Sunday, April 6, 2014

Alice's First Apartment

My friend's daughter, Alice, also happens to be my daughter's friend.  Don't you love when things like that happen.  The four of us share an interest in decorating and interior design. Back before our daughters went off to university we would go and visit Designer Showhomes together.  It was always fun to see who liked which rooms best and what features appealed to each of us.  Now that my daughter is studying in Halifax on the east coast and her daughter is studying in Vancouver on the west coast we can no longer go on outings like these, ... sigh ... but we still indulge our hobby in different ways.  

Alice recently sent me some photos of her first apartment which she has been decorating and I loved them so much I wanted to share them with you.  She lives in a little bachelor apartment in a building that is almost 100 years old so it is an apartment with lots of character and charm.  Alice is still in university so decorating her flat is a work in progress and everything so far has been a combination of DIY, Craiglist, thrifting, and bartering, which, frankly, makes me love it all the more.

So let's have a tour, shall we.

The kitchen is simple with white cabinets and pale blue walls, but Alice injected her own personality by adding touches of red in the art, tea towels, accessories, and mismatched door knobs which she is replacing one-by-one as she finds pretty red ones on sale.

The tall skinny area by the wall in the photo below was really an unused cupboard because of the awkward shape.  Alice removed the door and added shelves so that it could be used to display cookbooks and bring in a few touches of red.

The bird silhouettes are wall decals that have been on Alice's walls in different bedrooms and apartments for years.  She carefully applies them and then removes them again when she moves so she can add them to the next house.

The built-in bookshelves between the kitchen and the rest of the flat are the perfect place to display favourite items like skull vases and candles and lollipops - all necessary items for a university student.

Since it is a bachelor apartment the space had to be used very efficiently.  The area that was originally designed to be the eating area was better suited to being a study area given that Alice is a student.  

The living room has an L-shaped sectional that Alice got by trading a chair for it with a friend.  All I can say is that she is a mean barterer. The sofa makes into a bed so it is good for when she has guests. Two IKEA bookshelves - one placed vertically and one horizontally - are the perfect place to store books, the stereo, and the TV.

Alice and her family have traveled extensively and little touches of her interests and travels are found around the apartment.  The brass tray in the living room was Alice's grandmother's and she uses it to display meaningful items, like a rock from the base camp at Mount Everest (dark gray rock in the centre), the key to her flat in Switzerland when she went to school there, a sand dollar from Vancouver Island, a camel bone box from Qatar, a camel from Oman, a gun shaped piece of coral from Curacao, and a silver acorn from her father.

The living room has a fireplace which, although it doesn't work, provides a wonderful focal point and is used for displaying more treasures - the most important being her two black goldfish!

Alice's bed is right beside the fireplace so she uses a stack of large-sized books as a bedside table.  She covered the bed in a black duvet so that it won't show the dirt if anyone sits on it.  Alice's mother is the friend I went to Bangladesh and India with and I remember buying the embroidered cloth Alice has on her wall when we were in Dhaka.  The cloth helps make the bed appear more couch-like, but also helps conceal an unused door.

You have to walk through Alice's closet to get to the bathroom so she has worked to make it not only functional, but attractive as well.  Alice added a row of hooks to hang her extensive scarf collection on, which adds a nice rainbow effect along the wall.  

The dress, in the photo below, was hung on hooks from the closet doors to decorate the hallway.  The dress was given to Alice and doesn't actually fit her, but she liked the design of dancing girls so hung it in her hallway.  Note the shoes along the top of the cupboard to make good use of the space and add a little interest. 

And finally, the round chalkboard was one that we brought back from Bangladesh.  It originally had a mirror in it, but when the mirror broke my friend painted the back with chalkboard paint and it is now part of Alice's closet surrounded by mini mirrors from Bangladesh.  That wall is the perfect place for the most frequently worn shoes and boots - I love how they are all black and grow in size from one end to the other.

And finally, the shower curtain in the bathroom was fabric bought from a vendor on a popular beach in Vancouver and Alice turned it into a shower curtain.

I love all the personal touches and the can-do attitude that has gone into decorating Alice's apartment.  Way to go girl!  

Do you remember decorating your first apartment?  I don't think it was as easy to find good second-hand deals back in the day because thrift stores weren't as popular and it was long before Craigslist and Kijiji.  What do you think?


  1. Very cozy. I don't have any memories of my first apartments. I don't think I had any sort of decorating budget even if there had been Kijiji!

  2. I remember our first apartment when I got married...the only thing in the living room was a picture on the wall! No TV, card table for a kitchen table, a large orange metal desk in the second bedroom, a bed and a dresser completed the "decor" of the apartment...but I had 3 silver tea service sets (wedding gifts, ya know)!!! Amazing the amount of "stuff" one accumulates over the! Love her flat!

  3. I remember my first apartment very well. It was a loft in the warehouse district of New Orleans @ the 1984 World's Fair site. It was too cute! I loved it.

    I like how Alice's personality shines in her apartment. She must be loving it because it's so cute!!!


  4. Too adorable. I remember loving my very first, teeny, tiny apartment in Seal Beach, California. It was a 1930's spanish style courtyard one story building and I was in heaven. The only problem was when you opened the refridgerator door you got very low-level electric shock! It was too funny and everyone was scared to open it -- good for dieting! Love your blog and have you bookmarked. cheers

  5. That is a super cute apartment! Kudos to your friend for all the brilliant personality she has added to the place.