For this edition of Apartment Crush, our periodic show case of the apartments and houses of Ottawa, we’re keeping it in the family. Our very own Visual Arts editor dusted and polished her unique ground floor apartment in the Glebe for your apartment-spying pleasure. An accomplished artist and crafter in her own right, Diane has used the old-fashioned charm of the building to the upmost, complementing each room with re-purposed furniture and original art. Check out her pre-love pad below!
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Photos by Trevor Pritchard and Diane Bond
Describe your style in three words.
Cozy. Pre-loved. Salvaged.
Where do you get your inspiration?
A lot of of my inspiration comes from the apartment itself. There’s beautiful character within the history and bones of this place – from the moldings on the ceilings, to the stained glass windows, and the fireplace… I try to design and select furniture, art, and decor that fit with the space. It’s not just about decoration, though – the spaces and furniture need to be functional as well. My living room doubles as my workspace and the two need to work together, both practically and visually.
What’s your favorite element of your apartment?
I love how comfortable I feel in my place – it feels like home even though I rent. It’s taken awhile for me to figure it all out – and some things, like art work, change frequently. I’ve been here for a little over two years and am finally starting to feel settled in.
The kitchen is a fun space, too. The exposed shelving and bright, natural light are great features.
What’s your biggest challenge about this apartment?
No closets! There is very little extra storage, which forces me to think creatively about how I organize my things. It also makes me go through my stuff on a regular basis to purge or give away what I don’t use.
What do your friends say about your apartment?
“You’ve managed to incorporate your whole artistic style into your living space in a really tasteful way.”
“Something old and something older, fashioned into something unique and new. Functional objects abound, but their details afford new discoveries.”
What’s your proudest DIY project?
I have two:
The kitchen table was the first piece of furniture I ever restored – I found it on the side of a street in Sandy Hill about ten years ago. There was nothing wrong with it, except for a broken hinge. I learned how to strip, scrape, sand down the wood to get it to a finish that I liked, which actually wasn’t very deep. I love the history of the marks on the surface of the wood and thought it would be a shame to erase it all.
The second piece is the bookshelf that my dad helped me make. I bought the wood from a guy in town who buys the end of estate sale lots (all of the old Mason and Blue Ribbon jars in my kitchen came from him too). I used Pink Martini’s website for inspiration for the design and we built it to fit the space beside the fireplace. I’m really happy with how it turned out.
What’s was your biggest indulgence?
I don’t spend very much, to be honest. Most of my furniture came from relatives or was found, like the table, on the side of the road. Other stuff comes from garage or estate sales. I’m pretty frugal, actually, and I love to barter!
I guess my most expensive purchase was a piece by Amy Thompson (the drawing of the bird on the library index card). I really love her work.
What is your best advice on apartment living?
Give yourself time to get to know your place, to really settle in and make the space(s) work for you. No matter how much room we have, we tend to fill it up, and it’s good to step back every once in awhile and reassess what we actually need in order to live comfortably. Do I want an extra room or two (or maybe just one closet)? Absolutely. Do I need them in order to be happy or comfortable? Not at all.