Illustrator Raymond Biesinger and his clothing/accessories-designer wife, Elizabeth Hudson, recently moved across country from Edmonton to Montreal, Canada. Towing only what they wanted in a U-Haul, the move was a good excuse for a fresh start with their furniture. While Raymond’s style takes the path of least resistance — utilitarianism, minimalism and efficiency — Elizabeth leans toward a more polished and natural simplicity. Their home is a collision of those ideas. Their new 1,000-square-foot apartment provides great light and beautiful views and is the perfect place for the two to work from home while still having enough room to live. When Raymond isn’t busy designing for major publications, he plays the guitar and sings in a noise-garage duo called The Famines. For more images of this wonderful home by talented photographer Marc Rimmer, click here. I’m ready to move in! Thanks, Raymond and Elizabeth! — Anne
Image above: Our bedroom goal was to keep it as neutral as possible. Pale gray walls provide the backdrop to an above-bed collage. Included are artworks by friends, photographs of family, a salvaged piece of wallpaper from Elizabeth’s beloved Nana and Poppa’s farmhouse (now bulldozed), a map of Moscow, petit point and antique tarot cards.
Image above: When Elizabeth gets bored, she paints the kitchen with chalkboard paint — it spreads a bit more every week. The print above the range is hers from an art school contemporary. The wall-lamp and tea service were also from Nana and Poppa’s. We especially like that the knives menace Ernest Hemingway.
CLICK HERE for more of Raymond & Elizabeth’s home!
Image above: We’re okay with putting our own art on our walls. Not so much a vanity thing, more that it’s nice to be reminded of past successes every once in a while. That framed ovoid includes the silkscreening separations of a portrait collage I did of rapper and pal Cadence Weapon (main ingredient: Edmonton transit maps), and the white pillow is screened with an alternate version I made of the Edmonton crest. Beside it is a little pillow by Vancouver’s Julie Morstad. Cleo the cat has her own room in the Loyal Luxe teepee to the left, but bad lighting prevented us from getting good shots of her decor skills. The couch has been in Elizabeth’s family for over a century; it’s traveled across the country twice to keep up with them.
Image above: This is my west studio, where office and digital work runs the show. It’s just a nook off the main dining room and kitchen space, but it’s surprisingly cut-off and private, a complete room in itself. The rolling cabinet and stool were found in our Edmonton back yard, and Elizabeth made the black table from a window we found on our front street in Montreal. My grandma Bogatin crocheted the chair cover, and the desk and chair were among the first things she bought when coming to Canada from Yugoslavia in the late ’40s.
Image above: Miscellaneous art on the studio wall includes Ward Zwart, a photo of Princess Di’s pink leather pumps (thanks, Bata Shoe Museum of Toronto), an Expozine handbill, etc. A bass guitar is at right, should a muse appear. See that little black mark to the left of the stapler? Grandpa Bogatin fell asleep doing taxes with a cigar in hand, burning that mark half a century ago.
Image above: Our landlord is an artist and world-renowned kite maker, and sometime in the ’80s, he knocked out most of the walls in the back part of the apartment. Instead of a handful of dark Victorian rooms, we now enjoy a bright and open, multi-purpose living space. In the foreground is a drawing Elizabeth did around the time we met, and that’s a Stendig calendar in the back. We like the black months more than the white, meaning a month like April might stay up long after it’s over. Ridiculous, we know.
Image above: Six months after moving to Montreal, we still hadn’t found a nice kitchen table and that made dinner parties a little awkward and houseguests a little confused. So, we gave up waiting and Elizabeth just built one. To keep the space feeling light, we added IKEA Tobias chairs and hung a Mike Noppers silkscreen on the wall. The cotton stems were bought at Montreal’s Jean-Talon market.
Image above: Chalkboard paint zones-off the kitchen, and we replaced a gross and obstructive particle-board island with this little IKEA wooden cart. We needed space to cook, schmooze, eat, serve and visit, not an ugly behemoth to hit our toes against. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and it tends to change a lot.
Image above: My east studio is more where things get dirty and materials-oriented, though you can’t see much of that in this photo. You can see, though, more debris and art (Seripop, Chantry, etc.), as well as a ’66 Fender Bassman and Ampeg SVT waiting for the next Famines tour. Behind us you’d find a homemade worktable with bookshelf and print-storage rack, and the front balcony door. Please note, too, that there are no 90-degree angles in Montreal plateau apartments. Look at the ceiling and bottom of the door. Absolutely everything is sinking into the ground, unevenly.
Image above: Almost everything in Elizabeth’s studio was bought or made after we moved. That clothing rack is another of her furniture pieces, built last fall with deadwood stolen near the Ontario-Quebec border. Also: please imagine how fun it was to carry two 200-lb. industrial sewing machines up a narrow, winding Victorian staircase. It’s good to have friends with strong backs.