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inspired by our hometowns

We are celebrating all things local this month with looks inspired by some of our favourite Canadian hometowns—Kenora, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon. Come along with us as we pick furniture and accessories to suit each city.

Inspired by Kenora, Ont.
For those who are lucky enough to live or vacation there, the natural beauty of Northwestern Ontario is unmatched anywhere in the world. Stretching from the Manitoba border to just shy of Thunder Bay, the “Sunset Country” region of Ontario is home to 70,000 fishable lakes and, as the name suggests, some of the most stunning sunsets in all of Canada. It’s there, in the city of Kenora, that the Dufresne family opened their first store.

Since the region is so deeply entrenched in our history, we can’t help but be inspired by its lakes, forests, and limitless opportunities for recreation and adventure. The vibe is relaxed and rugged, and the colour palette melts into the landscape, with subtle pops of colour and pattern. Think natural tones of green, blue, and brown, greyed-down and weathered like the boathouses that dot the shores of Lake of the Woods.

Unlike the breezy cottage style of the east coast, the look here is a little warmer, a little more rugged, and tends to be a little more masculine. For sofas, sectionals, and armchairs look for sturdy, overstuffed pieces in durable fabric or leather, with deep seats and wide or rolled arms, like the Roleson Sofa at the top of this post.

Because hunting, fishing and boating are a huge part of the lifestyle here, you’ll see homes and cottages decorated with furniture and accessories that reflect these activities. Don’t be surprised to see vintage fishing rods, paddles, and hunting trophies used as wall art, or furniture made or inspired by the outdoors. This boat-shaped bookcase, for example, is a fun way to bring the outside in and gives you ample space to display books and treasured objects.

Finally, no N.W. Ontario collection would be complete without at least a little plaid. A nod to the red and black “Kenora Dinner Jacket,” these fun toss cushions in timeless black and white buffalo plaid instantly make a room seem cozier and are a must-have to add a bit of comfort to your Adirondack (aka Muskoka) chairs—another cottage country staple.

Inspired by Winnipeg, Man.
When we were thinking of that quintessential “Winnipeg style,” a few things came to mind, but the one that really sticks out is mid-century modern. Thanks to a housing boom in the 1950s and 60s, Winnipeg is home to a huge collection of mid-century homes in neighbourhoods throughout the city.

Although some of these original homes have been renovated, most still display the hallmarks of the era—post and beam construction, clerestory windows, oversized picture windows, breeze block fences and screens, carports, and exterior feature walls of wood, brick, or stone—and many of the homes’ new owners are decorating them with period-appropriate furniture and art. Lucky for them (and us), the original designs continue to inspire and mid-century modern-inspired furniture is widely available today.

One thing that makes mid-century modern furniture unique is that it was designed without taking any cues from the past—the designers of the time created a completely new aesthetic with simple, clean designs, and a focus on craftsmanship over ornamentation. Even if you don’t live in a house of that era, mid-century modern furniture is easy to live with and looks right at home in a contemporary setting.

There are a few distinctive characteristics of mid-century modern furniture that designers continue to use today in their mid-century-inspired pieces today. Few things seem to touch the ground—tables and cabinets are lifted on tall, tapered wood or hairpin legs, and upholstered pieces, like the Miller sofa (pictured above), float several inches off the floor—which helps give the room a light, airy look.

The mid-century modern furniture movement also introduced the idea of multi-purpose furniture, with pieces that could be rearranged and interchanged. Sectional sofas became mainstream, as did the concept of combining wood and man-made materials, thanks to new technologies available after the war.

Another thing that made mid-century modern furniture so special when it was introduced was a colour palette that ran the gamut from deep, earthy oranges, yellows, and browns, to clear, optimistic reds, turquoises, and blues. Today you’ll find mid-century modern-inspired pieces in both throwback and current, on-trend colourways, so there’s no worry about your furniture looking too nostalgic.

Inspired by Ottawa, Ont.

Since 1965, when the Canadian flag was introduced, red and white have practically been synonymous with Canada. So, if we are going to think of looks inspired by our nation’s capital, we have to start there.

Now, if you’ve been shying away from red because it’s such a bold colour, don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be scary at all. Depending on how much you use, and at what strength, red can add a little pop of colour, create a focal point, or make the room seem cozy and—dare we say—sexy. Our advice is start small and go from there. Once you see what an impact it can make, we think you’ll be back for more.

One of the best spots to experiment with bold colour is in the kitchen, especially if your counters and cabinets are in a neutral shade. To create an exciting focal point, swap out that tired old stove with this dual fuel stunner in fire engine red from KitchenAid. Or, if that’s not quite in your budget, consider adding red accessories like barstools, canisters, a funky retro clock, or a much-coveted stand mixer.

For a look that (politely) says "Oh, Canada!" look for accent pieces that combine red and white with a neutral, like grey, in a modern geometric pattern. The Claudia Accent chair has just the right amount of red to wake up its neutral white and grey fabric and add a touch of whimsy. Add a soft throw and you have the perfect spot to sit and warm up after skating on the historic Rideau Canal, a must-do winter event for Ottawa citizens and visitors alike.

Speaking of winter activities in Ottawa, this year the annual Winterlude celebration will be held virtually. We’re going to miss the iconic BeaverTails, but now we have even more reason to snuggle up under a pile of cozy blankets in this incredible sleigh bed to take part in the online event. And, of course, you can bet those blankets will be red—a perfect complement to the black satin finish of the headboard and footboard. (Here’s that touch of sexy we were talking about!)

Inspired by Saskatoon, Sask.
Known to many as the “Paris of the Prairies,” Saskatoon is a young, lively city, surrounded by acres and acres of farmland. So much farmland, in fact, that it’s hard to think of Saskatoon without conjuring up images of endless, rolling fields of golden wheat and vibrant yellow canola.

Although it’s one of Canada’s fastest growing cities, those rural roots run deep. That’s why modern farmhouse is the style we most closely associate with Saskatoon. What makes it modern? It takes the relaxed country style of farmhouse and gives it a contemporary spin by layering in cool, industrial accents and contemporary pieces and finishes. It’s a little less rustic and a little more refined, as you can see by the look above featuring the Ingleside sectional.

The modern farmhouse look leans heavily on a neutral colour palette, natural materials, and layered textures to create character and interest. Look for furniture with clean lines and simple, but beautiful details, like in this acacia-stained display cabinet with butterfly-matched veneer and dark bronze-tone handles and accents.

In addition to stained wood, you see a lot of solid finishes that run the gamut from glossy perfection to timeworn and distressed. Somewhere in the middle, washed finishes provide a charming compromise. The Carynhurst TV stand with its playful “barn doors” and antiqued metal hardware is a perfect example of the whitewashed look. We can see this piece easily fitting into a casual living room, media room, or even dining room as an extra-large server with both concealed and open storage for dinnerware and decorative pieces.

To bring in even more texture and interest, reach for deeply textured baskets, enameled or galvanized metal trays and canisters, oversized industrial clocks, and reproduction or authentic artifacts from the farm. Remember, everything from iron rake heads to window frames can be upcycled to create original accent pieces for your modern farmhouse interior—check out Pinterest for some easy DIY ideas!

For even more design inspo, including content from our hometown style influencers, make sure you are following @DufresneStyle on Instagram.