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Why this is Christine Ralphs’s favourite room

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

After moving into her downtown Toronto condo two years ago, Christine Ralphs completely gutted the interior, including tearing down walls, to put her stamp on it. Those familiar with her work as president of Lloyd Ralphs Design, the company the Wisconsin native co-owns with fellow interior designer Michelle Lloyd, will know exactly what that means. Her signature is a palette of white and neutrals accented with graphic black. It's a look she has replicated for commercial and residential clients in Canada and abroad, including Gee Beauty and Amber Nightclub in Toronto and the Lake Palace Hotel in India. For her own residence, which she shared until recently with her late husband, Peter, she dolled up the colour scheme with hints of shiny metal, including gold, as seen in her powder room. "It's a small space where I could add large-scale and dramatic pieces to make it all the more personal," Ralphs explains. "I always like to mix glamour with whimsy."

The tassel

"I've had the tassel for years and I no longer know from where I originally got it. It's just one of those decorative objects that's travelled from house to house."

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The Eiffel Tower

"This is a souvenir given to me by my business partner, Michelle Lloyd, who brought it back from Paris. It's a little piece of sculpture and, when set against the white, really pops."

The mirror

"The room is a real example of high-low design. The mirror, for example, is from West Elm, a classic design but made of raffia. I love mixing raffia and straw with more sophisticated elements. It's another signature of Lloyd Ralphs Design."

The vanity

"It's from Ginger's [in Toronto]. Normally, vanities like this are white, black or grey and have a standard handle. I painted mine cream and added gold handles for a hint of glamour. This personalized the vanity for me."

The drawings

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"I commissioned the large one from Olympia Bermann, [Michelle Lloyd's] artist-daughter, for one of my homes. I am crazy about illustrations and this one originally was a sketch created for another bathroom. It has hung in five of our homes over the years. I just love it. I wanted a nude and I wanted a drawing. The other is a gift from Michelle, a drawing of a room with a guitar; I love the simplicity and rawness of the execution."

The orchid

"Its size and scale work well with everything else in the room. Plus, the purity of the white is really beautiful. It's clean-looking."

The stool

"This is an iconic piece. I bought it years ago in Miami at a vintage store. I love it because it is whimsical and sculptural. It's made of gold ceramic. I love gold. I even have a gold kitchen faucet. That's a signature of mine as well. It adds a bit of glamour to a room and, when you mix it up with other elements, it also looks modern."

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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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