We moved from Toronto to London this past summer, which provided the perfect opportunity for a fresh start, decor-wise. Most London flats come "furnished", which in our case meant an ugly couch (now covered), an ugly bed (now dismantled and covered), and those awful mid-80s dentist-office-esque vertical slat blinds (now removed). *shudder*
Knowing that London can often be grey and dreary weather-wise, we wanted to create a little tropical oasis that would be a bright and happy escape from the rainy days and the crazyness of this very fun but very intense city. A place that would look like us and feel like home, that we would be excited to come back to at the end of the day. Even though this is just a temporary space, we really wanted to make it our own.
Over the past few months we've filled it with plants big and small, brightly coloured textiles and mementos from our travels. We also shipped over our favourite books, records and bar-ware. Just the essentials, y'know? And while it's still a work in progress, as most personal spaces are, I wanted to share some of the details from around our "cheery east-London abode" (as I would hope someone would describe it.) As always, it's the little things that make me happy.
The Living Room
The only piece of "art" I've ever attempted, but I'm pretty happy with the outcome. I started with a thick, dripping, bright red brush stroke across the middle of the canvas. Jon goes: "Is it about your period?" *LOL*
We splurged on these palm pillows from House of Hackney because we live near it, and you physically can't walk past without being sucked into it's vortex, leaving with an empty wallet and several giant cushions. If you've been there you know what I mean. No regrets though, because, obviously.
The ugly frat-house style leather couch is now covered in 3 layers of super soft Mexican blankets. We based the colour-scheme of the room on the orange one. They have the most beautiful texture to them and make flopping down on the couch at the end of a long day that much more special. I found the vintage Italian movie poster at a London market back in 2005, meaning that it's been on TWO trans-Atlantic flights with me. Yeah, I'm that girl.
Wow, it's only when I look at this now that I realize I have wayyy too many colouring books for someone my age. Ceramic snail was my first ever Etsy purchase. We brought back the little rabbit from our favourite place on earth, Sayulita, and the photo of us sitting on an old-timey moon was taken at the Junction Crawl a few years back. Do they still have that?
I found an Etsy seller who had a huge collection of vintage Florida postcards and totally made her day when I said I wanted ALL OF THEM. I strung them up on the walls with clothes pegs, easy-peasy. Top middle is my favourite, it's a promotional postcard from the Palm Beach Hilton. "It's like your own secluded country club", it promises. And I promise to never ever go there and find out that that is definitely no longer the case.
"It's a great low-budget way to brighten up your space!" someone with a real design-blog might say.
Julie and I each picked up a hand-painted skull from the Venice Beach boardwalk last year, and it may be my favourite thing in our home because it reminds me of that trip. We have a collection of succulents from the Columbia Road Flower Market, and we painted some of their little pots in bright colours until we got bored. Jon made our amazing orange coffee table by putting wheels on a street pallet. It was homeless, and now it is loved.
I try to re-read David Cross at least once a year, for my sanity.
The bar was a real labour-of-love. Jon found this old chest at an antique market, dragged it home, spray painted it white and hung a huge mirror above it. We added some plants and our little collection of vintage barware and voilà!
As you can see I took a lot of BYOB with me when I left. Not stole, just took.
Flamingo corner is made up of BYOB stir-sticks, and the wooden tulips were a gift Kristen picked up for us in Amsterdam.
You can pick up your own vintage coupes, pink goblets and skull decantors at BYOB! Although we brought our skull back from Mexico way before that whole Dan Aykroyd thing. Which made the Dan Aykroyd thing super annoying, and I already find him super annoying. Sorry Canada. Poor man's Bill Murray! There, I said it.
It's all about botanical gin this year you guys. I read it on Refinery29 so it must be true.
There's not much to see in the kitchen, except for this giant Brazilian coffee bag which we use to threaten the cats when they're bad.
And this little set of glasses, which remind me of a Parisian cafe. They are my favourite thing ever to drink red wine out of.
The lighting in the bathroom is terrible which made it hard to get good photos. I picked up this picture at the St. Lawrence Market from a lovely guy who specializes of vintage photographs of Toronto. This would have been at the old CNE grounds stadium sometime in the 70s. LOVE.
Requisite collection of girly bathroom shit. I do love my Chloe though.
For the bedroom we really wanted to create a calming, tranquil and peaceful space, particularly as our bedroom is on a main road which is pretty much the opposite of all those things. We're directly across from a pub and a 24-hour mini-cab office, and at any time of the day or night you can hear someone swearing loudly right outside our window. Usually a tween or senior citizen.
On the plus-side, the room has a lot of space and natural light.
Custom made varsity bomber jacket, because I like to imagine that if I ever did have any sort of "team", we'd be called the "Wild Hearts". And we would play for keeps! I don't know what that means, it just seemed like something someone on a team would say. Do we need some for the store, what do we think?
Sometimes when I'm sick Jon makes me breakfast in bed and brings it to me on my FLAMINGO TRAY.
My bedside table. Currently re-reading all the Christopher Pikes. And yes, they do hold up.
A print from my Grandmother's Harper's BAZAAR anthology. I really need to get some frames.
They both wanted to pose for this pic and who am I to say no?