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20 years of change: with Jonathan Legate

Our favourite designers, decorators, and artisans look back over the last two decades

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Photo: Stacey Van Berkle

As a child, interior consultant Jonathan Legate started spending his allowance on architecture and design magazines. At 19, he opened his first home accessory store. Not long after, he opened a vintage furniture business, and in 2008, he established an independent consultancy.
He aims to create homes that express his client’s vision by building a strong foundation and relationship with them. He describes his style as contemporary and traditional.

How did you first get involved with East Coast Living?

I believe my first time working with East Coast Living was when it featured a fabulous, completely custom penthouse. That was about 17 years ago and that condo still has elements that would be considered unique and fresh today.

What was your favourite East Coast Living story?

Creating Christmas decor for the front door and entrance of a very special house. I used fresh greenery all harvested, with permission, from the neighbourhood including evergreen, holly, ivy, berries, and cones. It had a distinctly maritime flavour with antique glass fishing buoys. It’s even more special considering the house was torn down a year later. It felt good to have preserved the memory of this beautiful home in print.

What made you want to be a designer?

It’s been my raison d’être since the time I knew what a house was. My first drawings were always of houses and furniture. As a young child I funnelled all of my allowance into design magazines and I spent hours and hours taking in every detail.

What’s changed in design in the last 20 years?

Trends come and go, but quality and simplicity last forever. Go with what your heart loves then throw in some things that are more of the moment. A home that reflects its occupants is always in style.

What’s one trend you think will always stay relevant?

I think that caring about the environment and considering your impact on the world is very relevant now and will continue to be as we all work together to keep our planet safe for future generations.

We use this at home when we make decisions to buy locally-made things, items of quality that we don’t consider disposable, furniture you’d want to pass onto the next generations. I use the Saarinen Tulip table in a lot of my designs. It’s a modern classic design as relevant today as it was when it was designed in the 1950s.

Photo: Stacey Van Berkle

What hot new trend do you love?

I am so thrilled to be using wallpaper again at client requests. You can really create a personal style and a wow factor with wallpaper. And it’s easier than ever to remove, some are even peel and stick so apartment dwellers can make a splash too.

What’s your favourite space to design?

Family homes. I love the idea of creating the background for people to live their lives. A beautiful home that’s functionally well-designed improves your life. An efficient layout means less time dealing with everyday things and more time to enjoy your family and your space.

I love creating special corners for everyone to enjoy, from a cozy window seat to a loft in a kid’s bedroom, a bathroom escape, a dining table to celebrate around. Every family member is considered including the pets. I want my clients to have a home that feels welcoming to be in, a place to come home to and a place to create memories.

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