A 650-Square-Foot Condo Has a Gorgeous Tiny Plant-Filled Balcony

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Our living room merged pieces from both of our previous apartments. The sofa was originally an orange as-is floor model from West Elm and was super inexpensive. After four years of wear and tear, it finally was reupholstered with blue velvet to play off of the big rug. The neutral art wall lets the rug colours pop and the nesting tables act as extra seating when friends come over. The bird of paradise plant was a small inexpensive one from IKEA four years ago and with all the light (and humidity) it produced three giant leaves since we moved in!

Name: Seth Stevenson and Ryan Louis, plus six houseplants and a Tamagotchi (we can’t believe it still works perfectly since the mid-90s!)
Location: Downtown Toronto — Ontario, Canada
Type of home: Condo
Size: 650 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months, renting

The side table was a DIY project. This antique table originally had an awful stain colour on the base but Ryan sanded and repainted it.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: We’ve been together for just under five years and after four and a half years of living in separate places with roommates and friends, it was time to finally move in together (and be closer to work too)! Seth is a photographer and I (Ryan) am a creative producer of stills and video content. We’ve been collaborating on creative art projects since we first met so it was fun to figure out a different kind of project—our new living space together.

The headboard was the dark grounding piece the bedroom needed. Our artist friend Rron Maloku had created this ink drawing on an inexpensive piece of wood that was originally a standalone art piece in Ryan's previous apartment, but was repurposed as a headboard here.

I’ve been super fortunate to have been able to step into the homes of many Canadian designers and decorators since I had worked as a video producer at House & Home Media for seven years. It definitely taught me a ton about how to approach interiors! We started looking for our new apartment in mid-February this year, just a few weeks before the lockdown in Toronto started.

We were so lucky to secure this condo rental one week before house showings were halted by the city. We were also fortunate to find this condo quite quickly considering we had a pretty long list of must-haves and because finding a good rental has been extremely hard in the past. We knew that our new place had to be closer to our offices because of the long hours we were working so we looked near the downtown area. We also wanted the space to have lots of light for the houseplants, a balcony (because we both have always been gardeners/we didn’t want to have to part with our nice planters), and a den (for Seth to work on images from home).

Gardening high up with wind and tricky lighting conditions has been a new challenge. Luckily we only had to spend money on plants since the planters and chairs are old and from a previous apartment.

It was so important for us to get our home put together really quickly once we moved in because we knew we’d be working from home for months. We only had to purchase a few items once we moved into the condo. Most of what we had—accessories, artwork, big furnishings—were pieces we bought years ago for our previous apartments. This saved us a lot of money during this move. It also saved us a ton of time since so many home furnishing companies were on backorder during this lockdown period. Merging our two places into one wasn’t too tricky since we have quite similar style!

We wanted to complement the monochromatic scheme the rental condo came with in the bathroom so we chose a super clean and simple shower curtain.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Curated and not-exactly-minimalist

What is your favorite room and why? Seth: I love the kitchen because it’s the brightest kitchen I’ve had since moving to the city a few years ago. It’s compact but fits everything we need and best of all the kitchen island is multipurpose—it acts as an eating area, prep space, an additional desk that we can push to the living room windows, and we can move it out of the way to exercise at home!

We were lucky this condo has good bones. We brought in the kitchen island, which is on wheels, so that the space and island could be multifunctional. The artwork in the kitchen was found on the curb in the Fashion District when a building was being gutted and these old signs were destined for the trash.

Ryan: The living room is definitely my favorite room (and thankfully it is since I’ve been having to spend 14+ hours a day in it during lockdown). It brings together so many pieces that we’ve loved and had in our previous apartments for years—especially the art wall where a number of artists are people we know!

This accent chair in the living room is one of the few pieces we had to purchase when we moved in. The artwork above Ryan shot on a Europe trip eight years ago.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The accent chair for the living room was one of the few pieces we had to find when we moved into the condo since most of the furniture was from our previous separate apartments. It took a while to find the right chair because it had to be comfortable, be stylish, and be within budget. It was also important that the chair was a piece we’d want to have for years to come! We’ve never shopped for furniture without testing it out first so that was a new challenge (since stores weren’t open for visiting during lockdown). This one was discounted because sadly the store was closing permanently.

We love our small art grouping of collage work in the entryway that looks into the den. The catch-all in the front for keys has little drawers with cute toys in it. The red photo in the den is one of our favourite pieces we created together and it helps ground the den space.

Any advice for creating a home you love? In every room, make space on the walls for art! Invest in pieces you know you won’t get tired of and will want for years to come—it’s worth it!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.