It’s been now two month since I moved in. One of my plans related to this change, was to move somewhere where I get a blank canvas and a space with some character to manifest my ideas and my taste and my style as I developed and honed it working on several client projects and reading and studying the work of others.
The prerequisites of emptiness and character were met when I found this cozy and intimate attic in Cotroceni. I also knew I had to keep in mind budget and the limitation of a rental. And I am saying this in a positive way, as the challenge and the skills lie exactly in achieving a great interior with limited resources.
Of course, it was and still is aimed to be also a portfolio project, therefore I don’t just want to get as soon as possible a livable space, but to reflect upon every design decision I make, in order to get an inspirational outcome for you as well.
That, the limited budget, my day job, some health problems (not bad), a small vacation, my ongoing client projects (interior design and restoration projects), the online shop (#heartwoodonlineshopcomingsoon) but also less deadline pressure (as it is my own home) generated some delays. Nevertheless, I am a few steps further and I will start to share with you what I have done so far.
My design philosophy is to keep it simple if you can’t complicate it with style. But I can! 🙂 At least in terms of interior design. I am rather a moderate maximalist than a minimalist, although I appreciate and admire austere interiors that feel personal and like a home and not like a showroom or like a monastery cell. Well, I said it. 🙂
I based my endeavor on a few principles:
1. To make a selection of what furniture I keep, what I send into storage and what I get rid of from my old home. I decided to keep a daybed and a chest of drawers, both from IKEA. Both for rather practical reasons. I like the day bed, and I will use it as the sofa in the living room, as it is very practical, having storage and being expandable in case of guests staying over night, but proportion wise I believe it is a little bit too massive. I like less the chest of drawers but it is a good clothing storage solution, having 10 drawers. Also buying a sofa and an alternative to the chest of drawers would bite deep into my budget. Nevertheless, both will be more or less pimped, to fit into the new concept, and I hope that they will blend in.
2. To spend the bigger portion of the budget on the main furniture pieces (bed, wardrobe, table, seating), but on ones that I will love also ten, twenty years from now or till dead do us part. 🙂 Let’s think of them as the correspondent of the accesoires in fashion. As in fashion, where quality shoes, bags and jewelery save any outfit, in interior design a few remarkable pieces of furniture make a remarkable impression and save you money in the future, as they can be integrated in almost any interior. So this means, a little bit of antique (not necessarily expensive), a little bit of design (not necessarily expensive:)) and a little bit of highly practical but still attractive furniture (as the daybed above).
3. To keep the custom made built-ins at a minimum, this being a principle rather in the case of a rental home, as otherwise I feel very positive about built-ins especially for storage space.
4. To include some DIY solutions, not many, as a space full of DIY may look great in picture but if too much and worse, poorly executed, in reality it feels like a students dorm (which is totally OK if you are a student, don’t get me wrong, but for a grown-up things should be more pulled together).
5. Least but not last, to dare and to stay true to myself and to make a statement of my design style, the one I would like to be identified with and clients to ask for.
In terms of design style, I inclined towards an eclectic mix of white, grey, brass, mid-century, antiques, art, books, and pops of color and a blue/white/green combo on the terrace/balcony.
I’ll lead you through the process, starting with the entryway/staircase. The before photos are of very poor quality, sorry for that. 🙂 I somehow missed to take better pictures of the before-hallway in the short time I had before moving in, when it was still empty.
So here is the before:
The plan for the hallway includes adding wallpaper (a white/grey patterned one), replacing the existing lighting with a brass chandelier I have purchased in an antique shop in Brasov, to use the wider wall for shoe storage (narrow wall mounted white shoe storage boxes), to cover the stair rail with a white grey marble top, to do something with the pipes running throughout the entire hallway #yeaks, and to use a two doors wardrobe I for the outdoor clothing.
Two months after, the wallpaper is up and the pipes were painted. For the walls I chose a chevron grey and white wallpaper from Hornbach (60 RON a 5m roll) and for the pipes, Novacolor “Dune” golden paint. The marble top for the railing is ordered at Marmosim. The lamp and the wardrobe wait both also for that handy man, to be mounted/installed. The wardrobe will be painted in a grey hue before, as right now it’s a shabby pink, which I don’t like. The paint for the wooden wardrobe is from Benjamin Moore.
I still have no clue, how to cover those dull and unattractive stairs. Whatever it will be, It has to be removable, as the landlord is not willing to invest, esthetic and resistant to everyday traffic, and easy to clean. I will chew on this for a while longer and I’ll let you, hopefully in a next update post on the hallway, know what idea hit me.
A glass door connects the hallway with the bedroom, and my problem is that I need it to be completely hidden away from the world, so outside the door a thick, colorful and contrasting (with the chevron on the walls) is planned to be hang. I have not found yet the right one, but I didn’t really look.
Wrapping up, the staircase was an architectural feature I immediately loved when I first visited the apartment, It is not the most practical space, as a big part of it is just taking square meters but offers no actual room for much. One of my solutions to create more space was to use that wider wall for creating storage and a focal point with the art that is going to be showcased above the discrete shoe boxes.