A Home Renovated on a Budget Mixes Scandi Vibes and Boho Touches
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Name: Christoph and Elena Lohse (cats Kevin and Newman)
Location: The Junction area — Toronto, Canada
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 4.5 years, owned
My husband and I spent the summer of 2015 looking at homes in the city that were out of our price range. We even did walkthroughs. In late August, our agent sent us a listing that hadn’t hit the public site, yet it was… IN OUR BUDGET. It all happened within a day, offers back and forth, and we got our major fixer upper in the city. Soon after we got possession, the whole entire house was gutted. I mean to the studs. The all-pink bathroom, the cracked plaster ceilings, the tiny carpeted hallway, all gone. We’re now in 2020 and I cannot even say our house is done yet. We’ve done the majority of the work ourselves, with the exception of a few trades. It’s been a lot of work, but we are happy with what we’ve done so far.
A detail that we love about the place is the exposed brick wall. The home is semi-detached, so we were able to expose the adjoining wall. That process was so dusty, smoke-like dust was billowing out of the windows and a few neighbors even came to check on us. Aside from that, we went with all-white walls and gave a nod to the old world with the 1920s style bathroom and entryway. We can’t fully relax until the renovation is finally complete; we are still facing the entire kitchen remodel, but we are happy here in our little house in the city.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: It’s hard to assign a specific style to my home, because I love so many different ones, and have incorporated a few of them. But I would say it’s a mix of old and new, expensive and inexpensive. There are Scandi vibes, boho touches, old world charms, and even some ’80s furniture in this house. Whatever you want to call that, I love it!
Inspiration: We pulled inspiration from various sources, mainly from Pinterest. We each have our own accounts and have huge boards filled with vibes, colors, construction notes, and materials that we’ve relied on to create our dream spaces. Aside from that, I follow amazing designers on Instagram who have inspired our creativity as well.
Favorite Element: I would say my favorite element is the tile we’ve put in the bathroom and entryway. I’ve always been obsessed with the bold statement of black and white tile. It’s a classic, and today it comes in so many different shapes and sizes you can really get creative with it and make a room stand out.
Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenge has been time. To keep our budget in check we’ve taken on the bulk of the renovation work ourselves. However, we both work full time and have Toronto bi-law noise constraints to contend with (no noise after 7 p.m. or on Sundays). So it’s been a struggle, but we have overcome it by making sacrifices, including time with friends and family, to work on it and get the job done.
Proudest DIY: I would say I’m most proud of our entryway. After tearing down the hallway wall, our front door opened right up into the dining room; it was awkward. So we built a cute 1920s style vestibule to fit the need for an entryway. It’s made with three different doors, trimmed out glass, and we managed to make it look like it was always there. I love it.
Biggest Indulgence: The biggest indulgence was the beautiful fiber art piece I purchased from Morocco. It’s by the talented LRNCE. I’ve never owned an original before, so I raised the money by selling a bunch of items we were no longer using and put all the proceeds into this one fabulous piece.
Best Advice: My biggest learning experience with this home has been to slow down and not rush into buying big pieces. I went crazy buying furniture before we even had the keys to this place. Don’t do that. Take your time, discover your style, then invest in some pieces that you will love for years.
What’s your best home secret? My best home secret is to not be afraid to buy secondhand! If you live in a city, shop out of town, you can get a much better price and often more selection because not everything is grabbed up quickly. If you ever have to resell it, list the item in the city; you will most likely get all of your original investment back, sometimes more!
PAINT & COLORS
- Para Paints colour 01 ‘whitest white’ inside of Benjamin Moore Regal Paint Matte Finish
- Bed was handmade but we copied the Marte Bed from Urban Outfitters. Details of the handmade bed on my blog.
- Sheets – Brooklinen Linen Core Set in “Cantelope” and “terracotta”
- Shelving – IKEA
- Mattress — Leesa
Thanks Christoph and Elena!