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home of the week

Wisam Mshati/Wisam Mshati

2289 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Th 117

Asking Price: $3,950,000

Taxes: $$11,273 (2021)

Unit Size: 2,900 square foo.

Listing agent: Christian Vermast, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

The backstory

There are some homes where an observer has to struggle to come up with a definition of the decor or style, but for townhouse 117 at the Grand Harbour condo community in Etobicoke only one word need apply: luxury.

Luxury is the lingua franca of the owner Lori Morris, who has for 30 years built an eponymous business based on wish fulfillment and ultra-bespoke interiors for homes in some of the wealthiest pockets across North America.Wisam Mshati/Wisam Mshati

Luxury is the lingua franca of the owner Lori Morris, who has for 30 years built an eponymous business based on wish fulfillment and ultra-bespoke interiors for homes in some of the wealthiest pockets across North America. She has a show-room for her company’s ideas in Port Carling for the Muskoka cottage set, and her work has been featured in major fashion, design and shelter magazines. For her own home nothing less than show-room quality workmanship was acceptable either.

“I gutted the whole thing down to the studs, and replanned and repurposed it and went with classic detailing for timeless look … If I were to take it on as a project today I wouldn’t touch it,” she said. There are elements in the house that clients and fans of her style – which she defines as “‘Sexy French’; a collaboration and a synergy between modern and French classical” – will recognize, and techniques to make use of space that she tried here first before bringing them to clients.

It’s the third unit Lori Morris has lived in at the Grand Harbour condo community in Etobicoke.Wisam Mshati/Wisam Mshati

“We like to think we’re originators, pioneers in the industry, so a lot of the elements here might look mainstream now,” she said, but they were anything but 12 years ago.

It’s the third unit Lori Morris has lived in at the complex, and if there’s any question about the value design can offer consider there’s a similar sized unit on sale now in the same complex that appears to have builder-original decor from 1993 and is listing for $1.499-million.

The house today

The black-white-and-gold foyer has deco-inspired touches, and the inlay pattern on the floor is a custom made design laser-cut from black and white marble, black limestone and wide-plank black-stained elm flooring.Wisam Mshati/Wisam Mshati

On her company’s Instagram account Ms. Morris has a saying: “A Lori Morris foyer has no rules.” Her own home may have one: dress to impress. The black-white-and-gold foyer has deco-inspired touches, and the inlay pattern on the floor is a custom made design laser-cut from black and white marble, black limestone and wide-plank black-stained elm flooring. A skylight in the ceiling tray floods the space with light.

This level was initially designed as mainly utility space with a garage access (on the back of which Ms. Morris installed a small gym space) and a furnace room. Ms. Morris painted the exposed brick, painted the exposed rafters black, and programmed in a TV-room that leads to a second bedroom with a two-piece ensuite tiled entirely in horizontal glass mosaic. With mega-sized paisley print wallpaper and a fuzzy faux-fur headboard, it’s not your bog-standard nanny-suite basement room.

Another aphorism from Ms. Morris’s Instagram is “A room should never allow the eye to settle in one place” and the level embodies that with something new to look at in each space.

The coffered ceilings feature an oval recess in the formal dining room.Wisam Mshati/Wisam Mshati

The coffered ceilings feature an oval recess in the formal dining room and ornate corbels in the living room; the paneled walls and thick crown moldings and arched doorways and nooks pair with contemporary furnishings and modernist light fixtures. The materials are either richly detailed (animal or textile prints) or rich warm wood and white paint. Built-in shelving in the dining room with blank cartouches on top blend into the walls that frame the entry to the kitchen, which makes up for its small-ish size with tall ceilings, marble-slab backsplashes, a huge range hood and storm-cloud-shaped chandelier centred by a rococo table with mirrored surface that serves as an island prep space.

Through a wood-paneled archway is what might be an eat-in space in most kitchens, but is repurposed as a den/lounge with banquette seating that opens onto one of the house’s four outdoor terraces.Wisam Mshati/Wisam Mshati

Through a wood-paneled archway is what might be an eat-in space in most kitchens, but is repurposed as a den/lounge with banquette seating that opens onto one of the house’s four outdoor terraces. This terrace is a sheltered dining space on the back of the building with rough-cut brick walls for privacy and it connects back into the dining room with another entrance.

The largest room on this level is the family room, which features no television but has two reading nooks with built-in bookshelves flanking the fireplace.Wisam Mshati/Wisam Mshati

The largest room on this level is the family room, which features no television but has two reading nooks with built-in bookshelves flanking the fireplace, an idea Ms. Morris first tried here but which has spread to other clients since. “On either side of a fireplace is sort-of no-man’s land, so to be able to utilize it I started putting built-in benches which we showcase to clients,” she said.

The sanctuary

The feeling in the Ms. Morris’s personal spaces is a softened version of Versailles.Wisam Mshati/Wisam Mshati

The third floor is almost entirely Ms. Morris’s personal space. “I’m a bedroom girl, to me every house is a hall to my bedroom,” she says with a trill of laughter. There is a guest bedroom with its own full ensuite bathroom and access to the rear terrace (the largest outdoor space, but one that shares courtyard views with neighbours) – both done in cream and light blues – but the remaining three-quarters of the floor is dedicated to a huge dressing room, bathroom and primary bedroom.

There is a guest bedroom with its own full ensuite bathroom and access to the rear terrace – both done in cream and light blues.Wisam Mshati/Wisam Mshati

The feeling in the Ms. Morris’s personal spaces is a softened version of Versailles: The patterned textiles, the paneling, the millwork, the scrollwork, the corbels, the arches are all here, but softer, creamier, fluffier than downstairs.

A sumptuous soaking bathtub with marble surround faces the lake-view windows, and the L-shaped vanity and makeup table situate you to look past the balcony to Lake Ontario, too.Wisam Mshati/Wisam Mshati

A sumptuous soaking bathtub with marble surround faces the lake-view windows (there’s also a decadent standalone shower deeper into the bathroom), and the L-shaped vanity and makeup table situate you to look past the balcony to Lake Ontario, too. “There’s a fabulous view to the water, it’s like you’re transported to some kind of lake resort,” Ms. Morris said. The vista contains the Humber Bay Park Promenade with docked yachts on the left and the sweep of leafy waterfront parkland to the right.

The vista contains the Humber Bay Park Promenade with docked yachts on the left and the sweep of leafy waterfront parkland to the right.Wisam Mshati/Wisam Mshati

“It’s so peaceful so quiet, you don’t understand you’re in Toronto,” she said. “You feel like you’re up north, you feel like you could be in Nantucket.”

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