As a professional photographer (hint: you can find her work featured all over our website), Stephanie Foden has an eye for colour and a love for travel – qualities that translate perfectly into the artful design of her boldly eclectic home. Since moving into the Plateau (AKA one of Montreal’s coolest neighbourhoods) in the summer of 2020, Stephanie (along with her partner, Joel) has put her stylish stamp on the two-bedroom space. Now, the character-rich home comes alive with vibrant patterns, travel-sourced treasures, warm wood furnishings, and – of course – plenty of inspiring art and photography. Bonus: check out the video of this unique home full of thrifted gems.
The 800-square-foot home was built in 1924, and the historical character of the space is a beautiful backdrop to the expressive aesthetic and stylish, modern details of Stephanie’s decor. “I have pretty eclectic taste and am inspired by anything and everything. I love to travel, so that has definitely influenced my taste.”
Space to Live
In the living room, Stephanie’s goal was to create a comfortable space that brought joy to daily life. “I wanted a cozy, colourful space filled with things that made me smile,” she says. This objective is epitomized by the statement-making silver disco ball, which reflects unique light in the space. “I love to dance and it’s my ode to celebrating life,” Stephanie adds. “I like to dance around my house, and a disco ball is just so fitting.”
The Perfect Picks
When choosing furniture for the living room, Stephanie combined unique pieces that complement each other – without being matchy-matchy. The room is grounded by a sectional in plush green velvet, while a one-of-a-kind chair found on Marketplace adds seating and major personality. “I got it before we even moved in, because it was super unique,” she explains. “It has embroidered animals on the cushions. The wood has carved seashells in it. There’s nothing else like it!”
Another way that life is celebrated throughout the home is with an array of indoor plants, like this vignette of greenery beside the couch. “I love plants – they really make a space come alive,” Stephanie says. “I used to live in Brazil, and ever since I try to recreate a bit of a jungle vibe.”
Old Meets New
For the entertainment area, a sleek wall-mounted television rests above a vintage wood console, which Stephanie bought on Marketplace from a woman who finds and fixes up old furniture pieces. Underfoot, a Beni rug from Morocco brightens the space while keeping feet comfy. “I love the colours,” Stephanie notes. “It reminded me of a festival in Brazil.”
The living room also plays with a variety of shapes for visual interest and dimension. On the walls, sharp angles on the television and the framed art above the sectional – Stephanie’s photo of her RV under the northern lights – complement the straight edges of wood ceiling beams. The furnishings, in contrast, evoke an eclectic aesthetic with a variety of curves and softer shapes. The coffee table, found on Marketplace, centres the room. “I really wanted a circle coffee table and glass to see more of the carpet. This was bohemian, and it fit the vibe,” Stephanie says.
Lamps of all shapes and sizes serve two purposes here: they add character, and they allow for an adaptable lighting scheme as needed. “I hate overhead lighting with a passion, so I try to incorporate as many lamps as possible that create lots of warmth in the space,” Stephanie says. “We also now have all smart lightbulbs, so we can turn them different colours depending on the mood. The lamps are all thrifted.”
Stepping it Up
Adjacent to the living room, the area at the top of the stairs is just as interesting and eclectic as the rest of the home (and as the stairs themselves, which Stephanie gave a DIY makeover with a vibrant carpet runner).
Mix and Maximalist
The star of this space is the artfully varied gallery wall. The mix of frames (many of which Stephanie acquired all in one $50-go from a restaurant) feature different shapes, sizes and materials for an eclectic feel. Once she had the frames for the wall, it all came down to choosing the artwork. “Some are mine, and some are rights-free images from the 1800s that I downloaded for free and printed,” Stephanie explains. “Some are local, and some are from travels that I acquired over time. I’d like to get more of my friend’s artwork on this wall, too.”
Boho and Bright
With plenty of soft light streaming in from above, the dining room is both colourful and bright. In designing this space, Stephanie had a clear concept: “Something more bohemian, where we can host friends for dinner.” Overhead, a Moroccan-style pendant light (from Bois & Cuir) further illuminates the dining space. Want to create your own unique lighting moment? Check out these modern dining room lighting ideas.
Take a Seat
For seating, Stephanie opted for a dining set that combined elegant details with lots of character – and a touch of mix-and-match customization. “The table is from a store in Montreal called Bois & Cuir (the name means wood and leather in English). They have really beautiful stuff,” she says. “The bench came with the table, but I bought the chairs on Marketplace. They seemed to match the table, so I scooped them up.”
