sneak peek: amanda happé


It’s not every day that I get to present a sneak peek full of logs, but this one made me smile, as each log has its own story. When painter and senior designer at Bruce Mau Design, Amanda Happé, moved into this Brockton Village, Toronto, apartment six months ago, the only furniture she brought was her kitchen table, a credenza and a host of logs. She filled in her minimalist style with local vintage-shop finds to create a quiet and clean getaway from the frenetic energy of city life. Read on for the story behind each log. Thanks, Amanda! — Anne

Image above: Besides being somewhat minimal, I like to keep things low and wide and mix hits of bright colour in with the white and wood. My favourite pieces are the logs that I’ve managed to collect over the years. Each one came from friends or family, and I think they’re super beautiful.

I found this sideboard in an antique shop on Queen Street West. It houses my books, record player, some of my grandfather’s drafting tools and a lamp that I found on a “rust belt” road trip. The painting is one of mine. I was gifted the branch from someone who was trimming a maple tree a few streets over. It’s thirteen feet long. I dragged it home.

Image above: I ended up hanging nothing on the walls in the bedroom. It’s different for me, and strangely refreshing.

Amanda’s full home tour continues after the jump…

Image above: The whole apartment was painted in shades of brown when I moved in. I think that the white allows the beautiful, old, built elements of the apartment to speak for themselves. The log in the fireplace was a gift from up North from friends. The tree was hit by lightning, and this limb crushed a neighbouring cottage.

Image above: My sofa is a vintage Canadian design and was once airport waiting furniture. I love the wool tweed upholstery — it’s original and in great shape. I took the photographs (of graffiti cover-ups) during a trip to Santa Monica. These logs also have great stories . . . one was the axe chopping-block of a lumberjack friend, and the other came from a tree in my childhood backyard.

Image above: These cast fibreglass chairs were sitting on the sidewalk outside a vintage clothing store in Parkdale (the neighbourhood to the west of mine). They’re rough around the edges, and I really like their imperfections.

Image above: This crokinole game board was made by my grandfather. Crokinole is an old Ontario invention, and crazy fun.

Image above: I really enjoy the contrast between the tree-stump seat and the white Panton chair in my kitchen. I happily relinquish the chair to my boyfriend at dinner time — I prefer the log. I’ve had this table since University, and it can fold out to be twice its current size.

Image above: Although I don’t have a lot of knick-knacks, I adore this squirrel and acorn salt & pepper set that I picked up at Sweet Lorain in Cleveland. The large plant on the floor came home with me as a tiny Ikea plant about seven years ago. I have no idea what it is.

Image above: This low, nine-drawer dresser is vintage Canadian maple. I found it in a shop in Kensington Market in Toronto. My favourite part is the bent-wood handles. The lower-case “t” is an old sign letter that has been retrofitted with LED lights by a Danish company. It doesn’t really produce enough light to fill the room, but it has a cool teal glow. My iPod dock is by Vers.

Image above: I decided to take a risk with the pocket door of the bedroom, especially since it remains tucked away into the wall most of the time. I thought it would be fun to have this graphic surprise when you roll it out. No regrets!

Image above: I live on the main floor of a late-Victorian detached 2.5 story house that has two other apartments in it.

  1. This brings a whole new meaning to a “log cabin!” I absolutely love the pink and yellow pocket door–so unexpected and fun.

  2. LusterNYC says:

    The color surprise on the pocket door is beautiful! I also love the graffiti photographs in the living room, quite rugged and industrial compared to the general feel of the house, so it’s a nice contrast. We like these industrial scapes too…

  3. eva says:

    Love it! Although I’m a collector at heart, I surely appreciate white walls and general unclutteredness. Might encourage me to decrease our belongings. You’re only borrowing (in life) anyway :)

  4. Nora Ballantyne says:

    your bed! it’s gorgeous. can you share the source? i’m on the lookout for a replacement for my handmade particleboard platform and yours is just stunning. i love the stories of your stumps and logs–it’s like having old friends in every room.

  5. Patty says:

    Wow that is inspiring. The logs in the living room are hard to imagine, but they look lovely there. The graphic roll out door is a fun whimsy they’ve added.

  6. Really cute! I love the piece of art she has hanging in the first photo!

  7. kamo says:

    love the dresser, but i think it’s her handwriting i love the most! minimalist + whimsy, kind of perfect.

