Since moving from Los Angeles to Toronto six years ago, Canadian singer-songwriter Micah Barnes, a former member of the Nylons, has lived in a rented apartment above a store on Toronto's Queen Street West. There, he created the music for his latest solo disc, Domesticated, while coaching other singers through his home-based company, Singers Playground. The oldest of three sons born to the late modern composer Milton Barnes, the self-described cabaret artist spends most of his creative time in his living room, his favourite room for being a hub of inspiration. "I love it because you can feel the energy coming up from Queen Street below," says Barnes, who's on tour in British Columbia this week. "At the same time, it feels like a cozy little library hidden away from the world."
The black couch
"I needed a big, masculine couch to stretch out on and that would also look somewhat modern and sleek. It's by IKEA. I call that couch home and it nicely replicates the one I had in my Los Angeles beach apartment."
The light fixture
"This lamp was bought locally on Queen Street and was actually the first item I purchased for the apartment. Friends thought I was crazy, since there was nothing else in the space at the time, just this big, honkin' modern lamp. I was just really attracted to it."
The white walls
"That is faux tin tile leftover from the previous tenants. I loved what happened when we painted it white and it became a kind of subtle nod to the apartment's past."
The musical instruments
"Both are loaners. The piano is borrowed from musician and TV writer Allen Booth, who is a neighbour, and the electric keyboard, which I use for shows on the road, is from songwriter and long-time musical inspiration Barbara Lynch."
"The bookshelves hold all of my old LPs, which, for a musician, is like holding my life's memories. They also hold my important objects, like the little red devil statue my father gave me when he was living in Mexico and a photo of my former partner, the late dancer René Highway."
The white chair
"I needed something to offset the big dark couch and chose this [from]Structube. I use it when I'm reading or listening to music by the window or talking with clients. I can [also]move it out of the way when we are up and working."
The red rug
"I love the lush and carnal nature of deep red, and I knew I wanted a strong colour to offset all the white walls and brown wood. I found it at EQ3 on King Street East."