The Hamilton Spectator’s Valentine’s Edition Featured Jan Speziale’s Den!
“I love red clothes,” Jan Speziale says as we chat about the all-red den of her Burlington home.

We are talking about the fiery colour in honour of Valentine’s Day. The colour makes your pulse race, but Speziale confirms that most people go all weak kneed when it comes to using it in decor.

“Clients are using strong colour but people are still afraid of red,” says the owner and designer at Barnard & Speziale in Waterdown. The company has been a fixture in the area for 26 years.

Speziale says the more red you use, the less intense it becomes. There is no half measure in this room; it’s covered from ceiling to floor in striking red grass cloth and has a wonderful feeling of cosy glamour.

She has always loved grass cloth for its texture, and the warmth it brings to a room. Price can range from $40 to $400 a roll, depending on the intricacy of the woven fibres. It adds an instant patina to a room without a lot of architectural detail.

The room also has a red leather sofa, art with splashes of red, and even family photos that coincidentally have red accents. Stationery supplies and other accents on her desk follow the hot colour theme.

She loves the colour’s energy, especially its orange tones. It seems to spur lively conversation in a dining room, and she says “very few people don’t look good against a red backdrop.”

Accent pieces blossom with a red backdrop. Speziale has two vases on top of a bookcase she bought nearly 20 years ago.

She likes their bold shapes and whimsical markings, like a young child’s scribbling.

Jan in her Den

Jan in her Den

Their black and white colour works dramatically against red. Drama is another thing red brings to a room.

Is there anywhere Speziale wouldn’t use it? “The bedroom; it’s not a calm colour.”

Speziale says give it a try anywhere else, but experiment first on an area at least 60×60 cm, applying two coats of paint.

A final piece of advice: “Don’t go halfway.”

Seeing red, Speziale style.