64th and Queen designers show us how to sex up our homes

64th and Queen designers show us how to sex up our homes
Callum McLachlan (left) and Clayton Budd of 64th and Queen (Photo by Jenna Marie Wakani)

For a certain brand of interior design—the slick, sexy and chandelier-lit kind—Clayton Budd and Callum McLachlan are Toronto’s go-to guys. With design agency 64th and Queen, they’ve stamped their boutique brand of cool on runway shows and upscale retail spaces. They’re even making the CBC look hip: with The Hour set under their belts, they’re pitching a redesign of Newsworld. Here, the duo talk about selling the luxe life, how to copy their designs, and the weirdest thing they’ve ever made.

How did you meet? Same hairstylist?
Clayton: No, I used to work for Callum’s dad, Ron, at the International Design Group. We never thought we’d work together, but when IDG got bought out in 2001 we started thinking of ways we could work without all the red tape of a big corporation.

You recently designed Jacflash and made over Neat. How is designing retail spaces different from other design?
Clayton: It’s about selling a lifestyle that you feel good about. It’s no longer just about picking up a shirt for a night out. It’s more about the emotion you get from the experience of buying the shirt.

So how do you create emotion?
Clayton: The trends are going by so quickly. We have to do something that’s more timeless. We’re creating the envelope in which to push the fashions, not the fashions themselves. Callum: Fashion doesn’t make sense. But I was talking to [Canada’s Next Top Model host] Jay Manuel about it, and he said it doesn’t need to make sense. So we have to look not at trends but at what’s contemporary right now.

You’ve become go-to guys for set design at the CBC. What’s it like to work with a traditional broadcaster?
Callum: There is a preconceived idea that the CBC is old-fashioned. But all the people I work with there are great, and they’re pushing to make things hipper, cooler and more current. That’s where we come in.

How do you want people to feel when they are in a 64th space?
Clayton: Inspired. You want people to see that you can create your own wallpaper. You can create your own lighting.

Are you suggesting people rip off your designs?
Callum: Yeah, they’re free. I mean, people do that anyway.

What can I do to get the look?
Clayton: Take an old chair, paint it with a high-gloss black, and use an old canvas painting for your upholstery. It becomes useful artwork and a great conversation piece. Callum: Keep the champagne bucket close to the bed.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever been asked to design?
Callum: A sex doll puppet for an e-trade commercial. Did I do it? Damn straight!


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