Space: Beth

February 4th, 2009


You and Me poster is from Village.

Who are you?
My name is Beth Milner and I work in marketing.

Inspiration for home?
Well, because almost all the furniture was stolen from my Granma and various family members, I would have to say that the inspiration is definitely “Whatever I Can Get My Mitts On”.  But a more pretentious answer might be: the apartments in Woody Allen movies.  In my early twenties, which happened to be the first time I really thought about decorating, I watched a lot of Woody Allen.  The apartments in his movies, like Manhattan and Annie Hall, are perfect to me.  They look homemade but elegant, with a lot of intellectual debris.  My apartment, like my brain, lacks the intellectual debris, but I try to keep that cosy but spare look in mind.

Most Cherished item/ Favourite Piece?
Hmm.  You’re talking to a girl who has literally spent nothing but charm in acquiring her furniture, so I don’t have that I-spent-three grand-on-my-dream-coat-rack type of history with my stuff.  But I’m particularly fond of my kitchen table, which sat in my Granma’s  kitchen.  When I was a kid that kitchen was kind of the pinnacle of decor for me.  It had white cabinets, a cherry red ceiling, and that black-topped table.  So it’s still got a sort of glamorous vibe to me, despite it being a very unglamorous table. And because it was also the table that my mother and her siblings ate at as children you can crawl underneath it and see their doodles, most notably where my mother sweetly inscribed the name of the cutest boy in school.

Also, the book shelf in the living room is very special.  My dad, with the assistance of his friend Bud (or was it the other way around?), made it for me when I moved into this apartment.  I love it very much.

Best Deal?
Most of my furniture was kindly donated, or out-right pilfered, so obviously good familial relations are the best deal of all for me.  But if you’re asking about a circumstance when I had to pull the wallet out, it’s the standing metal shelf in the kitchen.  I got it for $19 from Ikea and I could not live without it.

Biggest Splurge?
As far as the apartment goes, it has to be the dishes.  Last year I replaced my old, very ugly, hand-me-down dishes, with a lovely brand new set.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently: eating off a nice plate makes any meal better, even toast.

Most Gratifying DIY?
When I was a student I always had a cork board in my room for schedules, newspaper clippings, postcards or whatever.  Anyways, one night I tripped in the door very late and starting shedding my mittens, and scarf, and coat, and boots, and tights in a long trail on my way to bed.  By the time I made it near the cork board, I was undoing my earrings.  So instead of storing my earrings in the correct earring-storing place, my laziness prompted me to stab the earrings into the cork board.  And when I woke up in the morning and started cleaning up the mess, I noticed the earrings and the light bulb went on.  So I took all the school stuff off the board, inserted some straight pins into rows and voila! a jewellery board was born. I recently covered the board with fabric from Amy Butler, whose patterns I adore.

What would you do differently?
Now I have a sense of what I want the space to look like, but in the beginning, I kinda screwed up a bit. Here’s how it happened:  I have a roommate (not a problem).  A roommate who has a couch (also not a problem).  A RED couch (not really a problem).  So that couch is in our living room, and I started to buy RED things to go with the couch (problem!).  And all these things seemed to be very KITSCHY-RETRO and very POP and very not to my taste.  But I couldn’t see a way out of this loud decor.  And then one day I was flipping through a Domino [ed: RIP] that featured a delightful apartment and it was that which saved me.  This woman had a RED couch, but had put it with silvery purple and pale yellow and mossy green… and it looked lovely.  Very light and sophisticated and exactly what I wanted.  So, with that picture in mind, I began anew.  Of course, now I have a couple of etsy prints, and a red shelf that looks like it should house a collection of model Ferraris, tucked away in storage for my next apartment, aprés lobotomy.

Plans for future?
Decorating wise?  My mother just bought a sewing machine, so I plan to enslave her.  First order of business: a bed skirt made from Amy Butler fabric.

Anything to add?
As usual, I have probably said too much.


Book shelf made by my dearest dad! Photograph belongs to my roommate, her ex-boyfriend Stuart took it (I’ll find out his full name for you!). Gocco print by etsy sellers LabPartners.


I inherited the chairs from my brother, who inherited them from a family friend.  The pillows were made by my friend Vanessa with fabric by Amy Butler, which took me so long to choose that the Mac Fab staff had to stage an intervention.  Creepy ceramic heads of children (under table) I stole from my office and spray-painted.  Too unnerving to have out in the open, but a nice freaky surprise for those who notice.



Apple and Pear pictures from etsy seller, studiolyon.


Tin postcards I bought in Montreal about 8 years ago.


Gran’s kitchen table.
Leaf shaped dishes are vintage from Morba on Queen St.


Ashley G‘s Bearded Guys!  I wish I had more of them.


Garland is from The Paper Place on Queen St.


Esty seller Ashley G‘s “Where the Earth Meets the Sky”.  I love her work for her use of colour.


Framed picture, my friend Val brought back from Paris for me.  J’adore.  The print propped on top is another Ashley G.  The white night tables are actually the drawers from my gran’s vanity.  She and my granpa chopped it up, but I still have the round mirror that used to be a part of it.  Maybe some day I’ll put it back together again.


RIP Blueprint.


My jewelry board.  The yellow dresser I’ve had all my life.  “Beth’s Room” picture a gift from my uncle when I was a baby, which looks really childish, but I have a sentimental attachment.

Thanks for sharing, Beth! We love house tours, so if you’d like to show us around your place, visit our submissions page here.

Filed under: Toronto | 3 comments

3 Responses to 'Space: Beth'

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  1. i love your grandma kitchen table and chairs.


    4 Feb 09 at 5:35 pm

  2. Woody Allen always has those fantastic New York apartments in his movies, all with amazing white built-in libraries. All we need to do is come up with a name to describe this look…

    Woody Allen Chic?! (please no)


    6 Feb 09 at 11:52 am

  3. […] seen these guys in a few posts already (Beth’s space, and in our review of Magisso). I’ve also seen them in House & Home Magazine, in an […]

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