Photographer, food writer and cookbook author, Marcella DiLonardo lives in a Craftsman-inspired house in the Niagara region of Pelham, Ontario, with her partner, Justin Jones, and Chihuahuas Buddy Holly and Peter. An arbiter of superb design taste, Marcella has a knack for knowing exactly what goes with what. An array of wallpaper, hand-knotted rugs, everything wool, quality furniture and quirky accoutrements make up Marcella’s beautiful home. Find out what appliance is shockingly absent from this cook’s kitchen. Hint: it’s not the stove, which is an adorable dusty blue. Bonus: check out the video of this thoughtfully curated vintage-inspired home.
Marcella grew up in the Niagara region, so she feels right at home in her Craftsman-inspired pad, which was built in 1928. The three-bedroom dwelling was previously owned by a Toronto-based real estate agent. It was fine but needed personality. “I did the painting, wallpapering, decorating and we just built an addition last year that added 400 square feet,” says Marcella. The house is now 1,800 square feet.
Living Her Best Life in the Living Room
Some of Marcella’s signature moves are writ large in the living room. She loves Windsor chairs. They’re in the dining room next door, too. And she’s into portraiture. “I got the girl painting off of Etsy. We both laughed because it looks like me as a kid!,” she says referring to her main squeeze, Justin Jones. Plush textiles are also a fixture throughout the home, adding a cozy feel. We’re talking to you cushy knot, sheep and geometric blanket.
A Dear Moment
A wallpaper aficionado, Marcella has seven different types of papers in the house. This hatched print – Anime by Farrow & Ball – is carried into the adjoining dining room. She snagged the Danish print through The Poster Club. The deers and shapely mustard-coloured candle complete the charming vignette. “Whenever I go antique shopping, I look for a deer,” she says. “They’re increasingly harder to find.”
Wood Accents Are Cozy
Not every bit of wood needs to be painted white. Here, French doors handsomely divide the dining room from the living room. That pastel sofa? “I bought it to match the stove,” says Marcella. (It’s amazing. It’s coming in the next few slides. Hold tight.)
With the Grain
“I love Windsor chairs. I think they are so so timeless,” says Marcella. “These ones are a modern twist made from solid maple. I love the quality and handmade nature of them. I always try to invest in pieces that will never date.” The wallpaper subtly warms up the space. “I haven’t always been a wallpaper fan,” says Marcella. “I felt this house looked like it needed it. I decorate for the house. This has so much character. It screams wallpaper!”
The sturdy wooden wine rack is from Crate & Barrel. Marcella bought it to match the hutch and dining table, which are also C & B. “I’m in the wine region, so it’s always full,” says Marcella who admits she’s more of a sour beer and cider tippler. “My dad painted the reproduction portrait of The Blue Boy when he was 18,” she says. “It used to be in the basement for the longest time.”
Marcella’s home is carefully edited so each piece shines. In this view facing the side of the staircase, a puffy sheep that Marcella’s mom made, pastel artwork and the black globe floor lamp catch the eye. As for the clock, that’s not the first one you’ll see in her pad. “I love old school clocks,” says Marcella.
Here’s another one of those old-timey clocks Marcella is fond of. Naturally, she’s got wallpaper in the kitchen, too. Most of the wallpaper in Marcella’s home is muted and mellow, lending cohesion. This soothing pastoral print, depicting a farmhouse scene, is Gable by Farrow & Ball, and suits the house’s vintage.
“Everyone points them out,” says Marcella of her growing chopping-board collection. “Most are props, or serving boards.” Guarding the stash are a pair of fox cookie jars Marcella bought a decade ago at the since-closed Lavish & Squalor in Toronto. “I keep dog food in them,” she says.
When Lighting Strikes
These pretty pendants look like inverted coupe glasses. “I think we changed every light fixture in the house. They were very traditional silver,” says Marcella. “I wanted gold to modernize them. I like the mix of modern against an old backdrop.” The lower wood cubby, meanwhile, replaced a dishwasher. “I got rid of it. And I’m a recipe developer,” says Marcella. “We never used it. We forgot it existed.” (We’re as stunned as you, readers! Good on you, Marcella.)
Copper Pots and Open Shelves
This hot jumble of copper cookware looks charming, but is it nice to cook with? As the author of Bake the Seasons: Sweet and Savoury Dishes to Enjoy Throughout the Year, Marcella has had a lot of practice with them. “It is better to cook with but a pain to clean,” she says. “I have a special cleaner for them. They’re more for looks. The double broiler gets the most use.” The pots might be exposed, but Marcella covered the hood vent for a sleeker look, and switched out the hardware on the cupboards. Psst! Try Marcella’s recipe for crispy brussels sprouts.
Dusty Blue, Baby
“My Lacanche stove is my big love,” says Marcella, who spotted the premium hunk in a showroom in Toronto and changed her mind about buying an ivory-coloured one, which is totally out of character for her. “With its gold knobs, it was so beautiful and I figured a stove should stand out.”
