November 20th, 2015
I am thrilled to be featured in an article in the Toronto Star Life by style maven Karen von Hahn. I have been following her for years and she is a writer who "just gets it". Here she writes beautifully about my home and the spaces close to my heart. See below for the full article.
Field notes: Fresh ideas in Theresa Casey’s laundry room
By: Karen von Hahn Fashion Columnist, Published on Tue Sep 22 2015
Normally a neglected area of the home, the interior designer and artist elevates the space while paying homage to her family.
Alongside her 15-year-old Toronto design practice, interior designer and artist Theresa Casey is running a one-woman campaign against the “boringification” of interiors.
“Every space now looks like it’s come straight out of a catalogue,” says Casey, whose own deeply atmospheric North Rosedale residence stands in stunning contrast as an example of what she calls a “thoughtful and layered approach to design.”
So much so that stepping into her own intimately proportioned front hall, you are immediately drawn into the sumptuous whimsy of a wall Casey has feathered in peacock quills, before turning around to face a hanging screen of Venetian blue silk along the stairs that she has bejewelled with a collection of vintage brooches. No surface is free from Casey’s imaginative and evocative approach: even her basement laundry room has been reconceived as a sort of personal gallery of family photographs and memories.
“I’ve never had an ‘official’ laundry room before, and I thought, ‘why not?’” says Casey. “I have a big family, mostly in Ireland, and I love old portraits and vintage frames. The truth is, I am down here a lot, so initially it seemed like another opportunity to express myself, but it has become a sort of memory portal.”
Black-framed portraits set a rhythm in the narrow, white marble mosaic room, which does resemble some kind of entrance. Hanging under a skinny horizontal team photograph of some footballers from the ’20s is a map of Paris dotted with pins and ephemera linked to Casey’s personal history and travels. On the counter opposite where Casey folds freshly washed sheets and sweaters is a clutch of antique apothecary jars filled with wooden clothespins. Even simple white laundry soap is made more compelling housed in a sculptural glass jar worthy of a vintage laboratory and accessed with a vintage metal hand scoop. Casey’s mother, pictured as a young woman in her nursing uniform, adds to the retro-clinical atmosphere.
“I get a kick out of these pictures,” says Casey. “My grandfather looks so fierce in that one picture, but you can see how much he looked like my Dad. And then there’s my Dad at around four or five years old, back when he was growing up in Dublin.”
“Family is a big deal for us Irish Catholics,” laughs Casey. “But that’s how I have learned who I am.”
As a practising interior designer with a visual arts background who retires to her ivy-covered studio in the garden each morning to paint, Casey also believes in the value of discipline and ritual.
“I believe in elevating the everyday,” says Casey. “It’s a bit of a Jungian idea of the stabilizing, grounding effect of completing common tasks, but I sometimes get my best ideas when I’m doing something entirely routine, like folding laundry.”
When it comes to the effort required in transforming the every day into the exquisite, Casey stands firm. “Sometimes people say to me, ‘why bother?’ And my answer to them, is, well, why wouldn’t you?”