sneak peek: emma reddington of the marion house book

Emma Reddington moved into this 1905 Toronto Victorian just over three years ago. She was instantly attracted to the home’s detailing — like the 12-inch baseboards and original wainscoting, fireplaces and solid wood doors, not mention the 10-foot ceilings throughout. In decorating the home, she worked to highlight those original details while also bringing a modern sensibility to the space through clean-lined furniture and a limited color palette of white and black. The result is a home that looks both stylish and pulled together and also completely effortless and casual. Thanks, Emma! And thanks to Kristin Sjaarda for the lovely photographs. — Amy A.

Image above: I just finished redecorating this room, and the entire process is documented on my blog. It’s a 180-degree turnaround from my last bedroom that had dark grey walls, a yellow four-poster bed and accents of emerald green and gold. The bed and bench are pieces I designed, and they are made of reclaimed Douglas Fir. I had the benefit of working with a local business called Relik that specializes in custom-made reclaimed-wood furniture. The side table is actually a vintage cheese box. The kilim pillows I made from an old rug I found at Legacy Vintage in Cobourg, Ontario.

Image above: The wallpaper in this room was actually inspired by another Design*Sponge sneak peak. When I saw the black-painted wallpaper in William and Susan Brinson’s kitchen, I knew that it was the perfect solution for my less-than-perfect office walls. I love the fact that the wallpaper is something that may have been found in a Victorian house from this period. I use simple twine and clothes pegs to post pictures of whatever is inspiring at the moment. This room is tiny, but works perfectly as a small office.

CLICK HERE for more of Emma’s Toronto home!

Image above: This is one my favorite rooms because it has so many of the original Victorian details intact, like the fireplace and mouldings around the doors. My husband and I found those two vintage Bertoia chairs about seven years ago. They still have the original leather seat covers, which aren’t in the best shape, so we line them with the sheepskins. The mirror above the fireplace is a recent addition and a vintage find. I think the stack of rough, rustic wood is a nice contrast to all the elaborate gold elements around the fireplace. The 20-arm black chandelier we found lying in the back room of local furniture store, and the kilim pillows are from my friend Liz’s online vintage store, The Arthur.

Image above: This room all came together when my parents dropped off this enormous, stunning painting by Tony Scherman. They were in the middle of downsizing and had no room for it in their new house. The painting depicts Napoleon’s hands behind his back during the Battle of Waterloo. I designed the credenza below the painting and had it made out of oiled white oak. The four black Eames side chairs and the Moooi pendant light are relatively new additions to the room.

Image above: The kitchen is the one room in the house that has no original Victorian features and is the only room we have completely renovated. My favorite object in the room is my 36-inch industrial range. I love having six burners to work with. The floor is Brazilian slate, and the wall behind the range is Calcutta marble. The cabinets are by Ikea.

Image above: I found this old plant box with the words “Toronto City Parks” one day when I was out vintage shopping. It’s amazing to think that at one time even the boxes that carried simple bedding plants were handmade and individually stamped.

Image above: This was actually the first room we painted when we moved in three years ago in March of 2008. The original wall color was a soft yellow, which made the room feel very quaint and country-inspired. I knew painting it a dark color would really change the feel. Nowadays, it is quite common to see black-painted walls and rooms, but at the time, it was unexpected.

Image above: Recently, I’ve been trying to add some more natural, organic elements to the room to try and soften the black and white color scheme.

Image above: This is my son Henry’s room. My husband bought the print of the tree and the vintage wool blanket long before we ever had children in the hopes that one day they would find a home! The crib is by Nurseryworks.


Very cute! Isn’t it bad to store firewood inside, though, especially touching the floor? I was warned against it because of termites.


So gorgeous…elegant without being stuffy. I love this house, esp the bedroom!


Just beautiful! So calm!
Can you tell me the source for the stools at the kitchen island?


I’m familiar with this house, as The Marion House Book is one of my daily must-read blogs, but it’s a treat to see all its beautiful spaces together in one post…such a gorgeous, welcoming home!


