Images: Michael Graydon
TV personality and design aficionado Tommy Smythe leads us through his second-floor renovation, including a dreamy closet.
I have a confession to make. I do not care for houses that are move-in ready – that’s probably why I move so often and definitely why I feel like I’ve never been completely financially secure. But, hey, I’m a creative guy, and who doesn’t love a good makeover?
My 1919 Edwardian-style house was no exception: it was a mess when I first saw it! It was like a gorgeous gal in need of a new haircut. Okay, she needed major surgery, but I could see the potential – she had good bones!
The second floor of this faded beauty sold me. Lovely tall transom doors, high ceilings, and a fireplace in the front bedroom were the pros. Cons included bad vinyl windows (I was green with envy over my neighbour’s originals) and a layout that was in need of tweaking.
I started by making a few key decisions. First, to convert the tiny middle bedroom into a generous walk-in closet that would incorporate a stackable washer and dryer for convenient laundry access. Next, I decided to close off the newly created closet and master bath areas using the original doors salvaged from the tiny bedroom (after all, the doors were one of my favourite details). The master bedroom would get the additional square footage it badly needed with the deletion of a linen closet. The scope of work also included new wiring, a few pot lights, and plumbing for the washer. What I ended up with was a fully functional but still private secondfloor master suite – and a budget that didn’t leave any room for replacement windows, new furniture or a custom closet.
Never one to back down from a diminishing reserve of funds, I employed a few tricks. I used custom louvered shutters to hide those hideous windows – they were a fraction of the cost of new (read: better) windows. IKEA Pax closets have always been a go-to storage solution for me. I love the design, the price point and the flexibility of outfitting the interiors to suit the individual. I gave them a custom look with a few extras: crown moulding and genuine vintage doorknobs instead of pulls. I came out of the closet a long time ago, and it was time for me to come out of the storage locker! We’ve all got one, but I’m ashamed to say I had three! By using what I already owned, I was able to completely furnish the bedroom (and the closet, for that matter) without shopping for a single item.
In the aftermath of a reno gone wild, use your own judgement when it comes to decorating on a dime. And my advice, of course!
The bed is English, but the luxe linen duvet cover is all Belgian indulgence. Orange provides the ideal complement to green walls and dressy mahogany furniture.
A shallow bay window is always the ideal spot for a compact writing desk – a hotel-inspired addition that provides a prime place to get those last e-mails out before bed!
Fresh flowers are the best way to add the beauty of nature to any room. For some, it’s an extravagance – for me, it’s non-negotiable.
The fireplace wall is a study in textural diversity, incorporating wood, marble, grasscloth, brass and a gorgeous glossy photograph.
Vintage knobs provide a spot for hanging my ensemble du jour and add sophisticated soul to store-bought closet doors.
In a small walk-in closet where limited floor space won’t allow for additional furniture, devote a little interior real estate to a dresser-like arrangement.
Clever compartments slide out easily to reveal a layer of organized cravats!