Classic Homes

A Sophisticated Feminine Retreat

Classic is always in style.

By Paige Turner
Anne Hepfer Home Tour

Interior designer Anne Hepfer is known for giving her sophisticated preppy touch to the personal homes of some pretty amazing clients (Tory Burch, anyone?) so we were pretty jazzed when she sent us this private batch of photos from her latest big project in Toronto. Her clients for this project were returning to Canada with their four-year-old daughter after living abroad for over ten years. They continue to live very active lives in terms of work and travel, and they wanted this 100-year old brick Georgian home to feel like a serene retreat. Anne used a muted palette with plenty of pattern to create the luxe feminine escape of her clients’ dreams. Click through the slideshow to wander the halls with us, and get ready for a major dose of house envy.

photographed by virginia macdonald

Tell us about the clients you designed this space for. What did they want you to accomplish with the space?

My clients for this project are Canadians who had just moved home to Toronto with their young daughter after spending 12 years abroad. Their home is a classical century-old brick Georgian and our goal was to make it their home by mixing a broad range of styles with a chic, feminine, sophisticated vibe that is simultaneously casual, livable, comfortable and timeless.

Your window treatments are pretty out-of-this-world. How do you approach dressing windows in a room?

The classic, traditional style of this home called for elegant curtains made with couture craftsmanship. The hardware was custom made in New York City. We pay attention to every last detail; the weight of the linen, the lining, the pleated French headings and the hand-sewn trim. A lot of people don’t know what goes into this kind of workmanship, but it is so specific and our trades are perfectionists, as am I.

We love this light-and-airy kitchen that blends traditional elements with modern. What’s your secret to creating traditional spaces that feel so fresh?

The window pane double-tier glass upper cabinets create that light, airy feel. The dark island grounds the space and provides contrast for the pale robin’s egg blue upholstered counter stools. I love the square hand-moulded glazed backsplash tile which mimics the square panes of the glass. It’s subtle and less predictable than subway tile. We custom designed the x-backed counter stools, and I must say, they make the space.

Where do you find inspiration for your design projects? Do you start at the fabric store, or by looking at the setting of the home, talking with clients, etc?

Inspiration can come from so many depths of life. We do a lot of digging and research to find out how our clients live and who they are. The deepest and most important foundation of inspiration is the client themselves, and then our designs are layered with ranges of cultural knowledge – from the technicalities and lines of architecture, organic elements from nature, to ideas in couture workmanship from the latest fashion week, or a unique piece of art that caught our eye while traveling, or the sun setting on a foggy evening, or the way light captures an ocean wave and the interplay of blue and light and dark, I could go on and on. But it comes down to the fact that our work is so deeply personal and our clients value a beautiful idea with a story behind it.

Tell us about the muted palette you used in this home – is that a signature touch of yours or was it more specific to this project? What inspired your color palette?

We do a lot of research to understand each client’s unique style. Every project is very different and I am proud to have never replicated a look. This particular client relates to a softer, sublime colour palette which gives their home a sense of peaceful tranquility.

Okay – can we talk about this pedestal sink? SO amazing. We love how you build the room around it in such a functional way. Is it an antique or reproduction? 

Original to the house! Some things, you just can’t touch because it adds to the character. We do our best to keep the treasures and update what needs updating. It’s the quirky elements that gives a space a sense of nostalgia.

Describe your design aesthetic in five words or fewer:

curated, colorful, unusual pairings, sophisticated, luxe.

Wow – what a dream room for a little girl. And it should translate well as she gets older. The hot air balloon fixture is really fun. It seems like statement light fixtures are a big part of your designs. Where do you source them?

This little girl is a very special girly girl who attends French school and has keen interests in art, music and sports. Her bedroom has a sophisticated French flair with a touch of whimsy including the hot air balloon fixture that we found on 1st Dibs. One-of-a-kind pieces give a space a little je ne sais quoi.

You’re definitely not afraid of using pattern! Any tips for successfully combining different patterns in the same room?

I say just go for it. Be bold. Be fearless. Don’t be afraid to mix. If you love it, go for it!

We love the black and white prints in the bathroom. Are those Avedon? How do you approach buying art for your clients?

They are prints of Audrey Hepburn by Cecile Beaton. We source a lot of art for clients and it’s one of my favourite things to select for any room whether a statement piece for a public space or a piece for a hallway or bathroom. Art is life and life is art, and what you put on a wall says a lot about a person. The art world is infinite. Again, research, research, research.

The exposed plumbing in this bathroom is really cool. You’re so good with finding the beauty in functional objects. How does that play into your approach to kitchens and bathrooms?

Thanks! It’s as simple as this – a client needs to store things. As long as we have an answer for everything that needs to be stored (function of a kitchen and bath), we can pursue design liberties such as exposed plumbing. That’s our approach! Millwork can also be beautiful. It’s about finding the balance and having the conversation regarding priorities, necessity and needs.

What should every good guest bedroom have?

Good mattress and pillows, fine linens, blackout window treatments, and always something personal and inviting that says “welcome, we are thrilled to have you stay with us;” fresh flowers, a water carafe and glass, a couple fun reads with decent bedside lighting.

We love the taupe color of this living room. This is exactly the type of paint project that drives us amateurs crazy. How do you find the perfect color for a room?

I play and I take risks. Color is a strange concept and it’s one of the most difficult things we do. I have spent from dawn until dusk in a room watching light and paint colors as they change. Interior lighting also completely changes color at night! With every project we paint several sample colors on the walls to look at them at different times of day with other finishes and fabric selections. It is an art!

Finish this sentence: A well-designed home should                 .

…feel fresh and new, function like a well-oiled machine, and fit like a glove.


see more of anne’s work on
and follow her on instagram: @annehepfer