Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Studio Apartment Sneak Peek: Master Bedroom

Today I'll give you a sneak peak at my master bedroom. You might think that living in a 650 square foot studio means you have to "think small" but you would be wrong. I decided to keep my king size bed, along with matching three drawer chests (I use them as nightstands.) along with everything else I loved. In the end, I was able to create my glamourous master bedroom, despite the apartment's small size. I think Ryan Korban, an interior designer, said it best when he was interviewed recently for Decorati's Designer Profile,

"I would love to see people really let go of square footage. For small spaces to exist with large spaces without turning it into a "small" spaces story. Our obsession with size has always confused. I was always concered with good taste not size."

You can read the rest of his article here, titled, "A Return of Romance".

Let's take a look at the floor plan. My master bedroom is called the "sleeping room" in the floor plan. As you may recall, I used the living area to create Dear Son's room.

Here is a photo of the room before I moved in. Not particularly charming. Since the entire apartment was already painted this taupe color, I decided to keep it. That would save me some time in not having to paint the walls and then re-paint them back. Since I just moved in a month or so ago, I wasn't too excited about re-painting since I had to do that in my former apartment. This color was different for me. It's bolder than what I prefer. I love soft, muted colors and this color is a bit deeper and more modern in my opinion. My design preferences lean toward classic and traditional design.

Every room has challenges. Most of the time, they aren't a big deal; you just figure out what they are and work around them. It's kind of like selecting clothes. Each person knows their assets and liabilities and dresses accordingly (hopefully). Rooms are no different. In this room, we have a few challenges. In a small space, some of them become more important than if you had a home because there just aren't any other options for furniture placement. This room is pretty good except for the return air vent located near the floor. That means that you can't place furniture in front of it or it will block the vent. Had they placed this near the ceiling, furniture placement would be better, although it may not look as pretty. In this space, ceiling placement would have been helpful. The room, at only 11 feet wide, meant that I could only use one of my three drawer matching chest of drawers. Since I didn't want to break up a set, I used the other one in Dear Son's room. I ended up having to purchase a piece of furniture for the other side of the bed, but I'll get to that later. The other issue is that of the smoke detector. Does it really need to be right over the bed? I think not.
I would have preferred to have this chandelier over my bed.

So now that you've seen the before, let's get to the "after".

For this room, I wanted to keep my bed, chest of drawers and crystal bedside lamps. I also loved the picture over my bed that I had in my previous bedroom. It had a grayish blue tone to it so I was a bit perplexed at first as to what color I would use in this room. Since I was short on storage space, I also needed to find a place for some things that I loved, namely the Louis XV reproduction mirror, my crystal sconces and my living room lamps. I tried the mirror over the bed however it reflected Dear Son's feeding pump across the room and it was not a pretty view. The only wall I had left was the wall the mirror is on.

I used the drapery rod and drapes from my former living room. I would like to replace them with gold embroidered sheers. I took the living room lamps that I loved and used them behind the sofa for reading lamps.

I kept my crystal scones, that were previously paired with my mirror in the dining room of my former apartment, and placed them on either side of the print. The print is a favorite of mine. I purchased it at Bombay Company many years ago. The print is by Jack Vittriano and is called, "Dance Me to the End of Love". I used the sheets that I already had as well.

Since the other chest of drawers didn't fit on the other side of the bed, I needed to find a table of sorts to hold the lamp. I measured the height of the chest of drawers and then found a small table for the other side of the bed. I needed the height of the tables to be the same so the lamp height would be identical, otherwise, it would look disjointed. I think the new table turned out perfect.

They say that if you buy what you love, it will all go together. Here is a picture of my living room lamps, which I love. Notice how the pattern on the lamp matches the pattern on the bed. The gold color works as well.Even my cat looks great on this bedding. The gold bedding matches his eyes. Of course, he didn't want to open them for the photo, lol.

Let's talk about the bedding a bit. Once I decided to keep the paint color, I wasn't sure what type of bedding that I wanted. What I wanted and what I could afford were two different things. I like Horchow's bedding but most of that was above what I could afford. So, I went with Plan B, and purchased a bed in a bag. I looked online and found some Donna Karan bedding in gold and Barbara Barry bedding in a pastel blue that I really liked, but I fell in love with this gold bedding. I should also mention that when you select colors for your home, you should always select colors that look good on you, for your room. That way, you'll always look good in your home. You'd never buy an outfit in a color that wouldn't look good on you, so why would you put a color that clashes with your skin tone in your home?

