Ever since moving to the neighbourhood of Montrose, Tyler Day and Lindsay Jones had their eyes on the 1951 tiny standalone building in the nearby Highlands neighbourhood.
“We joked that if it ever came up for lease, we would have to go for it,” Day says. The couple was intrigued by the concept of “community pockets” when travelling to larger cities including Vancouver — collections
of neighbourhood retail stores, cafes and bakeries that felt like a small town within the city, and wanted to bring that feeling to their neighbourhood.
Fortunately, just a few weeks after starting their interior design business, Lot 34, in March 2021, Tyler spotted a “For Lease” sign in the window. “We saw an opportunity to be operating within our own neighbourhood and meet people in the community,” Jones says.
When the couple first met, Day worked as a contractor focused on bathroom renovations. Jones developed her interest in vintage hunting clothing and gear while working as a high school English teacher. When both wanted a change in their work, they decided to start an interior design business together. “Lindsay had the vision of combining the two worlds and offering a design-focused approach to renovation,” Day says.
“Storytelling was important to me as an English teacher, and I thought this new career would be an interesting way to be able to tell the story of somebody’s life by way of the design of their home,” Jones says.
Together as Lot 34, the couple focuses on residential and commercial interiors, and take a collaborative approach to working with homeowners. One of the first projects they worked on together was for a couple who had just purchased a 1950s bungalow from a grandparent. “They wanted to renovate it in a way that was more modern, but also nodded to the era of the home,” Day says. “It was a fun project because we wanted to do right by the whole family. We worked closely with the clients in designing the space and integrating both new materials and vintage pieces.” For instance, the final design includes a refurbished mid-century credenza as a bathroom vanity.
“We’re always trying to add our design perspective to what already exists in their home,” Jones says. “Some people come to us with their own inspiration or reference something we’ve done in the past, but most people who have lived in their homes for awhile have somewhat of an idea of what they’d like. We do our best to meet their needs, and give some of our own guidance in terms of design and material selection.”
Plans for Lot 34 didn’t initially include a retail storefront, but Jones had a popular Instagram account that sold vintage furniture and decided to incorporate it into the new business.
The space in Highlands now serves as both an office and retail store for new and vintage home goods. In stocking the store, the couple selects things that they would want in their own home. “We tend to gravitate toward mid-century and post-modern ’80s pieces — we think it’s a really cool aesthetic,” Day says. “Vintage goods are sustainable, and keeping those well cared for and in circulation is definitely a positive for the planet.” When bringing in new items, they focus on supporting other small businesses and makers. Jones once sold a line of handmade skincare products, and made many connections with other makers in Edmonton and across Canada. “We stick to supporting small businesses and artists who produce and design their own goods,” Jones says.
“We sell products that are really well designed and well made in the same way that vintage pieces were once brand new, hoping that these new modern goods can be passed down between generations, because of the care that goes into crafting them.”
Day and Jones hope to be part of a new “community pocket” in Edmonton. While local favourites like Fox Burger, Kind Ice Cream, and Bodega call Highlands home, Lot 34 is six blocks away on a less developed street. “We’re excited to be part of the new energy on that side,” Day says. “I think running a small business in a small neighbourhood in our city is still fairly unique. Edmonton tends to have shopping strips, and then shopping malls. I think the neighbourhood’s starting to learn that we’re there, and people have definitely given us a warm welcome.”
Between the renovation and retail components of their business, what remains most important to the couple is their commitment to sustainability and helping people enjoy things for a long time — whether it’s a new home, a home that’s been in the family for generations, or a piece of furniture. “We are invested in Edmonton and are excited to hopefully be part of a new era of community-based living,” Jones says. “Our passion is working with people and helping others create a home that they love, and a home that they feel they can stay in for a long time and admire the things that they’ve surrounded themselves with.”
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This article appears in the September 2022 issue of Edify