Tim's Toronto Loft Filled With Plants & Collectibles

Tim's Toronto Loft Filled With Plants & Collectibles

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Lauren Kolyn
Mar 22, 2016
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Name: Tim Tripp and his dog, Sebastian
Location: Toronto; Ontario, Canada
Size: 1,150 square feet
Years lived in: 11 years; Owned

For as long as he can remember, Tim has had an interest in collecting things. His passion for the history of decor and design is present throughout his space, whether it's embodied by an Art Deco piece of furniture, dinnerware from the mid-20th century, or vintage telephones. Tim's home is a place where you'll want to stay for hours and discover all of the nostalgic treasures.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Upon entry into the loft, you are immediately met with a walk-in closet that opens into Tim's bedroom and then into the main living area. A hallway runs along the southern perimeter, with entries into the bathroom and bedroom. The kitchen, dining room, living room, and office are all open concept.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Physically, the loft is bright and open, and its atmosphere is fun and inviting. Windows run along the south-facing wall, illuminating the space throughout the day and making it a perfect environment for Tim's collection of unique houseplants. Perhaps the most outstanding specimen is the one that runs along the top of the wall separating the bedroom and bathroom from the main living space. It came with the loft and was a small, singular potted plant. Over a decade later, it has grown into a defining element of the space.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Clean, comfortable clutter. I love Mid-century modern design—it looks as good today as it did originally, rather timeless. That said, I’ve also got a soft spot for '50s kitsch. I suppose age and moving into an industrial loft has helped tame the latter, but the kitsch is always there, just under the surface, waiting to break out. I’ve done a fairly good job of limiting it to the kitchen, although I recently discovered a box of lady’s head vases that I stored when I moved, so oh well…

Inspiration: I think I find a lot of inspiration in nostalgia. I grew up in a town called Crystal Beach. Anyone of a certain vintage who lived in Southern Ontario or Western New York will fondly remember this place as the home of an old style amusement park. It gave me my earliest awareness of design, but it was an almost cartoonish, totally over-the-top version of early 20th century industrial and Art Deco. So I guess it wasn’t too big a stretch for me to then fall for atomic age modern stuff when I moved out on my own. I still have a Sputnik lamp in my storage locker.

If I were to get a car, I’d love to have a 1957 Nash Metropolitan. My ideal kitchen would be a '50s diner, built out of an old rail car, set within my loft. I went through a major retro-'50s phase in the '80s that extended from my home to my style and wardrobe. I moved to Halifax in the late '80s to go back to school, and at one of our first class social events, one of my classmates commented that he didn’t realize we were supposed to come in costume!

I tend to go for a more classic/timeless look now. I’m also inspired by the space itself. It’s a former optical factory, and has some nice Mid-century elements like the terrazzo floors. But it was the industrial feel of the place that led me to building things out of pipe fittings. First with a curtain rod, then candleholders, starting simple. I want to make a new base for the dining table. I’m just working on the mechanics of how to make it adjustable/extendable depending on whether I want the full length of two tops or just one… I’m also not beyond stealing ideas from my friends.

Favorite Element: The light, the windows, and the space itself. When I was looking to buy, I asked my agent to show me this place out of curiosity. It didn’t meet half of my must-have requirements, but when I walked in, I just knew I wanted it… And with the southern exposure, on sunny days in winter, the furnace doesn’t even come on.

Biggest Challenge: Lack of wall space. I would love to be able to have more art, but half of my potential wall space is windows (I know, not a bad problem to have!)

What Friends Say: On first viewing, the reaction is almost always the same: “Wow, cool space!” Folks always seem a bit overwhelmed. It is a great space to start with, but then you keep noticing things, both obvious and small, whether it be the plants or some piece of furniture or bit of decoration… I’ve heard it characterized as smart, functional retro fun, with lots of character, welcoming, reflective of me and my interests. My favorite comment is when I’m told that it’s so me!

