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A friendly place for art for Riverdale resident

Jean Stilwell’s Riverdale loft is more than a mere expression of her self, but of the changing tides in the artist’s life.

Resident: Jean Stilwell, 53, Mezzo-soprano & Radio Host, Producer
Space: One-bedroom, open-concept loft
Location: Riverdale
Price: Owned

Jean Stilwell’s Riverdale loft is more than a mere expression of her self, but of the changing tides in the artist’s life.

“When I moved from High Park, I wanted a blank canvas. I was basically starting life over again,” she said. And a blank canvas is what she got. The massive dwelling, with 18-foot-high ceilings, is painted white from top to bottom, including its concrete floors. To colour her canvas, Stilwell decided upon placing furniture and artwork throughout that reflects what’s most important to her — friends.

“Everything on my walls — paintwork, photography, everything — are my friends’ works,” she said, “I love having my friends around me.”

In her dining area, Stilwell showcases two paintings by friend Kate Hollett, who she met at a reception only to realize they live in the same building. While Stilwell said the words displayed upon the works act somewhat as affirmations, their placement was (like the friends meeting) serendipitous, as the colours flow from one, to the other, to the graffiti of her and her son’s names in the main foyer.

“It was just kind of a feel,” said Stilwell, “I feel more. That’s my job! Of course it takes technique and hard work, but I think that’s the whole thing that makes artists unique: Their ability to feel.”

A feeling of balance, beauty and simplicity is what Stilwell wanted when she asked her designer friend Amy Czettisch’s advice on crafting a bed and complementary table for her space. Czettisch enlisted her husband David Steiner to create the pair, made of a 200-year-old oak tree that was pulled out of Rice Lake in southeastern Ontario.

“(The bed) reminds me of a Frank Gehry piece because it’s very angular, very simple, with the most scrumptious wood,” said Stilwell. “I said to David, ‘I want a coffee table, but it has to be sensual.’ That is the feminine balance to this bed.”

To Stilwell, balance signifies simplicity, which is something she strives for in her home because, “I don’t have a lot of balance!” she said with a laugh. “It is imperative to me that my house be simple, clean and that each piece has a function and a rich colour or texture.”

Radio
Catch Jean Stilwell and co-host Mike Duncan’s show Good Day, GTA! weekdays from 5 to 10 a.m. on 96.3 FM.

– If you think your home has the character for Your Space, email douglas.dunlop@metronews.ca why.

 
 
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