I adore this space!
love the spophisticated design equally blended with a relaxed vibe.

Susan Brinson

Your place looks great! The wallpaper works so well, I love the texture it adds. Now I am inspired by the Tony S. painting in your dining area. Stunning!


really nice place! i really enjoy this as a reminder that raw wood details can work in so many places. the stack of firewood is the perfect thing for the living room!


Just beautiful – Emma is so incredibly gifted and such an inspiration for my own style! And she is also generous to share the process with her readers on her amazing blog. Hooray Emma!

Fiona Richard

Love Emma’s house – everything about it. It’s so natural and relaxed and authentic. Well done Emma!


OMG^%!%^& that furry office chair is SO AMAZING.

not to mention the delicious slate & white color scheme.

can i live here please?


Absolutely love the bedroom. It’s sooo calming with just the right boho flare. Can you tell me where the white coverlet on your bed is from? It’s perfect.

maison marigold

emma’s got a lovely every single room elegant and the black painted bathroom..reminds me of jenna lyon’s bath though this might have been done before that! and the living room is simply gorgeous..thanks for visit my blog when you have a moment..happy monday! xx meenal


So happy you are from Toronto! Love your house, and am INSANELY JEALOUS of your Tony Scherman


Such a beautiful home! The bones remind me so much of mine – we have a Victorian too. Thanks for the inspiration.


WHat a beautiful home. The old architectural details and more modern furnishings/colors are great together. A black bathroom is nowhere near as ballsy as a white carpet with a little one – hey, good for her!


Anybody know where the red shams are from as well?

Emma at The Marion House Book

Thanks for all the lovely comments. Really made my day!
To answer some of the questions:
The kitchen island stools are from Design Within Reach -Giulietta Stool
The White coverlet is from a store in Milan across the street from 10 Corso Como. Don’t know what it is called (sorry!) It’s 100% cotton and made in India.
The red shams are from West Elm.


I’m in LOVE with Emma’s home – every single room is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this beautiful home.


I covet that mirror above the fireplace. Funny enough, I just did a post on the cheap, beat-up mirrors I’m usually finding and rescuing, and actually linked back to Emma’s mirror as an example of what I wish I had the luck to score!

I’m so glad she shared her home with us!


one of my all time favourite sneak peeks! and how fitting that it’s from my home town :) GORGEOUS home. love absolutely everything.


Very true about the freedom of creativity part. I really love the blue cushion on the baby cott. Where did you buy it? Should I look for similar ones on Sears or Walmart?


Beautiufl home, Emma. Can you tell me where you got the fur “upholstery” for your office chair? Did you fashion it yourself, or by it already made?


Wow!!!! I want her house. She has spectacular taste. Gorgeous, creative, beautiful, eclectic, eccentric, and every other amazing word.


What amazing light fixtures! I love the black chandelier in the living room – especially paired with the more-simplistic bare feature in the corner. The black sphere above the dining room table is also fantastic.


What a well designed home. I love it all: the peaceful bedroom, the charcoal colored bathroom & interesting collection of furniture.


Beautiful. Amazing job finding the nicest balance of textures and lightness. I love love love the tree print in the nursery, where did your husband find it? (I have vintage Margaret Tarrant illustrations in our budding nursery, but I could find extra wall space…)


My favorite house tour ever. Everything looks so well considered and delicious. Love love love.


All the wood (the furniture and the stacks of wood) is a nice touch. It makes your space seem very comfortable.


I love the simple, clean palette and style, but mixed in with the organic and the rustic. This is my very favorite. I love they way she uses the black/gray as a surprising element of drama.

christine {bijouandboheme}

I honestly couldn’t love it more- her living room is one of my all time favourite ever spaces- the mirror with the black chandlier and the piled logs..le sigh- perfection. The dining room also just completely blows me away. Her home is simply stunning!!


