house tour!

This post is a long time coming.

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while for many reasons. For one, it’s no secret that I am a total design-blog junkie and that I’ve spent the last ten years streaming through hundreds of stranger’s apartments, imagining that one day I might have a blog-worthy apartment my self. Up until now that’s been the stuff of dreams, because I’ve been waiting until my place was perfect, but  I’ve come to realize that isn’t the point at all, and I’ll be waiting forever if I hold my self to such high standards. It’s not about the destination as much as the journey… this isn’t House and Home, after all!

What often goes on during house tours is, I imagine, a lot of prep and cleaning, but not often any mention of such. I’m not going to pretend that my place is always so photogenic. More often than not, it’s an explosion of clothing, books, papers, CDs and dishes. I have nothing to gain by pretending I am something I’m not. What I am is a girl with a blog, enjoying an unusually tidy house.

About our home: After 5 years  together, Kevin and I finally moved into a place of our own. It’s pretty teensy for two, but luckily I like him, so more often than not it doesn’t seem too small. We live on the main floor of an old Victorian house that’s been converted into apartments, very common for Toronto. We occupy what would be in a normal house the living room, dining room, washroom, and kitchen, as well as a small back space. Only, in our case, the living room is a living room, an office, and a music room. The dining room is a bedroom. And the kitchen and washroom are, well, still a kitchen and washroom. There’s one useless closet and that’s pretty much it. Fairly close quarters, but we make it work.

We’ve been here a year, and already the vision I had in mind when we moved in is feeling like a haircut that’s grown out, and I’ve been losing track of my style and feeling unkempt. So, Kev and I took advantage of a “extra day off” to do some tidying and re-assessing. Where was I? Oh yes. Explaining why I am doing this.

One: to contribute to a field “house tour blogging” that I’ve been taking from for far too long.
Two: finding a creative excuse to clean my house.
Three: to clarify my vision for the ideal living environment “for me at my present economic state”
Four: to practice with my new camera!
Ok, so here’s the tour! Part One: Living Room.

View of the living room from the bedroom.

The entire front wall is a window which lets in tons of light (yay!) but also lets in tons of street noise (boo!) and dust, seeing as we live on a major street. Originally,  this room was our bedroom and our bed was beneath this window, but the aforementioned noise, light and dust drove us crazy. * Please note: kitties were not styled into the shot. They are in their everyday positions. Obi at the window, Edo on the record player.


In the front is our “office”. I am on the left and Kevin is on the right. And everything that is usually on our desk is currently on the floor in the bedroom. My teak desk comes from the St Lawrence Market (SLM) and was intended originally as a kitchen table for a tiny apartment we didn’t get. His teak desk was from Inabstracto and has drawers because I’m generous like that.


The little ceramic bird is named Kathy and is from the SLM. The ‘Divan Japonaise’ Toulouse-Lautrec print is from the SLM and the mid-century abstract print I nabbed off a picker when a store-owner declined it. The lamps are Lotte from the QWAC and I haven’t paid for them yet… they emit the loveliest glow of any lamps I’ve ever seen.  The teak bird is from World Headquarters and our chairs are vintage fanett chairs by Iimari Tapiovaara for Edsby Verken, Sweden, that we snagged for a steal on craigslist.


view from the ‘office’

Living Room

The white IKEA couch was a craigslist find and the coffee tables are from Navarro Gallery on King St. They are from the 1950s, teak with mosaic glass tops from Mexico. I’m not usually a huge Mexican design fan, but I really loved the pattern and colours, they remind me of the ocean.

The teak love-seat is from the SLM and came in that upholstery… gray! polka dots! teak! love!

TV Corner

Embarrassing! Our TV was a birthday present for my 18th birthday and is as such almost 10 years old and decidedly un-flat, and gets 5 channels, maybe. But whatever. I like cartoons and The Office and so we have a TV. The guitar case is there to remind people we are also cool.

It would be very easy, as a concert promoter/music fan/poster enthusiast for me to fill every available space with awesome band posters. But I made a concerted (no pun) effort not to fall into what would be expected of me and easy. There’s only one concert poster in our house; this print by BreeRee is from a Republic of Safety concert at Sneaky Dee’s, October 21st 2005 AKA the show we met at. I’m so glad it’s not ugly! I didn’t have the foresight to grab the poster the night of, but was lucky enough to spot it taped to a back wall at Paul’s Boutique, a Kensington Market guitar shop, years after the fact. It belonged to the shop, but Paul was nice enough to give it to me when I told him our how-we-met story.

I don’t have enough surfaces for my tchotchkes, so the TV is the current spot for my Danish MCM candlesticks. The ceramic bear is a Lotte lamp paint sample (!) made by the family’s daughter and was a gift from Kate at Inabstracto. The ampersand is from Rogue Gallery… and yes, those are bunny ears. For those 5 channels, woooo.

To add a bit of privacy, we mounted privacy blinds from IKEA inside the French doors. I think they pick up on the loose polka-dot theme we’ve got going nicely.

Music Corner!

The bench is from World Headquarters, covered with an IKEA lambskin. The table brush is from Mjolk.

Conversation nook!

We’re so lucky to have this beautiful fireplace as a feature. The tiles and apples and daisies theme are amazing. More amazing: it works! The mirror and chandelier came with the apartment and are a little traditional for my tastes but it’s so nice to have a large mirror bouncing light around. We just kept it up.

Record Corner!

Just an award I won for being the WORLD’S GREATEST MANAGER! No big deal.

My favourite corner: the one that brings me music and a place to put my keys!
The coat tree and vintage Deco mirror are from the Rogue Gallery. The lamp, glass Vikings and hat tree are from SLM.

The “Home Sweet Home” I’m sure I saw on a blog somewhere, and annoyingly can’t remember, then went out and made my own. I felt guilty for copying someone else’s style, so I changed the font and personalized it: each letter is made from a different piece of vintage fabric from Kevin’s grandmother’s quilting scraps.

The folk art hooks I found at a garage sale when I was a teenager and have been on every wall in every home ever since.

Ok! That was exhaustive. And exhausting, and there are still three rooms to go (ooooh… aaaah), but they’ll have to wait for the next long weekend. For the moment, I have to go clear a place to sleep on my bed.


One thought on “house tour!

  1. “Like a haircut that’s grown out” you say? Great analogy. But sometimes the haircut grows into something lovely that you can’t see because you’ve stared at it too many times. Your place looks wonderful. Everything has settled into pleasant balance. Excellent photos, Lauren.

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