In searching for the perfect comforter, I came across what I thought was the perfect one. It was taupe and blue and so glamourous. When I got it home however, there were just too many decorative pillows. It was overwhelming. While it did look nice I just didn't want to remove seven pillows from the bed every night. I'd like to think it was "too much bed for the room", lol. Instead, I found out that some manufacturers now make a bed in the bag with four pieces: two shams, a dust ruffle and a comforter. That was perfect. My new bedding is just that, four pieces. I purchased one decorative pillow for it and I think the room looks just right.

Not only does this comforter look luxurious, but it feels luxurious. I don't think I've ever had a comforter that is this comfortable. If you put your leg or foot on the comforter, it's like placing it on a pillow. It is that incredible. Although this isn't a great picture, I really love the dust ruffle. They did it in a crinkle fabric; I find it very feminine and very glam.

I plan on adding a pair of gold luxe pillows on the sofa to compliment the bedding and make it seem more like one space.

Here the draperies are down. I like adding draperies to a room for softness.

Moving on in the room to storage. If you look closely, you see that I stored all of Dear Son's formula in here, along with some of his changing supplies, namely bed pads and diaper inserts. Can you find them?

They are behind the sofa. I kept a small bookshelf from my previous apartment and decided to try it behind the sofa as a sofa table. I figured if it worked, I would get a real sofa table that is wide enough. This actually works great. A sofa table would be nicer though since it is wider and I could place the lamps a bit further apart which would be more pleasing to the eye.

Here is a peek at what is behind the sofa. I have Dear Son's bed pads (blue) and diaper inserts (top packages) on the left, my tools are in the three drawer pull out bins. On the top shelf in the center is the drawer hardware and any parts that belong to the apartment (I changed out my kitchen hardware for glass knobs so I have to keep the originals and replace them when I move.) In the next two bins on the top shelf are my office supplies. On the bottom shelf are boots and off season shoes.

Small space storage is a bit more compact than regular storage or organizing. Inside the shoe type bins, I simply used plastic bags to sort contents. If I had more space, I'd use three drawer bins or something else. Since I have such a small space, everything must be edited and I keep only what I use. I'll print proper labels later; I've only been in a month and I've had to edit everything. I do have all of my electronics/cords labeled in their plastic bags.

I did the same thing for office supplies.

To the right of the bookshelf is Dear Son's formula. It has to be temperature controlled since it's real food so I couldn't put it in my storage unit since it would be too hot. He is on gtube feeds to I have 6-8 cases of formula to store at any given time. The cat likes to sit on top of it so he has a little blanket that I use on top.

More unglamours photos. I haven't had a chance to do a whole lot yet, with Dear Son home, but I wanted to show you how I used the space to date. Here is the closet for the master bedroom. This is the only closet in the apartment other than the foyer closet and laundry room closet. This closet needs to perform many functions.

Here's how I planned on using it. Prior to moving in, I had to measure out the exact width of hanging space so I knew how much clothes would fit. Remember all of the functions this closet needs to do. It needs to have space for Dear Son's clothes, my clothes, along with all of the stuff in a typical linen closet. I also needed a place for my file cabinet, Dear Son's medical supplies and some home office supplies and books. Small space storage is about maximizing all of your spaces.

I also installed hooks on the side of the closet for Dear Son's hoyer lift and for his Chicago Bears snuggie. I didn't want these items sitting out so I had to find a place for them. I also had to find a place for my vacuum. Tiny spaces equal tiny vacuum cleaners. Don't be fooled though, this vacuum cleaner is amazing!

Moving around the room, you'll see the hooks for Dear Son's sling and snuggie along with a place for my work bag. On the far wall is home office supplies and books.

On the back wall is the file cabinet, some long hanging clothes and moving around the closet, we see the medical bins on the top shelf and Dear Son's hanging clothes. I keep his off season coats elsewhere. Had I not purged his clothes regularly, this move would have been a nightmare trying to edit an entire household in three weeks along with moving my Mom into a nursing home and all of the associated paperwork, plus selling my furniture and everything else.