While the dining room and living room have abundant open-concept flow, the dining area still feels like a distinct space – thanks in large part to a pop of strikingly cool leopard-pattern wallpaper. “This is from Spoonflower, a site where artists sell their designs as wallpaper. I saw this one and was obsessed,” Stephanie says.
A Long View
In the kitchen, a classic galley style and neutral tones serve up an ideal foundation for colourful accents to convey personality – including the eye-catching runner rug, which was repurposed from Stephanie’s RV.
While the kitchen’s footprint is compact, three levels of cabinets and a few clever counter-clearing organizational features – like a wall-mounted wooden knife magnet and a high shelf for displaying cookbooks and other kitchen treasures – allow for a healthy balance of storage and decor. The kitchen’s set-up is designed perfectly for Stephanie’s go-to morning meal: “I make smoothie bowls every morning, and have it all organized to maximize smoothie making.”
Al Fresco Dining
Located just off the kitchen, a cozy balcony is transformed into a chic outdoor oasis, thanks to a few customized and hand-made pieces. The outdoor sectional, for example, was made to fit by Stephanie and her dad. “It’s made out of 4×4 wood. I found plans online and customized it to fit the balcony exactly,” she explains. The table (a gift from her dad) was refreshed for the space with paint, while the cushions were made by a family friend.
The primary bedroom blends many of the decor elements found throughout the home – think bold colour, vintage pieces and customized wood furniture. The bed, which was also made with the help of her dad, is particularly gorgeous. “I always wanted a canopy bed, it’s basically like a fort for adults,” Stephanie says. “I found plans online to use as a base, and then altered them to what I wanted. We built it in pieces and then put it together in the bedroom – so basically that bed is never leaving, because it would be impossible to get out!” The patterned bedding, found on Etsy, fits the space perfectly. As Stephanie explains, “it has little Fridas all over it.”
A Comfy Corner
In the corner of the bedroom, a few bright pieces like a geo pouf (from Bois & Cuir) and a salvaged chair create cozy seating options. “My partner’s mom found the chair on the side of the road, and texted us to ask if we wanted it,” Stephanie says. “Of course we did! We cleaned it up and bought a cushion for it. It’s a super comfy chair.”
The Right Note
Old technology doesn’t have to be relegated to the past. With the right approach, beautiful vintage pieces can sing a new tune in today’s home. Take this 1930s cabinet radio, which Stephanie found on Marketplace. “I came across it and didn’t know where to put it, but knew I needed it,” she says. “The radio doesn’t work anymore, but I put my Google Home speaker inside so it can play music.”
The office nook is more than just a functional workspace – it’s also an ode to photography and travel, with books, photos, trinkets and cameras (both decorative and functional) displayed on the shelves. “My dad goes to a lot of auctions and always ends up finding an old camera in his haul, which he gives to me,” Stephanie explains. To the left of the desk, old family photos create a mini gallery wall. “Those kinds of images get lost in old family albums, and I wanted to bring them back to life.”
Above the door, a petite disco ball adds a touch of fun and a callback to the larger orb in the living room. As Stephanie explains, these shimmering spheres are more than just charming – they’re also a clever way to play with light. “I do love disco balls. I had the little one, and when we got the place, my priority (next to a couch and bed) was a disco ball,” she says. “The one in the bedroom catches the morning light and makes really nice reflections in the bedroom.”
A Bright View
Facing the street, a petite front balcony just off the bedroom’s office connects the comforts of the home with the energy of the city. “Even though we are very central, the street doesn’t get too loud,” Stephanie explains. “I love sitting out here to read, talk on the phone or just look out on the street. It makes me feel like I’m part of the city without leaving my house.”
A vibrantly patterned hammock – which Stephanie’s partner, Joel, found in Ecuador – provides a cozy perch for enjoying the city’s vibes. The hammock adds colour, while also being sized right for the space. “It fits perfectly on the front balcony,” Stephanie says.
Photographers are masters at working with light, so it makes sense that the home’s two skylights are among Stephanie’s favourite features. This particular skylight rests directly above the bathtub in the bathroom. The bonus? The skylights help ensure the home’s many plants get lots of light, too.
Room to Spare
The second bedroom is cozy, bright and multifunctional. “We wanted to have a desk and a dresser so guests could have a space to put their things, but could also work at. We use the desk, too,” Stephanie explains. Here again, Stephanie uses the power of colour to bring life to the space. A rich green wall contrasts beautifully with sunny textured bedding (a HomeSense find) and a charming bedside lamp that subtly ties the room together with the rest of the home. “The lamp is Turkish, which we bought at a store in Montreal that sells imported goods. We have three in the house.”