Maximizing Design With Cynthia Ferguson

More is more! At least for Cynthia Ferguson’s 1930s bijou Toronto home, where she’s layered bright color, pattern and striking artwork for a truly maximalist paradise. Ferguson has lived in this beautiful home for 20 years, and it’s seen many phases of reinvention over that time. She believes layering patterns, accessories and color is the key to a comfortable home.

We caught up with Cynthia Ferguson to find out more about this exciting project and learn her tips for creating the perfect maximalist aesthetic!

KRAVET: House & Home says sometimes, more is more! And we agree. Why do you go for maximalist designs?

FERGUSON: There is nothing better than a room that tells a story. Each room in my home is layered with memories. It might be a piece of art purchased at a flea market while travelling, it could be a horn cup purchased at an antique store with a friend, it might be something as simple as a box of matches from a favorite restaurant. Layering design elements, accessories and surrounding yourself with emotion, creates experience. My designs are not showrooms within a house. They are experiences within a home.

Brunschwig & Fils Avera Print fabric upholstered on the bedroom ceiling.
Xian Print on the headboard and curtains.

KK: What was your goal with your home design?

CF: Never one to miss an opportunity, I decided to use my own home to use fabrics I love that clients seem to pass over and paint colors a client might find hard to accept for their own home.  I wanted to push the envelope because I didn’t have to consider a client, nor limit my creativity.   It likely would have been a hard sell to allow my client to upholster their Master Bedroom ceiling. I happen to LOVE it!

KK: How did using Kravet Inc. products help you achieve that goal?

CF: Kravet is always my first “go to” when starting a project – be it my own house or a clients.  The foundational solids are sprinkled throughout Kravet’s line offering which provide the base of the room design. I love Threads, Gaston y Daniela and Brunschwig & Fils for their quality solids.  The color palettes are perfect and numerous, and I love to fill in with the Kravet lines themselves to help with the budget! Always searching for that “wow” fabric to make an impact, I will admit that I often fall in love with a pattern or a colorway by Lee Jofa, GP&J Baker or Brunschwig & Fils and then build a room around it. Brunschwig & Fils’ Xian Linen & Cotton Print was the one that did it for me! I walked right into the showroom in Toronto and it was hanging straight ahead. I had no idea where I would use it or for which project but I had to have it!! Lucky for me, it is now hanging in my Master bedroom and upholstered on my bed! Whether it is an incredible printed linen, a luxuriously patterned velvet or a wild and crazy Christopher Farr fabric, I know I can meet any budget and any request by starting at Kravet.  

I was finishing my home at the start of the pandemic and our first lockdown in Toronto and no matter what I needed, the Kravet Canada family were there for me, making the impossible work, giving me a safety net, and for that, I will always be grateful.

KK: What’s your favorite room in the home? Why?

CF: If you had asked me what my favorite room was in my house 6 months ago, I would have said the family room but at the moment, perhaps due to the shift in the seasons, I am enjoying my living room more than any other room! There is something about the perfect pitch on a William Birch styled couch, the quality of the fabric wrapped on them that seems so decadent and the coziness of a room filled with art and travel mementos; life in a different time. Of course, the wood burning fireplace also helps with the ambience of the room! Design wise, my Master Bedroom is definitely a contender as well – I just love the drama of the black walls, the contrast of the fabrics and the simplicity of the small room.

KK: Were there any challenges you had to overcome when designing? 

CF: There were so many challenges to overcome when I was designing my home refresh. First of all, the budget – it would appear I have very expensive taste unfortunately. We were also due to finish our renovation and refresh at the end of April, but the pandemic lockdown in mid-March forced me to scramble like crazy and get all the major components completed in about 7 weeks from the time I had done the demolition, which is crazy! Then my living room couches were caught in the lockdown and although they were supposed to be finished March 30th, I didn’t receive them until the first week of June – which was when my photo shoot was!! There were a number of sleepless nights, trust me!

Design wise, one of the challenges I faced was ensuring there was a flow from one color-filled room to the next, as well as balancing the strength of the design in each room. Being a maximalist, it is easy to run out of steam and risk having one room fall short. In such a small house, I wanted to make sure that it didn’t feel like I ran out of ideas and gave up. Some rooms came together quickly – like my bedroom. Other rooms took a lot of curating – like the living room.

For a full tour of Cynthia Ferguson’s Toronto home, watch this video in House and Home.

To shop the products you see here, click here.

All photography by @donnagriffith.