How designer Dominic de Freitas drew inspiration from Thorold’s rural roots to create a cozy, family-focused home.
In a world enamoured with light and bright spaces, embracing a moodier colour palette for our homes almost feels like a design faux-pas. Almost.
Widely shied away from because of the belief that they make spaces feel smaller and gloomier, the darker end of the colour spectrum is often reserved for rooms we spend less time in, like a bathroom or the laundry room. And while inkier hues do suit these spaces, their effect is as equally impressive when welcomed into busier areas of the home. Dark paint tones can enhance architectural features, create a cocooning atmosphere and add drama and movement. “Neutral colours in a darker hue can make a space feel larger,” says designer Dominic De Freitas. This is because they obscure the edges of where the wall starts and stops.
Dominic’s unabashed embrace of dusky hues is what makes the Industrial Ranch model home so captivating. A palette rooted in earth tones — a mix of muted greys, neutrals and rustic colours — gives the home a rich envelope and sets the stage for a blend of industrial and farmhouse furnishings in deep neutral shades. “Authenticity is key,” says the designer, who drew inspiration for the palette from the rural locale where Empire’s Legacy community is based.
And the home’s authentic appeal is undeniable. In the kitchen, a farmhouse-style trestle table and industrial metal chairs encourage laid-back family meals, while pots and pans kept on display communicate a love for cooking and are easy to grab when needed. “The best accents are the ones that also play a functional role,” says Dominic of the freestanding baker’s rack. “Look for pieces that serve a dual purpose.” The raised family room strikes a similar homey note, with natural accent pieces and a mix of leather and wooden furniture carving out a comfortable space that’s perfect for family downtime. “Don’t over stage your home,” Dominic advises. “Keep it casual; think about how you truly live.” To add warmth to the large open space and establish a natural focal point, Dominic opted for an expansive brick feature wall — a staple of industrial design.
Taking in the mix of raw materials, weathered woods and earthy palette, it’s impossible not to feel right at home in the Industrial Ranch model. And for families looking to plant their own roots, it seems only fitting that the inspiration for the home comes from the ground up.
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