DECORATING ON A BUDGET
wondering how to make dramatic changes with little time and money? And what about the latest trends? “Look for ways to add visual texture using paint techniques such as striped walls or metallic-painted ceilings” suggests Home Depot in-house designer Paul Stewart. “Give yourself a budget, be realistic and, most importantly, make your space reflect your own personality,” he adds. This trained professional has lots of ideas on how to improve a space by lengthening a basement window (with stacked pairs of wooden shutters), adding height to a room (paint the top foot of the walls the same colour as the ceiling and add strip of wood trim) or hiding hideous walls (slap on some bead board or crackle paint). “[Trends] are a limited commodity and often a marketing gimmick to get us to buy someone else’s idea,” Stewart replies when asked about a certain competitor’s new line of HGTV designer paints. Meow! If painting a place is not up for negotiation, there are plenty of other ways to add style, colour and warmth to a space and stay within a modest budget. “If you want to create a specific look, start with accessories” says local shop owner Marla McGrath of Mugsy’s Antiques (1177 Queen East, 416-696-0742). Take it from this expert, who’s been collecting since her teens: adding smaller items does the trick. “It’s easy to make a statement about a room that has nothing to do with the architecture,” says McGrath. Her twostorey funhouse has everything from Victorian linens to pop art kitchen canisters to modular 70s seating. Mugsy’s has items that complement every colour scheme, era or design style. Moderate prices and a large selection of stuff make this Queen and Jones shop one not to be missed.
Just down the street from Mugsy’s on Queen is what used to be a well-kept secret but is now a designers’ favourite, the Salvage Shop (1216 Queen East, at Leslie, 416-469-2557). Home to a huge selection of vintage hardware, lighting fixtures, doors, retro clocks, doodads, knickknacks and odd gadgets, this packed storefront has items that will make an impact on any space but don’t cost a ton of cash. Look for kitchen cabinet ware from the 50s, ceiling light fixtures from earlier eras, unique wall sconces as well as a huge assortment of recycled doors and mantels. “It’s great to save and reuse these old fixtures, which add interest to any home. And it helps keep them out of the landfill,” says owner Roy Clifford. Going beyond simple reuse, Kari Measham of Winkel (1107 Queen East, 416-4654247) loves to create new purposes for old treasures. “I love vintage fabrics, but the cushion thing has been done to death. I thought it would be great to create unique lampshades and light fixtures,” says the full-time set stylist and shopkeeper. In addition to recycled vintage fabrics, Winkel also carries photo albums made from old record covers, with the original recording thrown in as well. “Colour, comfort and character are the three criteria I look for,” says Measham, who hunts across the city and beyond for her treasures.
New to the Leslieville hood is Yao Interiors (1171 Queen East, 416-465-8650), retailing sleek handmade furniture and accessories directly from China. Owner Derek Lu has designed and brought over gorgeous cabinets, pillows, tables and table linens all competitively priced. Another multitalented individual, Lu even has his own photos from Europe, China and Southeast Asia framed and ready to go. Check out this newest member of the Leslieville family at Queen and Jones.
All items shown are under $150 each, with some items as low as $5 each.
CHAIR, LAMP, TABLE FROM MUGSY’S, ACCESSORIES FROM YAO
MULTICOLOURED STEMWARE FROM WINKEL