In our new series, Following Now , we go inside the homes of cool Canadian creatives.
Elena Lohse and her husband, Christoph, went shopping for a home in 2015, they knew that they would need to get a fixer-upper to live in their dream west Toronto neighborhood, The Junction. What followed was a gradual five-year-long renovation of a 1930s semi-detached home which the Lohses did almost entirely themselves. Elena shares an intimate look at their bohemian-meets-Scandi space on her Instagram account, @thishouse5000, which has grown to over 185,000 followers. You can find everything from tabletop inspiration to plant care tips and a snapshot or two of their cats, Kevin and Newman. The couple hopes to complete their final few projects — their central staircase and kitchen — by November.
Scroll down to take a peek inside their warm and cozy home and hear first-hand from Elena about the makeover!
“We use our porch right into fall,” says Elena. “Jackets, blankets, slippers and warm tea are musts!” When the temperature dips, she’ll bring her outdoor potted plants indoors and replace them with large glass vases filled with fall dried botanicals such as pampas grass. Inside, Elena will bring more burnt orange and rust tones into her decor come autumn, and warm up her space with sweet scented candles.
The Lohses thought they wanted an open-concept entrance but quickly realized the space lacked definition. So, they created a mini-mudroom with glass doors, walls and interior transom windows to maximize the natural light.
The marble dining room table was brought all the way from a reseller in Quebec. “I was checking classified sites for months looking for the right stone table,” explains Elena (pictured). “It originally had six matching chairs, which is what I thought I wanted, but it actually gave the room a cold boardroom look. So, I found two fun second-hand chairs on Facebook marketplace. That created a more interesting, inviting vibe.”
Elena’s obsession with Morocco-based fiber artist
LRNCE led her to sell items in her home she wasn’t using, including her dining set, to fund a piece from the artist. “I made the mistake of buying a vertical piece, when really the room called for a horizontal frame,” she says. “So, I swapped them out!”
This popcorn mirror was the result of a DIY project. “I thrifted the mirror for $20, got a few cans of expanding spray foam from the hardware store and went to work,” explains Elena. She has painted the foam white since taking this image. “I took to Instagram and asked my followers if they thought I should paint it,” she says. “It was a resounding yes. So, after living with the butter yellow for a few weeks, I painted it white.”
“A lot of people ask: is the brick wall real? Yes, it’s real!” says Elena. “We exposed the brick, sealed it and painted the bottom half white. It’s one of the more unique features in our home.”
Elena currently works full-time as a court registrar, but when she’s creating content for This House 5000, she’ll set up shop at her sunny home office. Elena was able to repurpose one of her extra dining room chairs as an office chair.
One thing you’ll notice right away is their home is filled with beautiful house plants. “The plants play a huge role in my decor,” says Elena. “They add a soft touch to some of our more rugged materials, like the leather sofa and marble dining table. There is something incredibly satisfying about keeping a houseplant alive. I am truly a plant mom.”
Elena always wanted subway tile in her bathroom. “The old world feel of the tile and the brass fixtures really caught my eye,” she says. “Most of my inspiration for the bathroom came from Pinterest.” The New Darlings
bathroom renovation was a great source. “I pulled a lot of elements from their look,” she adds.
The principal bedroom has a unique angled ceiling feature, but instead of viewing it as a challenge, Elena embraced it as a part of the look. “Tucking the bed underneath actually highlights the angle and we didn’t want to hide it,” she explains. “My advice for slanted or angled walls is to choose low furniture and give the walls some room to breathe without stuffing large pieces underneath. The result will be a nice, airy room.”