Who are you?
My name is Adam Pesce. I’m a product specialist for Reunion Island Coffee and a freelance food writer.
Inspiration for home?
Besides warm colours, textures and tones, I’ve always liked the combination of new and old – finding antiques, or even garbage, and turning them into something useful in the home, while juxtaposing them against new items.
Buying less new stuff has become a bit of a hobby for me, and that really started with this apartment. It’s been interesting to see how the place has evolved since I moved in. At first it was mostly filled with things from Ikea and department stores, but I’ve gradually rid myself of most of the new things in the place, replacing them with items I’ve found in shops, thrift stores and dumpsters around the city and on a few road trips around Ontario.
The new/old mix has gone further and further to almost entirely old, and now the TV and a few miscellaneous pieces are the only things in here that are less than ten years old.
Most Cherished item/ Favorite Piece?
Hands down that would have to be my coffee table. I made it from an old, Maritime lobster trap that was handed down to me from my friend Josh, who I took the apartment from when he moved out west. He actually had it hidden away in storage and was going to throw it out when I saw it as I was helping him pack up. I built a simple base for it and had the glass cut at a shop on Broadview – the whole thing probably cost around $40. The wood isn’t in the best condition and I’m sure it won’t last forever, but I’ll keep it until it starts to disintegrate.
Probably the turquoise pie shelf that’s acting as my TV stand goes down as my best deal, not including the free stuff and hand-me-downs. I found it on the way to a friend’s cottage in Mt. Forest, Ontario at a small antique shop
that was actually just an elderly couple’s living room. I’ve always preferred antiques that have some colour to them and aren’t just brown and drab. One of my favourite shops in Toronto, Uppity, specializes in those types of things, but can be really expensive (note: the yellow ladder in my living room was a gift purchased there). So finding the pie shelf for $70, when it would probably be $300 in the city, strikes me as my best deal.
I haven’t really splurged on anything, but if I had to say, it would probably be the Gus sofa. I bought it at the StyleGarage sample sale a couple years ago for around $600. It’s normally a $1950 sofa and is also designed with a material that never made its’ way into their regular line-up – brown linen – so it’s a bit unique as well I suppose. Luckily, last year at the sample sale I was able to find another sweet deal on a chair by Gus that goes perfectly with the sofa and picked it up (literally, and walked it home) for $200. Seating in my living room had always been a bit of a contentious issue for some of my friends; hopefully one more sample sale and I’ll be able to quiet them down.
Most Gratifying DIY?
The lobster-trap coffee table notwithstanding, I’ve built a few things around the house. Recently I put together an herb shelf for my tiny patio, made from reclaimed skid wood. Also, for years I’ve had my old high-top bar table and stools that I got from a neighbours garage. In September I painted a chess board on top of the table as a home for a set of pieces (white are sandstone and black are volcanic rock) that I got in Indonesia last summer. The barstools were pretty beaten up and were upholstered with black vinyl so I sanded them down, painted them brown and covered them with burlap coffee bags to completely change their look.
What would you do differently?
Probably de-clutter. I’ve developed a bad habit of grabbing everything I see that I like. It’s great when you have space, but in a 500 square-foot apartment, less is definitely more.
Plans for future?
Moving. The prospect of finding a new place intrigues me. Somewhere that needs work, both cosmetically and functionally, and transferring what I’ve already got, plus finding new pieces – I can see that happening in the near future.
Anything to add?
I was always bad at having good stuff on my walls. Great art is, for the most part, a luxury of age. But now I’m pretty lucky to have a talented girlfriend whose art is all over my walls (www.juliananeufeld.com). The kitty painting above my bed is only going to be there until she sells it, but for now, it’s definitely one of my favourite things in the place.
Hand-me-downs, freebies and loaners are a homeowners best friend. When I look around my apartment, I realize that some of the most important pieces in the place are gifts or other people’s junk. The New Mexico-style rug was my father’s from his first house in the 60s and my stereo system was my parents’ from the 70s. It took time to figure out my style, and personal style is something that is so constantly evolving, but I finally feel like I’m in an apartment that I really enjoy coming home to.
Photos by Adam Pesce & Juliana Neufeld.