For the last 25 years, painter and art-gallery owner Vivian Reiss has lived in a sprawling 5,000-square-foot house in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood, built circa 1870 for the widow of Augustus Warren Baldwin, a naval officer and Upper Canada politician. It's a designated historic site, but the audacious interior design is hardly old-fashioned.
Known for the burst of colour she brings to her portraits and still lifes, Reiss oversaw the renovations herself, creating a space that is bold and eclectic. "My home is a giant laboratory for my creative endeavours, so each room is different from the next," says the committed food and garden blogger ( www.vivianreiss.com). Reiss's favourite room is her bedroom, where, incidentally, part of the 1988 Tom Cruise film Cocktail was shot. It includes an ample sitting room (shown here) opposite her bed. "This room is literally where I dream my dreams."
1. The white chair
"This was designed by Olivier Mourgue in 1968. In my teenage years, I yearned for a chair by Mourgue after seeing one in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where I grew up. I found this one at the St. Lawrence Sunday flea market in Toronto."
2. The green ball
"This a Pilates ball that I sometimes use for its designated purpose. But mostly I love it for its colour and form."
3. The painting
"This is one of mine, of my son, Joel Garten, when he was a teenager. We had just come back from a safari in Africa, so he is surrounded by eagle feathers, bones and a monkey skull he had found there. Also, from other trips, there are Roman potshards and a shell from Samoa. It is a portrait of a confident young man looking to the future and all the adventure that life holds."
4. The lips chair
"I found this at Lee's Art Shop in New York. It's slightly Daliesque, with a bit of Niki de Saint Phalle around the edges. I love the red colour."
5. The door leading to the master bathroom
"This is a piece of salvage, a leftover from the structure that is now the CTV building [in Toronto]"
6. The carpet
"It is white and extremely cushy. Whatever acrobatics I have to go through in life, I know that, in my bedroom, I'm in for a soft landing."
7. The coffee table
"It sits on plaster strawberries, probably a store display, that I got when Creeds [the defunct Canadian department store]was going out of business. The glass top is another piece of salvage, from the old Ports of Call restaurant on Yonge Street."