Danielle’s Bright & Multi-functional Top Floor Apartment

published Sep 20, 2015
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(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Name: Danielle Levy
Location: Mile End; Montreal, Quebec
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Rented

A born and raised Montrealer, Danielle is an avid supporter of her local community which is a defining feature of her lifestyle from food to home design. Much of the artwork and décor Danielle owns has a personal connection, either having been created by a friend or local artist, found at a thrift shop or collected from her travels abroad. It’s one of those homes where almost every piece has a story, making these items invaluable. Situated on the top floor of a typical five-story Montreal style apartment complex, this one bedroom apartment is bright, airy and surrounded by the city’s most abundant green space. The west facing windows and balcony provide a clear view of Mont Royal to the south and to the north, a prime spot to catch the most spectacular sunsets in the evening.

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Main room carefully divided into three sections: an office, living room/sitting area and dining room. (Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Danielle is a registered holistic nutrition practitioner and runs her business from home. Though the apartment is limited in size, it is multifunctional in purpose. Danielle utilizes the space to its fullest potential and has carefully divided her main room into: 1) An office, 2) A professional yet inviting living room/sitting area where she can work with clients in a comfortable environment or host friends and 3) A dining area which also doubles as a photo studio and extended food workspace for her latest recipe creations. This apartment is an example of how a little creativity, collaboration (don’t be shy to ask your friends for design advice!) and support from your creative community can go a long way to build a personalized and stylish space to live, work and play.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Vintage/Modern /Clean/Classic

Inspiration: Charles & Ray Eames, Nature — wood grain and plants, Feng Shui/Zen vibes, minimalism and simple living.

Favorite Element: The secondhand glass/chrome bookshelf. I love the piece itself, and the story behind it. I bought it about six years ago, off a man who was a seller at Marché aux puces St-Michel, a big vintage indoor market in Montreal. He happened to be having a garage sale of his personal belongings, which I stumbled upon one Sunday morning. I remember feeling like I’d hit the jackpot! I picked up a couch, the bookshelf, a teak chair (which eventually fell apart), and the small teak bookshelf.

Biggest Challenge: Lack of counter space in the kitchenette!

What Friends Say: They feel good, calm and peaceful in the space – makes me happy!

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchenette – it was old and in poor shape when I moved in, and I can only do so much to keep it looking clean and functioning.

Proudest DIY: Wooden wallpaper ‘headboard’ — put up with the help of my brother Dave.

Biggest Indulgence: Faux wood carpet under the coffee table.

Best Advice: Go on instinct! collect pieces you immediately fall in love with, gradually collecting special items over time. Only purchase what you need, rather than consume for the sake of consuming. Live simply!



  • Zero VOC Paint – white
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


  • Stained glass: This is one of the main features of the apartment that made me fall in love with it upon first visit! No other apartment in the building has this gorgeous artwork, so I got lucky! It is a light well, connected to the roof, as I am on the top floor.
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


  • Rob Jamieson painting, small image of young soldier. I was over at the Jamieson’s house for thanksgiving and this painting caught my eye, which was tucked away on a coffee table in THEIR living room. I expressed my enthusiasm for the piece, and Rob explained that he had made it, and generously gave it to me!
  • Ron Jamieson oil painting: My ‘second dad’ we like to say, the father of my friend Emilia. This was a replication of a photo I took years ago in Mexico, of a dog on a roof. I kept seeing dogs on rooftops and later learned that people put female dogs on the roof when they are in heat, as a way to control the over populated strays! Ron enjoyed the image and painted a large-scale version, which my friend Emilia has hanging in her home. This was the smaller study.
  • Large framed ‘horse poster’: Whistlejacket by George Stubbs. From The National Gallery London, where I visited 7-8 years ago.
  • The glass coffee table, wooden side table, and white upholstered chairs are from Zone, a local Quebec design company that have a shop location near my home.
  • The wood grain rug I randomly found at Simons, a Montreal department store, while shopping for a winter parka. As a fan of all things wood grain (obviously), I was super excited to stumble upon this item! I also got the pillow of the beach scene that day, which is made from the same soft material. These pieces were made exclusively for ‘Simons Maison’.
  • On the small teak bookshelf, the terracotta plant pot I painted with the stripe of turquoise – a mini DIY project!
  • The white lamp on the teak bookshelf: I found this lamp base, which is also made of teak, at a garage sale in Hudson outside of Montreal, about six years ago. I picked up the simple lampshade from the hardware store.
  • SORTIE (Exit) lamp is from Marché aux puces St-Michel, Montreal’s main vintage market.
  • Porcelain bowl on the coffee table was from my grandmother, and the flower drink coasters were from Salvation Army.
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


