Condo & Small Space Living Designer Spaces Home & Decor

Bohemian Rhapsody

Pay Chen is a TV host and food writer. Her 500 sq. ft., new build condo is situated in downtown Toronto. “I often work from home and do food prep for TV segments. I need storage and surface space for cooking.” As for her home’s style, Pay was adamant her home not look like a hotel lobby or show home.

To coordinate the condo’s design, Pay sought Designer Melissa Davis’ guidance. “She really understood what my style is — a mix of vintage, retro and new pieces. I needed her expertise to tie it together. Melissa was great.”

The condo’s entry welcomes guests with humor. Brocade wallpaper on the right hand wall is made up of a ‘quadrille’ of dancing lobsters. “I’m from Nova Scotia so I fell in love with the idea of lobsters on my wall,” Pay comments.

From the entry way visitors enter the living room. Melissa notes, “I decided to add wall-mounted storage in the living room as there wasn’t any floor area to spare. The wall unit is practical storage.” Balancing the sofa’s masculine lines and the concrete walls Melissa used an existing secretary desk in the space. “It added a sweet, feminine touch.”

In the condo, Melissa notes, “white was used as a contrast to the colorful accessories and cool concrete.” White functions in the condo as one of the unifying colors in the rooms. “I advise to try to keep the larger pieces neutral and [keep] the trends to things that are easy to change out like pillows and accessories.”

Styles are juxtaposed in the dining area where Pay’s retro style dining table adds chrome sheen with a snap of blue while the chandelier adds classic sparkle. In the neutral kitchen, appliances provide delightful color bubbles.

An issue in the condo’s design was the elevator shaft. Melissa comments, “the depth was reduced and it made it near impossible to have both a kitchen island and dining area. The custom unit I designed was born of that need for both.” The unit provides both a work space and seating.

In a bedroom, Melissa suggests embracing color by selecting a rug or art work to begin your color story. Pay needed storage space. The wall units add height with a splash of white. The watercolor-esque bedspread provides lush color.

“The bedding,” Pay comments, “is a little pricier than average but it’s the focus of the room so it was worth finding something I really liked.” Adding to the funky design are a spring green pillow matching throw and a painted cityscape.

When using color Melissa advises that you keep the larger, overall space neutral and layer hits of color in smaller pieces. The condo has a combination of three key colors, turquoise, red and navy. It is a theme that ties the entire unit together. 

“People say the condo is a real reflection of my personality,” Pay says, “I think it’s a great compliment.”


Text J. Lynn Fraser

Photography Stephani Buchman

Space Designed by Melissa Davis

Closet Organizer, Bedroom Cabinet Hardware, Kitchen Island Hardware, Under Cabinet Lighting, Wall Rail In Kitchen, Lee Valley

Kitchen Island with Top and Bench, White Kitchen Shelf, Bedroom Wall Cabinets, Living Room Entertainment Unit, IKEA

Living Room Chairs, Canadian Tire

Cushions and Throws, Aura Furniture and Décor

Bedding, Bluebellgray

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