Admittedly, it took my boyfriend, Justin, and I almost four years to finally finish our Toronto-based home, which is a little absurd considering the fact that I'm an interior designer.... But as it turns out, designing for yourself is an entirely different ball game. Trying to narrow down our aesthetic? Virtually impossible!
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Before: The Living Room
We started with a blank slate. The condo had been freshly painted a beautiful shade of soft gray throughout before we moved in, which made for a wonderful -- albeit slightly boring -- jumping-off point.
Photography: Heidi Lau2 of 12
After: The Living Room
Since we’re renting for the time being, we didn’t want to make a ton of changes, so we made sure to add interest and warmth with the use of texture throughout. A rustic bar cart that my boyfriend and his father lovingly restored and turned into a coffee table is clearly the showstopper, a wool rug adds some softness underfoot, and a pile of blankets are always at arm’s length away.
Photography: Heidi Lau3 of 12
Design Details: The Living Room
We decided to go with an understated wooden tray to top the coffee table, and of course, fresh flowers!
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I’m a huge fan of coordinating different design elements without being too matchy-matchy, and these pillows fit the bill perfectly.
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Before: The Home Office
Given the fact that I work from home, I knew that my office needed to take precedence. I mean, I spend an embarrassing amount of time at that very desk.
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After: The Home Office
We originally toyed with the idea of wallpapering the bump-out in the wall to define the space, but ended up painting bold charcoal stripes. Not only is it one of the first things people notice, but it was definitely the more cost-effective option, and its impermanence made our landlord a lot less wary.
Photography: Heidi Lau7 of 12
Design Details: The Home Office
I tend to land on the more feminine side of the design spectrum (as you can tell by the plethora of flowers…), while my boyfriend prefers things a little more moody and modern. I admittedly pulled the designer card on more than one occasion, but I made sure to infuse some darker elements, like the bold stripe and paint-dipped desk, to man it up (just a little). Cohabitation calls for compromise.
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Before: The Dining Room
One of the things we love most about our condo is we actually have a real dining room -- with space for eight -- which is virtually unheard of in Toronto. This huge amount of space is made all the sweeter by the fact that I love to cook, and cooking is significantly more enjoyable when you have a plethora of friends and family ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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After: The Dining Room
Our new dining room is proof that a few little details make all of the difference. Putting a gallery wall front and center, installing a new hanging lamp (decidedly not from Ikea), and investing in timeless dining room chairs was all we really needed to do to make this place sing.
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After: The Bedroom
And at last, the “piece de resistance”: our bedroom. This right here is our happy place. It’s calm and serene and is the perfect place to rest one’s head at the end of a long day. In order to achieve that spa-like vibe, we invested in the softest sheets we could afford, topped it off with the fluffiest white duvet (heaven, I tell you!), made our own art using photographs from our travels, and anchored it all with a big, beautiful, navy rug.
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Photography: Heidi Lau11 of 12
Design Details: The Bedroom
When we first moved in, I made the mistake of shopping all willy-nilly, purchasing items because I loved them, in lieu of coming up with a solid game plan and following through. Ironically, this is something I always strongly urge my clients against -- a costly mistake I'll never make again. As a result, our home went through many versions before I took a step back, came up with a solid vision, and ultimately landed here.