Monday, August 31, 2015Partly Cloudy 26°C
Design Stores

RE:Style Studio

Posted by Dayna Winter / Posted on January 29, 2011

RE:Style StudioRE:Style Studio is the answer to that hideous inherited floral loveseat that just refuses to cooperate with a tidy modern decor aesthetic. It's an anti-IKEA. It's a hub of DIY activity and a lifeline for trash-bound treasures. Owner Andrea Ford knows her way around a cordless drill but she won't shy away from glitter either. An interior guru by trade, she aims to spread her how-to skill-set to the design-challenged and not-so-handy masses.

Ford is a girl after my own heart. I've been accused of DIY overkill, crafting my way through any task sometimes for the love of it but mostly because I am either frugal (cheap) or broke, depending on the day. My life is held together with hot glue. Had I come up with the idea to turn it into a business, I might have envisioned something like RE:Style. Ford's space is airy industrial reno, its all-white decor flooded with natural light. The space itself is one big blank canvas, and I am inspired to paint or sew or glue or sand something (anything!). Studio mascot/resident-furball, Massi, is another source of tail-wagging inspiration. I realize that when I return to my windowless "workshop" (a table wedged between an electric piano and a fridge in the corner of my kitchen), my motivation would take a serious hit. We all start somewhere, I guess.

RE:Style StudioRE:Style StudioFord is no stranger to starting from scratch (isn't that really the heart of DIY anyway?). She upgraded from basements, to home studios and finally to a dedicated space just north of Bloorcourt. Prior to RE:Style, Ford lent her design prowess to several magazines, including Chatelaine, while taking on residential interior design clients and teaching courses at Lee Valley.

She's still working with private clients, though, and the space doubles as prop storage and a meeting place. The rest of the time, Ford welcomes DIY enthusiasts to soak in a little inspiration through her workshops and events.

RE:Style StudioI am a garbage picker. Half of my apartment d├ęcor was gleaned streetside, refreshed with paint or re-upholstered, and given new life. I am therefore quite enthusiastic about RE:Style's buying trips. Groups pay for van shuttle service and Ford's expertise on antique hunting expeditions (at legit markets, not the garbage-day curb), with the ultimate goal of finding and customizing a fixer-upper. Back in the studio, participants learn skills like refinishing, upholstery, and wielding tools in a group setting. Private sessions are also available.

RE:Style StudioI visited RE:Style last week, while many of Ford's works-in-progress sit pretty atop a row of sawhorse tables, confirming my assertion that, yes, this is a productive space. One particular piece - an antique wooden settee painted black and upholstered in bold stripes - looked as if it might have a future on a Tim Burton set. Its past, though, was much more interesting. Ford explained that the piece had been rescued from a fire. That's what I love about antiques - they have war-stories - you can't get that from a plywood IKEA table. Knowing how to give new breath to these old pieces can be a valuable skill. And in Ford's case, a profitable one.

I'll get over the "Why didn't I think of that?" and probably take advantage of some of RE:Style's workshops and events to add more knowledge to my DIY toolkit. To my neighbours, who frequently and stupidly toss furniture with serious potential, there's hope for you as well. Although, for my benefit, I hope you'll remain clueless.
RE:Style Studio



Jenn@theinteriorist / January 30, 2011 at 07:10 am
For something 'anti-ikea' the place sure is filled to the brim with it.
love the idea.
fail 2.0 / January 30, 2011 at 09:43 am
Ah yes. The Expedit. Retails for $149.99.
Steve / January 30, 2011 at 11:12 pm

"The anti-IKEA", huh? Could be... aside from all the interior fixtures and furniture used by the business owner herself: Expedit bookcase, Vika Lilleby table legs, Vika Amon table top, Maskro ceiling lamp, and some other rather suspiciously IKEA-like items such as the plastic storage bins, the wall cabinets, wall decor...

Funny stuff!

Neat idea for a business, though. Break a leg.
poss / March 14, 2013 at 01:22 pm
to be fair, Ford never said she was anti-Ikea; the writer said the concept was anti-Ikea - ie. individually customized pieces vs mass-produced factory output.

that said, has anyone taken any of the workshops? And would you recommend them?
Sharyl McPhee Skinner / March 14, 2013 at 06:48 pm
My husband and I own an antique and decor store in Toronto and have taken Andrea's re-upholstery course.

We found her to be thorough and very much, that we are now able to start and finish all our own pieces (which we sell in our store). We would recommend her course in a heart beat!

As small business owners, we know it's impossible to fulfill everyone's needs. We know Andrea is a professional and we are sure she tried her best. It's all anyone can do.
Rosa Passas / August 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm
How can I enroll on the re-upholstery course?
Morina / March 10, 2014 at 03:03 am
Not the best upholsterer for re-styling antique pieces. The one piece template drawn to create a new seat cushion was not accurate resulting in a sloppy look. The underneath material (of a different colour) showns when facing the couch from the front and side views. Very disappointed.
Janie Irvine / March 18, 2014 at 08:28 pm
My daughter and I would be interested in taking the upholstery course……Is the course on weekends? When is your next course…….
linda / April 4, 2014 at 01:20 pm
Do you have any courses coming up in upholstery?

Add a Comment


Find a Design Store

Or use the options below to assist you in locating a Design Store in Toronto.

Search Results

Please select criteria from the dropdown menus above to start your search.


Recent Reviews

Refine the list using the categories below:

Other Cities: Montreal