So I realize that I’ve been a horrible blogger this summer….and especially in the last few weeks…but I do have an excuse! I’ve been working full-time, and after work have been devoting my time to getting ready to move to Toronto! I moved in last weekend, and let me tell you, it feels amazing to have my very own condo in the city! It’s super-tiny (497 sq feet to be exact), and it’s only one room (plus a galley kitchen and bathroom)…but it’s all mine! Yay! Throughout the summer I was on a scavenger hunt to find pieces for my new place, all on a budget. I started out with a brown futon from my undergrad days, but wanted to create a black and white colour scheme. From there, I decided that a neutral palette of browns, creams, whites, and black would be appropriate. A little while ago I posted about how I found two Tiffany blue antique chairs on the side of the road, for free, and immediately decided to use them as an accent colour in the space. The only issue was that I still needed a table. With such a small space, I was really hoping to find a white bistro table with a pedestal base. The closest thing I could find was one at West Elm, but at $199, it was still way out of my price range. Two days before I was set to move to Toronto, my Mom and I were driving past an antique store, when I shouted “stop the car!” There, sitting on the sidewalk, was an adorable square kitchen table with two white chairs. I wasn’t too fond of the whole “country kitchen” look of the set, but for $30, and the impending move, I couldn’t be picky. Initially I was going to store away the two white chairs in my storage locker, but have since decided that a mismatched set of two Tiffany blue chairs and two white chairs looks really cute. I also painted the table legs black, as well as a black geometric pattern on the table top.
Another way I customized my apartment on the cheap was to make my own artwork. In my opinion, nothing pulls a room together faster than hanging some art. I used three pieces that I had previously made in art classes at school (like the Lenny Kravitz silhouette art that is blown up in my breakfast nook), and found the other frames in my house. To make cheap art, I just found images that I liked online, and printed them off on regular paper. Popping them into the frames instantly gave the look I was hoping for. I even created a print using Picnik, where I typed in various Amsterdam-related words in different fonts, set on a black background. This way I can easily change up the art whenever I feel like it, and it won’t cost me a cent. On my dresser I framed a picture I drew in Amsterdam one morning, staring out of my window.
By far the most costly item in my condo is this cow-skin rug from HomeSense. It was a splurge, (thanks Mom and Dad for the birthday present!), but instantly tied in the browns, creams, and black of the space. Plus it’s super-soft and silky, and is the perfect size for in front of my futon.
I had so many mismatched antique items that I was a bit worried how they would work together in the space. From this old coat-rack to a beautiful claw-footed half-moon table my Mom’s friend gave me, I wondered if the different colour woods would look ok. I think with the dark floor that they all tie in nicely, and give the space some character (nothing is worse, in my opinion, than walking into a house that looks completely from an IKEA catalog). I also brought along my Amsterdam table, that I brought home in a suitcase. For only 5 euro at a Queen’s Day sale, it was a great find from my time there. Now it houses my ceramic elephant and a little basket of change.
One of my favourite elements of the room is this custom bookshelf. Originally just a plain ole white bookshelf that I had in my bedroom for ages, I decided to give it a facelift by wall-papering the back. Since the width of the bookcase was more than the width of a roll of paper, I had to do some tricky lining up of the pattern, but I think it ended up matching pretty good. The owls are from an antique store, and were originally coloured. Made from chalk, they’re actually from the 1930s. I ended up negotiating and got them both for $20! A few coats of glossy white spray paint later, and they’re heavy book-ends or decorative pieces.
So, what do you think? Any tips for small-space living? I’m actually getting used to living in one room, and with a lot of organization and a place for everything, it’s surprisingly spacious!