Thursday, June 16, 2011

Decorating an Old, Lower, Rental Apartment

The biggest challenge I have had with our apartment in Montreal is making a 100 year old apartment that has never been particularly cared for and needs work, into a welcoming and comfortable second home. Now that we are going to be there twice a long as we origionally thought, I want to fix up (or at least disguise) some of the things that are still bothering me about the place.

Pros of the Apartment-
high ceilings (except the bathroom) ~12'
stays cool even when it is hot out (without air conditioning)
freshly painted throughout
no carpeting (hardwood floors and ceramic tile throughout)
lots of space (and closets including a walk in) ~900 sq.ft. in total
large windows for a lower apartment
inexpensive rent
within walking distance of everything (e.g. work, subway, groceries, etc.)

Cons of the Apartment- these are all despite being thoroughly cleaned several times...
dingy looking bathroom- mostly do to overuse/inappropriate use of caulking e.g. around bottom of vanity
wood floors that need to be refinished
trim around the floors needs to be replaced- trim is actually about an inch off the floor probably b/c there used to be carpeting
kitchen floor tiles are cracked and missing grout in some places
some areas are dark- especially the hallway and front entrance
hallway outside the apartment needs to be repainted!!

For me, the pros outway the cons. Certain cons are things I cannot do anything about (e.g. the condition of the hallway outside the apartment) but some I can (e.g. lighting conditions inside the apartment). In addition to bringing down our larger sofa and dining table and chairs that have been in storage, here is my plan:

1. Makeover the bathroom; remove all the caulking and reapply only what is necessary, redo the tile grout, install quarter round to finish the floors. These jobs do not cost a lot but require time and work- which I am willing to do.

2. Buy a large, long runner to cover/disguise most of the kitchen floor (including all the cracked tiles). I am thinking the IKEA Egeby rug (80x250cm) which will match the area rug we have at the front door.

3. Install some more lighting. I am going to replace the hallway single light fixture with a 2-light pendant fixture that I bought for $5 at my local Habitat for Humanity Re-store. It was a fake-brass colour and I have spray painted it a matt black so that it now looks like its cast iron.

4. Adding indoor house plants. Not only do the plants add life to the space they also clean the air.