Hand-Me-Down Mix & Match Style in Montreal

updated Feb 19, 2019

Hand-Me-Down Mix & Match Style in Montreal

updated Feb 19, 2019
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Name: Mary and Brandon
Location: Plateau Mont-Royal — Montreal, Canada
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: Rented, 2 years

Mary, a cook and artist who grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, shares this rental with Brandon, a software developer who grew up in Florida and moved to Montreal in 2011. Though they’ve both called Montreal home for years, they consider this apartment their true first home. It’s large with room to spread out, natural light bathes their mixed collection of decor and furniture and perhaps most importantly, they’ve taken the time to make it as “homey” as possible.

“Having mostly familiar items in our home enforces my obsessive need for comfort,” says Mary. That’s why the apartment is filled with many things Mary grew up with. Over the years her parents have given her hand-me-down furniture. One of Mary’s favorite pieces is the drawing table that she grew up with which now lives in their bedroom and serves as her art desk. The kitchen table Mary grew up eating family dinners on her entire childhood is also now in her home — it was made in the 1950s and her mom bought it for $25 in 1982 from an outdoor church auction.

Chairs, rugs, bedside tables and Mary’s vanity all came from either her family home or their close family friends. This sentimental collection results in a home that is filled with stories and comfort.

“We only own two or three IKEA items — our bed, our blue couch, and our little kitchen island,” says Brandon.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Low maintenance/hand-me-down/cozy/mix and match

Inspiration: Seeing other people’s places in the city is always inspiring.

Favorite Element: The long hallway.

Biggest Challenge: Not having washer and dryer appliances!

What Friends Say: “It just keeps going!” “There’s a lot of love in this kitchen.”

Biggest Embarrassment: Not having washer and dryer appliances!

Proudest DIY: My art is the most DIY thing in the apartment and I’m proud to share it with visitors.

Biggest Indulgence: The massive bedroom that doubles as my work space. Brandon gets to use the middle room as a kind of a workroom, however, he needs a desk and chair upgrade that we have yet to get around to.

Best Advice: Throw away/donate unused things!

Dream Sources: Meubles Vintage, flea markets, yard sales, Monastiraki, La Boutique du Collectionneur, Urban Cottage Antiques & Collectables (Halifax, NS)


Our “living room” is also known as “the middle room” or sometimes “Brandon’s office.” Either way it has a couch and that is luxury enough for us to use the room as a little mini theatre instead of the laptop-in-bed thing. After not having enough space to fit a couch, having a room dedicated to it is kind of awesome. The couch is the KARLSTAD sofa.

The lighting in this room and over my workspace on the bedroom are two IKEA Varmluft lamp shades that hung together in our old apartment, left by the tenants prior to us. They don’t seem to be available anymore.

The room off of our kitchen includes what my family called “the kitchen table.” It’s the table we ate at for every meal my entire life. There are pull-out leaves on either end that can be extended to fit more friends around the table. It was made in the 1950s and my mom bought it for $25 in 1982 from an outdoor church auction!

The twin chairs were purchased at Meubles Vintage on Avenue du Parc a few years ago. I took them home and painted them lavender. At the same time the big antique mirror that hangs in the hallway was sold at a $50 steal. The other chairs are 1950s school chairs from Halifax.

The kitchen island cart was one of our few IKEA purchases and it makes a perfect counter between the sink and the stove.

My desk is an old drawing table that my mom’s college friend bought at an auction and gifted to my mom before she moved away to do her masters. It can be made to tilt for drafting and drawing or in a fixed position like I have it now.

The shelf above the radiator in the bedroom was sold to us by the tenants of our old apartment. The guy had put it together, finished it and installed it as a breakfast bar. We loved it so much we hauled it to our current place and even though it’s a bookshelf now we still call it “the breakfast bar.”

Our Hudson bay towels were a welcomed gift from my mother and the shower curtain is from Curio on Mont-Royal Est. The pattern kind of looked like my style of drawing.

Thanks, Mary and Brandon!

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