Several months ago friends and clients of mine asked me to put together a design plan to update and modernize their large three bedroom apartment in a buiding they own on Princess Street. In that I’d worked with these clients last year redesigning their own home, I knew that it would be a wonderful experience. They are dream clients: they trust you to do the right thing, and ultimately love the thing you do.
Arriving at the apartment for the first time, I was struck by how such a large open space with lots of natural light had somehow managed to appear so dreary and drab. Other elements that screamed ‘change me!’ were the various paint colors, none of which were really right for the space.
Photo – Judith Mackin – The entrance to the upstairs three bedroom loft appears dated and tired.
Photo-Judith Mackin: Although there is a lot of natural light coming through the full glass door, the carpet, wall colors and light fixtures make it appear darker than it really is.
Photo-Judith Mackin: At the top of the stairs you are greeted with a ‘functional’ wardrobe in desperate need of an update. Again, the dark wood makes the top of the entrance feel confined.
Rentals are tricky in the sense that you have to keep the design fairly neutral so as to not alienate any potential tenants. Also, given the inevitability of wear and tear, a landlord doesn’t usually want to spend the same amount of money they might be inclined to spend on their own home.
With these factors in mind I set out to give my clients what they needed: a modern flat that would appeal to urban professionals thus maximizing rental potential.
Photo – Judith Mackin: The living room comes across as very small and cramped with the continuous dark paint color. No central light on the ceiling adds to the visual smallness of this room.
Photo – Judith Mackin: The kitchen – speaks for itself. The layout was functional but very dated.
Below are images outlining how we transformed this three bedroom apartment into a bright modern airy flat. By using simple techniques we were able to make the space become more cohesive in its design without spending a lot of money. Perhaps you can use these tips in your own home or apartment. With a little paint, wallpaper and a few feature lights, the living space is transformed.
Photo – Alexandra Moore: The entrance is given a complete makeover by placing a modern (inexpensive) wallpaper on the left side of the stairs while introducing a new paint color on the right. New carpets complete the look. (Wallpaper: Home Depot 546618/ SR026318 Metallic Taupe Birch Trees. $39.88/roll and paint – Benjamin Moore HC-103 Cornwall Gray)
Photo – Alexandra Moore: The wood railing actually had some warmth and character to it. We recommended that our client keep this and we use the ‘wood’ theme in other areas throughout the apartment. Here the wallpaper now complements the wood railing.
Photo – Alexandra Moore: The dated and cheap light that used to hang from the top of the stairs has been replaced by a beautiful modern chandelier. It now becomes the focus point at the central entrance of the flat. Light: Orbit Chandelier, designed by Patrick Townsend. Available through TUCK Studio.
Photo – Alexandra Moore: Here is the new design for the living room. By keeping the walls white and adding another feature light to the centre of the room, the living room now appears inviting, airy and warm. Light: ‘Tina’ (a blend of white and red birch) designed by Isabelle Auguer. Available through TUCK STUDIO.
Photo – Alexandra Moore: Another view of the living room. Here you see we have introduced another splash of color to the feature wall in the living room, tying it into the design on the entrance wallpaper (‘Dried Chamomile’ MSL073 by Martha Stewart and can be sourced at Home Depot).
Photo – Alexandra Moore: Moving into the kitchen you can see how the upgraded modern white asthetic is so important to carrying out the airiness throughout the space. The clients worked with Tammy Hatfield at Hatfield Home Hardware here in Saint John.
Photo – Alexandra Moore: All three bedrooms were given a uniform look to contribute to a stream-lined modern feel. All the rooms were painted white and given a warm, felt geometric light shade in all three rooms. Light: ‘Icosa’ by Ross Menuez is available through TUCK STUDIO.
Photo – Alexandra Moore: Detail of Icosa. Its designer, Ross Menuez, was inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s legendary Geodesic dome, transforming the soft felt into a stable, crystalline form. This light gives a beautiful warm glow to the room.
Photo – Judith Mackin: Here is Alyx with Stephanie Bell, my client. Thanks so much Stephanie for the opportunity to work with you and Mel, once again. Always a pleasure.
The image galleries below.
As always, thank you for reading. If you have any questions about the design or feedback, I’m always happy to hear from you.