  8. Hi Nora, the bed frame is IKEA, believe it or not. The model is called OPPDAL, and they still carry it. It has 4 built-in drawers in the base (amazing!). One word of caution: it is a nightmare to assemble!

  9. michelle says:

    really like those fiberglass chairs. i have one in teal.

    i lived in parkdale for a number of years… 10 years ago. there’s a fabulous fabric store close by. i miss the whole wacked-out neighbourhood!

  10. Love the pared back approach to this home. Gorgeous work Amanda!!!

  11. Vanessa says:

    simple and lovely.

  12. valeria says:

    wow!! I love the first pic!!

  13. Kristin says:

    Mmmm that first painting is amazing! Love her work!

  14. Wow, what a completely original home! I really love the tree stumps, and that they each have a story – talk about a unique collection. And that pocket door is so awesome. Thanks for the tour.

  15. julia says:

    i love that you painted the pocket door!

  16. Amanda says:

    such a clean and simple and inspirational space…well done!

  17. I can’t believe I haven’t seen a door painted like that before! How great would that be in a kid’s room!! Very creative & inspiring!!

  18. I knew the minute that I saw that sideboard in the 1st photo that I would love this Sneak Peak! Amanda, you have The Most Amazing furniture and I love that painted door!

  19. patti aronofsky says:

    Hi! I love the logs and have tried to collect them from beaches before – but how do you deal with the bugs that live in them? how do you dry them out? or am i just choosing logs from the wrong tree?

  20. Hi Patti, I know, it’s harder than it seems it should be… I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t received many that have come with a population of bugs. Most have come from trees that were recently cut down, so they haven’t been laying around outside, getting wet, rotting, or acquiring bugs. I think this may be key. It allows them to dry out (and therefore, not rot) in your home.
    My general approach is: 1. After moving any bugs you find outside, spray the log for bugs. 2. Keep it up off the floor slightly for the first year—this can be done with thick felt feet or small blocks. 3. If mould appears, rub that spot with bleach.
    It’s slow but low effort. If you don’t want wood to split as it dries, you can buy waxes to seal the ends. I don’t mind this, so I just let them do as they will over time.
    I think that the beach, with the moisture, etc, might be a tough place to find low-maintenance logs, especially if you don’t know how long they’ve been laying around.

  21. Haley says:

    All I can think about is the Log Lady from twin peaks, and it makes me so happy!

  22. ingrid says:

    i think this sneak peek just cured my hangover.

  23. Kathy says:

    my favorite sneak peak in a looong time. Truly refreshing. Lucky you for having the inspirational view of the world, you do.

  24. Rachel says:

    Represent Toronto! Love all the local sources. I lived right around the corner from you two years ago but had no idea that house had such cute flats in it! Great find :)
    p.s. the door is crazy but so fun!!

  25. danielle says:

    everything is so neat and clean; it’s perfect! minimalism at its finest.

  26. There are a few Sneak Peeks that I keep coming back to for inspiration (Yumiko Sekine of Fog Linen is #1) and I know this one is going to right up there. Thank you for the instructions about the logs. There are tines of the year when they are plentiful in my neighborhood, freshly cut and looking like little stools. I just never knew what to do with them and was afraid they might get sap on my hardwood floors while drying out.

  27. Galbraith says:

    love the dresser. Just curious – did you, by chance, find your dresser at bungalow in kensington market? Last time I was in Toronto I noticed they had a good selection of mid-century/danish furniture in good condition for reasonable prices.

  28. sandeep johal says:

    i really love the effective simplicity of your space. and the stories that go with it :)

  29. amanda happé says:

    Hi Galbraith, sorry for being SO slow to respond… I didn’t realize there were new comments. I got the dresser at a junkier thrift store down the street from Bungalow—it’s at 206 Augusta Ave but I can’t remember the name. It was about 1/5 of what you’d pay at Bungalow, but has some minor water damage on the top. Hope that helps!

  30. Jackie says:

    Every single room has a story to tell…Very interesting & inspiring. I’m going to take a look at my place and see what I can do :) So many ideas just came through. Thank you Amanda.

  31. Caroline Rhame says:

    Hi Amanda!

    I love the way you painted your pocket door and would *love* to know the two colors of pink and yellow that you used.



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