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Canadian Sneak Peek – Home of Meg Crossley

by Grace Bonney


by Jan of Poppytalk

The first Canadian home I am honoured to feature is this most cozy one of Meg Crossley, Senior Editor of Canadian House and Home magazine based in of Toronto. {Photo’s are by Sarah Hartill}.

1. Name: Meg Crossley

2. Occupation: Senior editor, Canadian House and Home magazine, mostly responsible for styling shoots and art direction when on set/location

3. Location: Toronto, West Queen West (aka Little Portugal)

4. Type of Home: Victorian rowhouse, French second empire – that is the one with the mansard roof, built in 1880

5. Style Inspiration? I pay attention to the footprint of the house, it proportions etc., and so went with a more urban traditional or modern cottage kind of look for this house (probably a workman’s cottage back in the day).

7. Favourite Places to Shop? I love Absolutely Inc., Angus & Co., L’Atelier, Flik & Company – but probably only buy small accessories at any of the above – everyone except Flik is out of my price range for bigger furniture. Then I love Flamborough Antique Market, and just junk shops, Value Village, flea markets outside of the city – most of my large furniture except the William Birch sofa, chair and ottoman were all flea market finds that I fixed up.

8. Favourite Canadian Designer? Of the designers we’ve published I like Connnie Braemar – her stuff is quiet, nice mix of old and contemporary, very subtle — but mostly lI ike just people who do interesting things themselves – was just at the home of an Umbra designer, really personal space, odd collections, disparate objects – it was great.

9. How often do you change the look in your home? This house was a total gut-job reno, back to studs, it was the dumpiest of dumps, so I have just been plugging along slowly, not really changing the look, but adding things to rooms. I do a seasonal change every year – lighten it up a bit for summer but other than that, the look is pretty much there. However, now I am starting to reno the final frontier – the basement – and it is going to look a little different – different colour palette, more upscale rec room, vintage stuff still, but more modern sensibility than the upper two floors – one reason is because the office is down there, another reason, why not….unlike the rest of the house, it doesn’t really flow into anything else, completely separate so I feel I can treat it quite differently.
10. Do you have one designer trick you could share with us? umm designers trick, I probably fall more into the category of stylists’ tricks. I keep my eyes out for odd things, a $1 wooden puzzle, a bird’s nest on the ground, a piece of bark, odd ribbons and vintage fabrics. I just like bits and make little still life’s with them. And stacks of books, you can’t go wrong with books (especially hardcover and vintage). If you read them all, great. If not, it still gives a place some soul. But for a small space, I think it is important to have that envelop of one wall colour – and then look to objects etc. for your colour – it doesn’t chop the space up, makes it feel a little larger. It is also important to leave some walls and areas blank, gives some breathing room to the other things….


Living Room – (table/desk in bay window) – I wanted to pull the living room furniture in toward the fireplace/focal point and not have a sofa tucked into the bay window – and so I had this old desk I bought at a junk shop in London, Ontario – travelled with me for probably 20 years, it is a pretty spot for flowers, for the cats to look out the windows, for objects, plus a catchall for mail.
Head on toward the fireplace in the living room – workman’s cottages didn’t have fireplaces so I put an Inflame fireplace, fake which burns sugar cane gel behind ceramic logs, and gives off heat and crackle but you don’t need a chimney. Here though it is stacked with logs, we used it for a photo shoot location and I loved it filled with logs so I didn’t change it back yet.
Angle in living room – I like this angle better, same as above but you really notice the old vintage ladders. The chair and stool were flea market finds (NY state flea market I go to every summer, Madison Bouckville Antique Fair) but I had someone from the CNIB rush them, the CNIB trains blind people to rush and cane – pretty great. Also, I collect Haegar creamware which is on the mantel, and old books, and odd shapes, just lots of stuff. The items on the mantle are Haegar and dominos etc. all that stuff is just odd flea market stuff including the guilt mirror I got for $20 in Waynesville, Ohio.



Kitchen – I went for a shaker look – actually bought the cabinet boxes at a big box store but didn’t get their doors, instead I bought shaker doors online (cabinetmart.com). So I could have a real shaker look – I painted them myself because I like brush strokes, doesn’t look as perfect as when you get them sprayed. The banquette area has the bar stuff stashed in it, the poster is another Madison-Bouckville find. This old guy was selling them off for 75 cents each, he has designed them years ago as a give-away for Country Living magazine and had lots left over. I bought three and framed them up, so cheap and always get compliments on them.

Front hallway – hard to get a foyer in a little row house but the mirror, hooks and chair do the trick – the hooks thing (on old crown moulding) was a weekend workshop project done by one of our designer editors but once we hung it, I got to keep it. The mirror was made by my dad with leftover crown moulding from my reno job. Folding chair I fished out of a dumpster.


Principle bedroom— the one with the cat (The Swuish) in it – flea market chandelier painted with Pottery Barn shades on it, Anthropologie rug by the bed for some colour and pattern. The photography above the bed is from one of our contributors, needed some original art for a shoot and she left me frame up some of her images in exchange for credit.

Hallway – down the hallway to the weird corner chair – another flea market fix-up – I added brass castors to an antique chair, and burlap binding instead of a seat, just fills a corner quietly. I think the original b/w photography (very delicate) paired with that crazy over-the-top guilt mirror is a kind of nice mix.

Guest bedroom – my dad and I made the little desk by topping an old table with the shelves – the fashion illustrations are from the NYC flea market, the old one on 26th, This is the only room not painted SICO light sugar white – I thought something should have some colour, so this blue bedroom is the thing.


Sarah, the photographer’s favourite shot, down the hall to the third bedroom – I call this the pink room even though it is painted white, somehow the light always looks a little pink in it. Just three flea market plates hung on the wall and an old chair – again, just a place to stack books, throw a scarf for colour and texture over the chair – really simple.

Thank you Meg!

by Jan of Poppytalk

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  • meg’s house is gorgeous! i especially like the framed dress + the art over the guest bed. (want to know more!)

    i’m really liking house + home magazine. so glad my barnes & noble carries it.

  • I LOVE H and H magazine, I have been a subscriber for years, and my mother for years before that. Thanks for this sneak peek – it’s gorgeous.

  • This is such a beautiful home. Comfort and coziness. Further, she makes it all seem achievable. Plus this is a great post to learn about styling for interiors! I have been very frustrated at getting the right shots of my husband’s work, there is a lot to be learned about how these shots have been styled and framed. Thank you for this great post, Jan – I am a fan of yours too!

  • Thanks for this great post! When we bought our house 6 years ago and began decorating, I was inspired by a story on Meg’s lovely home in Canadian House and Home. It’s nice to see that she hasn’t changed things up too much – and that you can update things so wonderfully just by accessorizing. Hope that she will share some images of her basement when it’s finished!

  • Thanks everyone for your comments, I too am truly inspired by Meg’s approachable style, she makes it look easy and attainable!

  • I am so very jealous that you got those posters for 75 cents! The small black table is also wonderful… can anyone tell me what style it would be considered?

  • Lovely house. The shelves + table = desk idea is just what I’ve been looking for.
    And I’m guessing you mean gilt mirrors, not guilt mirrors? I was a little thrown off there for a minute!
    Thanks Jan

  • Jess – re the small black table, Meg says typically you could see them in stained wood but she painted it black — The style is called “Stick & Ball”.

  • Thanks so all for the lovely comments — you feel so vulnerable when offering up your home. To those who wanted to see the basement when done, House & Home is going to be doing their own blogs starting next week — mine is a basement reno diary, already behind…

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