A Vintage Furniture Store Owner’s Own Apartment Is as Stunning as a Showroom
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Name: Fiona Watt and two rescue poodles (Paris and Bean)
Location: Moss Park — Downtown Toronto, Canada
Size: 700 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment above a storefront
Years Lived In: 6 years, renting
Fiona Watt is the founder of The Apartment, an online and in-person store dedicated to incredibly stunning, one-of-a-kind vintage wares. The showroom is located right in the heart of Downtown Toronto, in a part of a colorful section of 1800s Victorian-era row houses. Even more dreamy? Her own apartment — of course filled with more gorgeous vintage finds — is just upstairs.
“What I love most about my space is the amount of light it gets,” Fiona begins. “Much of my inspiration comes from my front room; it is so light and bright. The stained glass windows create rainbows all over, and I love spending my time there. Many artists have lived here over the years. In the 1980s my apartment was an art gallery, and I still treat it as such.”
Fiona continues: “City living can be challenging but having a spacious kitchen and unique elements like original stained glass windows and sliding doors really make this space special. I spend my time here having my morning coffee in the front room with my poodles and waiting for my neighbor’s dog to come for a visit through the back window. It is truly the perfect space to dream up all of the ideas for my vintage shop downstairs.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I tend to gravitate towards the 1950s and 1960s Space Age and the warmth of 1970s aesthetics. From large pieces such as my Togo sofa set, right down to more functional items like my Cathrineholm/Dansk pots and pans collection. I wholeheartedly believe every single item in your home should tell a special story.
Inspiration: My inspiration comes to me during sourcing trips for my shop. Whether I am at the home of a Space Age collector, a basement filled with 1970s treasures, or a mid-century home where you feel completely transported back in time. I always leave feeling like I want to emulate parts of these homes in mine. I love color and the overall positive feeling you get when walking into a color-filled room.
Favorite Element: When you love every corner of your home, it’s nearly impossible to choose one favorite element. My building holds so much history and character; the oversized sliding doors, the stained glass bay window, and original hardwood floors throughout.
Biggest Challenge: As a designer, the biggest challenge with my space was the shower being located in the kitchen. Originally, it resembled a claustrophobic, dark, closet-like stall that had one of those terrible molded plastic liners. With a small budget of $3000, I’ve completely transformed the space. Now in its place stands a spacious, bright, bold spa-like shower. My favorite elements are the custom made pink grout and the candy-apple red shower fixtures. Walking into the space now, the juxtaposition feels more intentional and creates a connection between the shower and the rest of the kitchen.
Proudest DIY: My pink front entryway console table. I built this with a partner about a year ago. It is inspired by a 1980s design by furniture designer Cheryl Riley. I love the odd angles of the table. We cut twenty two individual pieces of wood, which we then assembled together, creating legs reminiscent of lightning bolts. It took roughly two weeks to design and build.
Biggest Indulgence: Definitely the furnishings and artwork. I am no stranger to splurging on vintage home decor. Some notable pieces are my 1950s Fantoni Pottery pair, vintage Verner Panton White “Illumes” Illuminated Coffee Table Lamp, custom 1970s sphere table, brass hand Carl Aubock paperweight, Lev Moross 1980s Geometric “Fans” Serigraph, and my vintage art glass mushroom collection.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My home is in a constant state of change. I use it as a second showroom to my shop below and am always acquiring and trying out new items. If something isn’t working or when I want to change things up I will often release certain items through my store as part of my personal collection.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? My most treasured items are those which have been gifted by loved ones to me. Being surrounded over time by many other vintage dealers and creatives, I have been treated to some very incredible pieces. Looking at each one reminds me of the loved one that gave it to me. When I think of a favorite piece, the ceramic cheetah and pink desk in my living room come to mind. They were both gifts from my late friend Jamie of @the_sweetest_vintage. What I love most about vintage is the countless connections that exist. A simple piece of decor has the ability to transport you back in time and remember shared memories with those you love.
What do most people get wrong about using color in their home? I used to work in a retail sales job where we sold the same grey sofa over and over again. I think color can often be overwhelming and sometimes people obsess over which colors work together. However, I have always been a big believer in acquiring the pieces that you love and letting everything fall into place. I definitely have a color palette and vintage tones I gravitate towards (hello pink!) however I’m not afraid to combine every color in my home. I don’t stress about anything matching because my pieces are constantly rotating.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Break every “design rule” you’ve been told! Buy pieces with an interesting history and fill your home to the brim with things you love.
PAINT & COLORS
- All Rooms — Benjamin Moore “Cloud White”
- Bobila Cane Bed — CB2
- Pink Lightning Console (Custom Made) — The Apartment Life
- Vintage Deco Nightstands — The Apartment Life
- Vintage Giancarlo Mattioli Nesso “Mushroom” Lamp — The Apartment Life
- Vintage Henri Vallières 9 Drawer Dresser — The Apartment Life
- Vintage Space Age Terrarium — The Apartment Life
- Richard Zawitz 1975 Tangle Sculpture — All Vintage Art
- Books — Acadia Books
- Planet 2 — Katherine Holland
- Amber Lewis — Anthropologie
This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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