A dream home comes to life in the hands of Stamford designer Carol Brewer
Step inside a 14,500-square-foot family home brimming with state-of-the-art technology and countless custom solutions.
Upon approach, the traditional residence clad in Indiana limestone nestles nicely in its well-established neighborhood. But don’t be fooled by the formal colonnades and manicured landscape. Step inside, and the transformation to the brushed stainless steel asymmetrical benches and a spiral sofa reminiscent of a sexy red lipstick in the entry is akin to joining Dorothy on her abrupt shift from Kansas to Oz. Except you’re in Toronto in the 14,500-square-foot home of a young couple whose wish list included modern interiors that would bend to the needs of a growing family. After purchasing a double lot and tearing down an existing structure, the couple determined the only person who could help them realize their vision was Stamford-based interior designer Carol Brewer. “I had done a previous project with them and really understood the importance of customizing a home to who they are,” says Brewer, who commuted from Connecticut to Canada for more than three years to get everything from the oversized French Gris de Savoie marble slab flooring on the main level to the plum-hued velveteen seating and mohair pillows in the home theater just right.
Drawing on her worldwide travels for inspiration, the designer infused every room with something memorable, starting with that eye-popping sofa. “I saw it in a hotel in Barcelona and immediately called the management to get the plans,” says Brewer, a South African native who designed 42 pieces for the house. “The metal on the exterior of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao gave me the idea to do brushed stainless-steel walls in the family room, and the glass mosaic mural in the pool area [a collaboration with architect Rene Gonzalez] was inspired by Monet’s Water Lilies.”
Brewer also joined forces with New York City–based lighting experts at G2J Design for an illuminating scheme that incorporates state-of-the art technology. In the formal dining room, programmable, color-changing LED lighting and 15 handmade crystal raindrop chandeliers allow the owners to change colors to suit the occasion or their mood. “Their little girl loves purple. So on her birthday, the room glowed in violet,” notes Brewer.
But the tour de force is in the staircase, where the floating jatoba wood structure with LED-lighted balustrade is cloaked in 450 strands of side-emitting fiber optics with custom-made glass prism end pieces and features 6,500 Swarovski crystals. “In the last 40 years, nothing in the design world has changed like lighting,” says Brewer. “There are so many exciting things you can do with the current technology, and it’s all so much more efficient.”
The energy-saving lighting is a small part of the environmentally conscious
construction that features solar panels, geothermal heating, mahogany-framed thermal glass windows and radiant-heated floors. “The children love to be able to walk barefoot in the winter when there’s so much snow outside,” notes Brewer.
For continuity, the paint palette ranges from pale grays and blues to more dramatic dark charcoal. In the dining room, the brushed stainless-steel table bases with white Corian tops and chairs upholstered with shimmery white and silver fabric follow the established scheme, and the u-shaped family-room sectional sporting a luxurious aubergine mohair velvet complements the brushed stainless fireplace wall.
“The glass mosaic mural in the pool area
[a collaboration with architect Rene Gonzalez]
was inspired by Monet’s Water Lilies.”
Like most homes, the kitchen is the heart of this one, and Brewer mixed white lacquer and Wenge cabinets with pure white quartz countertops. The custom barstools wear squid-ink shagreen vinyl. “Chic and practical,” she says.
“When you spend as much time with a client as I did, you are able to tailor everything to suit—from how they function in the morning to how they work and play all day,” says Brewer. “In the end, it’s the difference between buying off the rack at Bloomingdale’s or getting the kind of fit than can only come from a custom-measured garment.”