The story of us

Play­ful, hu­mor­ous and care­fully cu­rated, this south end condo’s char­ac­ter-filled nooks and cran­nies il­lus­trate stylish scenes.

The Coast - Homes Halifax - - Decor - BY MOR­GAN MULLIN

Na­dine Laroche still laughs when she re­mem­bers mov­ing into her condo eight-and-a-half years ago, dur­ing a par­tic­u­larly swel­ter­ing Au­gust. The prop­erty—part of an old es­tate in the city’s south end—wasn’t what she had planned. Her real es­tate agent told her “he had this lit­tle condo he wanted to show me. I didn’t re­ally be­lieve in the idea of a condo be­cause my per­cep­tion of con­dos was like glassy skyrises,” she says.

“In the af­ter­noon, the light just fills the en­tire liv­ing space and I’m sure we saw it in the af­ter­noon, so I was blinded by sun­light and couldn’t see any­thing else. I spent a very hot Au­gust mak­ing ren­o­va­tions. I had great help from my par­ents; we still laugh to this day be­cause we had to paint dur­ing a heat wave when the paint was ac­tu­ally dry­ing in the trough.”

Since then, Laroche has care­fully cu­rated a home filled with mean­ing­ful vi­gnettes. “There’s def­i­nitely about 85 per­cent of el­e­ments that don’t change, that have just be­come what they should be, and then there’s that 15 per­cent that fluc­tu­ates all the time,” she says.

The lay­ered look that sees el­e­ments like clean-lined tea ser­vices nes­tled next to high­ball glasses on a sleek, DIY’D home bar is an exercise in that well-planned fluc­tu­a­tion. “You’re always fight­ing against clut­ter and you have to ac­knowl­edge that. If you are mak­ing lit­tle scenes, just don’t let them get tired,” says Laroche. “I re­cently took ev­ery­thing off the book­case and put it back up. Through that process, I down­sized the num­ber of books we had, took a look at all those lit­tle spe­cial pieces we’d been adding and asked if they still needed to be there.” CON­TIN­UED ON P25

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“We like to give old things new life so I found these four chairs…at some­body’s yard sale and asked him to sell them to me—they were old school chairs. We spray painted them matte black and then added these cush­ion disks from IKEA and then had that be our new way to up­grade [our dining area].”

“We wanted some­thing more min­i­mal­ist in the bed­room that would have less of a foot­print, a way to save space, so we put sconce light­ing on the wall so the bed­side ta­ble can be smaller but still pile your crap—adorably pile your crap.”

When it came to fur­ni­ture, she lists off items sal­vaged from garbage rooms, es­tate sales and friends-of-friends. (Pa­tience was the name of the game, with Laroche adding to and up­dat­ing her col­lec­tion of fur­ni­ture over the long haul.) “I’m not a big splurger, so we’ll find ways to find some­thing beau­ti­ful with­out spending a lot of money,” she says. “The linens came from Homesense and the sconces came from Ur­ban Out­fit­ters on­line.”

Asked to de­fine the aes­thetic of the condo, which she’s shared with her part­ner Iain Bur­ton for a few years now, she pauses.

“There’s a bit of hu­mour in our space. We’ll try some­thing and if it looks too ridicu­lous or I laugh too hard at the space—in­stead of just gig­gling—we’ll find an­other home for it, but there’s def­i­nitely a play­ful­ness in whether or not some­thing works.”

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