Name: Robyn and Sam, plus their two Dachshunds Carl and Prune
Location: The Junction — Toronto, Canada
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 3 years
There is much debate when it comes to minimal design and living. It seems to be a lifestyle that draws polarizing views — you either love it or you really don't! In Robyn and Sam's case, they connected with its appeal and when it came to renovating their first home they were inspired by clean lines and an open concept layout to create an airy and calm design.
Sam travels quite often for work, which means that the couple has spent a lot of time in hotels. Robyn finds comfort living in a space that feels a little less personal — like a hotel — something she wanted to capture in their home. At first glance, the space might feel exactly as such to some; however, through the interior design and decor of the space, these elements innately reflect Robyn and Sam's personal taste rather than a large collection of physical objects. What makes a "home a home" is always in the eye of the beholder and as Robyn says, "Have a space that makes you happy...Your home should be your sanctuary."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Minimal, simple, clean, airy
Inspiration: Minimalism, Scandinavian and Japanese design, hotels
Favorite Element: Our master bathroom! Originally, the house had four bedrooms on the second floor. We took a big risk by turning an entire bedroom into a bathroom and it's been well worth it for us. It's my favourite room in the house — the spacious shower, the brushed gold faucets, the wall-mounted sinks — it feels like I'm at a beautiful hotel every day.
Biggest Challenge: Balancing a love for interior decorating with a desire to live with less. After moving stuff in and out of storage to stage our previous place for sale and then all over again when we were renovating, I started to wonder: What is all of this stuff? I started to read a lot about minimalism and it really struck a chord. I immediately started to declutter. Detaching myself from my belongings has been empowering and wonderful, but it's also difficult when there are so many beautiful things out there I'd love to have in my home. To balance this, I've accepted that I can appreciate items without having to own them.
Also, I don't want to make a bad name for minimalists: Living with less doesn't mean you have to live in an all-white, sparsely decorated house. That's just what makes me happy.
(For anyone interested in reading more about minimalism, here are some of my favourite sites: bemorewithless.com; theminimalists.com; and zenhabits.net)
What Friends Say: One person asked if we were robbed and a lot of people ask if we just moved in. But most people remark about how airy and relaxing our home is.
Biggest Embarrassment: That a year and a half after we finished our renovation, we still don't have floor grates. I made a mistake when ordering them and haven't really dealt with it.
Proudest DIY: The only thing we made ourselves is our dining room table, which I love. But my proudest DIY is the overall layout of the home. When we renovated, I came up with the plans. We worked with engineers to ensure it was feasible, but ultimately it was my design. I take a lot of pride in that.
Biggest Indulgence: My Aesop soap. Do I need expensive hand soap? Definitely not. But I love it. I have it at every sink in the house.
Best Advice: Have a space that makes you happy. Don't get caught up in what you think you should have or feel guilty about getting rid of something you don't love anymore. Your home should be your sanctuary.
Thanks, Robyn and Sam!
PAINT & COLORS
Benjamin Moore — Chantilly Lace
Sofa — Pavilion Furniture
J104 Chair by Hay Denmark – The Modern Shop
Tablo Coffee & Side Table by Normann Copenhagen - Large — The Modern Shop
Tablo Coffee & Side Table by Normann Copenhagen - Small — The Modern Shop
Antlers – Aberfoyle Antique Market
Dining table - DIY — Plans from HomeMade Modern; Trestle legs from Ikea
Salt Chairs Designed by Tom Kelley – Design Within Reach
Besta Wall Cabinet — Ikea
Mountain ABC poster by Coco Lapine – The Poster Club
Cabinets - Ikea
Unfold Pendants Designed by Form Us With Love for Muuto - Design Within Reach
Salt & Pepper Shakers - Bottle Grinder Set of 2 by Menu - The Modern Shop
Aesop Soap – Jacob & Sebastian
Muuto Hideaway Basket by Mika Tolvanen — The Modern Shop
Wallmounted sinks & brass faucets – Kohler
Vanity & Sink – Ikea
Mirror – Ikea
Shower head – Kohler