anne ditmeyerinterior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: raymond biesinger and elizabeth hudson

by anne

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.

Image above: Cleo has to put up with our feeble attempts at culturing her, hence the teacups and saucers. Really, we just keep her around for entertainment (and she us).

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  • The space is beautiful, but it was the cat eating out of the teacup that is the most … incongruous! Love it. I suppose cats are not clumsy.

  • Where can I get that clipboard??? I just bought a bunch of 6×9’s for creating a rotating gallery of small art and would love to incorporate some landscape oriented pieces. Is it just a full sized clipboard cut to size – or, can it actually be purchased?

  • I love the chaklboard paint in the kitchen and the teepee for the cat. The angled wall separating the kitchen is an unexpected good use of space. Brave souls to chuck most of their possessions, move across the country and start over – a great way to identify what is REALLY important in one’s life.

  • ah, when I had a cat I gave him his food in a fancy saucer! tee hee. love this home!

  • Wow. This pair is amazing. And I love Raymond’s priceless running commentary!

  • Great place. I could never feed my cat out of precious teacups, lol! He has this tendency to knock his bowl over when it is empty or when his water quality is not up to par.

  • this is one of my favorite sneak peek (maybe I’m biased, being a Canadian). The natural and efficiency aspects of it is totally my cup of tea and it’s great to see how it is executed in a smaller space like yours! I love the way you preserve memory and your sense of humor is shown in little things like the teacup for cat. I should give my cats an etiquette class for the royal wedding too!

  • This is just plain gorgeous. Creative, interesting, and light. I am inspired by the DIY furniture pieces, since I have a table and coat rack on the upcoming to-do list. Thanks for sharing!

  • Looks gorgeous guys! As someone who has been in this apartment I have to say it looks just as good in person! There are even more amazing details than you can see here!

  • oh my goodness – the clothing rack! I can pretty much picture exactly where that wood was found… Qc-On border ;) ha fantastic idea.
    such a great home.

  • Have to say I am envious of the space you have. As a new addition to Montreal, I am finding it incredibly difficult to store things in my tiny 3 1/2. I love Eastern European crochet work and as a ex Jugoslav myself must say are an essential part of any decor. Great space and amazing work!

  • I have one of Raymond’s 1919 Risk maps :) Very nice, I love the clothing rack.

  • I love how simplistic their home appears. The sewing machine and tree branch clothing rack is to die for! Did they make that? Also, I love your blog!

  • Love it! Two Canadian sneak peeks in one day! This home is lovely. I wish someone would toss a little cabinet like that into my Edmonton back yard!

  • love love love your place – so beautiful. i love the contrast of the cool walls with the wood, it is both modern and nostalgic at the same time. are all of the walls the same pale grey as in the bedroom?

  • This is the funniest sneak peek ever, and the apartment is amazing, filled with treasures. I want to go hang out. I’m not far – in Toronto. I’ll even pick you up some more deadwood on my way if you like…

  • i love that little stove/kitchen vignette!

    i’m currently on the search for the cheapest apartment i can find in san francisco, and so i’ve come to terms with the fact that i’ll have to sacrifice “perfect” style. but this little vignette gives me so much hope! it may not be the “prettiest,” but i love that they gave it an eclectic, artsy, lived-in feel which i think looks great!

    i love the chalkboard paint only on part of the wall, the bigger print and the smaller print (and of course i love the knives menacing hemingway!), the wall lamp off to the side, the mostly browns and neutrals but then that pop of yellow on the left.

    i’m probably totally overanalyzing their little space, but i’m just trying to express how much i love it even though it’s not what most would call “pretty” or “perfect.”


  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE the clothing rack made out of branches. I would love a tutorial on how it was made??? I love the idea of collecting beautiful branches and making them into something so useful and so practical. I live in Australia and there are many beautiful eucalyptus branches I could do this with.

  • Oh, how I miss Raymond and Liz! We are some of their old school friends and ex-neighbours here in Edmonton. At least I get to think about Raymond often, when we look at his work in our house!

    They are the best. You couldn’t have picked more excellent people to feature:)

  • the clothing rack made with tree pieces is a great natural touch to that softens that cool room. so unexpected.

    …& i have a kitty that looks exactly like that one <3

  • It seems like there have been lots of textiles as wall art in interior design lately, I really enjoy seeing it, and have noticed that tapestries seem to be becoming popular again.

  • Love humour and the flat! Plus i want the teepee – where does it come from? I’m London Uk based (with 2 moggies!)

  • Fabulous cat china! Also — thank you for including the kitchen stove pix. That handle is a reminder that most homes do have some items that could be repaired/replaced some day, but we will go ahead and design & enjoy & live in our homes in the meantime.

  • Looks great! Raymond is not only a great illustrator but the level of taste shown here shows he’s obviously way more than just that.

  • Your home is very beautiful. I have a couch very similar to yours but it needs upholstery. Can you tell me who did yours? I am Edmonton based and wondered if someone in Edmonton did it? I am also wondering where I can find one of Raymond’s Risk Maps?

  • chalkboard walls in the kitchen – do they wipe down easily? did you roll it on or paint it on? Wondering too why not just black flat paint,why chalkboard paint? great thought for a flat I’m looking at that has chipped wall tiles.