I edited my clothes and have two bins in storage with clothes I am not using. Not too bad though. I think I did a pretty good job of editing shoes and everything else.

Here are Dear Son's medical bins.

On the right hand side are the supplies from our linen closet, which I showed you previously.

Overall, everything works pretty well. Small space living is pretty easy. It's easy to clean and everything takes less time. The only rule for studio apartment living is that since everything in your home is on display, you have to be diligent about keeping everything neat. I still have some projects to do like painting the chest of drawers black to match the picture frame (and also to match Dear Son's chest of drawers), re-label the bags in the bins, add some gold pillows to the sofa and things like that. Overall, I am very happy with it. I hope you enjoyed a sneak peek at my new bedroom.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sneak Peek: Studio Apartment Bathroom

In keeping with the sneak peek of my new studio apartment, I thought I'd show you the bathroom next. The best part about having a small 650 square foot bathroom is that there is only one to clean! Yay! If you are downsizing, perhaps the best tip I can give you is to embrace it. I happen to love small space living however there will always be two ways to look at everything in a small space; the glass is either half full or half empty. If you stay focused on what you are giving up, in terms of space, you will be miserable. Instead, keep the focus on what you are gaining....more time, less to care for, less cleaning, etc. Once you embrace it, you will find yourself never wanting to go back.

That being said, you do need to look at things differently. As a reminder, here is the floor plan. It's a reverse floor plan so my layout would be flipped over.
While I still have a fair amount of projects to do in here, most of the problems with the bathroom are solved. It's pretty much looked like this since day 1. I used most of what I already had. I wanted the space to look elegant, feminine and simple. I think I succeeded.

Here is what the space looked like before.

One advantage was the circular shower curtain. This design gives you more elbow room when you shower but does take up a bit more floor space. I've used it for a month now and love it. I never liked shower doors.

That doesn't mean the bathroom was without problems. There were several in fact. Perhaps the most glaring issue was the toilet paper holder that was located behind the toilet and about six inches from the floor. This would be great if you were 12 inches tall. Not so great to reach behind and below you. Also, paper would then fall onto the floor. Another big issue was the lack of linen closet, no space for a wastebasket, no place for a bathroom scale. These are things you notice once you move in. And no, there wasn't a linen closet outside the bathroom either. And what about all of those mirrors. Do you like wall to wall mirrors in the bathroom?

The first thing I did was to contact the apartment complex and had them put knobs on the cabinet. Next, I went about solving all of these issues. I leaned a picture against the mirror to block part of the mirror. It also gives a pretty focal point when you look into the bathroom.

Next, I installed a new toilet paper holder across from the toilet. There wasn't a lot of room next to the toilet and I thought locating it across from the toilet, would be a bit nicer. I had this nickel toilet paper holder so I decided to use it. You can see it in the photo below.

Moving around the bathroom, I placed this pretty crystal vase with some white silk roses in there. It mimics the roses in the photo. I added a little glass flower vase. The glass and crystal in the room add elegance but visually do not take up much space.

I purchased a glass lotion dispenser for my liquid soap. It holds more soap and because it's built for lotion, it's a bit sturdier.

I added some vinyl letters in a script pattern to add some elegance to the room.

Here is another view. You can see the curved shower curtain, the picture and if you look close, the toilet paper holder near the floor. I keep toilet paper on it just because the white paper draws less attention to it than if it were bare. Because it's an apartment and not my home, I left it there. If I owned this place, I would have removed it and touched up the wall.

Here's a close up of my toilet paper holder. It's by Phylrich. Phylrich makes really nice hardware. It's easy to install, sturdy and beautiful.

One of my projects is to paint this bathroom. Once that is done, I'll line the drawers. For now, let's take a closer look inside the cabinets and drawers to see how I've solved the space problems of no linen closet, no storage space, etc. Here is my medicine cabinet. I tend to keep it fairly simple. In addition, I pay attention to the toxins in health and beauty products so less is more in my opinion. I try to use the Cosmetics Database to research the toxins in each product. I still have some work to do.

Underneath the sink, I kept it simple again. I don't like a lot of stuff. I stored only the products that I need and use every day in here.