The previous owner bumped the kitchen out to accommodate a bathroom. “There wasn’t one on the main floor,” says Marcella. Basic, with a pedestal sink and beadboard wall, Marcella went to town jazzing up the loo. The vanity resembles a beautiful dresser, while gold accents in the plumbing fixtures, mirror and sconces bring on the glam.
Marcella chose Apothecary Garden by Trustworth Studios – a botanical print with birds and bees – for the powder room. “It’s a 1926 Boise craftsman print that’s bold. In a powder room, I figure you can go absolutely crazy!”
The Amazing Addition
The couple didn’t have natural light in the house before the addition. “It was supposed to be a small studio for my work,” says Marcella. “We hired a local architect who does a lot of commercial buildings. He made it look like part of a Craftsman-inspired house.” Now that it has ample light, Marcella does her product shoots in here – and hangs out in the divinely cozy space. The panelled MDF shiplap walls are painted Mizzle, a grey-green hue by Farrow & Ball.
The Modular Sofa Everyone Wants
The extremely plush Ethnicraft sofa is a showstopper and yet its low profile keeps the space feeling open. “We love that it’s modular, so I can rearrange it when shooting,” says Marcella.
Spot the TV
“The gas stove fireplace is our main heat in there. We didn’t run any HVAC,” says Marcella. “It keeps it so warm, the dogs sit there for hours.” And yes that’s a Samsung TV that doubles as art when turned off. Note also the hand-knotted wool rug with mustard and cream tones. Layering is the gateway to a cozy pad, after all.
Black windows lend definition in the addition. They’re a dramatic move against the green shiplap walls and Atacama Farrow & Ball wallpaper.
A Restful Moment (With a Story)
The scalloped tiles look low key enough, but Marcella reveals they were a pain to install. No one wanted to do the job. The first five rows actually had to be torn out because they looked wonky. “It was the most stressful part of the addition,” she says, though she loves the way they turned out. Marcella crushed hard for years on the rocking chair from Stylegarage before buying it.
Dogs in Felt
Marcella made these captivating felt dudes with her mom. They’re reproductions of her dogs, and they look heart-warming hanging about. “That was our Covid hobby,” says Marcella. “I give them for baby gifts. I make people’s pets and then gift them.”
The (Gorgeous) Office
Marcella’s home office sees a lot of action. “I do a lot of editing here,” she says. “Since Covid, my partner is also working from home.” (Read: so the space has to be a perfect retreat.) The Crate & Barrel desk has a vintage vibe that matches the house’s aesthetic. The wallpaper is Samphire by Farrow & Ball.
Surround yourself with pieces you love for an inspiring work day. Cute plush figures line the shelf, and perfectly coordinates with the other accessories including a set of houses and cameras. The grey and mustard combo is carried throughout Marcella’s home.
Details draw in the eye – as Marcella knows. Here, a trio of accessories (everything looks better in threes) is an appealing sight in her home office, especially against that magnificent wallpaper. It’s Samphire by Farrow & Ball. Inspired by Samphire or (salicornia), a wild plant, the arrow-like pattern is bold yet not unbearably so.
Panelled Wall Perfection
The snuggle factor is real in the couple’s bedroom. Plush bedding in pink and grey hues gives it that fat-bed feel. The pink bedding is from Rough Linen and the grey linen quilt is from Rejuvenation. The wool throw is Røros Tweed through Design Within Reach. Meanwhile, soft grey Aranami by Farrow & Ball wallpaper adds interest to the panelled walls.
“My mom got the alpaca on a trip to South America. Everyone knows I have a love of wools,” says Marcella.
Sculptural vases have an unfussy aesthetic that Marcella likes. They sit on a stunning Danish sideboard from Filter in Hamilton, Ontario.
Soft pink Blostma wallpaper by Farrow & Ball line the guest room’s walls. The print showcases a flurry of falling petals. “The styling is super cozy and warm,” says Marcella, which is exactly what a guest room should be. The Nordic blanket in mustard is from Pottery Barn. It meshes beautifully with the giant felt knot from Design Within Reach and navy pillows.
Height and Variety
Dresserscapes are successful, rather than disorderly, if you play around with height and variety. Small groupings – the trio of vases on the stacked books – and the wispy branches create drama and interest. The lamp has an intriguing silhouette that just works. And how about that sloth for quirk?
You wouldn’t think these two prints work together, but they do. Matchy-matchy is so predictable. This is adventurous in its abandon. The wallpaper is Yukutori by Farrow & Ball. “We wanted to bring in a more cozy, vintage feel with the runner on the stairs,” says Marcella.
Rest and Relaxation
Classic subway tile and a fetching circular window feel just right in the couple’s Craftsman-style bathroom. Marcella admits she didn’t do much in the bathroom because it felt perfect just the way it was.
Clothes as Art
Marcella’s penchant for deers continues. Here’s a resting critter propping open the door. Marcella’s sweater from Atelier Delphine is handmade, from Peru. “Although I bought it as a clothing item, it has basically become a piece of art in our home and I love it,” says the multi-skilled Marcella who felts, takes photographs, writes and designs. Did we mention she has a keen sartorial sense, too? Check out the cool overalls she’s wearing in her home tour video.