Mike’s Hand-Crafted Montreal Apartment
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Name: Michael Fiset with pets Dog: Josephine; Cat: Leopold (orange one); Cat: Ouski (grey one)
Location: Parc Extension; Montréal, Canada
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: Rented 2 1/2 years
Mike’s home is filled with stories and intent; virtually every item he owns has significance, purpose or is connected to an adventure or inspiration. He’s always been intrigued by patterns, lines and graphics and has the unique ability to see the allure in even the most mundane environments.
He’s collected décor and furniture from near and far and once carried a rug in his backpack throughout seven flights in Europe in order to bring it home with him! Mike and the space he has created is a prime example of how a home can be a genuine reflection of its inhabitant.
Following a BMX accident a few years ago, which ended his competitive biking career, Mike sought out a new outlet for his creative energy. Having always been drawn to different materials and texture, Mike took a job in a glass shop, which further nourished his ingenuity toward design. He began making his own furniture—tables, lamps, lightning and chairs—with recycled and repurposed materials. And before he knew it, Mike had furnished most of his apartment with items he had crafted. Cultivating a purposeful and comfortable space has provided Mike with a sense of solace and creativity over the past couple of years, something that he aspires to carry forward onto future endeavours.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I have a hard time labeling style. I think it’s more about where you are at that moment and time. I’ve surrounded myself with things that tell a story. Whether it is an object I brought back from a trip or a piece of furniture I built from an old pallet, it’s evolved with time and I think it always will. But if I had to label what I am into these days it would obviously be industrial and pre-1950s pieces.
Inspiration: I get my inspiration from everything around me, but I’ve always been drawn to textures and materials. As a teenager I was obsessed with plaid shirts, sometimes buying some that didn’t even fit just because I liked the fabric. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Growing up Bmxing, I would always choose to ride and film at spots because of the the way they looked, never really understanding why. Yet it always ended up working for me. In 2012 I started making furniture after a bad injury that took me off my bike for a while. It was a way to keep my creative juices flowing. Suddenly everything made sense. Furniture gave me a medium where I could use all these things I found appealing yet never really knew what to make of. It gave a purpose to all these random things that inspired me.
Favorite Element: I think the wooden doors/moldings and surprisingly the stucco walls. I guess I like the walls because it adds texture to the space. I feel it just works. As for the doors/moldings, all the staining was done by the previous tenant. It gave the empty space character from the get go. I have to say it has greatly influenced me in what I’ve surrounded myself with.
Biggest Challenge: Working 40 hours and picking up after three animals! I also have to make efforts not to become a hoarder as I collect a lot of stuff and tend to always build new pieces with no intention of selling them.
What Friends Say: They say I’m the male version of Martha Stewart
Biggest Embarrassment: All the animal fur! And the kitchen—I really wish I could strip everything and start from scratch in here!
Proudest DIY: It’s hard to choose because I built a lot of the stuff in here, but I’d have to say the Torchère lamp between the living and dining room. It’s one of those black torchères everyone had in the 90s that I just revamped to give it an industrial feel. It’s actually the same lamp I had in the living room at my mom’s growing up. I just kept the shade, stripped the paint off and mounted it on one-inch gas tubing.
Biggest Indulgence: Mirrors! Especially old vintage mirrors. I work in a glass shop and I actually make antique patina mirrors for restaurant and bars. I often keep some of the nicer pieces for myself and frame them. But from time to time I also get awesome vintage mirrors from customers who only see the patina as a nuisance.
Best Advice: “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart believes it, then I will achieve it.”
Dream Sources: Truck Furniture: I’m a big fan of what Tok does and I remember seeing his stuff and being blown away. It’s been a big influence on what I make, I’d love to one day make it out to Osaka and eventually own some of his pieces!
The Future Kept: Dean and Jessica have a very good eye and source products from various makers all over England, Europe and the United States. Plus they run shop out of their beautiful home in Southern England. I stayed with them last summer and I wanted to bring everything back with me. If only the Canadian dollar was stronger!
Kaufmann Mercantile: I really love the things they carry and am always tempted to max out my credit card on random items they have, especially those handmade copper flasks!
PAINT & COLORS
- Honestly, everything was painted when I moved in, so I can’t say. I do know that I’m well over the hundred count in the holes I’ve put through the walls so eventually I’ll have to answer that question!
- For my furniture, I mostly use Early American and use Dark Walnut and Gunstock to accent the grain.
- Shelf: reclaimed wood and cast iron brackets
- Clock: Urban Outfitters
- Big Frame : PEI shipwreck print with reclaimed wood frame
- Small Frame: Ship print bought in paris with a vintage frame
- Mirror: antique 1914 (13inch x 22inch) Pilkington mirror with 2 inch bevels
- Horse shoe: house warming gift from my friends
- Small coat hook: made from a floor board from Dean and Jessica’s house in England
- Coat Hanger: 50s hanger I got from my grandparents house after they passed
- Shoe rack: stained pine with 3/4 inch gas piping
- Basket: Bought at VdeV in Montreal
- Pendant lamp: Urban Outfitters
- Carpet: Ikea
- Stool: reclaimed wood spindle and 3/4 x 3/4 steel angles from home depot
- Plants: I Just try to keep them alive!
- Couch: Ikea
- Mexican blanket: found in the street (washed many times!!)
