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Cover Story – Passage To India – Aug/Sep2016

Cover Story - Passage To India - Aug/Sep2016

A couple’s love of colour and the rich influences from India permeate throughout their new-build home.

When you think of India, vibrant colours and luxurious fabric immediately come to mind. This is exactly the mood these homeowners wanted to evoke in their 8,000-square-foot new build. Sanjay and Priyanka Luthra commissioned this substantial home and selected most of the finishes themselves, but they quickly became overwhelmed. Sanjay stressed that he had been in many large homes and found them either overcrowded with inappropriate furniture or too sparsely furnished. It was very important to him to get it just right. “We realized we needed professional help to make our new house, our dream home, and to get that wow-factor, we contacted Gabriele Pizzale Design,” says Sanjay.

We were delighted to work on this project, we love colour and were eager to give the homeowners a showpiece. The home’s construction was almost complete when we were retained except for a few additions we took on, such as the millwork in the front hall and the bespoke fireplace in the family room. Antique mirror was clad with a custom-metal screen all anchored by quartz on the base. These customized details distinguish this project from other builder homes.


Awash in lots of natural light, the colours steal the show; purple, pink and orange are sprinkled throughout the main floor. This colour scheme unifies the main floor, but it does not feel overwhelming because of the right balance of repetition. Wall colours are kept light and simple so the fabrics and furnishings could shine.

Entertaining is really important to the homeowners, they wanted a space that is both stylish but practical for their two young children. We chose fabrics for the high-traffic rooms, such as the kitchen and family room, that are not only hardwearing but also easy to clean. It is of no value to have a gorgeous chair that is ruined by sticky peanut butter fingers. There is a happy medium between practicality and style.

As in most homes, the kitchen and family room are where the homeowners spend most of their time, so it was crucial to start with a well-thought-out space that addresses their needs. A large kitchen table with eight chairs and three bar stools allow for lots of seating, and the homeowners love the blend of all the colours in the floral pattern on the drapery. Unique pieces in the family room are also a big hit; the statue-like drinks table and the Sherpa fur stools in particular. With seating for 12 in the family room, there is never a shortage of places to make your guests comfortable.

Dramatic, dark aubergine was Sanjay’s wish for a paint colour in the dining room. We made this work by lighting up the cabinetry and adding upholstered chairs in a striking, horizontal stipe. Painting the ceiling a metallic gold adds sparkle to the space. The living room offers a more intimate entertaining area with a sumptuous velvet sofa, and two enveloping tube chairs. Various geometrics were used in large and small scale in the fabrics, rug and accessories.

Caponata AF-650

Newburg Green HC-158

Pashmina AF-100


Bold colours and pattern work well on the main floor, but for the family’s private space on the second floor, we chose a more restful palette. The generous master suite, with adjoining sitting room is adorned with soft blues and greys. Silver-leaf dresser and nightstand fronts add a touch of glamour.

The go-to place where the homeowners like to unwind is the basement sitting room. Teal is a preferred colour so we combined it with purple to create a loungelike vibe. A large, custom sectional was designed with an oversized chaise that can be used on both sides, creating maximum seating in the room. Again we aimed to discover one-of-a-kind accessories and furniture. The wood-slat wallboard in the bar area is a foil to the glass tile and the purple leather swivel chairs add to the uniqueness of the space.

If all this entertaining makes the Luthras tired, they can relax in the nine-seat theatre room. Each leather chair reclines all the way back and is the ultimate in movie-watching luxury. The dark walls, and blackout drapery make this a cosy space that also has great acoustics.

Overall, this project lasted more than a year but the end result was well worth the wait. “The big reveal that Gabriele and her team gave us far surpassed our highest hopes… and everyone we have over is just wowed by the results,” enthuse the homeowners. Mission accomplished.

Photography By Mike Chajecki


LIVING ROOM UPHOLSTERY: Gresham House FABRICS: Kravet RUG: Minster COFFEE TABLE: Berhardt DINING ROOM TABLE: Cocoon CHAIRS: Fabric, Telio UPHOLSTERY: Designer Upholstery LIGHT: Gerrie CABINETS: Stutt Kitchens FAMILY ROOM UPHOLSTERY: Gresham House FABRICS: Kravet CASE GOODS: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams DRAPERY: Avant Garde CARPET: Hellenic FIREPLACE: Metal, Jeff Mack Design, Quartz Cambria LIGHTING: Gerrie KITCHEN TABLE AND CHAIRS: Canadel FABRIC: Joanne Fabrics BASEMENT LOUNGE SECTIONAL: Designer Upholstery FABRIC: Joanne Fabrics CHAIR: Gresham House PURPLE LEATHER CHAIRS: Della Robia CARPET: Minster PAINT: Benjamin Moore


Gabriele Pizzale wants to live in a world where the spaces she designs reflect the people who enjoy them. Her bespoke designs with a high-end flair have accented homes and office spaces across the GTA. You may recognize Gabriele from her 12-year stint as a design expert on Cityline.