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Josh Josephson's optically appealing living room

A onetime optometry researcher who helped developed the first contact lens in the 1960s, Toronto's Josh Josephson has what might be called a good eye. When he moved into his century-old Rosedale mansion just over three years ago, he repainted the interior, replaced the light fixtures and hung new drapes "just to please my eye and my sense of taste," says the owner of Josephson Opticians, his family's well-known chic-eyewear emporium, now in its 75th year. When he's at home, Dr J., as he is familiarly known, conducts many of his business meetings in his living room, where he's surrounded by the furniture, books, antiquities and art he has collected in pursuit of a life defined by an obvious clarity of vision.

The painting

"This is a rather complex, somewhat abstract painting by Darryl Hughto, the New York abstract painter. Its offbeat perspective, the pastel colours on areas of negative space and the complexity of the female figurative forms - some of them highly obscured - create a focus of visual interest that never seems to bore me."

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The side table

"This is a small Tulip Table designed by [Eero]Saarinen in the 1950s. The flowers are from my garden, which I designed myself."

The chair

"I fell in love with this Swedish, late-Art-Deco side chair the minute I saw it. The shaped features and the lovely rosewood arm rests so well express the period. I purchased it from Horsefeathers Antiques on Yonge Street."

The fireplace

"The fireplace came with the house and has an elegant simplicity to it. Above is my friend Tony Scherman's painting of a pepper mill, which he has interpreted as a sexual metaphor. I have always loved and appreciated Tony's work."

The mantel art

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"These objects form part of my collection of antiquities and art objects. Featured here from left to right are an African early-20th-century Congo figure, a mid-13th-century bronze figure of either Christ or one of his disciples, a Nepalese 18th-century painted wood figure of a goddess, a small ceramic covered jar by Guido Gambone circa the 1950s, a bronze 16th-century Flemish candlestick holder, an African late-19th/early-20th-century Dogon ancestor figure and a Swedish ribbed stoneware bowl produced by Gustavsberg circa 1960."

The urn

"The urn is 2 1/2 feet high and rests on a short pedestal on the floor. It is Chinese, Song dynasty, circa 12th century."

The glass table

The table is a Barcelona table by Mies van der Rohe and typically holds all the new cookbooks I receive from The Cookbook Store [which he also owns] It's where I sit and consider the merits of a chef's oeuvre and possible recipe ideas for my own cooking."

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About the Author

Deirdre Kelly is a features writer for The Globe and Mail. She is the author of the best-selling Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection (Greystone Books). More

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