Chelsey & Cainan's Fresh Start

Chelsey & Cainan's Fresh Start

Justice Darragh
Oct 22, 2014
(Image credit: Justice Darragh)

Name: Chelsey Burnside and Cainan Querido
Location: Little Italy; Toronto, Canada
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months

When these two idea-makers were preparing to move in together, their main mission was to find a space that could accommodate two home offices in an atmosphere that would inspire their work. Countless viewings of windowless basement dens & crowded corner set-ups helped this gorgeous loft-style apartment stand out among the misfits. Upon entering writer Chelsey Burnside & filmmaker Cainan Querido’s gorgeous Little Italy home, one would never guess that they have only been living here for 4 months!

(Image credit: Justice Darragh)

For self-proclaimed “lighting-OCD” Cainan, it was important that long hours spent editing footage for his video production company Sonder take place in an environment with ample natural light. Through the extensive use of windows and skylights, the 3-storey house—owned, renovated and partially furnished by architect Jacob JeBailey of Reign Architects—was redesigned to bounce an incredible mass of light off its flawless white walls. Since Chelsey & Cainan work in the aesthetic-driven worlds of branding, marketing, fashion and advertising, it’s only fitting that this stunning open-concept apartment serves as the backdrop for their collection of trend-savvy accents, like the living room’s vintage bar tray, Chelsey’s Pinterest-worthy DIY floating "book" shelf, or the globe terrarium hanging in the bedroom.

Perhaps a product of their artistic leanings, or maybe it’s just in the genes (Chelsey’s mother is an interior designer), but this seamless marriage of design with their personalities & style is something that often takes renters significantly longer than a few short months to create. And of course substantial credit goes to landlord Jacob, who alongside his striking design of the unit, rented the apartment to them with a dazzling mix of his own modern and vintage pieces. As they settle into a new home so perfectly calibrated to their style and needs, it’s a fit so snug it's almost as if they drew up the blueprints themselves!

(Image credit: Justice Darragh)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern bones, vintage touches, and a lot of breathing room.

Inspiration: We’re both blog-obsessed and are constantly passing ideas back and forth. Also, aimless west-end Toronto wanders, cottages, Chelsey’s interior-designer mom and the apartment itself (it was mostly furnished when we moved in—we can’t take all the credit!).

Favorite Element: That there isn’t a corner of the space that goes unused. When we were apartment hunting, it was a challenge finding a two-bedroom in downtown Toronto with the right layout—we both needed separate work spaces, and windowless condo dens just weren’t going to cut it. The desk under the stairs was just what I (Chelsey) was looking for my after-hours freelancing, and the cozy upstairs loft, with its skylight and geometric ceilings, was the perfect spot for Cainan’s office. The owner of the house is a meticulous architect who designed all the ornate lamps and pendants with dimmer switches, which completely transforms the space at night.

Biggest Challenge: When we moved in, we knew the space came furnished—we just didn’t know how furnished it would be. It was great having so much to work with, but melding our tastes and the furniture we already owned with a fully designed space (right down to the vintage knick-knacks and kitchen utensils) was a lego-block exercise in trying to squeeze everything in and make it our own. Luckily, the hallway and kitchen have a ton of storage.

What Friends Say: "Can we crash?” and “Who’s going to fall off the stairs first?”

Biggest Embarrassment: The vertical view in the walk-in closet, where we’ve managed to squeeze everything we own that didn’t fit in another cabinet or drawer on top of the built-ins (think Monica’s secret closet in Friends). Oh, and the lack of AC.

Proudest DIY: The little things—an antler MacGyvered to the bedroom wall, and a wooden iPad holder Cainan carved so we can read recipes while we cook.

Biggest Indulgence: We bought the sectional in the living room and 52” Samsung flat-screen at the same time. It was a bit of a his-and-hers compromise (guess who wanted which).

Best Advice: Coffee table books are the best conversation starters.

Dream Sources: Etsy, UpCountry, Brika, The Chief Salvage, JM & Sons, West Elm, dad’s basement.

(Image credit: Justice Darragh)

Resources of Note:


• “Hello” print & frame: Indigo Books
• Chalkboard: Urban Outfitters
• Plants in planters: Asparagus Ferns
• Deer Head: Etsy


• Sectional Sofa: Urban Barn “Lure”
• Patterned Throw Blanket: A gift from Morocco
• Chevron Throw Blanket: Urban Barn
• Velvet Pillows: Urban Barn
• Bar Tray: Vintage
• Floating Book Shelf: DIY by Chelsey
• Arm Chair: antique find
• Ladder: vintage find
• Gallery frames: Ikea
• Globe: vintage find
• Entertainment Unit/Wall Console: Ikea Besta units
• Hanging Light Bulb: West Elm
• White coffee table: Ikea
• Chevron rug: Home Sense


• Rug: eBay
• Chairs: vintage finds mixed with Ikea
• Table: Ikea
• Wooden Recipe Book Holder: DIY by Cainan
• Red Prints: Smash
• Pendant lamps: Ikea


  • Doorstopper: actually a vase from West Elm

    • Shag Rug: Canadian Tire
    • Desk: Ikea
    • White Ladder Shelf: Crate & Barrell
    • Prints: Custom
    • Raw Wood Frame: Indigo Books
    • Lamp: Ikea
    • Brown Leather Couch: Ikea


    • Leather Chair: street find
    • Grey Eames Molded Plastic Chair: Design Within Reach
    • Sheepskin Throw: Ikea
    • Hanging Lamp: vintage find
    • Frameless Photo Print In Clips: Photo by Jacob JeBailey
    • Desk and Drawer Unit: Ikea


    • Bed: Ikea “Malm”
    • Bedding: Home Sense
    • Antler: The Chief Salvage
    • Side Table: Ikea
    • Throw Blanket: Indigo Books
    • Hanging Terrarium: Indigo Books
    • Lamp: Ikea

    (Image credit: Justice Darragh)

    Thanks, Chelsey & Cainan!

    • HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE: Check out past house tours here.
    • Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
    • Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.

    Follow Apartment Therapy's board House Tours Apartment Therapy on Pinterest.

    Updated daily with fresh tours full of photos for you to pin & enjoy!

    More posts in House Tours: October
    You are on the last post of the series.
    moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt