A photo canvas of New York City paired with Eames-style dining chairs lend this dining area a stylish look.
In her light-filled Toronto apartment, Style at Home associate design editor Morgan Lindsay cleverly combines old and new with her own crafty creations.
While most people in their 20s are cobbling together their first apartment from leftover student furnishings and dubious hand-me-downs, Style at Home's associate design editor, Morgan Lindsay, has managed to assemble a sweet and stylish look that would make most 40-somethings envious. And she's done it all on a small decorating budget, with a clever mix of new, thrifted and heirloom pieces, plus a good dose of DIY decor.
The 850-square-foot, two-bedroom Toronto apartment has an enviable uptown location with a distant view of the CN Tower from big south-facing windows. Morgan's brother already lived in the building, so she rented this top-floor unit as soon as it became available. The next step was to successfully woo her friend Lauren Hanna into being her roommate - an easy feat, as they've been tight since meeting in their first year of university. Once the pair moved in, Morgan set to workmaking the basic space into a reflection of their youthful style. "Lauren is not that into decorating, but thankfully she trusts my taste," says Morgan. "She's always happy to help, too!"
The girls' family members pitched in as well. "Lauren's dad is our handyman. He hung all the drapery rods, the heavy vintage mirror above the desk and the shelf in the kitchen," says Morgan. "And my mom sewed most of the toss cushions." This being a rental, major modifications obviously weren't feasible, but clever Morgan found ways around the no-permanent-changes rule. A feature wall just inside the entryway was treated with graphic wallpaper - hung with double-sided tape so it's easy to take down when the time comes. The same paper creates a low-commitment yet dynamic kitchen backsplash. Luckily, the white walls were in line with Morgan's clean and simple aesthetic, so her bedroom was the only room she painted - pale grey, her favourite shade.
In her spare time, Morgan can also be found getting crafty with paint, glue and glitter, making art pieces to frame and add to the galleries above her bed and the sofa. Happily, her friends eschewed the typical bottles of wine for a housewarming gift. After spotting a certain bar cart on Morgan's Pinterest board, her closest pals chipped in and bought it. Now it sits in one corner of the dining area, ready for entertaining her generous friends and family. We're guessing she'll still have it when she's 40-something.
Bold Marimekko wallpaper provides a graphic punch to the entryway wall. The pink bench gets pressed into service as extra seating when friends and family drop in.
Morgan added colour (in a scheme of course) to her entrance using stacked books, a flower arrangement and a fitting stock card that says "hello".
The so-out-it’s-in room divider is original to the ’70s-era apartment. The white slipcovered sofa is one of the few brand new items Morgan bought to furnish her first place. Her love of white, grey and pink is evident throughout the space.
Inspired by a favourite blogger, Morgan crafted this genius gallery wall with a label maker and cardboard.
Homeowner and Style at Home associate design editor Morgan Lindsay enlisted her mom to sew most of the toss cushions in the space.
The open-concept living area included a small office nook, where Morgan gets creative with her DIY projects. She scored the hanging mirror for $20 and transformed its beat-up frame with grey paint.
Morgan's DIY decor tools are always at an arms-length (and looking pretty!) just in case she's inspired to get crafty.
Morgan’s parents bought her the giant photo canvas of New York City. In it you can see Parsons the New School for Design, where Morgan attended a summer program. In this cozy space, Morgan loves her Earnes-style dining chairs.
It was a happy accident that the kitchen had basic white cabinetry and grey countertops and flooring. Morgan updated things by changing the hardware and using leftover wallpaper from the entryway as a makeshift backsplash.
Morgan added charm to her bedroom with vintage and heirloom pieces. There's an antique toile-covered sidechair and pine dresser (both passed down from her grandparents) commingle with the clean-lined bed and modern linens. The giant “M” came from the Christie Antique Show, which Morgan attends every year.
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Bright and colourful basement
Style at Home editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin reimagines her dim and dysfunctional basement games room as a bright multi-purpose space with Scandi flair.
Dark. Dated. Dungeon-like.
Just a few of the adjectives that come to mind when looking at the shocking “before” photo of Style at Home editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin’s now-admirable Toronto basement. Low ceilings and black-stained hardwood flooring made the 600-square-foot space feel oppressive – and the hefty pool table, oversized oil paintings and orange-painted millwork didn’t help. “It screamed ’80s pool hall, but worse yet, it was pretty much unusable,” she says. “It needed a total overhaul.”
