Delighting in the surroundingsPublished on December 11, 2013

  • The Toronto chair

  • A Warhol inspired painting, by Yvonne, keeps watch in the living room

  • Yvonneís work hangs above the bed in the master

  • Yvonne Potter

  • Dining in simplicity

Showcasing personality, eclectic style and good design within the relatively confined space of an apartment on the canal is no easy feat, but designer Yvonne Potter, of Yvonne Potter Interior Design, (formerly CKY Design) has accomplished this. The two-bedroom unit offered decent storage, which was a plus, but the views and proximity to nature are what pushed Yvonne and her husband, Richard Urquhart, to call the place home.

With the addition of personality pieces including large artwork (most done by Yvonne), statement lighting and a few vintage items, like the cabaret gal that greets you at the entrance, the place is an expression of both experimentation and functionality. Using wine crates for storage is one element, but as a furniture designer Yvonne relied on some of her own pieces to work effectively within the unit. With an eye for Italian style, she leans towards clean lines and believes that simplicity is the root of good design. Her creative side infuses warmth and character throughout the home and she offers up this piece of good advice: "Be aware of what you love, what speaks to you and mostly what delights you; those are the pieces you want to surround yourself with on a daily basis." Comfort is not forgotten within the space. A long sofa in the living room allows the couple to indulge in their passion for movie watching.

While there is intrigue throughout the space, there is also simplicity and cohesiveness so that objects speak to each other, rather than competing. Yvonne advises using the "80-20" rule so that 80 per cent of your surfaces are a base colour while the other 20 per cent are complementary. In the apartment, she used a base of ivory and complemented with varying tones and shades of greens and yellow to work with the view of Queen Elizabeth Drive, outside their windows.

Yvonne was introduced to industrial design while studying architecture in Edmonton. Her passion for materials, art and technical details led her to product design, and today she designs furniture for both individual clients and mass-production companies. Her latest design is the Toronto Chair for Maryland-based furniture firm David Edward. "I saw a hole in their furniture line for a modern swivel lounge chair and presented it to the owner at a trade show in Toronto, hence the name." Her furniture designs are also well represented locally. The Vivian bar and counter stool is sold through Phillip Van Leeuwen and the Black Cat Bistro and SIDEDOORContemporary Kitchen & Bar have them in their bar areas.

Working with clients who are open to experimenting and learning about something new spawns her creativity. While the goal may be to achieve a look of simplicity, the process of achieving this in design takes work and Yvonne's apartment is an excellent example of the process: surrounding space that delights and complements what lies within.

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