An Eclectic Post Modern Toronto Rental Has a Dark and Dreamy Powder Room

published May 11, 2022

An Eclectic Post Modern Toronto Rental Has a Dark and Dreamy Powder Room

published May 11, 2022
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Bedrooms
Square feet
1500
Sq ft
1500
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Name: Janelle Lamothe and Spencer Roberts 
Location: Toronto, Canada
Size: 1500 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment unit in a house
Years Lived In: 1+ years, renting

In the past decade, the Toronto rental market has become more and more competitive. However, during the first half of the pandemic, rent prices started to drop a little as people weren’t moving as much or were moving out of downtown. This was perfect for Janelle and Spencer. They had started working from home soon after COVID (Janelle is an art director and designer) started and were feeling the cabin fever from being in their small condo 24/7. Janelle started searching on all the major rental platforms and after months she came across this place on Viewit. It was pure luck on timing as it had only been posted the day before, and it ticked all their rental wish-list boxes, which is essentially unheard of in the city! They contacted the landlord and ended up signing the lease the next day. 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

The apartment — which Janelle says is genuinely her dream apartment — is in an old Victorian house (built in 1883!) that’s been broken out into units. Their unit is 1500 square feet and has three bedrooms, which is way bigger than what they were looking for, but was doable for their budget because of the rent price drop. The space has a ton of character, including original molding and ceiling medallions, chandeliers in every room (even the kitchen and bathrooms), a working fireplace, a large verandah, and big, lovely bay windows not overlooking someone else’s condo balcony. They currently use one of the extra bedrooms for an office, and the other as a dining/guest/yoga/painting room that they jokingly call “the parlor.” They, along with their two kitties, love the extra space and now that they’ve lived here about a year, it feels more and more like home each day.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I’d describe my style as eclectic post-modern (for now anyway) while Spencer’s is more modern industrial but both with an appreciation for vintage coziness. It’s definitely been tricky over the years to create a space we both feel represents us as individuals, and I can admit that our spaces often lean more towards my style because I’m generally more passionate about interior design (I work as an art director, so I suppose it comes naturally). I feel like I have maybe gotten a bit better at compromising and co-creation, especially now that we’re both home so much.

Inspiration: I’d say I use Pinterest the most for inspiration as it’s great for organizing specific spaces and you get a variety of stuff from all over the internet. I also love anything that shares home tours so I (obviously) frequent Apartment Therapy, Domino, Architecture Digest, and many rental-focused websites and content creators like Alexandra Gater*, The Sorry Girls, etc. I also follow a lot of interior designers on Instagram.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

*Fun fact: Our powder room was actually designed by Alexandra Gater, after I saw she was looking to do a dark and moody makeover for her YouTube channel. I had been dreaming about dark botanical wallpaper for months for that space so it felt like it was meant to be, and it turned out exactly as I hoped!

Favorite Element: It’s hard to choose! I fell in love with this place because of all the old Victorian details, but something unexpected we’ve come to really love is the more traditional layout. Each room is an enclosed space vs our old apartment, which was a typical condo open floor plan. It’s really nice not having to worry about staring directly at a messy kitchen from the sofa, and each room gets really nice light at different points in the day since there are windows on almost all sides.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge is a very privileged one to have, which is making our space feel less empty. It’s over double the size of our old apartment so we’ve been slowly getting new pieces of furniture but there’s still lots of room to grow. It’s definitely been an expensive year of furnishing and there’s still so much I want to change, that I have to slow down often for the sake of our wallets. On a related note, getting furniture up to our floor can be tricky; we actually had to hire a furniture lift to get our sofa through the balcony door since it wouldn’t fit up our entry (learned that the hard way first).

Proudest DIY: Our office desks! We looked for ages to find desks we both liked and that wouldn’t break the bank with no luck, so we just bought some butcher slabs in the right size from the hardware store, sourced the hairpin legs, and made them ourselves.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Biggest Indulgence: Probably our sofa. I had been dreaming of getting a sectional for years (because the corner spot is always the coziest, duh) and it was the first thing we bought for this place. 

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? A few pieces I really love are the red rug in the dining room I got from Facebook Marketplace that adds a ton of character and color, the small holographic side table in the living room that looks super pretty when the light hits it, and our squiggly blob mirror above the fireplace, just because it sparks joy.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Just put art everywhere! A lot of people are reluctant to hang art — maybe because they don’t know what to put up or because they don’t want to mess up and put holes in the walls. But to me it’s what makes a place feel like a home. We’ve been collecting for years now, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. We have art that’s thrifted, small pieces we get while travelling, local print shops, random artists we’ve found online or on social media, and things I’ve done myself. Once you start, it becomes less scary. I also think that homes just take time, and you don’t need to buy everything at once. I feel like my space will never be “done” (a gift and a curse).

Resources

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

ENTRY

  • Wall Art — West Elm
  • Console table — Crate and Barrel
  • Flower vase — cb2 
  • Rug — I think this is from Wayfair or similar
  • Large Mirror — IKEA
  • Green box under console — IKEA
  • Basket under mirror — Salvation Army thrift
  • “OK” Hand sculpture — Vintage from Mrs. Huizenga on Roncy
Credit: Lauren Kolyn

LIVING ROOM

  • Sofa and Ottoman — EQ3
  • Media unit — EQ3
  • Pink Chair — West Elm
  • Coffee table — Crate & Barrel
  • Holographic side table — Lights Moon
  • Glass/brass nesting tables by window — Facebook Marketplace
  • Dark wood Floating shelves — West Elm
  • Rug — West Elm
  • Lamp — West Elm
  • Curtains — IKEA
  • Print by balcony door — Artist Joy Kinna
  • 2 Botanical prints — Salvation Army I think
  • Nude print — Artist Olivia Fields
  • Mirror — Finnish Design Shop
  • Black Bankers lamp — Facebook Marketplace
  • Most of my little knickknacks, candleholders and vases are thrifted from VV, salvation army or random vintage markets
  • Gold and green plant pot on mantle — Chive
Credit: Lauren Kolyn

OFFICE

  • Desks — DIY, butcher blocks from home depot, and legs were from Hairpin leg shop
  • Chairs — IKEA
  • Art is from a lot of places, but we do have a few from Kid Icarus, a Toronto print shop
  • Lamps — Structube
  • Credenza by window — Design Republic (now closed)
  • Rug — Handed down from Spencer’s parents
  • Curtains — Winners
  • Plant pots — Winners and IKEA
Credit: Lauren Kolyn

DINING ROOM

  • Sofa bed — Modern Sense Furntiure 
  • Pillows — West Elm (yellow), Bed, Bath, and Beyond (pink)
  • Rug — Facebook Marketplace
  • Bookshelf — IKEA
  • Floor lamp — Originally from West Elm I think but not sold anymore, or I can’t find
  • Mirror — Came with the house
  • Dining table — CB2
  • Dining Chairs — Article
  • Baskets in bookshelf — IKEA
    curtains — IKEA
  • Muhammad ali mickey mouse art — Artist Shane Bowden
Credit: Lauren Kolyn

KITCHEN

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

BEDROOM

  • Bed — Structube (no longer available)
  • Side tables — IKEA
  • Beside Lamps — IKEA (don’t think these are avail anymore
  • Curtains — Wayfair I think, can’t find link 
  • Print — Society6, Jonas loose
  • Vanity and stool — Facebook Marketplace
  • Dressers — IKEA, don’t think sold anymore
  • Rug — Home Depot
  • Duvet cover — West Elm
  • Floral Pillow cases — IKEA

Thanks Janelle and Spencer!

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