As a highly-respected Canadian designer and proponent of living life in well-designed spaces, Brian Gluckstein is known for his elegant, tailored interiors. Gluckstein Design, launched in 1986, continues to thrive as one of Canada’s most-esteemed design businesses. Brian can also add author to his list of credentials with his newly-released book.
The dashing designer is warmly regarded for his annual efforts on the lottery showhome in Oakville, Ontario for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. His work takes him around the globe, including Ottawa where he recently finished the sales pavilion for Mizrahi Developments’ condominium project at 1451 Wellington in Wellington Village. The décor is modelled after the developer’s Hazleton building in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. Brian claims that he didn’t see any reason to change the overall look of the Ottawa project as the buyers are both well-travelled and sophisticated, similarly to Toronto’s upscale-market buyer.
The privilege of working with high-end buyers with discerning tastes isn’t lost on Brian. He respects privacy and works discreetly, but also relishes the opportunity to share his work with others. His book, Brian Gluckstein: The Art of Home, offered him this opportunity. “Many of our clients don’t even want their homes photographed or documented, so being allowed to present them in a book is very special to me,” says Brian. The pages of the beautifully curated hardcover book reveal stunning images of well-dressed spaces along with anecdotes to inspire readers. Brian also brings readers into his own recently-renovated Toronto home.
The century-old house had undergone a poor renovation when Brian bought it, but with his skillful eye he managed to come up with a plan to bring it back to its architectural roots. At the same time, he updated the space with modern conveniences and his signature style of comfortable elegance.
Creating comfortable space is essential to the thoughtful designer who states that, “thinking about comfort within a space is a given to me,” adding that he is often bewildered by the lack of comfort in so many of today’s furnishings. His clients are always offered the opportunity to put furniture to the test as most pieces are custom. “There is a very bespoke attitude to interiors,” says Brian about his approach to design, where he gears each project to the client’s personal and physical attributes to ensure that furnishings function ergonomically.
Texture & intrigue
Brian’s own home showcases his philosophy. Comfortable furnishings dressed in elegant, neutral-toned fabrics dominate throughout. He often works with a neutral background to allow individual personality to come in the way of artwork, textural elements and objects of interest.
In his ensuite bathroom, the texture comes by way of literature. The walls are covered in books and the grand room offers him an escape. “I like taking baths and reading in the tub. It’s a space to close off the world,” says Brian who often decorates an ensuite with a retreat theme in mind. He uses terry-cloth fabric in a variety of ways to enhance the spa-like environment, and keeps the room uncluttered with as much cabinetry as the area allows and employs a “no pedestal sinks in the ensuite” rule.
His kitchen takes on a slightly different look with open shelving and display, allowing for dishes and cookware to be easily accessed. Although Brian claims his partner is the cook and he is the “eater,” he still relishes time spent in the kitchen. The overall look is more detailed than other areas of his house. The space is layered with a variety of cabinet styles and several areas of intrigue that include colour and European influences.
The long-admired work of Brian Gluckstein and his own space both reflect his working philosophy and his personal style. His book offers the chance to step into a variety of personality-filled homes that showcase his talents. Like any labour of love, he admits it was hard work to bring it all together, but he believes that the timing was finally right for a project of this magnitude and states, “I think I was finally seasoned enough to be able to do it!”