Elias Blunden-Stone moved around as a child. A lot. Whether it was Boston, Washington, or Montreal, “the anchors I held on to were the objects that came with me,” he says. “The house and the neighborhood and the accents might suddenly be unfamiliar, but having that particular lamp there meant I had to be home.”
After a childhood spent worshiping precious things objectsBlunden-Stone worked for years as a writer and editor for British interiors magazines, showing the Brits how to dress up their homes on a budget. In 2018 he returned to Canada, settled in Toronto and launched the virtual design service Room Editor.
Blunden-Stone calls itself “Room Editor” for a reason: It’s all about working with existing objects and making small adjustments that can spice up a room. “I never convey my vision to the people using the service,” he says. “Instead, I work with them in a decorating partnership to dig up and celebrate their stuff and their idea of what is beautiful.”
He doesn’t tear up floors or tear down walls; Everything runs via e-mail with an initial questionnaire. “Then I set realistic goals, and if the client agrees, I can create an offer that typically offers three different packages at three prices for different amounts of ideas, resources, and instructions,” he says. “If they decide to go ahead, I’ll collect the full history of the room. I ask lots of practical questions, collect 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 detail and clarity, and then start editing.”
He removes parts that don’t work well, rearranges parts to make them work better, and suggests additions to make the space feel more complete. Depending on the package, Blunden-Stone then creates a visual dossier containing everything a client needs to achieve their goals. Then they can make any changes they want and make more purchases.
A big part of Blunden-Stone’s job is to offer a new perspective and ultimately refresh and redesign existing decor. “Besides,” he says, “it’s so much more satisfying and impressive to do great things on a small budget and with what you have than to spend a lot of money on everything new.” Where’s the creative joy in that?”
A recent customer had significant heirlooms, including a china service her grandmother hand-painted in 1915 and a vintage sewing machine her mother used to sew her own wedding dress. “But they were more hidden than front and center,” says Blunden-Stone. “It was exciting to learn more about these things and find ways to make them pop.”
Blunden-Stone suggested placing the sewing machine in a less cluttered wall unit in the dining room where the customer spends time crafting. The dishes were on a low, dark shelf, so he recommended the customer place them in a row on a long, narrow gold tray next to a new lamp. “Because it was hand-painted, each piece had a personality that didn’t get the love it deserved when the entire set was crammed together,” says Blunden-Stone.
For those looking to save a few cents on their renovation, this type of virtual consultation is priced more accessible than one that requires numerous in-person visits. Blunden-Stone can also include in his dossiers renderings of what potential pieces might look like in a space. “A customer was having trouble deciding between two colors of velvet fabric for a custom sofa and I was able to show her what both would look like by using technology to visualize the sofa in each color and place it on-site in an image of her living room,” he says. “That helped her decide which path to take.”
Blunden-Stone never forgets the comfort his own objects have given him over the years – and loves helping people feel the same excitement every time they see their own pieces working harmoniously together. “The outside world can be hard work and a bit ugly. It’s sometimes difficult to tap into joy outside of our home,” he says. “So when we’re at home, what surrounds us should make us comfortable, make us happy — and add to the happiness we deserve.”
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