Home LIFE + STYLE Design Perspectives – Colin and Justin’s Room for (F)all Seasons

Design Perspectives – Colin and Justin’s Room for (F)all Seasons


With fall well and truly upon us, and summer’s warm breath a distant memory, it’s time to cozy up ahead of the mercury’s descent. So go on, layer on those thick, textural sweaters, turn up the thermostat and enjoy Mother Nature at her autumnal finest. You KNOW you want to! Hey, we love to wrap up warm and dash outdoors to watch the leaves detach from their branches and fall gently to the ground. Aye, it’s time to welcome ‘crispness’… while, ahem, accepting that another Canadian winter lies just around the corner.

 In decorative terms, fall is easily our favourite season; a time for the home to embrace change by adopting a brand new look. For us, it’s less about full scale renovation and more about how a few simple changes can transform space from cool to cozy. The task of ‘seasonal adjustment’ is actually relatively easy and will make a massive change to the way your home feels, and performs, this autumn.

And our first exposure to the concept of seasonal adjustment? Some time past in the company of Gordon Campbell Gray, the Glasgow- born hotelier whose award-winning properties (One Colin & JustinAldwych in London, Carlisle Bay in Antigua and Le Gray in Beirut) are known for their understated luxury and warm welcome. Waxing lyrical about the importance of ‘real hospitality’ in the hotel industry, Gray explained how he insists on a warming change of fabrics, a seasonal menu switch…and that every fireplace in his British hotel is always cleaned, lit and ready to provide a warm welcome.

Imagine your sofa is a classic all year jacket; a fashion staple you can dress up, or down, as required. What would you do to warm it up for the fall? You’d pile on the layers, huh? Exactly! So treat your sofa to layer upon layer of cushions and throws, opting for chunky knits, textural weaves and faux furs to enhance the tactile nature. Put simply, it’s all about ‘feel appeal’. Or, in other words, as far as fall décor is concerned, texture is the new colour.

With shorter days and longer nights upon us, there’s less time available to embrace daylight – you head to work when it’s dark and you head home in twilight – so it makes sense to swap out light summer curtains for heavier full length drapes that will keep draughts at bay and add texture and warmth to your window walls. It’s fair to say that undressed windows appear cold and will expose you to the elements — so dress for the occasion and reach for those warming drapes.

You feeling any cozier yet? Hmm? Let’s keep going. Any competent designer will attest that rooms need a focal point and in an autumnal home, there’s no better way to provide focus — and draw in the attentions of visitors — than by installing a working fireplace. Like a demented, hypnotized moth, you’ll be seduced by flickering flames, so think about how you can introduce this inviting element if at all possible. In our 39th floor modern Toronto condo, there’s no way to enjoy a real fire so we make do with the 21st Century equivalent – a flickering hearth beamed directly through our wall mounted flat screen TV courtesy of Rogers, our cable provider.

In other seasonal adjustment news, polished timber floors look amazing in the summer months (with sunlight reflecting perfectly and cascading through your space) but, for your home’s fall collection, add a rug to break up the silky smoothness; the Colin & Justintextural element will be rewarding underfoot while adding pattern and colour. Choosing a rug is like choosing a piece of art you can walk on — think about form, style and colour and consider how your tufted lovely will contribute to your home’s overall style.

If your scheme’s lighting is a little on the glaring side — and if your project room looks like a floodlit baseball field — than it’s definitely the season to ditch the dazzle and bask in the warm glow of mood lighting. In practice this shouldn’t be too difficult. Hit the stores, for example, for pairs of table lamps (why buy one when two will give you SO much flexibility) and fit a $20 dimmer to your overhead lighting so you can adjust mood at the flick of a switch. Candlelight, too, is warming, flattering and romantic — perfect for this season when combined with a great bottle of wine and a good cuddle at the end of the day.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to settle in to the approaching season. Follow our simple counsel and before long, without fail, you’ll be cozily prepared for the perfect fall. It really is as simple as that!

By: Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan – NICHE Magazine fall 2013