Elias Blunden-Stone moved around as a child. A lot. Whether it was Boston or Washington or Montreal, however, “the anchors I held onto were the objects that came with me,” he says. “The house and the neighbourhood and the accents may have been suddenly unfamiliar, but if that certain lamp was there, that meant that I must be home.”
After a childhood spent adoring precious objets, Blunden-Stone worked for years as a writer and editor for UK decor magazines, showing Brits how to beautify their homes on a budget. In 2018, he returned to Canada, taking up residence in Toronto, and started the virtual design service the Room Editor.
Blunden-Stone calls himself the Room Editor for a reason: it’s all about working with existing items and making little tweaks that can spruce up a space. “I never impart my vision on the folks that use the service,” he says. “Instead, I work with them in a decorating partnership to unearth and celebrate their stuff and their idea of what is beautiful.”
He doesn’t rip up floors or tear down walls; everything is done via e-mail with an initial questionnaire. “I then set realistic goals, and if the client is aligned, I can provide a quote, usually offering three different packages at three prices, for varying degrees of ideas, resources and instructions,” he says. “If they choose to go ahead, I amass the whole story of the space. I ask lots of practical questions, gather pictures and measurements, and, depending on the size of the job, I issue a bespoke questionnaire full of fun but probing questions. I read the story, ask for more details and clarity, and then get to editing.”
He removes parts that aren’t working well, rearranges parts that are, so that they work better, and suggests additions to make the room feel more complete. Depending on the package, Blunden-Stone then creates a visual dossier that includes everything a client need to achieve their goals. Then they’re off to implement any changes they like and do any additional shopping.
A big part of Blunden-Stone’s job is to provide a new perspective, ultimately refreshing and reframing existing decor. “Plus,” he says, “it is so much more satisfying and impressive to do great things with a small budget and using what you have, than it is to spend a lot of money on all new stuff. Where’s the creative joy in that?”
One recent client had meaningful heirlooms, including a china set her grandmother had hand-painted in 1915 and a vintage sewing machine her mother used to make her own wedding dress. “But they were more tucked away than front and centre,” Blunden-Stone says. “It was a thrill to learn about these things and explore ways to make them pop.”
Blunden-Stone suggested moving the sewing machine to a less-cluttered wall unit in the dining room where the client spends time crafting. The china set sat on a low dark shelf, so he recommended the client lay it in a line, on a long, narrow gold tray, near a new lamp. “Because it was hand-painted, there was a personality to each piece that wasn’t getting the love it deserved when the set was all clustered together,” Blunden-Stone says.
For those looking to save a few pennies on their decor do-over, this kind of virtual consultation is more accessible, pricewise, than one requiring numerous in-person visits. Blunden-Stone also can include in his dossiers renderings of what potential pieces might look like in a space. “A client was struggling to decide between two colours of velvet fabric for a custom sofa, and I was able to show her what each was going to look like, by using technology to visualize the sofa into each colour and placing it in situ into a picture of her living room,” he says. “This helped her decide which way to go.”
Blunden-Stone never forgets the comfort his own objects have given him all these years – and loves helping folks feel the same exhilaration every time they see their own pieces working in harmony. “The outside world can be hard work and a little bit ugly. Joy is sometimes a struggle to tap into outside our homes,” he says. “So when we are at home, what is around us should make us comfortable, make us happy – and amplify the joy we deserve.”
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