We first discovered Eve Martel and her Montreal loft through her Flickr photos, which show off her quirky design sensibility, as well as the great bones of her place.
We got lost in her photos, and quickly realized that she's more than just the average home design enthusiast. When she's not actively decorating her loft, she's busy with her blogs (that's right - blogs). She writes about her foodie adventures (in lots of detail), in English, at Dinners and Dimes
, and about her home, in French, at Toc Toc Toc... Entrez!
Eve's friendliness and welcoming personality is apparent in her home and in her story - both of which she's shared, below, with the Houzz community.
Please tell us about your "first meeting" with your house.
My loft is located in a renovated cookie and candy factory from the turn of the century, called La Biscuiterie Viau. It’s a huge red brick building in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Montreal.
I knew and loved the building before it got renovated and was excited about getting the chance to live there when it was transformed into lofts. But my first meeting with the unit that was to become my home was on inspection day, when I finally set foot in it after all those months. It was huge! The sun was kissing the windows, the brick wall was beautiful and I could not stop giggling from happiness.
I moved from room to room, taking pictures and smiling, already planning the floor layout in my head. I was smitten!
What is the first step of your decorating process?
I started by looking at what I had and by making a list of things to do or buy, to see where I wanted to go from there. I had tons of clippings, books and lists that I planned to use to find inspiration. It worked out well.
I really wanted to take my time and buy only what I loved or needed. I didn’t even paint or buy curtains
for the first year! So my first step was to buy light fixtures. They all had to be white and look slightly retro, since I have a lot of vintage stuff. Then I bought my Saarinen table, the one I had wanted since I was 15, already planning what my home would look like when I moved out of my parent’s house. That was the first big purchase I made for my home. Worth every penny!
What is the biggest decorating challenge you've faced?
Painting. It’s not easy to decide on color when you live in an open concept condo-loft. You can see bits and pieces of every room from all of the other rooms.
I decided on shades of grey for my bedroom and the hall, with pops of color - red, yellow - on the doors. My bathroom
was painted a relaxing aqua blue. The office is still wearing it’s original ‘”generic off-white” coat.
I repainted the kitchen
and living room this summer. It used to be green, but now it’s also a nice shade of grey. I had to do it twice, during a heat wave (and I have no AC), because I had chosen the wrong finish and it was shiny as all get out. So yes, that was a challenge.
Describe your favorite style and colors.
I like smart pieces and things that make you laugh – like an Eames rocker with a Totoro plush toy sitting on it or a Planet of the Apes figurine on a vintage Expo 67 tin plate
I do have a soft spot for mid-century furniture
and plastic objects from the sixties, but what I like the most is using objects that have a personal history, like the lamp that is hanging in my living room and used to belong to my grand-mother. I love the color red and you will see it pop everywhere in my loft. I also love animals – all the decorative objects that are in my bedroom are animal-themed.
What's the one spot in your house that makes you most happy or proud?
Surprisingly, it’s my laundry room. First, not many people have a laundry room
in their lofts. I managed to make mine convenient and pretty, using a light fixture from Hive Modern, a nice print from 20x200.com that I had framed in red and a curtain I stitched myself by hand to hide the water tank. I decorated the door with a vintage “Acme” sign I found at the flea market and spray-painted red. My friends say this look good enough to be a guest room, if only I could fit a bed in there!
What's your most precious accessory, piece of furniture or work of art?
It’s a tie between my vintage Danish curio shelve unit with built-in lamps and the framed poster for the movie “The Prize”, featuring my beloved Paul Newman. It’s an original print from 1963 that I brought back from a trip to L.A.
What's your next home project?
I want to finish the kitchen: install more shelves, a backsplash and a new hood for the oven. I don’t know when I’ll do it, because I just had some electrical outlets added to my walk-in closets
, and one had to be grounded for me to install an upright freezer there. These things are expensive!
What are the 5 things that houzz readers need to know about your blogs and Flickr photos?
1. I am a picture-taking freak and bring my camera everywhere I go.
2. I have a blog, Dinners and Dimes
, where I show what I ate everyday, with pictures.
3. I love to take pictures of broken dolls, old toys and games and weird items when I go to the flea market.
4. I have a blog where I talk about my home. It’s in French and it’s called Toc Toc Toc... Entrez!
5. I can’t travel without taking at least 1000 pics. I came back from Japan with more than 2000. True story.
What is your best tip for the decorating beginner?
Use what you love without paying attention to what is “in”. Declutter and remove items you don’t use from your house. Remove branding from your surroundings by hiding toiletries
from plain view and removing labels from the everyday things you have lying around, like dish soap bottles. And don’t be afraid to paint: it’s reversible after all!
Thanks so much, Eve, for sharing your fantastic loft with us!