Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New Challenge: Rental Project

Hello Wednesday!  After a month of new year resolution, are you still on that wagon or ready to jump ship already? I am still doing good with my promise to Chris not to buy new accessories for the house (although I do have a secret mission to introduce pink in my bedroom), as I have been busy spending people's money in a couple of exciting projects.  Isn't this a dream come true for a decor hoarder, borderline shopaholic, or what?  Love it!

Here is the scoop for Project A: a dear friend of mine has recently moved into a one-bedroom rental unit and needed some help in the decoration department.  This builder basic unit has good bones and does come with some bells and whistles: engineering hardwood floor, stainless steel appliances, a bedroom with southern exposure, and a den in decent size.  What it lacks is personality, coziness, and yes, a whole lot of furniture!

It is not that difficult to add some life to the space if my friend owns the place.  So here comes the tricky part: the landlord does not allow any holes, paints, wallpapers ... well let just say, anything, to be added the surface within the unit, without a written consent.  On top of the extreme restrictions imposed by the landlord, we also only have a very limited budget to both furnish and decorate the entire place!

Challenging? Yes.  Fun? DEFINITELY!  My approach: (1) invest in versatile pieces that can travel to the next space, (2) inject colors and patterns through fabrics/ accessories, and (3) pay attention to texture/ hue of materials to up the cozy factor.

Over the month of February, I will take you on a visual tour, room by room, of this transformation project.  As for today, we are stopping by the living room.  The soft white walls and medium walnut flooring provides a neutral backdrop that works perfectly with our cream + grey with pale lavender as the accent color.

The first thing I did was to figure out the layout.  Since the living/dining room is rather small (a common problem to new condos) and the breakfast bar is literally right there by the kitchen, I decided to take full advantage of the space and turned it into one big space ideal for entertaining.  I started off with the KARLSTAD sectional sofa with the grey linen cover for clean, tailored look.  I love the warm grey, and the linen texture for extra dimension and warmth.  With the chaise sits closer to the kitchen side, it connects the living room and the kitchen together as one space where guests can sit on either side of the chaise and mingle with others in both spaces.

An oval coffee table is a good fit to a sectional (can be pulled closer to the sofa without blocking traffic flow), and this smoked mirror with metal frame from west elm has an elegant profile.  The Drake end table echoes the metal base of the coffee table, offers a sculptural quality and a spot for this beautiful table lamp from Ralph Lauren Home.       

The IKEA PS media unit, accompanied by a modern classic wing chair (similar to Harry from Sarah Richardson Design), sits on the opposite wall facing the sofa.  A classy floor lamp in a brass finish is what I am after for a touch of luxury and again, to add warmth to this white box.

I have also selected my all time favourite from west elm, the Andalusia Dhurrie in feather grey & ivory to help ground the space.  Love the scale, visual impact, and the feminine quality of the pattern.  To balance the masculine and sculptural aesthetics from the main furniture pieces, pale lavender and the Thistle Vine Amethyst pillow in purple from DwellStudio will serve as accent.

For a shot of pattern on the wall, I can apply the nickel/ivory mosaic from Romo or the black & white polka dots from TonicLiving on a simple canvas frame, and it will still be light enough to be hung via removable 3M wall hook without making a hole on the wall.    

That is it for the living room, and the bedroom is up next in the following week.  Hope you enjoy this virtual living room makeover and I would love to hear what you think!

See you on Friday.


  1. Great job Tim! Just wondering, but where are the drapes from in this inspiration board?

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Glad you like the living room idea. The drapes are from IKEA!

  2. Your mood board looks great, Tim! Love the stylish grey palette you have pulled together, especially the West Elm dhurrie.

    P.S. The window in that bedroom is fab - hello, natural light!

    1. Thanks Will! I love the grey palette as well and so glad that I picked pale lavender as accent and she told me "That's my favourite color!". I guess I do know her well after 20 years!!!

  3. Great job Tim! Since you accent colour is pale lavender, you could also use the Malma Mirror (in lilac) from Ikea as wall art. At 10" by 10" they are light enough to hang using velcro stips from 3M. If you cluster 10 or more in a grid pattern, they make a great focal point while adding a little sparkle.

  4. I think I would die if a landlord wouldn't let me paint of hang things up! I am liking the direction you are going! You can also purchase wall decals, such a small dots or triangles to add visual interest to walls, like my friend Danielle sells at UrbanWalls Decals!