Style mergerPublished on May 13, 2014

  • Mary Anne and Cruz surrounded by her collection of books. 

  • Laurysen kitchens adapted to Mary Anne’s changes to stunning effect

  • painting above bed by Santiago Panichini, linens from Restoration Hardware

  • custom designed sofa by Mary Anne, carpet from Henzel

  • Glass and steel merge

  • Modfire fireplace

When interior designer Mary Anne van Gaal and her husband Marty decided to leave their large family home for a centrally located 990-square-foot condo, they gave up space. But that didn't mean they were prepared to live in a cold, minimalist environment! It did mean that Mary Anne could start from scratch to create a personality-filled home to be shared by the couple and their playful Portuguese water dog, Cruz.

Mary Anne has created a vibrant home full of character and style with colour splashed in just the right doses. "I believe everyone should live surrounded by things they love and that have meaning for them," states Mary Anne, the principal decorator for Otta Decorate!  It's the kind of place that you want to hang out in for a while, reading one of the many books that create intrigue from tabletops to shelving walls. Mary Anne is pleased with the results and says, "It gives me great pleasure every day to be entirely surrounded by items that I found in my travels, through sourcing, or inherited - things that still make me say ‘wow!'" 


Many of the furniture pieces were designed by Mary Anne and built by master craftsman Robert Akroyd. Bonus features such as pullout drawers were incorporated to compensate for the lack of space. Laurysen Kitchens worked with Mary Anne to customize the kitchen area. Changes to appliance locations offered the van Gaals an airy, open, contemporary kitchen with a combination of white and walnut cabinets. The waterfall counter island floats perfectly within the centre of the space and adds modern warmth with sophisticated style to pay tribute to the well-thought-out space.


The overall look is considered to be mid-century modern meets New York industrial. Steel, glass and wood furnishings all come together effectively. Mary Anne offers that the two styles on their own have become quite popular, but blending them allowed the clever designer to showcase her talents.

"I like to think outside of the box of any one style and explore new ideas and combinations. Mid-century design is clean, refined, streamlined, long and linear and pairs well with industrial touches, which are more rough, unfinished, graphic and bulky. They are polar opposites, so they attract!

"Both styles, on their own, have been overdone, but combined they have a fresh new feel." 


Bring in a huge piece of something industrial like a floor-to-ceiling mirror framed like a NYC metal loft window, a huge industrial metal floor lamp or ceiling fixture. Temper this with some clean mid-century finishes like white walls, walnut floors or furniture and retro lighting.

Go for warm grey fabrics in a room with other finishes in natural walnut. Exposed legs are a must! Slim medium-brown wood or chrome would be great. Add some industrial interest with fun throw cushions in graphic designs, like graffiti, abstracts or bold sayings.

Have fun with the smaller pieces of furniture; an end table or coffee table made from all sorts of industrial things. Think dark metal, rough wood, galvanized pipes. There are some beautiful, classic mid-century chairs that are works of art and make a statement. 

Accessories can pull the styles together and bring balance. If you find you have more mid-century furniture than industrial, then balance it out with industrial accessories like big metal letters, a metal orb, lighting and artwork.

Rugs are like a fifth wall; manufacturers are getting much more daring with pattern on area rugs. A room filled with beautiful mid-century style furniture becomes intriguing by adding a graphic, graffiti or abstract rug.

Contact Mary Anne at ?

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