Small Bespoke Apartment (Downtown Toronto)
The owner of this 700 square foot downtown Toronto apartment has an affinity for vintage items and flamboyant style. Designer Thomas Hart custom designed dozens of the items in this home, often incorporating found and vintage objects into his new designs to please not only the residents fondness of items from the past, but his dedication to a sustainable lifestyle. Simple design tricks were employed to allow the space to not only house, but showcase, the collection of bespoke furniture items and vintage curiosities while ensuring these close quarters seemed as open and clutter-free as possible.
A feature of this space is our custom 48 inch circular mirror with thin wood frame. The circle is a much more dynamic shape and when placed directly across from the window the mirror helps to reflect the sun into all corners of the room and give the impression the space is much larger than it really is. Likewise, a glass surfaced coffee table was essential in a space like this, as glass has almost no visual weight or presence. Placing the "invisible" glass on the top of a 1950's modified dining table frame, we cut the legs down to coffee table height but have a system for quickly reattaching the extra length to transform it into a dining table in under a minute. Wire imbedded safety glass was used on the table for a slight retro-industrial feel that adds texture to a sometimes sterile material. The lack of visual weight in the piece allowed us to increase the size of the coffee table significantly knowing it doubles as a work surface and entertaining space for this particular user.
Moveable panels were designed to feature a 48 pod living wall. Bringing plant life into a home adds a natural element that will help a space feel more inviting, homey, and comfortable to be in. They bring colour and texture to a space as they grow which adds a dynamic element we can't really get in other decorative items. The backside of these planters allows us to virtually double the storage space of the kitchen. The resident loves to cook and prefers to have what he needs at arms reach. A solid floor-to-ceiling wall between the living room and kitchen would make each space feel significantly smaller and a completely open concept reduces the number of "spaces" this already tiny apartment has. The solution here is a (rather large) room divider that creates two distinct spaces while still having enough openness that one doesn't feel cramped while in either of them.
Above: All the furniture in the room uses solid coloured fabric upholstery. With so many elements that needed to fit into this space, using solid blocks of colour was an easy way to create stability and simplicity in the room. Behind these restored mid-century modern pair of chairs is a sculptural light fixture designed by Thomas Hart that consists of a reclaimed green glass orb hanging on a copper and cherry wood tripod-like base.
Below: A custom chair we made to appease this clients sense of humour. Long-haired Mongolian sheep was used to upholster this vintage chair. Black is grounding in a room and helps maintain a sense of class in this piece while adding texture in an unexpected and subtle way that makes people giggle with joy as they rub their hands through its long soft wool. A vintage speaker was given a new life buy painting the faux wood bright white, recovering the acoustic grill in a deep turquoise wool and elevating the piece by adding reclaimed brass legs. A bespoke lamp we made sits atop the AV system and was designed to incorporate a vintage piece of found glass. Finally, all of the display shelves have been painted the same colour as the wall to minimize the busyness of the collection. The simple black vintage cameras become a unified display as the shelving they sit upon melts into the background.
Cooking is done a few days a week in this home and so the kitchen was designed with that consideration. It is compact, practical and simple. A massive slab of Canadian maple wood not only serves a beautiful permanent butcher block, it adds nearly 4 inches of height so our 6'3" tall client could chop veggies with straighter spine. Its rough live edge shape bring another element of nature into the space. A standalone cabinet is a great choice for small spaces as opposed to built in cabinetry, it allows for versatility and doesn't add nearly as much heaviness and permanence to the room. With limited space we also didn't want a dish rack to take up 40% of the available counter space. A custom solution was designed that sits above the sink and keeps daily essentials close at hand.
Any bedroom needs to feel comfortable and inviting. It should evoke both a sense of calm for those moments before you go to sleep and joy when you welcome a new day each morning. The dark antique furniture gives this room a handsome look and grounds the space, but considering it's size, we opted for light coloured walls and a simple white linen comforter.
The potential busyness of the frame photo collage is minimized by painting all the frames black and organizing them in a way they become one collective art piece instead of individual items scattered across the room, instead other walls are kept intentionally sparse. The bespoke bedside light is fashioned from a vintage find with some additions and modifications; placed on a rounded walnut wood plant to tie into the furniture and adorned in extra long navy fringe to bring soft texture and movement, finally an oversized dial lets the user turn down the Edison style bulbs to a dim warm glow preparing themselves for their sleep ahead. The steam-bent oak chair was chosen for it visual slightness that takes up very little airspace in the room. The raw sheepskin upholstery is durable, natural and fun to touch. A bedroom should always consist of as many natural, low VOC materials as possible for a healthy restful night.
We decided we might as well go bold with the wall colour in the bathroom. "Eighties Pink" was the chosen colour. To avoid too much of a Punk-Rock-Girl look (having pink paired with existing black tiles) we opted to bring in lots of nature by the way of light coloured wood, framed butterflies and six air-purifying spider plants kept thriving by a custom designed minimalistic LED light strip. On the sink you'll see another one of Thomas Hart's own designs, a concrete soap dish meant to minimize the surface area of the soap actually touching anything by cleverly having it rest on its edge allowing nearly all excess moisture to drain off.