  • The poster of the dog wearing a collar is a reference from my favorite movie Amelie Poulain, originally a painting made by Michael Sowa.
  • The dining table & chairs are from the Ikea ‘Stockholm Collection’ from two years ago.
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


  • Milk & Honey print: This was made by my friend Olivia Mew, who runs the rad company Stay Home Club, based in Montreal. I enjoy her graphics and the words remind me of my Jewish Bubby, who was a great cook and loved us through food! (Religious reference: Israel is known as ‘the land of milk and honey’)
  • Praying hands print: I’m not religious, but I’ve always been a fan of ‘praying hands’ and other religious artwork. This was a vintage find from Marché aux puces St-Michel.
  • With so little counter space in the kitchenette, I Macgyvered an extended counter, by adding a piece of wood over the extra mini fridge. This connects to a kitchen cart, which I purchased at Home Depot. It actually helps a great deal, and people get a kick out of the book-balancing act!
  • The hanging banner of paper fruits & veggies was made by my friends Jarre, a local design team, in collaboration with Montreal’s equally awesome design crew Baltic club.
  • Tins: Collected over the years from random garage sales, from my parents cottage (a place that stores all of my dad’s garage sale finds!).
  • I built the ‘mason jar spice shelf’ with my dad. As I had so little storage, this design was necessary to maximize my space and does the trick!
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


  • The large prints on my wall are of Rinko Kawauchi’s work, my favorite photographer. I discovered her photos when visiting Stockholm in 2007, and saw her show at the Fotografins Hus gallery. I was moved beyond words by her images, and six years later, I decided to print a few, as they still had the same impact on me. I got them printed with a ‘gem’ of a printer, Dimensions, who can be found in the basement of a Chinatown mall. Anthony is the young dude who runs the place, and offers a fantastic and very affordable service. Check him out Montreal!
  • I purchased the wood grain wallpaper at one of my fave shops in the city, Galerie Co, A design/housewares store located in my neighborhood that curates the gallery/store with one-of-a-kind pieces made locally and internationally, as well as sustainable products. The company who makes this amazing No VOC wallpaper is called NLXL, based in the Netherlands.
  • The framed ‘bike’ embroidery textile art is made by a Montreal-based artist Dionoski.
  • I am a big fan of aromatherapy and always keep a burner with lavender and other essential oils, which helps me feel calm.
  • On the bedside table is a notebook made by Field Notes, a brand I love! They ran this limited edition notebook series called the “Shelterwood” last year and I had to have a pack! On the bedside table, the glass jars are filled with amazing natural, essential oil-infused body butter, and lip moisturizer, handmade by my friend Emily Knox of EJ Naturals, based in Montreal. She is a multi-talented, passionate person, who makes small batches of high quality chemical-free body products!
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


  • The celestial print ‘La Lune’ was made by my longtime friend Stephanie Cheng, who lives in Toronto. She is a talented graphic designer, artist, and printmaker who runs her own mini studio.
  • I love my map shower curtain! I bought this when living in Toronto at a hardware store on Roncesvalles. As a big map fan, I was stoked to have stumbled upon this curtain, which had been folded up and was hiding on a low shelf. Lucky find while looking for light bulbs!
  • The print of the colour block and landscape was made by a lovely local artist named Magali Robidaire aka Le Bocal de Mag.
  • The glass jar that I keep mouthwash in was generously gifted by a friend Chantel Ness who runs a rad vintage house wares and design company called Fül Haus!
  • Bathroom shelf ‘tchotchkes’ are items I’ve picked up over the years, from travels to South East Asia, and small hippie shops that are bountiful in Montreal.
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


  • Jane Heller photo print of Farine Five Roses, a classic Montreal Monument. I worked as Jane’s assistant for a couple of years, and we were close friends.
  • The mini office area contains a chair from Zone and the desk is from Ikea (VITTSJÖ Laptop table).

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Thanks, Danielle!