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In Toronto, A Mother-Daughter Duo’s Apartment Brimming with Art and Memories

by Sofia Tuovinen

In Toronto, A Mother-Daughter Duo's Apartment Brimming with Art and Memories | Design*Sponge
In Mariana Silveira and her daughter Antonella’s home in Toronto, Ontario, family stories are told through objects. Mariana, senior interior decorator and mid-century modern specialist at HCD Design Studio, firmly believes in enriching her family’s life by creating deeply personal spaces. This means a home that pays homage to the arts in every shape and form. The mother-daughter duo’s apartment is filled with paintings, sculptures, meaningful pieces of literature, pictures of extended family and friends, as well as carefully sourced furniture that together create a most cherished sanctuary.

Mariana and Antonella have lived in their two-bedroom rental apartment on Toronto’s Avenue Road for almost eight years. Half of the year, they also share it with Mariana’s mother. “My ex-husband and I sold our more spacious home in Mississauga and came back to Toronto to raise our daughter in the cultural heart of this wonderful country over seven years ago,” Mariana recalls. She couldn’t be happier with the decision to move back from the suburbs and become involved in Avenue Road’s warm and welcoming community. The area boasts a wonderful school that Antonella attends, and many of her classmates have become dear neighbors.

When Mariana and Antonella enjoy quality time at home with their dog Bonita, they are surrounded by items that bring back memories and feelings of togetherness. Mariana explains, “I only ever intended for my home to be a happy place that reflected who we are and what we like. To be a place filled with colorful art and books that would inspire my daughter to create, and make her appreciative of the impact it can make in our lives.” Decorating this family’s home is a process that is never complete — as the home is a true reflection of Mariana and Antonella, it will evolve as they do. There will always be more stories to tell and new, meaningful pieces to be added to their collection of unique finds. —Sofia

Photography by Mariana Silveira / @The_decor_studio

Image above: Mariana works as a mid-century modern specialist and most pieces in her home are from that era. She loves mixing materials — the living room, which includes chrome, marble, leather, and wood, is the perfect representation of her relaxed yet tasteful style. 

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The hallway is filled with personal art and memories. It includes a collage that Mariana made of pay stubs, ripped tickets, concert passes and exhibits from over the years.

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“This console was a weekend project I made with my ex-husband,” Mariana shares. “I bought it at a garage sale and we sanded it and painted it together. After several years, both [the] console and friendship are still going strong.”

I firmly believe that a thoughtful, deeply personal living space can enrich the lives of its inhabitants in a wonderful way.

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The end of the hallway includes an ode to Mariana’s grandfather and her favorite book, “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. “The David Lean movie version in black and white [is also] one of my favorite movies. My grandfather and I wore it out. This poster is an homage to his memory, forever alive.”

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The painting with numbers is a piece that Mariana made when she first moved into the apartment eight years ago. It tells her family’s story in numbers — birthdays, anniversaries, and other significant dates. 

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Mariana loves effortlessly mixing old and new, like these futuristic tulip-style stools and the antique table lamps.

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The bookcase in the living room houses Mariana’s favorite novels and biographies, including works by Philip Roth, Paul Auster, Don De Lillo, and Charles Dickens. Next to it, Mariana’s favorite Chinese antique vase, which is made of cast iron.

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The metal console behind the sofa holds special and sentimental objects under glass domes. Mariana lists some of the most cherished pieces, “A beautiful David bisque bust, a Grecian goddess sculpture, a replica of a Roman artifact made with real remains of the Parthenon […], and a little Egyptian gold bird [that] my ex-husband brought me from Germany, which probably is my favorite object.”

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“This coffee table has been with me in all my homes but the first one,” Mariana says. “I keep thinking I need a bigger one but cannot seem to part with it. When an object holds so many memories [it] is very hard to let go [of]. The black marble nesting bowls are handmade by women in Pakistan and come from the YWCA store, which helps [women in] Third World countries earn a living with their beautiful crafts.”

 

Coming home and hearing my girl and Bonita rushing through the door to greet me late in the afternoon is an unbeatable feeling.

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Mariana, her daughter Antonella and Bonita the dog in the living room. Mariana describes one of her favorite memories in the family’s home, “When my daughter was three years old she went through a phase of dressing up like Elsa from Frozen and used to dance around all over the apartment. It seems like it was yesterday.”

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The dining room gallery wall includes a collection of both original art and prints of Mariana’s favorite classic works.

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“The kitchen is very small, which I’m sure is payback for all my sins since I’m a big-time cook and so is my mother,” Mariana jokes. 

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In the main bedroom, the lacquered Chinese nightstand is the perfect size for storing the books that Mariana is reading.

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Mariana has plans to update her bedroom in the future. “[It] is the one place I could work more at. […] Like all mothers, I left my space for last,” she says.

SOURCE LIST

Entryway
Antique chair “Belle Epoque”

Living Room
Barcelona bench, Tulip side tables, Diamond chair – Home Craft Decor

Kitchen

Handmade Mexican rug – the ROM boutique store
French oven – Le Crueset

Bedroom
Chinese lacquer nightstand – Plata Imports

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Comments

  • Wow, this is such an amazing place!
    Especially love the art and the furniture!
    Mariana, hats off!

  • This place is the best! It absolutely feels warm and cozy with “family”. Lucky Antonella, who gets to grow up in this environment. Great job, Mariana!!

  • Nice to see a fellow Canadian’s abode! Beautifully done, lots of nice things (I immediately awww’d over the gorgeous cow hide) although for me personally it is just a little bit too full. But we all have own preferences.
    How you do maintain the glossy hardwood floors? Don’t see hair from your doggie on it all the time? My dog is just a little bit bigger but she is hair-producing factory and I am constantly sweeping, swiffering and vacuuming.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful apartment with us – it’s a feast for eyes.

  • What a beautiful mother-daughter and a very nicely decorated house. The details are well thought out and not straining the eyes.
    The tea towels in the kitchen are very nice. I think these are thin Turkish towels.
    Very nice, enjoy it!

  • Hi, I’m Mexican too and I would like to get in touch with Mariana, in order to comment about Mexican handcrafts commercialization.
    Will you please make sure she gets my I email address. I’ Be very grateful.

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