Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Monday, March 22, 2010

Do I have a Mod pad?

A couple of days ago, a doctor came over to my place to interview me. Yes, a doctor.  No, aside from the occasional delusions, a shrink did not have to make a house call. Zeynep has a PHD in sociology and an MBA in Marketing. She came to interview me for a study she is conducting on interior design and home decor. Apparently she was interested in what I had to say about it. Over the 3 hours of babbling I did, I often referred to my place as a typical Mod pad. So now it's your turn to judge, do I have a Mod pad?

Ever since I moved in my first apartment in 1995, I’ve been looking to achieve the ultimate Mod home. When I moved out of my college dorm, only one type of place would do: a loft. I stayed in three apartments before buying my own place, all of them lofts. There’s something about a raw open space that’s really attractive to me. In my opinion, it’s the perfect stage to create a Mod haven. The high ceilings, the brick walls, the industrial details, it all oozes Mod appeal. The type of place James Bond, Austin Powers or Peter Sellers in The Party would feel right at home.

Of course, you can’t expect a lad in his early twenties to move in a 2000 square feet downtown loft right away. You start small. My first place was more around 500 square feet. My only criteria was that it had to be a loft, have a brick wall and be around 450$ a month. When you’re young and naïve, your optimism doesn’t stop you from looking. I was lucky enough to find exactly what I was looking for. It was a tiny loft on Chateaubriand, a few feet away from the Beaubien Subway Station.

My second loft was on Ste-Catherine Street in the Hochelaga Maisonneuve neighborhood. If you ever visited the beautiful city of Montreal, chances are you've set foot on Ste-Catherine Street. I moved out of my first loft because I thought I could find something bigger and cheaper. And I did! I was paying 400$ a month and all the utilities were included! At that price, I stayed put for eight years. My next abode was about three feet away, in the loft next door. I even shared the same address. It was a bit larger at around 700 square feet.

The lofts were on the ground floor of a 100-year-old three-story building. The ground level used to be a shop of some type. My favorite feature was the storefront window. On the inside, it looked like a small stage.

After four years in that place, I was ready to take a plunge into ownership. My current place is a little over 1000 square feet. It's a loft in a century old cookie factory in the same neighborhood.

Now, to achieve the right Mod atmosphere, it takes time. We’re talking years here. You can’t just walk in your local Ikea, drop a stash of cash and boom! a shagadelic pad. You have to be patient, resourceful and be passionate about it. You also need a very understanding, open-minded girlfriend. Thank god for Nikki. She will let me flex my interior design muscles and pretty much gives me carte blanche. When she moved in the loft a year ago, she basically brought her clothes and a few mementos. Talk about the perfect girlfriend for me!

This is an example of what I mean about being resourceful. In my last apartment, I was looking to make a nice little TV stand to display one of my space age televisions. Since I didn't have extra money to spend and the thought of buying one at Wal-Mart made me nauseous, I opted for my own design. I started collecting speakers from flea markets and stores like the Salvation Army. I usually didn't pay more than 10$ a pair. I then assembled them like a jigsaw puzzle to make it a unique piece. I think it's safe to say that you couldn't find one in large chain store. Of course, with time, my taste has refined and my wallet grew. But I still look at this photo with fond memories.

I always had a thing for anything retro. I owe it all that to my grandfather. I remember, when I was yay high, going to country auctions with him and being fascinated by the fast talking guy up front. My grandfather, of all things, collected antique cars. Among them he had a 1951 Mercury and a 1929 Ford Model A. So it’s no surprise that today I own three vintage scooters and a ’73 Super Beetle.

Here's a picture of my grandfather's '51 Mercury, taken in 1977 in front of his house in the country.

I’ve been scouring flea markets, antique shops, and garage sales for years now. Internet, especially eBay, has also been good to me. The result is a loft full of goodies from the fifties to the seventies. This forum will also be about my latest finds and crazy decoration ideas. My home is ever changing and I'm always on the lookout for the next cool, mod, hip thing. So stay tuned.

A dream of mine has always been to be featured in an interior design magazine. And as luck would have it, a writer approached me from one of the best interior design sites on the web. They asked me to be featured on Apartment Therapy. Being a big fan, I did not hesitate one second.

Click on the link below and tell me, do I have a Mod pad?

Patrick's World of Wonder on Apartment Therapy

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