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 (IKEA.ca).
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 (rona.ca).
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.
Good Stuff Cheap 2011 articles:
- 100 items under $10
- Four standout dinner dates for penny pinchers
- 11 selections for a kick-ass and low-cost charcuterie plate
- Three great wines for recession hangovers
- How to make your own soda water
- A massive mirror for a modest cost
- Nine of the city’s best foods for under $6
- Hit the fashion zeitgeist with this fuzzy, furry trio
- The best deals for kids’ favourites
- Toronto’s five best vintage stores (no rummaging required)
- Ladies and gentlemen, here’s how to put together a party outfit for under $200
- Three genuine refuges where guys can get their groom on—cheaply
- Six designer sample sales that make lining up seem entirely sane
- Want an iPhone? Here’s how to make one (sort of)
- Three cameras that hit the mark for under $500
- Five genius ways to save on everyday technology
- Three unbeatable go-to spots for home improvement
2 thoughts on “Good Stuff Cheap: how to glam up a parlour on a not-so-huge budget”
Any tips for thosewho don’t work in design firms and have no access to designer discounts?
Great Job Maureen, Tim, and Jane. This room looks Fab. I’m glad that we could be part of this fantastic transformation.
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