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From Lockdown to Love, or How I Learned to Appreciate My Home

It’s not perfect, but my home has treated me well. It was time I returned the favour

By Tory Healy

Weird, eh? COVID, I mean. Sheltering in place, ordering everything in, the unnerving social interactions. The pandemic put a halt to our New Builds Issue, and it’s been eight months since we last connected. Man, are we glad to be back, full of fresh insight on and fervour for “home.”

Technically, Designlines is a shelter magazine, a periodical with a focus on interior design. A “shelter” provides temporary protection. “Home,” on the other hand, is a Designlines mainstay; it is defined as a place where we live permanently, as a member of a household. That word, though, is also impersonal. I thought about this a lot during the enforced time off: how do we so easily commodify houses? Has our nonchalance changed during the pandemic? What will “home” mean moving forward? And most importantly, where is the love?

My 1950s Trinity Bellwoods apartment is, in fact, everything I need, and despite its issues, it’s taken good care of me. It was time to reciprocate.

It was during the pandemic that I came to cherish where I live. My 1950s Trinity Bellwoods apartment is, in fact, everything I need, and despite its issues, it’s taken good care of me. It was time to reciprocate; to treat it better than just a crash pad. Being indoors nearly 24/7 for a stretch allowed me to dial in to what I needed to do. I took inventory and measurements, sketched furniture arrangements, researched products and materials online; by the time I was called back in to work, I was ready to hit “play” on my ideas. My masked contractor came and I had new accessories and furnishings delivered, mostly sourced from Canadian manufacturers and bought through Toronto retailers (do shop local!). It’s a work in progress, but I’ve crafted a space I’d be happy to be in around the clock, if need be.

Also, while we were out of the office, we launched an online series called Show Us Where You Live. Here, we explore the meaning of “home” with a variety of local talents: artists, designers, architects, curators, makers. Thanks to all the insight shared – our candid participants reveal how their relationships with their homes are evolving – it’s a success. If you haven’t already, I invite you to check out the whole series here. And while you’re online, check out our Q&A with the Reno Issue’s featured architects and designers in which I ask them to share not only how their abodes came to serve them differently during the pandemic, but also their advice for those of us who want to transform so-so shelters into safe and beloved homes. There’s guidance to be found there and, of course, the Reno Issue itself.

Until next time, take good care. I look forward to reconnecting in 2021.

Originally published in our 2020 Reno Issue as “From Lockdown to Love”.