This Photographer’s Minimal and Modern Apartment Has the Cutest Original Checkered Vinyl Kitchen Floor

published May 20, 2021

This Photographer’s Minimal and Modern Apartment Has the Cutest Original Checkered Vinyl Kitchen Floor

published May 20, 2021
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Home Type
Square feet
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Name: Lauren Kolyn and a roommate
Location: Toronto, Canada
Size: 1,100 square feet
Type of Home: Third (top) floor apartment of a house 
Years Lived In: 4.5 years, renting

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I have been a contributor at AT for almost six years and have photographed over 50 home tour features! Not only did this experience contribute to the launch of my career as an interiors photographer, it connected me with so many interesting people — many of whom have now become my friends! Sharing our homes is an intimate experience (which I can now confirm personally!) and I feel honored to have been invited into people’s personal spaces. For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by our lived spaces: how we design and inhabit them, and the ways in which they reflect who we are and where we are at a particular place in time. As a photographer, I have always thought of this as my way of taking portraits. 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

With a big transition on the horizon I decided, albeit with a little hesitation, that I wanted to document and pay homage to the home I treasure so much. I moved in during the fall of 2016 and since then I feel as though I have been growing with the space. I’d say that it’s only within the past year the space has really come together, in a physical/spatial sense, to feel a bit more cohesively like home. Re-inventing the space became somewhat of a pastime during the pandemic and supported some healing from recent upheavals in my personal life. 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

As much as I love design and peeking into unique and beautiful homes, I believe that the concept of home is more than a physical structure. It’s a combination of many elements and “what makes a home a home” means something different for everyone. Having been in so many different spaces over the years, I’ve come to really sense the amount of love and care that goes into a space. In fact, I actually prefer the stories where people need to get creative in designing their spaces whether it be because of budget, location or constraints within the physical layout. Personally, when I think of what’s important to me in a home it’s more a feeling that I want to cultivate — one of warmth, invitation, and self expression. 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Mid-century, vintage, and wabi-sabi

Inspiration:  Nature, my intuition, mid-century modern design, classic Montreal apartments, straight lines (not found so much in old apartments!), Guff Furniture, and my talented and creative friends, especially Danielle Suppa, creative director/owner of Souvenir Studios. We often work together and her incredibly keen eye for design has really influenced the expansion of my own! A shortlist of my favorite design publications that inspire me are Apartamento, Friends of Friends, Sight Unseen, Hunker, Dwell, and of course, Apartment Therapy. 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Favorite Element: The light, in particular the way it moves through the space throughout the course of the day and how it changes with each season. Now that there are leaves on the trees again, they create a beautiful glowing pattern on the living room wall in the evening. It’s like a little dance between light and shadow as the sun sets. Since the apartment is on the top floor, I also love feeling like I am living among the treetops. 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

On an aesthetic note, I really appreciate that my landlords (who are both architects) maintained a lot of the original details — window frames, checkered kitchen floor, mouldings, etc. I definitely prefer preserving the old over before jumping to the new. 

Biggest Challenge: Grateful that there aren’t many challenges to work around. The floors are a bit slanted so depending on where you’re sitting at the table your soy sauce could be rolling down your plate! 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Proudest DIY: I recently learned to re-wire a lamp! And since I’ve apparently developed an appreciation for vintage lamps this skill will definitely come in handy. 

It’s not necessarily a DIY project per se, but I am very proud of my vintage ceramic collection. I started building it when I lived in Montreal six or seven years ago and it’s been evolving ever since! 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Biggest Indulgence: I recently set up a reading nook in my bedroom with a simple and modern style love seat — Cigar Sofa — from Article. It fits the space perfectly and inspires me to ease in and out of the day. 

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Over the past couple of years I invested in a few kitchen tools — a good quality knife (highly recommended!), food processor, and a high speed blender. I use them all everyday, worth every penny!

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

I also finally got myself a proper work desk — Fantol desk — and love having a separate place to “go to work” especially as a freelancer.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? One of the most consistent pieces of advice I’ve heard over the years is to be patient and to take time in designing and/or decorating your home. I think that inhabiting a home is definitely an ongoing process and reflects the evolving stages of its inhabitants. I definitely relate to the need to feel settled, so my advice would be to make things functional for all those who live in the space and then enjoy the journey of growing into it! 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

As well, I am a HUGE advocate for vintage and/or second hand shopping! Granted the process of thrifting takes some practice but once you get a feel for it, it actually is a lot of fun and very satisfying. In my experience it has allowed me to naturally discover my style rather than following trends. You start to notice what catches your eye and what you are attracted to. Online buy-sell websites like Kijiji, Craigslist and even Facebook Marketplace are great places to find local deals, especially for big brand items. It’s not only an efficient way to decorate on a budget, it’s also a great way to live more sustainably.



Credit: Lauren Kolyn


  • Sofa — Vintage from friends I met doing this AT home tour; similar here and here 
  • Otio Walnut Lounge chair (grey mist) — Article 
  • Kilim pillow covers — Etsy
  • Coffee table — from my grandparents basement
  • Hanging MCM lamp — vintage from Gadabout
  • Floor lamp — EQ3
  • Ottoman /side table — Article (discontinued, similar here)
  • Floor rug — hand me down from friends (discontinued; originally from West Elm similar here)
  • Plants & pots — Urban Gardener
Credit: Lauren Kolyn


Credit: Lauren Kolyn


  • MCM dining chairs — from my grandparents basement, reupholstered
  • Floor lamp — IKEA (discontinued)
  • Table lamp — vintage
  • Wooden sideboard — Craigslist 
  • Cabinet — IKEA (purchased second hand off of Kijiji) 
  • Cane dining chairs — roadside find
  • Plants & pots — Urban Gardener
  • Release Yourself Ink Test — Toronto Ink Company 
  • Chagall Art Poster — vintage via Facebook Marketplace
  • Table cloth — Linen Way via Souvenir Studios 
Credit: Lauren Kolyn


  • Kitchen island — IKEA (discontinued, similar here)
  • Kitchen Cart — IKEA
  • Ceramics (dinnerwares, mugs and jars) — mostly thrifted
  • Shelf inserts — IKEA
  • Plants & pots — Urban Gardener
Credit: Lauren Kolyn


  • Basi queen bed frame (walnut) — Article 
  • Bed linens — Cultiver
  • Cigar sofa (Ankara Ivory) — Article 
  • Throw (green) — Cultiver
  • Pillow covers — IKEA 
  • Dresser — vintage via Kijiji
  • Lamps — vintage via Facebook Marketplace
  • Bedside tables — from my grandparents 
  • What is the Speed of a Shadow? artwork — Tania Love
  • Emporio Tone photography print — Kimon 
  • Oregon Coast photography print — Lauren Kolyn
  • Framed postcard by — Anne Schwalbe
  • Apple crate — vintage
  • Plants and pots — Urban Gardener

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.