Biggest Embarrassment: It’s been 11 years and I still haven’t repainted the entry way. And I really don’t like the look of my major appliances, but I refuse to replace them while they still work. Oh, and I hate the bathroom! It’s such an awkward space. I’d love to rip it out and start over…

Proudest DIY: It’s a toss-up between my pipe projects and the wall unit. I started working with pipe about 10 years ago—it’s like Meccano for grown-ups. Of course my best pieces (tables and shelving units) have been done for friends, but I quite like my shoe rack! The wall unit took me months and many trips to IKEA (more challenging when you don’t own a car…) and I’m quite pleased with its built-in appearance.

Biggest Indulgence: The sectional sofa from UpCountry. I was living in a bachelor apartment when I bought this place. My goal was to have a sofa that was nearly as big as that apartment! I also decided to invest in having my Winnipeg chair reupholstered. It had already been redone in vinyl, which was wearing badly. I asked the guys at Re-Wrap if they could do it in cowhide, but that would’ve been pretty challenging given the contours. And it looks great in red!

Best Advice: Don’t rush to furnish your home. Take your time. Yes, you may need to have some functional stand-by items, but know that the perfect piece will come along—eventually.

Dream Sources: The one store in Toronto that I would actually like to live in is Klaus down on King Street East. It’s a bit out of my price range, but you asked for “dream” sources.

On the more realistic side, I’m struck in doing this at just how many items I have from Eclectisaurus. It has the added benefit of being about a block from where I live, so I often stop in when walking the dog or coming back from the grocery store. The owner, Leslie, and I seem to have a shared fetish for lamps. We could probably start a support group.

I also love thrift stores. I’m always stoked when I find some wonderful piece for a fraction of its value. It’s getting more challenging, but it still happens in smaller towns away from the city. I dream of finding that small town junk shop with a full set of Russell Wright dinnerware for 50 bucks!

Resources

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

PAINT & COLORS

  • Dark brown: C2 Raku
  • Light grey: C2 Paper Clip
  • White: Ralph Lauren Antique White
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

LIVING ROOM

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

DINING ROOM

  • Table: doors hand-painted by Zoltan Toth and IKEA trestles
  • Console table: DIY made with found driftwood, railway tie, and pipes
  • Chairs: Eclectisaurus, other thrift/vintage shops
  • Butterfly clock: Suite 22 Interiors
  • Dinnerware: Russell Wright American Modern—I’ve been collecting bits and pieces for years, but scored the better part of an eight-place setting set from Eclectisaurus recently. Now I’m working on 12 place settings!
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

KITCHEN

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

BEDROOM

  • Bedding: Simons
  • Blanket: The Bay
  • Vintage lamps: Eclectisaurus
  • Tissue holder: Mā Zone
  • Shoe rack: DIY made of pipe fittings
  • Wardrobe: IKEA hacked with pipe fittings and lamp fixtures
  • Wall hardware: Umbra bathroom hardware, but I’m in the process of replacing it with pipe.
  • Paintings: Andrew Stelmack
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

BATHROOM

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

OTHER

  • Vintage Texaco sign: Camp Ho-Ba-Chee in Warkworth, Ontario—I looked at this thing in Camp Ho-Ba-Chee for about a year before finally buying it. Remember that nostalgia thing I mentioned above? Well, my dad and two of my uncles used to own a Texaco service station in Crystal Beach. I pretty much grew up there. It was the epicenter of my childhood years. I’m not sure why I even hesitated to buy the thing. It looks okay on the floor in the hall, but I really do want to mount it on the wall.
  • Telephone sign: Morba—this used to be the top to the dining table in my bachelor apartment. The base was a Saarinen-style pedestal.
  • Art: Other than stuff from my friends and neighbors, most of my other art, photos, and prints tend to come from the graduate exhibition at OCAD University. It’s a great way to discover young artists and get some great deals at the same time. I currently have drawer full of stuff that needs to be framed and hung. If I can find a spot for it!
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