Studio Life: A Look At This Electric Downtown Artist’s New Home
Windsor-born artist and poet, Melanie Janisse-Barlow has a penchant for designing vibrant and eclectic spaces that reflect her creative approach to colour and interior decorating. Her home studio, located in a mixed-use downtown Windsor building is one of her ongoing creative projects.
Janisse-Barlow purchased the building through Border City Living Real Estate Group at the beginning of the pandemic, and has since transformed it into an urban live/work space. Her avid world travels coupled with her experience as an internationally recognized creative inform her unique style.
The art-deco architecture of the building stands out amongst rows of single-family dwellings in the neighbourhood. Throughout its hundred- plus-year history, the main floor commercial space has housed a number of businesses regularly visited by local residents, including a laundromat, a print shop and most recently, an art gallery. The 11’ tall ceilings and pristine white walls of the commercial unit Janisse-Barlow has transformed into her studio are the perfect backdrop for an inspired workspace full of colourful paintings, textiles and collected objects.
The story of this studio is on display in its decorative details; bookshelves that hold a variety of vintage books and copies of her published poetry inspired by her time living on Pelee Island, Brazilian Cherry hardwoods reclaimed from a Rosedale mansion slated to be torn down, and industrial beams wrapped in tin that is original to the building. Her space is individualistic, rich and eclectic but not excessively cluttered – a style refreshingly divergent from the ubiquitous grey-on-grey trend.
Her two miniature pinschers scurry behind us as we ascend to her residence above the studio space. This private home is carefully adorned with her distinctively curated collection of meaningful art and antiques. The rooms are injected with bright colour and patterns – flamingo pink ceilings, Havana palm wallpaper and shiny, hand-painted tiles that climb the wall behind a freestanding tub. Bright daylight is muted through drapery made of paint speckled, repurposed drop cloth. Each room evokes a subtly different mood and, like many of her paintings, the space exhibits a distinguishable presence without being too stuffy or overly serious.
When we originally listed the property, we knew we were searching for a specific buyer with the right vision – someone who wasn’t afraid to do something different. We cringed when other agents and out-of-town buyers were convinced it would never be more than a student rental. Thankfully, Janisse-Barlow, who grew up downtown near Mitchell Park with her family, trusted us in the process of purchasing an unconventional property in a residential neighbourhood.
What resulted is a brilliant artist and writer bringing her work and life back to Windsor’s urban core with the added bonus of a deep connection to the community.
Janisse-Barlow’s career has come a long way from its humble beginnings at a publicly funded Downtown Windsor arts program. One of Janisse-Barlow’s highly-sought after paintings was recently sold through the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) and installed as a fixture in Detroit’s iconic Fisher Building.
Much of her artwork continues to be loved and appreciated in private and public collections around the world.
See more of her work at melaniejanissebarlowstudio.com
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