Wow and wow. Thanks everyone for your comments. I’m so touched to see so many kind words from people I know and others I don’t!
@Andrea the kitchen stools are from Design Within Reach
@ebrady the coverlet is from Milan, Italy (tiny store on the Corso Como) and the red shams are from West Elm.
@Wenday the “fur” is just a sheepskin rug thrown over a chair
@megan sorry, i can’t remember where we go the tree art.
@khaqan the blue pillow is from thailand, a gift from a friend!


You can just tell that a lot of thought was put into the redecorating of this home. It’s been fun to follow the progress on The Marion House Book blog though I’m surprised that you didn’t share a photo of the front entrance, it is one of my favorite parts of the redesign. Nonetheless, thank you for sharing. It’s beautiful!


the pops of red in the living room and that bathroom are fantastic!


I stumbled upon this blog quite by chance and this house is truly beautiful – I only wish I had the time to do mine as it takes loads of patience and shopping to get this result. I am shortly starting my blog connected to my site, on various design subjects and this inspires me!


Love it – I also have a very dark painted bathroom, which took all my powers of persuasion to convince by husband to go for! Love Emma’s blog too – really inspiring for design obsessives and bloggers the world over!

lark + linen

I’ve always been a fan of Emmas impressive style. I’ve been a long-time Marion Housebook follower, but it’s so nice to see all of her images in one place!


Emma- where did you find that wallpaper? It looks sort of moroccan in feel as opposed to victorian- I just love it!

MB @ YarnUiPhoneappv1.2

I love the furry chairs…it would be easy to do, but a little on the expensive side…I’d just get a swath of faux fur from Vogue Fabrics in my ‘hood to redo a chair….a great, warm solution for my own cold city Chicago!


Emma has impeccable taste and it shows in every nook and cranny of her home. Absolutely lovely in every way!


Emma! I am MORE than in love with your amazing home! I adore how Calcutta marble meets IKEA, and chopped wood meets ornate Victoriana, and Eams sit happily in the hands of wartime Napoleon! It is perfect!!

Congratulations to this super feature. I am very excited for you!

Warm hugs
xx Charlotta

Erin O.

That living room is pretty much my dream room! Would you mind sharing your source for the rug?


@trovato – the wallpaper is from Rona (the Canadian equivalent to Home Depot)
@Erin O. – the rug is from Design Within Reach – Thatch in Ivory

Melissa de la Fuente

I adore Emma and her gorgeous home. So much warmth, elegance and love. She is one of my very faves & every time I see a peek of her home, I fall in love. YAY, Emma! :)

emily @ thirtyeight20

Beautiful blend of styles and personal touches — a home I would love to live in myself. Heading over to Emma’s blog to check out the rest!

jill Lovely

u are very blessed. the bathroom literally took my breath away. one of the best homes. my dream is to have an old victorian like yours.


This home is so lovely I almost can’t stand it! it is absolutely perfect… black/white done amazing… fully of textiles, textures, interest. Yes minimal and stark to some degree, but that down to earth boho sexiness! love.


I brought the basket shown in your pic (4th one from bottom).It was a nice addition to my house.Thanks.

Manuela Boyle

Love this home – like a mix of Old Masters and the very modern! Would love to know where the cot comes from?


i love it… it looks so unplanned, comfy and so stylish…

there is no city like Toronto!! i miss it incredibly.


So nice… I really like how bright the living space is in contrast to the dark walls and textures.


where is the plastic bin (holding the toys) in the nursery from?


where is the basket from that is shown in your bathroom? It is awesome!


What stone/ material is your fireplace surround? What product is it and the manufacturer? It appears to be a natural stone with neutral and blue undertones. Can you tell me more about it please?? I LOVE it!!!! Thx!


Gorgeous gorgeous home! Where did you get the long narrow coffee table? Looking for one just that size! It’s hard to tell, are the legs white? Top, wood? Thank you for sharing your beautiful style.


Emma, I adore the paint color in your son’s room and in the bathroom – do you have the paint colors still? I’d love to know them if you do!