- Pillows: ikea and value village
- Picture frames: dollar store frames with magazine cutouts, Various Postcards bought in Europe and a Capilli Tupou tattoo stencil
- Side table: Vintage singer sewing machine with stool
- Gooseneck lamp: vintage piece bought at Marché Saint Michel
- Cactus/horse/Cat books bought in Hastings England
- Shelf: reclaimed wood and cast iron brackets
- Tin: Vintage tin bought at a Flea market
- Vintage Mason: Bought in and filled with Shells From Prince Edward Island
- Mirror: custom patina mirror I made at work with vintage frame
- Coasters: Wired glass Coasters I made at work
- Torchère: Cast iron fittings with gas piping
- Ladder: Kijiji
- Ladder books: tattoo stuff, and art.
- Black frame: vintage plant print bought at Kavanaugh interiors
- Stereo: vintage piece bought at an estate sale
- Rusted lamp: Bought at the Saturday flea, 26th and Lexington in Manhattan
- Stool: made from a 2 X 4 and old chair legs
- curtains: Ikea
- Shelving unit: prior tenant left it in the apartment. It’s filled with books and memories!
- Globe : vintage find
- Floor items: baskets from renaissance, large Percy Waters print with a frame I made, cactus drawing I doodled, and other various items
- Coffee table: reclaimed wood and 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 steel angles
- Tray: made from 1/2 inch plywood
- Carpet: bought in Brighton, England, took it on 7 flights rolled up with my backpack as a carry-on!
- Pendant light: Edison bulb, cord and hardware sourced at style Labo
- Teak chair: Kijiji
- Scissor lamp: made from a vintage mechanic clamp-lamp and an Ikea scissor mirror I modified and patina’d
- Side stool/table: Marché Saint Michel and the wire tray I found in the street
- Baskets: Value Village
- Table: Reclaimed Wood and Gas pipes
- Pendant Lamp: vintage enamel shade with various pieces and vintage pulley sourced via kijiji and Style Labo
- Mirror: 4’ x 8’ vintage mirror I had at the glass shop. I kept it in storage for at least 5 years before moving here. The first thing I did when I visited the apartment was to measure that wall and rush back to work and dig it out of the garage to see if it fit! I feel this is what brings this whole room together.
- Frame: Bailey Hunter Robinson print in a Vintage frame
- Wooden chairs: 4 vintage school chairs and 2 vintage “industrial chairs” all sourced through Kijiji.
- Tobacco cutter: found in the street (needed a lot of love to look this way!)
- Whiskey cabinet: 1930s cabinet bought off a couple, apparently it was his grandmothers cabinet. Filled with close to 40 Various whiskeys i’ve collected over the years
- Glassware: vintage tumblers
- Books: Various Whiskey Guides
- Nude woman bottle opener: Bought at Brooklyn Flea
- Lamp: Edison Bulb and Copper lamp bought at a Flea Market
- Tin: Vintage tobacco tin
- Skull: Marché Saint Michel
- Lithographs: got both the hands and eagle lithographs from the flea on 26th and Lex in Manhattan
- Mirror with boat print: passed down vintage piece
- Golden horse plate: flea market
- Bed: Brault et Martineau
- Blankets: Macausland Woolen Mills
- Sheets: Ralph Lauren
- Side tables: Brault et Martineau
- Table lamp: Vintage lamp and shade
- Taxidermy: Kitsch and Swell
- His and hers wall lamp: steel tubing, plumbing fixtures and mechanic shades I modified
- Flag: Urban Outfitters
- Artwork: Various Naval inspired images in vintage frames
- Curtains: Ikea
- Windowsill shelf: Made to house succulents and give the cats a vantage point
- Antique Mirror: Antique patina on new mirror framed in reclaimed wood
- Fan: Uberhaus
- Carpet: Kilim rug bought on Kijiji
- Wall carpet: Urban Outfitters
- Cabinet: Brault et Martineau
- Pendant light: Copper socket, Edison Bulb and cord
- Artwork: Vintage find at Value Village
- Stool: Ikea
- Towels: Various
- Wood Crate: Vintage Coca Cola crate
- Curtains: Ikea
- Desk: Reclaimed wood and cast iron Singer sewing machine base
- Chair: Vintage 1950s Fergus Metal Wooden Factory Seat
- Shelves: Reclaimed wood and cast iron Brackets
- Small Mirror: Antique patina on new mirror framed in reclaimed wood
- Large Mirror: Vintage Kijiji find
- Harley Scarf: Metropolis in NYC
- Wooden Box: made from reclaimed Plywood
- Large Skull Print: Bought in NYC framed in reclaimed wood
- Pennant: Montreal pennant bought at Stepback in Vancouver
- Small oval Mirror: Antique Patina on new mirror famed in vintage frames
- Macramé: Bazar de Ville, vintage pots
- Grateful dead Banner: Friperie Saint Laurent
- Pull out couch: ikea with vintage blankets
- Wall lamp: plumbing pipes and fixtures with mechanic shade
- Carpet: ikea
- Baskets: Vintage finds
- Wrestling Print: drawn by my friend Patrick Krzyzanowski, framed in reclaimed wood
- Cat chair: hand me down (serves a purpose!)
- Pendant light: Edison bulb with vintage shade
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