A Small Toronto Apartment Transformed During Quarantine

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Bedroom with floral decor
As my city entered second lockdown I invested in a lot of bedding to cozy up for winter.

Name: Terra Gillespie and cat, Pyewacket
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: So I actually have been on Apartment Therapy before. It has changed in the three-plus years since, most of which in the last eight months with the pandemic and transition to working from home. But the character and aesthetic have remained consistent, so I thought it would be interesting to show the evolution of trying to find a set up that works for spending so much time home now.

This is the longest I have lived in one place since moving out at 18, and I have put a lot of energy into making it truly a home. I am grateful to still have a job, especially one that keeps me safe, during this pandemic. But I also acknowledge that the shift has been difficult, especially considering my work involves pandemic response on very emotionally-heavy subjects. It was becoming hard to separate work from life being in the same space.

I have moved my ritual and spiritual work areas to my room so that they are farther away from my "office."

The biggest changes have been incorporating a home office that “feels” like a separate area from my living space, I have walled off my desk area with large plants to make it feel like a space I “enter,” which has helped with separating Work Terra from Life Terra. I have also brought in more plants into my life to make my home feel more full of life. It has been challenging navigating the pandemic while living alone (except for my cat, who is affectionate but a limited conversationalist).

I updated the blinds into curtains to make video conferencing better lit for work.

Likewise to the mix of gratitude and stress around work, I have a similar dichotomy with my home. While I have a lot of gratitude for having a home, our building was also bought by a developer looking to flip the units for a large profit, and they have been difficult to deal with during the pandemic. I am fortunate to be more connected with my neighbors these days, but unfortunate that it is because we constantly have to advocate for safety and respect from the building’s owners. Putting a lot of care into my home has helped me feel gratitude for the space that I’m in, rather than feeling trapped by circumstance.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: WFH Feminist Witch Cottage

I kept the doors from my built-ins because I like them as decor. A lot more books have been acquired with all the time spent at home alone.

Is your identity reflected in your home (art, color palettes, accessories, etc)? “Cottagecore” has become a named aesthetic over the last year, which is similar to how I’ve described it in the past. It is cottagecore, femme, and leaning towards maximalist.

What is your favorite room and why? My dining area remains my favorite room; I recently removed the doors from the built-ins and filled the shelves with plants. It gets the best light, it is where I start my day, it is where I share meals and wine (now virtually or with my social distance bubble), where I read, where I drink coffee, and where I can hear dogs and children in the park outside.

The "home office," which is spaced between the dining room and living room.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I just picked up a lamp from my local coffee shop, which has started hosting a vintage store pop-up in the space where patrons used to sit.

The fireplace mantel is still home to plants, but I added in some postcards from a trip to Portugal.

Any advice for creating a home you love? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your house a home, you can rework what you already have to work for you. Fill your space with things you love and bring you joy.

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