Natalie and Kevin’s Perfect Parkdale Perch

published Aug 29, 2012
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Name: Natalie and Kevin
Location: Parkdale, Toronto, Canada
Size: Approx. 1500 square feet
Years lived in: 9 months; Rented

When searching for a new place to call home, Natalie and Kevin never dreamed they could find such a spacious, bright, and charming place within their budget in the city. Nine months after moving in, Natalie is still pinching herself. While the bones of their two story apartment are good, it is Natalie’s stylish touch and absurdly capable hands that make the place a truly perfect pad.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Their 100+ year-old Parkdale mansion sits on a leafy side street steps from the grittier part of the neighborhood. Occupying the entire second and third floors of the old home, the apartment boasts a soaring wood-beamed ceiling on the third floor and a fabulous rooftop deck. Many of the home’s original architectural features remain intact, and they juxtapose nicely with Natalie’s mostly vintage modern/bohemian aesthetic.

HR professional by day and hilarious blogger/gal about town by night, Natalie is responsible for most of the apartment’s décor and furnishings. While some of the DIY pieces in the home were inspired by things seen around the web — the pipe shelving unit and Kilim pouf, for example — others were conceived of by Natalie alone, like the slatted wood Canada map and the side table made from an old apple crate. The ever-modest Natalie provides step-by-step instructions for all her DIY efforts on her blog, Makes Me Smile.

When Natalie is not busy with projects for her home or penning her blog, she and Kevin are enjoying the fruits of her labor, whether by curling up to read a good book, hosting friends for an outdoor movie night, or playing with Molly, the couple’s Boston Terrier. Now that she’s given us a tour of their place, we can enjoy it, too!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: A little mid-century, a little rustic, a little edgy… a little bit of everything.

Inspiration: I’m always drawn to clean mid-century design and beautiful organic materials like wood and slate. Anything that has both of those elements makes me pretty excited.

Favorite Element: The original structural and architectural details of the house… and the *space*!

Biggest Challenge: I have a problem learning when to stop — there is a point when things stop looking interesting and start looking messy. It took a while to learn that sometimes a blank wall can be a blank wall, and that’s ok.

What Friends Say: “Your house is a good party house,” which is definitely true.

Biggest Embarrassment: The floors badly need a re-fresh — in some cases there are nails that stick up and actually poke into your socks.

Proudest DIY: Either the pipe-shelf or the huge slat-wall map of Canada.

Biggest Indulgence: My teak, tinted-glass mid-century credenza. It was a bit more than I wanted to pay, and going to pick it up was an epic disaster — but it is definitely a piece that I will be keeping for a long time.

Best Advice: Learn to take risks with color. I’d always stuck to neutrals, but when I purchased my crazy bright Turkish Kilim rug, I had to force myself to embrace color and start to design with it. It is much more challenging, but so much more interesting when you get it right.

Dream Sources: Would love to grab some items from DWR, and there is an amazing concept design store in Toronto called Commute Home that I would raid if I had more money, but to be perfectly honest, I’ll never stop thrifting and buying off craigslist. There is an addictive rush that comes with a great vintage find.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:



    • Antique Rorschach plates thrifted
    • Vintage light bulbs from Anthropologie
    • Mason and apothecary jars thrifted
    • Dresser, vanity, and light from Ikea


    • Mugshot Prints from LarkenDesign off Etsy
    • Mason jars, arrows, and terrariums all thrifted
    • Reclaimed wood beam bench custom made with table in office


    • Pipe shelving unit self-made
    • Credenza, teak armchair, record player, and most items on shelving thrifted
    • Reclaimed wood beam table custom made
    • Art thrifted or painted myself


    • Credenza, nightstand, lamps, and antlers thrifted
    • Clock is George Nelson
    • Slatted wall map self-made
    • Wall print by Doublenaut
    • Bedframe from Ikea
    • Bedspread is Missoni for Target


    • Credenza, coffee table, arc lamp, Danish cord chairs, teak lounge chair, and sidetables all thrifted
    • Ikea Karlstad couch
    • Antique Kilim Rug from Turkey
    • Pillows from Anthropologie, Ikea, West Elm, Urban Outfitters, or self-made
    • Graphic Floor ‘Pouf’ self-made
    • Vintage “Blow Up” poster from eBay
    • Ibex drawing by Tami Noa Levy
    • Pewter skulls from Shanghai antiques market

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Natalie and Kevin!

(Images: Abby Cook )

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