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You know someone has talent when they can take a simple one bedroom flat and turn it into a magazine worthy pied-a-terre — all on a budget. Fashion designer turned interior decorator Armine Tatosian, has an incredible eye. She shares some of her secrets for creating a home that is truly personal.

INTERIOR DECORATOR/STORE OWNER: Armine Tatosian

 If you live in Toronto, you may know Armine as the co-owner of AT Design – the stylish interiors shop set in a century old coach  house in Rosedale, just off Yonge Street.

Since she downsized from a spacious country home in Caledon, the former fashion designer has proven that you can create something special without spending a lot of money.

Her 700 square foot home has been featured in Canadian House and Home’s Small Spaces issue (Sept. 2009) and HGTV’s Top Ten. 

Armine’s living room has an interesting mix of textures. The tufted high back sofa really works tucked into the corner.  The dress is one of her own designs.

Armine painted the walls Benjamin Moore Decorators White. It helps the space flow and allows her to freely mix modern and traditional pieces.  She framed Fornasetti wallpaper (Adam and Eve – Cole and Son) and leans it against the wall — an ingenious touch that really makes the space.

 Armine designed this thin mantle unit to fit perfectly into a small space. It provides a warm glow and instant atmosphere during a dinner party. When you light a row of tealights, they appear to multiply as the tinted glass is reflective. The tranquil painting is by John Fitzgerald.

 

Fresh flowers and branches are an essential luxury for Armine. She studied interior design in school, but also had a talent for fashion design.  She was encouraged to design clothing, which she did successfully for ten years. Today she’s happily returned to her first love — interiors.

 

All of her treasures are on display, as she only has one small closet. It helps that most of her dishes are white so everything works together. If you look closely at the hand screen-printed Fornasetti wallpaper, you’ll see the fretwork circles provide a trompe l’oeil view of the figures.

Armine collects dishes — lots of them, so many of her cake stands and glass containers are displayed above the cabinets.  The effect is airy and fresh.

I love the way Armine uses a dress form to display her jewellery. It’s beautiful and functional. The subtly textured bedding contrasts beautifully with the linen headboard.

COCO CHANEL once said, “Fashion changes, but style endures.”

Armine’s parties are legendary.

 She transformed a plain backyard into an inviting retreat.

Armine says she’s inspired by everything around her. “I watch a lot of old movies from the 20’s and 30’s and study the way they did things.” She laments that, “we don’t do things the way we used too. We’ve become lazy.” Armine firmly believes,”Designers should guide clients rather than putting their stamp on a home. Your space should be your space and it should reflect you.” 

Another one of Armine’s fashion designs on display in her bathroom.

 She is emphatic when she says,”I don’t like cookie cutter decorating.” When she graduated from school, Armine’s aesthetic was clean and streamlined. She favoured black, white and silver. Today she admits,”our tastes are always evolving. I’m starting to embrace more colour.”

Even the living room sometimes gets a layer of colour.

Here’s the picture perfect storefront of Armine’s boutique. She co-owns AT Design Group with award-winning journalist (Global TV) Terese Sears. The long-time friends do all the buying together, although Armine spends more time in the shop.

If you’d like to know more about AT Design Group check out the company website here.  The store is located at 5 MacPherson Avenue in Toronto – (416) 323-0323. Photos courtesy of AT Design Group.