Mazen’s Tailored Toronto Townhouse

updated Dec 19, 2019
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Name: Mazen El-Abdallah, founder of Mazen Studio
Location: Leslieville, Toronto, Ontario
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years owned

When Mazen bought his townhouse, the space was divided into small rooms. Coming from a loft, Mazen wanted this home to have an open feel. Thanks to Mazen’s renovation and interior design, the house now feels like one big space with the upstairs living room area connected to the downstairs. Just like the Leslieville neighborhood where the house is located, Mazen’s home is always evolving.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Mazen is slow to accumulate furniture and decor items, though he is always looking for items and rearranging his home. He sometimes passes on pieces to friends when he tires of the items. The pleasing decor includes a mix of materials: the warm woods play off the white walls and there are hints of brass with leather.

When Mazen moved to Leslieville, his home was next door to a former crack house. But when he walked in and saw the 10-foot ceilings he imagined a beautiful townhouse. Despite the objections of his friends and family, Mazen bought the home and lived in it. Now new stores are opening up in the area and Mazen is proud that he proved everyone wrong.

Mazen saw good bones in a building that might otherwise appear to be run down. He advises home buyers to look for proportions and ceiling heights because everything else can be played with in a space.

Mazen went to architectural school, but has done mostly interior design since 2000. His projects have included commercial and residential work. Mazen’s next project will be a feature exhibit at the large Toronto design show, IDS 12. The theme is “How Do You Live?” and Mazen is including things that really matter and have meaning to him, including pieces from this house.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: tailored, warm modernism.

Inspiration: old apartments in NYC and Paris that have grown over time with great furniture collections. I like the idea that everything in your space has a story behind it or reminds you of a certain moment in your life.

Favorite Element: I love that I included the vintage office cabinet as a kitchen pantry cabinet. I was on the streetcar and caught the cabinet in the corner of my eye at a vintage shop. I bought it right away. It was a light grey that I painted blue-black.
I also love the rosewood credenza upstairs. After many years I still love the beautiful design and well-made.

Biggest Challenge: making the bathroom work because it’s an awkward space. It was originally a tiny bathroom and a separate tiny bedroom so I made it one big L-shaped bathroom. The shower helped the flow of the space. I did the demolition myself which was a lot of fun. It was a big project. When I first moved in to the house, I lived for 2 weeks without a bathroom, which was tough. I went to the gym really early and stayed at work late. It’s funny now to think of it.

What Friends Say: they really like being here. They laugh at me because they think that nothing can be out of place. I’m a bit OCD that way.

Biggest Embarrassment: There is one cabinet that I wouldn’t want anyone to open.

Proudest DIY: I’m really happy with the way the kitchen turned out. I built it myself with Ikea cabinets that I painted on my own. I also tiled the kitchen.

Biggest Indulgence: the Serge Mouille lamp over the dining table. It’s a French lamp from the 1920’s or 1930’s.

Best Advice: In a small space I try to keep everything on legs which keeps everything feeling very open and light. I also like filling a home with personal things like books and artwork collections.

Dream Sources: Wyeth in New York. I get excited every time I visit. The store has the most amazing collection of vintage furniture and I’m like a kid in a candy store every time I go there.

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Resources of Note:


    • all the walls are Benjamin Moore: Cloud White CC40
    • blue-black on doors and in kitchen Farrow Ball: Off-Black


    • three vintage chairs by Jens Risom. The pair were purchased on eBay and then recovered with Knoll fabric. The single chair is from Revival in Chicago.
    • vintage sofa from a Queen Street that no longer exists.
    • Barcelona coffee time came from the TD building.
    • round table antique was a gift from a friend.
    • big lamp is La lamp grande and small lamp Cerdric Hartmann
    • new Jens Risom stool from DWR
    • wool carpet from Y & Co Carpet & Textile
    • 6 x 9 feet mirror made by Soho Framing
    • artwork was collected over the years and gifts, frames mostly from Soho Framing
    • linen drapes by Lydia David
    • flooring is fumed oiled oak
    • Dwell studio throw pillows
    • saddle leather Italian chairs from a vintage shop



    • Ikea cabinets
    • vintage office cabinet
    • countertops are oak butcher block from Ikea
    • Gaggenu cooktop


    • rosewood cabinet, bed, and closets by David MacHenry
    • vintage mirror
    • Artemide bedside lamps
    • Elitis wallpaper sold at Primavera in Toronto
    • nightstands from eBay
    • Ligne Roset baskets from Kiosk
    • artwork by Montreal artist Helene Canadese


    • fixtures from Gingers Plumbing – sink Pozzi-Ginori, faucet Jado, bathroom faucet and shower Cisil
    • mirror above sink from Queen West Antiques but came from an old hospital
    • light over sink Artemide
    • cabinet from Parallel General Contractors


    • senufo stool (African)
    • poster from eBay, one of my special finds
    • cabinets are walnut and the handles are bronze from Ochre in NYC


    • vintage rosewood credenza from Zig Zag
    • day bed a gift from a friend
    • antique sofa from Cynthia Findlay
    • vintage Karl Springer lacquered linen coffee table from Decorum Finds on Yonge St.
    • standard lamp by Lambert from Hollace Cluny
    • antique mirror from a store that has closed
    • white artwork by Tek (artinteriors)
    • photographs from Etsy shop Eyeful by Trish Mckeller
    • Ikea file cabinet
    • my mother made the throw
    • linen throw pillows made to match the daybed

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Mazen!

Images: Rachael Grad

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