DON'T let that face fool you. It's amazing how adept a small child is at draining a full grown woman of her senses. I was feeling all complainy, so during naptime today, I had homemade chocolate chai tea in the fine china and knitted. At some point during the break, I decided that the floor wasn't going to get vacuumed, we're going to have leftovers for dinner, and I embarked on a project. (PS, if you stick around for this blog post, you get a baby bump photo).
I imagined how I would redesign my apartment if it was a condo and I could do whatever I wanted. I do this all the time in my head, but this time I figured I'm going to blog about it. You see, I love seeing the inside of people's houses. How they have they furniture arranged, what color their shower curtain is, how soft their towels are. Working in real estate marketing in mansions in Florida was awesome for my nosy self. Photoshoots and brochure writing? Hell yes. I got to see what kind of fine crystal millionaires keep in their winter homes. I got to find out what type of shampoo they use. What brand of toilet paper they use. So here's some nosy shots of my (green) shower curtain and what I'd do if I could scrap it all.
I intentionally had Abigail photobomb as many photos as possible because 1. it distracted her and this project was suppose to be a distraction for both of us; and 2. doesn't it make the photos more exciting?
Better, yes? So there are three rules:
1. Outside walls cannot move. Houses and apartments/condos are two entirely different cups of tea, so even though outside walls in houses can move, this isn't a house.
2. Major plumbing and electrical stuff also cannot move. Same rationale as with the house, plus, moving that stuff is wicked expensive and I probably wouldn't do it even if I was remodeling a house.
3. Physics still apply. Load bearing walls must continue to bear loads.
I have a galley kitchen with a laundry/furnace room at the other end. There is no getting around the galley because the wall the fridge is against has important furnace/a/c stuff in it. While I wouldn't put a galley in my dream house, I don't hate them and even kind of enjoy how few steps one takes while cooking in one. As you can see, it's fairly wide for a galley.
If I could re-do the laundry room, I'd rip out those ridiculous wire shelves, get a stackable washer/dryer unit, and build in some floor-to-ceiling shelves in the newly opened space specifically designed for small appliances (like a bread maker, slow cooker, roasting pan, etc) that don't fit well into a kitchen cupboard and totes of Christmas decorations and of things Abigail has outgrown but we're keeping for future kids.
Back to the kitchen. Now you may have noticed in the first kitchen photo that I have two microwaves. One is mine. One came with the apartment, is built-in, and has a sticker letting me know it was built in 1993. It sucks, so we kept ours and use it. The old microwave is where we now keep our bread.
I intentionally didn't photoshop out the yellow tinge in my ugly kitchen with no natural lighting. Thanks UFO light.
So what do I do? Something very similar to this:
Lots of white to make the space feel brighter, real metal handles on cabinet doors, and hardwood floors. My kitchen is wide enough that I would go with regular cabinets instead of glass panes (my regular dishes aren't pretty enough to be on that kind of display). I'd also go with a dark granite countertop and dark metal handles because I like the light/dark contrast. My all-new stainless-steel appliances would include a slim-line double stove and regular-sized fridge. I would also do the farmer's style sink, subway tile backsplash, and lightly coffered ceiling that you see in this picture:
Throw in some recessed lighting, an open shelf for my cookbooks, and a nice long rug to emphasis the character of the long and narrow kitchen. You like? I like : )
The Dining Room
Free-standing kitchen tables with lots of chairs are the opposite of smart use of small space, especially if you have a family. My solution is not a unique one. Built-in bench seating!
(Focus on the picture on the left). I'd make sure to include lots of storage space in my benches for board games, serving platters, table clothes, and other odds and ends. I'd also have a few chairs on the opposite side of the table. Again, hardwood floors and white walls, decorated with lots of mirrors to catch the natural light that comes in from the living room and bounce it around the space. I'd continue the coffered ceilings in the kitchen to the dining room. I'd also get a nice slim-line glass cabinet display for my china and customize it with a few open shelves underneath for shoes.
The Living Room
I actually wouldn't change too much in the living room. I like small living rooms - they're cozier. I'd do built-in shelving instead of our bookshelves because it would give us more space and feel "lighter." I'd re-finish our "lots of potential" Craigslist desk and put in some shelves above it for the printer, etc. New furniture, obviously, with a smaller coffee table and one of those couches that has a built-in chase lounge on one end. Our window is super big and lets in lots of light, but I'd dump the blinds and get pretty curtains and shears to keep peering eyes out. Hardwood floors, dark wood on the shelving and coffee table, a dark brown on the couch, and a warm beige on the wall. On the floor, I'd have a big light-colored Persian rug to contrast with the dark in the room.
Hardwood floors, new lighting, and better wall decorations is all I would change. It's a relatively wide hallway, but because of the chasm-y feel, I would really be hesitant against any kind of shelving in the hall.
Abigail's room has lots of space in it, which is great because it's going to get eaten up when this baby makes its appearance. I do hate how many "floating" pieces of furniture are present in this room, so I would definitely rip apart her closet...
And put in some epic-style built-in shelving that would remove the need for a separate dresser.
I'd do mine with plenty of space to store stuff she's outgrown, but we're saving for future kids. I'm not sure if I'd do hardwood floors with an area rug or carpet in the bedrooms. I'm also not sure what I'd do if this baby turns out to be a boy and we would need to do something gender neutral. If, however, we had a girl, I know what I'd do...
Paris. In rose and blush and champagne. Fun enough for a toddler, but sophisticated enough not to need a re-do when they're teenagers. These are clippings I've saved from magazines over the years. Soft fabrics, chandeliers, lots of flowers. Gold (looking) - gilded pieces that make a girl feel decadent and special. Tea sets and pillows with the Eiffel tower embroidered on them.
The Guest Bathroom
It's hugely large with a vast majority of the space being wasted. I'd definitely re-do the floors and cabinets, adding double sinks for sure. I'd also add a slim-profile built-in cabinet against the wall where the diaper pail and towels are now to store all my linens: towels, sheets, everything. I have minimal closets in this place and built-ins take up less space than free-standing furniture, which is why I favor them so heavily. And this is my almost-fourth-month, second-time-around baby bump:
And the sink that would become two. What a waste of space!
The Master Suite
I personally really love masculine master bedrooms - deep, rich colors and heavy-looking, solid furniture. I love this spread in the 2013 Ikea catalog.
And since our unit is a corner unit, I'd throw in some more windows on the wall where the map is. In our epically-sized master closet...
...you guessed it! Custom built-ins that would eliminate the need for so much free-standing furniture. Hopefully by this point, there are enough built-ins everywhere else that there are no longer sleeping bags, a Christmas tree, and a box of warranties and how-to manuals in my master closet. I would also save a section for all my crafting stuff to be awesomely organized.
Our bathroom is a mirrored version of the guest bath, but with one exception:
A standing shower with the footprint of a bathtub. How absurd. But I'm a huge fan of Japanese soaking tubs and I found this soaking tub/free standing combo that would work beautifully in our small space: