Melissa & Ramzy’s Colorful, Creative Canadian Home

published Oct 11, 2014
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(Image credit: Kelly Brown)

Name: Melissa, an artist, and Ramzy, a military physician
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
Size: 1400 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 1.5 years

When Melissa submitted a few photos for a house call a few weeks ago, we knew we were going to need a longer look of this space. The whole space is filled with eclectic pieces that have a story, topped off with gorgeous natural light. But though the space is full of fun and interesting things to look at, it doesn’t feel overwhelming. In fact you get the sense this is both a peaceful and creativity-inducing place to live in!

(Image credit: Kelly Brown and Melissa Milakovic)
(Image credit: Kelly Brown and Melissa Milakovic)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: In one word: Eclectic. Our style is a direct representation of our taste and attitude towards life: Everything and everyone is beautiful and has a story.

Inspiration: I am mostly inspired by the unknown stories an object holds and the story of where and when it was found. Inspiration comes from everyday life — I am equally in love with clean, simple and modern design and folksy, bohemian, colorful décor and everything in between. Often times I am not inspired until I see the thing that inspires me! One piece always leads inspiration to the next. That’s why I’m a firm believer in decorating your house with only things you sincerely love — there will be love and inspiration all around you!

Favorite Element: Always hard to choose a favorite. We love that our main living space is on the second floor. It feels like we live in a tree house and can do some great people watching from all the windows (there are 11 just on the one floor). We live on a busy intersection in a touristy spot so there is all kinds of action on the ground. A non-visual element are two sounds: the clip-clop of the horses pulling carriages and the sounds of the ship horn pulling out of port. It’s the most romantic. Specific element: All the windows, natural light.

Biggest Challenge: Restraining myself from buying all the pretty things I find in vintage and thrift shops.

What Friends Say: The greatest compliment is that it is beautifully decorated without losing the sense of comfort a home should bring.

Biggest Embarrassment: The blinds in all the windows and the bathrooms. We have barely lived here for a year so we are being gentle with ourselves in pacing the home improvements. They are the last remnants of the awful beige of the rental it was for 10 years.

Proudest DIY: An old mirror I turned into a chalkboard. So simple but well-loved. We use it to write good quotes, love notes (as seen in the photo here) and to welcome guests when they come to stay with us! It’s a lot of fun and was an easy one-day project.

Biggest Indulgence: It has been months in the making but our coffee table is our prize possession. I had loosely designed something I wanted and brought it to a local craftsman who turned it into a work of art. It was his suggestion to add the antique ship’s compass which, in Victoria, only took me one day to find! We kept it as a surprise for Ramzy as he loves ships and works at the navy base here in Victoria. The creators call it ‘The Binnacle Table’ as the compass is WWII Vintage American — “A binnacle is a waist-high case or stand on the deck of a ship, generally mounted in front of the helmsman, in which navigational instruments are placed for easy and quick reference as well as to protect the delicate instruments.”

Best Advice: Trust your instinct when it comes to style. Things in your home don’t need to match, you just need to love them.

Dream Sources: A personal vintage/antique shopper who would travel the world for my vintage/antique needs [read: wants].

(Image credit: Kelly Brown and Melissa Milakovic)

Resources of Note:


All Sherwin Williams:

  • Light grey (main living area and kitchen)
  • Panda white (master bedroom)
  • Naval blue (spare bedroom)
  • Caribbean green (entry way)
  • Eggshell white (studio)


  • Round Antique Gilded Mirror: Barclay’s Exchange, Victoria
  • Small drawer: HomeSense
  • Gold Keys: HomeSense
  • Framed Antique Chair Illustration: Love Like Red
  • White globe lamp: Ikea
  • Brass bin: Value Village
  • Oval Flower Painting, Gold Frame: Value Village [studio]
  • Coffee Bag Rug: Value Village
  • Coat Hook Rack: HomeSense


  • Pink Chair: Winners
  • Desk and Shelves: Ikea
  • Drafting table: Modern Living, Victoria
  • Artwork/Prints: Love Like Red
  • Trinkets: thrift, second hand
  • Garbage Bin: HomeSense
  • Round Antique Gilded Mirror: Kay’s Korner, Victoria


  • Couch: too old to remember
  • City Chic Blanket: Wedding gift
  • Geometric Blanket: Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Museum, Chicago
  • Standing lamp: HomeSense
  • Red Entertainment Unit: Monarch Furnishings, Victoria
  • Zeppelin Poster: Antique Shop, Kamloops
  • Prints on fireplace mantle: Love Like Red
  • Couch Throw Pillows: HomeSense
  • Credenza: second-hand, UsedVictoria
  • Antique Floodlight: Antique Shop, Kamloops
  • Wood Carvings: Uganda
  • Dining Room table: Modern Living, Victoria
  • Coffee Table: Trade Roots/Chickadee Offcuts Furniture, Victoria
  • Framed Feather Print: Antique shop in Bellingham, WA
  • Ceramic Heart: Steeling Home (gift), Calgary
  • Gold and Green Antique Hallway Table: Country Living, Victoria
  • Puffy Heart: DIY
  • Wooden Orb Pendant Ceiling Light: Park Lighting, Edmonton
  • Trinkets on dining room table: Turkey, Libya, Uganda
  • Wall Clock: Park Lighting, Edmonton
  • Metal Globe Book Ends: Super Chance, Victoria
  • Nautical Coaster Set: Chapters
  • Antique Wash Basin (bar): UsedVictoria
  • Large Gold Mirror: Ikea
  • Gold and Navy Refurbished Bench: Super Chance / Trade Roots, Victoria
  • Wine Bar: Trade Roots, Victoria
  • Small Rectangle Gold Gilded Mirror: Salvation Army
  • Hanging Globe: Salt Spring Island
  • Sock Monkey: DIY
  • Anatomy Print: Love Like Red


  • Bed: Ikea
  • Dresser: Monarch Furnishings, Victoria
  • Bedside Tables: Monarch Furnishings, Victoria
  • Wooden Jewelry Box: family heirloom
  • Throw Pillows: Love Like Red
  • Vintage Posters / Hangers: Antique shop in Bellingham, WA / Value Village
  • Frame: Kay’s Korner, Victoria
  • Beside Lamp: Antique Mall, Edmonton
  • Bamboo Ladder: Fan Tan Alley Gallery, Victoria
  • Bedside table trinkets: vintage/antique thrift finds


  • Kitchen Table chairs: Home Depot
  • Kitchen Table: old farm table, bought it from a friend
  • Antique Bar Cart: Kay’s Korner, Victoria
  • Pendant Ceiling Lamp: Park Lighting, Edmonton
  • Chalkboard: old mirror, DIY project
  • Flour and Sugar tins: Salvation Army
  • Basket Wall Hangings: Uganda
  • Small basket set [on window sill]: Uganda
  • Vintage Victoria Map: Antique Shop, Kamloops
  • Regal Typewriter Board: Antique Mall, Edmonton
  • Bicycle Beer Opener: Salt Spring Island
  • Heart Ornaments: Croatia (gift)
  • Birdie hook: Montreal
  • Open hand/heart beer opener: Steeling Home , Calgary (gift)
  • Framed Cooking Illustration [bar cart]: Love Like Red
  • Cookbook Basket: wedding gift, Uganda
  • Antique Weigh Scale: Antique Mall, Victoria
  • Jugs (all sizes): Value Village
  • Salt and Pepper Shakers: hand me down from parents
  • Blue Bottle Dish: gift
  • Blue Glass Jars: Value Village
  • Small ceramic dish: Blackbird Studios, Victoria


  • Throw pillows: Love Like Red and Urban Barn
  • Bed: Hand-me-down
  • Lamp: Hand-me-down (70s teak)
  • Antique Barometer: Value Village
  • Framed Art Print: Love Like Red
  • Small shelf: Ikea


  • Blue plant rack: Winners
  • Plant pots: Value Village
  • Front Door Signage: DIY
  • House Number: Capital Iron, Victoria
(Image credit: Kelly Brown and Melissa Milakovic)

Thanks, Melissa and Ramzy!

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Re-edited from a tour originally published in 2015 – AB