Leila’s Vintage Cocoon in Ottawa

published Aug 18, 2015
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(Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)

Name: Leila Younis and Ike the Pug
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years; Owned

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Leila’s 110 year-old house is spacious, welcoming, and filled to the brim with personality. Since she bought the home four years ago, Leila has taken the time to make the space her own with both large renovation projects such as the kitchen or smaller touches like the accent walls in the living room and craft room.

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Living room (Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)
(Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)

Leila combines her professional experience in graphic design and web development with her love for vintage decor. She often goes on antique hunting trips and her basement is full of pieces that she ends up selling to make more room for new finds. She is also an avid collector; vintage tin toys, rosaries, and first aid kits are among the many collections scattered throughout her house.

After collecting vintage pennants for a long time, she decided to make her own. On her Etsy store, Meltingplastic, you can order custom-made felt pennants in three different sizes. She also makes other felt goods like cushions and mobiles, such as the one she is currently working on for a friend’s baby.

(Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Vintage cocoon 🙂

Inspiration: Jersey Ice Cream Company. It’s like they can see into my interior design/decor dreams.

Favorite Element: The kitchen sink. It was a gift from a friend. She bathed both her babies in it! It was special to her and I can’t thank her enough for giving it to me. The staircase is a close second. It is original to the house and about 110 years old. I love how timeworn it is.

Biggest Challenge: The house faces north and has small windows so it can be a challenge to make the space feel bright. I’m a big lover of indoor greenery and the lack of light also means I can’t fill the space with plants the way I’d like to.

What Friends Say: My friend Bruce describes my home simply as “Darwin’s cottage”. Friends find the space “inviting and welcoming”. “Warm” is another word I hear a lot.

Biggest Embarrassment: The back room. It slants away from the home and it’s in need of some serious updating- that horrible linoleum floor and those big box store cupboards. That room is next on my list of house upgrades.

Proudest DIY: The cushions on the spare bed. I love how they turned out and I think I want to make some more to add more of a personal touch to my home.

Biggest Indulgence: The pergola on the back deck. The backyard gets so much sun and without the pergola to provide a little shade it would be unbearable to be back there. Another big indulgence was the reupholstered sofa and chair. My friend sold the pair to me for a very good price. They had suffered a lot of damage from her kitties and were in desperate need of a complete recover. It cost more than I cared to spend, but it was worth it to see them restored to their former Mid-century glory.

Best Advice: It’s your space. Make it a space you want to be in.

Dream Sources: Antique and flea markets. Truck Furniture makes some incredible pieces I’d love to own. And I’ve always wanted a SMEG fridge. One day. One. Day.


(Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)


  • Living room: C.I.L. Raindrops
  • Master bedroom and upstairs hallway: Behr Kitten White
  • Bathroom: Behr 100 Acre Raindrops
  • Stairway accent wall: Behr Nocturne Blue
  • (Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)


    • Sideboard: Salvation Army
    • Large painting: Victor Henry
    • Sofa: bought from a friend
    • Chair: bought from a friend
    • Bookshelf: Ikea
    • Project turntable: Planet of Sound
    • Castle speakers: Planet of Sound
    • Armoire: antique from Quebec
    • Rug: bought from a friend
    • Pioneer receiver: vintage flea market find
    • Sheepskin: Costco
    • Floor lamps: flea market finds
    • Antlers: Antiquus Goods
    • First aid books: found at various flea markets
    • Chemist bottles: gift from a friend
    • Doll: antique store in Ottawa
    (Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)


  • Kitchen island/sideboard: McHaffie’s Flea Market in Morrisburg, Ontario
  • Armoire: bought in Mexico
  • Palmistry pennant: Eradura
  • Kitchen chairs: found in the garbage (I know! Someone actually threw those out!)
  • Kitchen table: The Brick
  • Bar cart: flea market find
  • Small bronze hands: Daniel Fleming
  • Magnetic walnut knife holder: IVAMIR
  • White rabbit (on bar cart): flea market find
  • Calavera Catrina: craft market in Mexico
  • (Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)


  • Bed: Ikea
  • Duvet cover: West Elm
  • Rug: souvenir from Mexico
  • Dresser: Value Village
  • Lotus chair: Salvation Army (this chair was created for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal)
  • Large mirror: Ikea
  • Curtains: Ikea
  • Bedside tables: flea market find
  • Bedside lighting: Urban Outfitters
  • Cheeky print: Shuby
  • Moon phases calendar print: Little Lark
  • (Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)


  • Shower curtain: Value Village
  • Baskets: garage sale find
  • Black and cream Swiss cross weaving: ElpeaDesignCo
  • Jewelry shadow box: Salvation Army
  • Small shelf: Salvation Army
  • Framed photographs: gift from a friend
  • Bath mat: Ikea
  • (Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)


  • Moose antlers: Lachute flea market
  • Luck pennant: Meltingplastic
  • Daybed: Lachute flea market
  • Suitcases: mostly from various thrift stores, some found in the garbage
  • Rug: flea market find
  • Deco dresser: purchased from a friend
  • Drop-leaf table: purchased from a friend
  • Abandoned house print: Bruce Deachman
  • Encaustic painting: Heidi Conrod
  • Cushions on bed: handmade by Leila
  • (Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)

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    Thanks, Leila!

    *Re-edited from a tour previously published