What do you get when design is literally married by fashion? Not surprisingly, a lot of fashionable style. That is what Lygia Navarro, a journalist, an interior designer and the owner of Lust Found Vintage, and her husband, Henry, an artist and a professor of fashion at Ryerson University, were planning with their Toronto rental apartment. And the results are gorgeous.

After relocating to Canada out of Cincinnati, the pair set out to get a space to house their ever-expanding collection of classic midcentury furniture. They discovered that a sky-high unit with an open floor plan, blessed with floor-to-ceiling windows which frame the gorgeous skyline and lush park below. “It is a floating experience over the city,” Lygia states.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Lygia and Henry Navarro
Location: St. Lawrence Market neighborhood of Toronto
Size: 1,100 square feet; 1 bedroom, 2 baths

Andrew Snow Photography

Since downtown views flank the living room, it is a great place for the few to entertain guests.

Anchoring the area is a triptych painted by Henry, who created all the art in the home. Aptly titled “Centre of Energy,” it is the only original piece that Henry says he’d never sell. Inspired by Japanese brush painting, it was designed to be modular and can be hung in any way.

Mid-1950s sleeper couch: Schnadig; wooden side table: Lane Furniture

Andrew Snow Photography

Located on the southwest corner of this building, the device is sun drenched throughout the day. The two Lygia and Henry’s favorite place is the solarium, a small nook that feels equally grand and romantic. The floor-to-ceiling windows give panoramic views of the downtown skyline: St. Lawrence Market in the east, Bay Street skyscrapers to the west and a big public park at their toes.

Lygia works mostly from home and enjoys taking in the sights and sounds of this city. “I watch the flocks of pigeons flying, people walking their dogs along with the currents and ice on the lake. It feels like having a huge garden,” she states.

Table: Goodwill; chairs: classic, made by Liberty Ornamental Iron Ltd..

Andrew Snow Photography

The couple’s love of design comes in an appreciation of the complex patterns in nature. “I frequently have this sense in nature, once I see a line of trees in silhouette or a flock of birds or the routine of leaves, the design of nature is just how things should be, so that things are right in the world. And I feel that same sense of peace and rightness in looking at midcentury design,” Lygia states.

Aluminum sculpture on coffee table: Don Drumm

Andrew Snow Photography

The Navarros constructed most of their furniture set piece by piece, understanding exactly what they had in mind and sometimes taking up to a year to locate it. However, some discovers were serendipitous. Henry’s favorite place to read is in a re-covered cantilevered armchair, which Lygia discovered on the road. “I like when you look at it from far away,” Henry says. “It looks like it is drifting. Then once you sit on it, it feels very substantial. It has the ideal proportions but has got this bounciness because of the metal’s contour.”

Andrew Snow Photography

This white sideboard used to be a backdrop for photographing things for Lygia’s vintage shop. The tiles over are an untitled 3-D piece by Henry, a re-creation of a huge setup of hand-formed tiles he’d made for a previous solo series.

A record holder finds new life as shelving for books and a resting area for a tall secondhand lamp.

Andrew Snow Photography

This bookcase in Lygia’s office took her more than a year to monitor and is just one of her favorite pieces. The dynamic arrangement of sound and voids is home to a variety of objects, pieces of art and color-coordinated books.

Bookcase: auction piece, A.H. Wilkens; teak banker’s desk: B.K. Johl; oil painting: Evelyn Levy Shaw

Andrew Snow Photography

The kitchen is partly open to the main living area. While the kitchen and bathroom are not exactly the couple’s style, they are happy that their rental unit is relatively simple to adapt to suit their own furniture.

Bar Condominiums: 1970s, designed by Bryan Leaman

Andrew Snow Photography

Hanging off-center in the hallway is another one of Henry’s original paintings. It shares the space with a classic white cupboard, an Eames La Fonda side seat and some of the couple’s extensive book collection.

Fan: classic, Electrohome; teak side table: classic, made by Deilcraft

Andrew Snow Photography

The bedroom doubles as Henry’s office nook and reading space, including a lamp which took months of looking for. The Eames DCM seat is another of Lygia’s favorites. “It is really beautiful,” she states.

Desk: located on the road in Toronto; teak clock: Fair Judy’s Antiques and Curiosities; brown seat: Krueger, from Duck Creek Antique Mall; white desk lamp: St. Lawrence Antique Market; table lamp: classic, made by Lyskaer; small painting: Henry Navarro

Andrew Snow Photography

The few views their bedroom as a silent retreat. They kept the furnishings fairly minimal. Lygia employs the room to meditate and read, since two big north-facing dividers pour in mild. Even Henry’s art over the bed takes on a organized, rational and calm nature here. This piece was the last one added to the apartment; it had been a gift he made for Lygia while she had been off on a business trip.

Dress form: Craigslist; cushions: Ikea

Your turn: Share your vibrant apartment with us

See related