Up-and-coming interior designer Montana Labelle launched her eponymous business just over a year ago after an apprenticeship with Brian Gluckstein. One of the Parsons graduate's first projects was infusing her 650-square-foot apartment in mid town Toronto with her brand of quirk and class. Thankfully, creativity runs in the family – she's the daughter of former Canadian Living style editor Karen Kwinter and sister to recording artist Jesse Labelle. The dimensions of the long, narrow living room would be challenging for many, but the 25-year-old transformed the space with new light fixtures, smart furniture and personal treasures. "I think it turned out to be really cozy," Labelle says. "I love it here."
"When I have people over, they often stand here in awe, not sure of what piece to look at first. I'm attracted to art that's quirky, interesting and a bit weird as well as anything influenced by fashion. I create my own art, and some of it is on display here, including my favourite Hermès scarf, which I had framed. My pieces truly reflect my personality. "
The faux zebra head
"My 'pet' zebra, Ralph, was one of the first things I bought for the apartment. He inspired the look of the entire space and gives it its whimsy and wow factor."
"I lived in a condo before this one, and it was a white box. I dreamed of having a home with character, which is why, when I saw this space, I didn't turn away. Visitors sometimes wonder why I didn't cover up the ducts; I think they add an edgy, cool look to the apartment."
"Since the ceilings are 17-feet high, I couldn't buy curtains off the shelf, so I had a seamstress add a raw-silk panel to the bottom of linen Restoration Hardware curtains."
The candles and flowers
"The quickest way to make a space seem more luxurious when you're on a budget is to use fresh flowers and some beautiful candles atop a stack of coffee-table books. There is something about that combination that just makes a space seem complete."
"I love using opulent and exotic materials in unexpected ways. I found the carpet off eBay and then layered a white cowhide over top for more texture. Taking fur, something that is typically very luxurious, and using it on the floor felt edgy and fresh to me."
"This is one of my favourite items, from one of my favourite stores, Decorum Decorative Finds on Yonge Street. I wanted an interesting armchair that would fit with the space. I love the gold detailing on the arms, and I'm a sucker for anything lacquered."