Keep calm and carry on, as ubiquitous as the slogan is, also happens to be Stephanie Houghton’s mantra. The Toronto designer has copies of it in red, yellow and blue, framed and hanging over the sofa in her sunroom.
Like many who work from home, Houghton starts her day in PJs and fuzzy socks, coffee in hand. Perched on the sunroom’s sofa or sprawled on the floor, she pores over floorplans Handbags & Wallets, fabric swatches and magazine tearsheets, as well as a lot of Pinterest pages. “I’m on my laptop a lot,” Houghton says.
The long narrow room had been added to the back of her home during an unfortunate 1970s renovation Shoes, but it’s sunny and bright, with a huge east-facing window that overlooks the landscaped garden. It’s become her oasis, where she starts her day and where she ends it, because it makes her feel calm and centred in the middle of the city’s buzz.
An atmosphere of peacefulness is necessary to be creative, Houghton says, and that’s what the sunroom gives her. When she needs to think through a design project, or a particular design challenge, she heads to the sunroom. For all other “pragmatic” parts of her business (ordering, invoicing, bill paying and budget development spreadsheets), she relocates to the dining-room table in the front of her home.
To emphasize that sense of calm in the sunroom, Houghton has engaged a design esthetic different from the rest of the house. The room features a neutral palette, wood vases and bowls, and organic materials in the cotton pillows and cream linen slipcovers.
The only clue this might be a home office is the small black printer tucked unobtrusively under one of the Jens Risom mid-century side tables Bras. Everything else pertaining to an office is stowed inside the handcrafted console across the sofa.
There’s no desk, but Houghton says she’s always been an “unconventional worker,” and tends to move around a lot between chair, sofa, floor and table Tops & T-Shirts.
The rest of the house has more edge. “I believe design works best when there’s some tension Sunglasses & Eyewear Accessories, when you mix unexpected elements, old and new, curvaceous and straight, and intergenerational furniture pieces.”