At Lauren and Tom’s apartment, there’s a kitchen cart steps away from the entrance that is perpetually stacked with treats and tea or wine, depending on the time of day. The first thing you notice once you’re in their apartment is the drink that’s immediately put in your hands and the focus on good old hospitality. There aren’t chairs and couches pointing at a television, but furniture and conversation pieces that facilitate afternoons of chatter and laughter.
This apartment marks a new chapter for Lauren and Tom. Their previous apartments were furnished with gems from major thrifting sessions. Now Lauren, a graduate student, and Tom, a lawyer, are two months away from getting married. Between long hours of work and study, they decided they don’t have enough time for vintage hunts, and discovered that it’s possible to furnish a flat on a reasonable budget.
How would you describe your apartment?
Tom: It’s a mix of modern and slightly industrial with the exposed concrete ceilings. It’s also a little bit minimalist.
Lauren: It’s an adult funhouse. It looks like a playground with the primary colours, like kids have, and playboys, like adults have. It’s just fun.
What was your vision or inspiration?
Lauren: I was actually taking an art history class when we first moved in here. One of the buildings I had to study was a Mondrian, and this building is called the Mondrian. In my readings, they were talking about how all of his design inspirations had to do with clean lines and primary colours, which is why I picked the chairs out in different colours. Then after that we knew we wanted to do the Playboy wall, and everything followed that. We just did what worked with the wall.
What’s your favourite element? Is it the Playboy wall?
Lauren: My favourite thing in the apartment is actually the mural in the bedroom. I really love it because it feels like it’s especially for us and it was done by a local artist (Robbie Lariviere, Owner of Fall Down Gallery). I also really like the desk, which was a great find. It’s the only old timey piece, but it seems to work.
Tom: My favourite’s probably the Playboy wall. I like the desk as well. It’s usually really hard to get an older piece to work in a newer apartment. I also really like the sliding doors, and how that adds to the industrial feel. But it also means the cat can get into every room, which is annoying.
Why a playboy wall?
Tom: We had a similar wall at our previous apartment but with comic books, Gen 13, but Lauren thought it was a little too frat house. So we retired the comic books and Lauren came up with using Playboys.
Lauren: We looked online to see which years were our favourite and we settled on 1973-74. I really loved the Andy Warhol cover and there were a couple others we really liked. Since then we got a few more years off eBay and have switched it up a bit.
Let’s talk furniture. Where did you find these pieces and what are your go to spots?
Lauren: We only really shopped at three places, which makes it easy: The Modern Shop, elevenfiftyfour, and IKEA. We got big pieces like the couches at IKEA, but we mixed it with slightly more expensive pieces, which detracts from the IKEA look. Then we got a couple pieces from west elm. The Modern Shop is really nice and well priced. Except the coffee table was a little expensive. I never told you that, Tom, so I’m telling you now…
What was your biggest indulgence in the apartment?
Tom: Apparently, it’s the coffee table. I’ve always liked it though.
What kinds of feedback have you been getting from visitors?
Tom: Our friends seem to really like it. Older people don’t really get it. They ask us why no one finished the ceiling and why we’d live in a small place downtown when we could live in the suburbs instead.
You have a lot of unique elements, what would be your advice to someone trying to spice up their place?
Tom: Find someone who has a good sense of style. I have no sense of design, so I just defer to Lauren. Find someone who is good at design and get help. It’s way better than wandering around Home Sense and buying a bunch of random shit.
Lauren: One of my favourite things here is the statue on the balcony that we actually found in the condo’s garbage room, so don’t discount the dumpster room. I guess what’s really key is you don’t need to spend a lot of money on furniture. Get your bigger pieces from somewhere more affordable, and accentuate it with something unique. Don’t worry about matching too much, because then it becomes really difficult to find pieces that are in your price range and fit your apartment. Typically if you buy things you like, they’ll end up going together because they’ll just fit into your overall home style.
What’s your favourite DIY project?
Lauren: My most recent one, which are the wedding invitations.
Tom: The Playboy wall.