Good Stuff Cheap: how to glam up a parlour on a not-so-huge budget

Good Stuff Cheap: how to glam up a parlour on a not-so-huge budget

Maureen Peng and her partner, Tim Johnstone, both 30, jumped into home ownership in 2008 when they bought a down-at-the-heels, six-bedroom rooming house in Corktown, vowing to fix it up—way up. They were suited to the task. Johnstone is a visual thinker (he’s a 3-D animation instructor at Humber College) and a weekend tool master. Peng is a project manager for an interior-design firm and a master at co-ordinating make-overs. Consummate party people, their priority was this front room—a venue for entertaining—distinguished with oversized crown mouldings and a ceiling medallion. Peng calls this the “clear-liquids-only” room.

Decorator Jane Lockhart, Peng’s boss at Jane Lockhart Interior Design, mapped out a floor plan and created the dramatic charcoal-and-plum colour scheme, working out the kinks of an elongated space. The paint is basic Benjamin Moore: Kendall Charcoal on the walls, Dark Basalt on the ceiling and Cloud White for trim. From $40 to $69 a gallon at Pro Glo (1162 Eglinton Ave. W., 416-256-2600, plus two other GTA locations).

The chandelier, just $300 from Union Lighting (1491 Castlefield Ave., 416-652‑2200), has teardrop crystals set in a modern drum shade.

The Roman fountain prints were $1 each from the St. Lawrence Sunday Antique Market (92 Front St. E., 416-350-8865). They’re in $13 Ribba frames from IKEA (

The couple found a vintage mantel ($700) at Habitat for Humanity ReStore (29 Bermondsey Rd., 416-755-8023). The electric fireplace insert was $300 from Rona (

Johnstone’s family hand-me-down armchairs, sofa and mid-century swivel chairs were recovered in pearly new Robert Allen fabrics, which Lockhart sourced at a designer’s discount. For mere mortals, bargain prices can be found at Designer Fabrics (1360 Queen St. W., 416-531-2810). The upholsterer is one of those secret industry finds nobody wants to share—except us. Rudy’s Custom Upholstery and Draperies (501 Passmore Ave., 416-282-0437) charged a decent $3,000 in labour for the sofa and four chairs.

A low-pile wool berber carpet was an off-cut and only $100 at Speers Road Broadloom (400 Speers Rd., Oakville, 905-844-0712).

IKEA tub chairs ($199 each) fill out the bay window seating nook.

Like the upholstery, the drapes (about $1,200 for labour at Drapes and More, 278 Wildcat Rd., 416-663‑3886) use Robert Allen fabric—and look like they were double the cost.

(Images: Michael Graydon )

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