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This Worldly Designer Transformed Her Toronto Condo Into a Warm, Playful Space

A shot of a cozy Corktown Toronto apartment's home office with neutral colours and quirky furniture
Niamh Barry

Agathe Corbet is the owner of Ama Studio and a multi-hyphenate designer, decorator and photographer. Originally hailing from France, she previously lived in Australia before calling Toronto’s east end home. Now, she operates her design studio in Leslieville and lives in Corktown. Read on to get inspired by Agathe’s warm, playful apartment and learn how you can bring her expert tips into your own space.

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Toronto designer Agathe Corbet in her warm and texture-filled apartment
Niamh Barry

Focus On Creating a Feeling

Rather than pigeonhole herself into a specific design style, Agathe describes her designs as focused on “creating a feeling of calm and warmth”. For those who are still trying to find their aesthetic, Agathe advises, “You probably start to build up your fashion style before your interior style and I think that’s very connected. You’ll rarely see me wear very bright colours and busy patterns. I’ve always been more attracted to beautiful materials that are natural with textures and shapes. And that’s also what I am attracted to when it comes to interiors.”

Related: Interior Design Trends on Their Way Out in 2024

neutral living room in Toronto condo brimming with texture
Niamh Barry

In Her Natural Element

Coming from France and Australia, one of the challenges Agathe encountered moving to Toronto was creating a warm, inviting space in a new-build condo, which can tend to feel cool and sterile. She designed her apartment with light, neutral tones and plenty of natural materials. “It’s all about layering textures. So, you don’t want everything to be in the same material. You want to be playing with different materials and rich textures, like raw and reclaimed wood, for instance,” she says.

A cozy home office with neutral colours and a squiggle office desk
Niamh Barry

Go Custom When it Counts

As a creative, it was important to Agathe to create an inspiring home office space that also made a statement. Uninspired by the limited, uninteresting desk options on the market, Agathe designed the desk with her appreciation for playful shapes in mind. “I like organic shapes, so I designed the desk with the squiggle leg. It was quite difficult to find someone who could actually do it,” says Agathe (which is why if you’re as obessed with this desk as we are, you can purchase the custom squiggle desk from her site here).

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Agathe recommends going custom in two scenarios. First, when you can’t find an item that fits your needs, maybe because you require a special size or shape. The second scenario is if you’re after a statement piece that you can’t find elsewhere. For her desk, it was a bit of both — she wanted to design an inspiring furniture piece like no other. “Because of the way the apartment is laid out, the office opens onto the living room and dining room, so I thought that was a good place to try something custom,” she explains.

Related: Upcycle Your Bedroom Furniture With These Easy DIY Hacks

A shot of a wooden wardrobe with an interesting Japanese lamp on top
Niamh Barry

Treat Lighting Like Artwork

Agathe was very intentional in her lighting choices for the apartment, like this Japanese-designed table lamp (her favourite!). She prefers to choose warm, indirect lighting sources to create a cozy feeling and advises to skip the overhead lights, which can give a corporate office or hospital vibe. “Lamps are almost like artwork. A table — it’s always going to look like a table. A chair is always going to be a chair. With lamps, you can have so many different shapes. So, I think they’re a good way to introduce something different, something a bit more playful,” she shares.

Related: Transform an Old Vase Into Your New Favourite Lamp in 7 Easy Steps

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The living room of Agathe's cozy Corktown home tour
Niamh Barry

Let the Natural Light In

Agathe notes that curtains are one of the most underrated and overlooked parts of a home’s design. “It completely transforms the space,” she explains. “Having those nice sheer curtains that you can close off is a good way to make your space feel cozier and be like a retreat from the outside world, while still letting light in.”

Related: Stylish Window Treatment Ideas for Every Room in Your House

The neutral and classic bedroom of the cozy Corktown condo
Niamh Barry

Make it Personal

While it can be tempting to create a space that looks like what you see all over Instagram or Pinterest, Agathe stresses the importance of personalizing your space and filling your home with pieces that hold meaning. Making your home feel custom to you doesn’t have to mean filling the halls with family photos either, Agathe says. “Bringing things from your travels is a really good way to personalize your home and make it feel unique to you,” she goes on to explain.

The dining room in Agathe's Corktown home tour
Niamh Barry

Take Your Travels Home

Having lived in multiple countries and traveled dozens, Agathe says for her, travel is “something that’s part of me and that inspires me.” She personally loves discovering new artisans in her journeys, and bringing decor home with her. Don’t be intimidated if you’re travelling light, because she also shares her tips for bringing those special items home if you can’t fit them in your suitcase. Agathe recommends buying directly from local suppliers and shipping home or finding affordable shipping options like Send My Bag.

Home tour photos are courtesy of Niamh Barry

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