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The Incomparable Ray Staples

August 2, 2012 by admin

UPDATE:  For even more words of wisdom from Ray Staples, head on over to Margot Austin’s blog.  They had a special connection and Margot has some priceless quotes to share with us.  Visit Margot’s blog here.

As many of you may have read, Canadian design icon Ray Staples recently passed away.  I first ‘met’ Ray when I was an odd ball kid soaking up the design dips on CityLine with Marilyn Denis.  I was fortunate enough to meet Ray in person during her many visits to L’Atelier, the Rosedale shop I worked in as a student.  Now a guest myself with Marilyn Denis on her new show I feel quite honoured and humbled to share such company.  She was a fountain of knowledge, style, and pithy advice. A straight shooter who gave it to you straight, Ray was beloved by many.

Designer Ray Staples

As fate would have it, a local Durham customer of mine came into Penney & Company shortly after I opened and hired me for a colour consultation for the exterior of her Oshawa home.  Since she read my blog, she knew I was a Ray Staples admirer and invited me inside the home to see a special treat.  Ray Staples had decorated her living and dining room 30 years ago!  I can barely imagine the stylish Ray trekking all the way out to Oshawa, but trek she did and she created a gorgeous living space that hadn’t been changed in the three decades since!

Here are some of the elements in this t0-die-for space…

Fast forward a few months and the 30 year old trend-setting space has been photographed in honour of Ray.  With a few minor adjustments to freshen things up for 2012 (nothing of Ray’s was removed), the room simply shines in the photographs taken by famed Canadian photographer, Virginia MacDonald.  Look for it in the October issue of Style At Home Magazine (on newsstands in September).  I can’t wait for you and the rest of Canada to see the lasting legacy of Ray’s incredible and stylish work.

Thank you for all of the lessons Ray.

Ray as a young artist, who studied in Philadelphia.

Some vintage published Ray Staples…

Ray Staples, who was president of ARIDO in a portrait at home…

Ray and her beloved husband (artist, dancer, renaissance man) Ev Staples in their Toronto home…

Read all about Ray, her life, and her legacy in a touching tribute here.


  1. I remember watching her “tell it like it is” on CityLine with Marilyn too. I loved her straight forward opinions and there are still things she said I have not forgotten – like don’t buy matching sets of furniture. Did I listen? No and am rectifying the design damage with paint

    She was a great lady!

  2. Jennifer Kirk says:

    I loved Ray Staples!! She certainly pulled no punches. I loved that she didn’t care about trends. She just liked what she liked!! I’m sorry to hear of her passing.

  3. Mary Papageorgiou says:

    I loved watching her as a guest on CityLine with Marilyn – there was a great energy about her and that sense of humour and charisma. I think she said something once to someone about I’m not going to live there you are …. it was great because that is the truth – it’s your home so you’d better know what you like. She had a great life!

  4. how2home says:

    I’m sorry to hear of her passing, she has such a great style. A true Canadian Icon.

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