To the untrained eye, making something of the narrow, windowless space would have seemed like a wasted effort. But as the proud owner of a century home, Erin is no reno rookie and had a clear vision of an airy, functional family room.
Erin's basement before its bright and inviting renovation.
At the far end of the family room, blend-into-the-wall white storage cabinets offer function without adding visual weight for a bright, airy space. Classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s grace the TV screen on frequent family movie nights.
An existing large alcove was the natural choice for the dining nook. Grey paint defines it and balances out the stone-clad fireplace across the room.
The next big thing to windows that open to the outside? A pair of radiant nature photographs paired with newly installed pot lights. The wall treatment of white-painted wood boards lends the room a Scandi-chic vibe.
To sustain the airness of the space, Erin chose a palette of soft greys and taupes with mauve accents.
Erin opted for a touch-latch mechanism in place of door pulls on the high-gloss flat-panelled storage unit (made from prefab IKEA cabinetry) for a totally streamlined look.
A light push in the right spot on the white storage units reveals the family’s extended collection of classic flicks and literature.
Seating options abound in the new family-friendly space. Even Cloudy, homeowner Style at Home editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin’s Siamese cat, gets a stylish perch of his very own in an unused corner. The inconspicuous wall-hung radiator was a practical addition in the circa-1920s room.
Whitewashed living room features a charming mix of furniture styles.
A DIY-inclined couple turns an 800-square-foot two-bedroom bungalow into the perfect home for their young family.
Homeowner Amanda Robinson transformed the secondhand piano by covering it in grey paint, casually accessorizing it like the rest of the living room and softening its bench with a faux-sheepskin throw.
The whitewashed living room features a charming mix of furniture styles. “I brought softness into the space with the upholstered pieces, while keeping a farmhouse vibe with the antique rocking chairs,” says Amanda.
Homeowners Jason and Amanda Robinson hang out in the bright living room with their sons, Ethan (left) and Aidan.
While blue hues rock this farmhouse, Amanda also popped in some pink tones as contrast.
A fun DIY project or easily picked up at a gardening centre, terrariums are a great way to keep your home green in small ways.
Durable slate tiles define the entryway in this open-concept space. Practical items in natural tones like the bench, mirror and coat rack are artfully arranged so everything looks pulled together.
The kitchen epitomizes Amanda’s love of pale backdrops punctuated with colour and natural tones. “I made the shelves out of wooden boards from our barn and left them unpainted to contrast all the white and to complement the butcher block counters,” she says. Mismatched hardware picks up on the hits of blue throughout the home.
With their young sons and pets (Weimaraner Tessie and cat Nimble) in mind, Amanda chose tongue-and-groove pine planks for the floors, ceilings and walls. “I didn’t want new drywall with two little boys and pets running around,” she says. “It was the best design decision I ever made.”
Amanda knew she wanted a light and bright space and conceived the decor with colour in mind. “This is still a really small house, so I stuck to a neutral palette for the base: white and cream with natural wood tones throughout,” she says.
Amanda and Jason knocked down walls to create an eat-in area that features a free-standing stove surrounded by stone-veneered walls and a thrift-store dining table and chairs proudly bearing a mismatched paint job. “I painted everything grey and then decided to paint all the chairs blue but got sidetracked after one,” says Amanda. “It’s fun and quirky as is, and the boys take turns sitting in the blue chair at dinnertime.”
“The walls in Aidan’s bedroom were in good shape, so we painted them and added pine planks to the ceiling,” says Amanda. “I like the masculine look of the unpainted wood.” The new blue dressers share the space with a thrift-store wicker chair, a yellow-painted hand-me-down stool and rope-hung shelves Amanda crafted from barnboard.
“Ethan wanted everything in his room swimming pool turquoise.” They settled on a seafoam blue that’s more soothing for a bedroom and then incorporated coordinating accents in every room – even on the front door. “If you keep the big things neutral and then add accents in a single shade, it makes everything seem effortlessly connected,” says Amanda.
A bright screen door frame hints at the pops of blue to be found inside the house. Amanda refinished a hand-me-down pine table in grey paint and repurposed it as an easy-to-access storage unit for firewood. Antique Canadian Pacific Railway lanterns found in the barn and on Kijiji layer in more colour and reference the surrounding rustic landscape.
After a fresh coat of paint and some carefully placed furniture, the Robinsons are set to make this newly decorated farmhouse their home.
Homeowner Amanda Robinson used blue paint throughout her home to liven up the soothing neutral palette and provide a link from room to room. Here are her three favourite shades.