On the left side, I store my hair dryer, curlers and hair spray. As a general rule, I try to stay away from plastic storage containers, first because of concerns about BPA and second because plastic is not very "green". In some instances, it works. I like pull out storage bins in the bathroom. If I owned this place, I would put in pull out drawers and not use plastic storage bins. Also, to line the cabinets, I used hand towels. I had recently purchased some hand towels and had a dozen of them. Since I live in a small space, I really only need to use six at any given time so I took the extra ones and used it to line the bottom of the cabinet. When you move you have to make certain all of your cabinets and drawers are totally clean or you are charged for it so I was certain to put something down right away. Once I paint the place, I'll line it properly.

The top bin is for my velcro rollers and the lower bin for my hair dryer.

The hair dryer...

My rollers and hair spray....

On the right side, I store my toilet paper and a sponge and some baking soda for cleaning the sink. I think the sponge looks pretty in my crystal dish, don't you? It makes everything look a bit more elegant. It looks better when I have more toilet paper stored in here but this is how it looked today.

Here's a closer look.

A look at the drawers....the top left drawer holds my coconut oil. I use Now Foods Organic Coconut Oil. It's great as an eye make up remover, a moisturizer, an anti-aging cream (better than anything else you'll ever buy). I also have a few hair bands and other hair supplies like bobby pins and clips for putting my hair up.

In the drawer on the right side, I store my combs and brushes. I use all of these. I got rid of anything I didn't use. I still need to line the drawes but like I said, I'll do that once I select a paint color.

Since there wasn't a linen closet, I used part of the bedroom closet as a linen closet. This one closet has many functions: it's part linen closet, stores my clothes, Dear Son's clothes, Dear Son's supplies, his slings for the hoyer lift and anything else we need. I'll show you the entire closet when I reveal my glamourous bedroom but until then, I'll just focus on the bathroom storage.

Once I moved to this small space, I had to change the way I organized things. In my former apartment, I had my make up organized differently: eye shadow, mascara, lipstick, etc. Due to the space constraints, I only have one bin for make up. There just isn't space to do things differently. I keep the nail polish remover and a nail vase (full of nail implements) in here as well. The tall crystal dish stores q-tips and the smaller crystal dish stores cotton balls. I used to have these on display in my former bathroom but could not display them in this bathroom due to a lack of space. This works fine though.

Beneath that shelf, I have a few other bins. I store Dear Son's battery for his hydraulic bath lift, some first aid products, feminine care products and some sewing/crafts bin. I had to combine all first aid products to save space. Ditto for sewing and crafts. I also have a three drawer pull out bin for nail implements, razors and a travel drawer with items used for travel. I can't say I was wild about combining all of our first aid into one bin however I needed to save space. Prior to moving, I had separated the supplies into various categories.

One tip I can give you regarding small spaces and stuff in general is this. While it's great to get rid of things you don't use, moving to a small space does not mean you need to get rid of everything. Also, while it's great to maximize storage space in a small space, there will also be limits to that storage. You can maximize the storage space but at some point, you may simply need more space. You need to decide how you want to live. I can tell you after living in this small space for almost two months (it's 650 square feet) that I really like it. I definitely think the 850 square feet I had previously was nice and a bit easier to live in since I could separate things like first aid products etc. however I can also tell you that I am so relaxed in this new space. Everything is so easy and takes such little time. I can vacuum the entire apartment in under 4 minutes and it's under 6 minutes by the time I clean the filter and put the vacuum away. You can't beat that. The other thing that is important to remember is why you are moving to a smaller space. They increased my rent in my previous apartment and while I could have moved to a different apartment complex and had the same amount of space, if not more, I chose to downsize to a studio at the same complex, since our complex is so nice. It has walking trails, a gorgeous pool and beautiful landscaping. It's a luxury apartment complex and for me, I enjoy coming home to a pretty space. People tend to associate downsizing with negative job loss, etc. Downsizing should be viewed as freedom and easy living. It's important to remember too, that small spaces don't need to be minimalistic. They can be luxurious and glamourous too.

The next shelf is Dear Son's bath supplies. Dad gives him a bath and takes his supplies into the bathroom in this bin. I also bought him a kneezie (it's a sponge that you kneel on when you garden to make it easier to kneel) to use in the bathroom since he has to get on his knees in order to bathe Dear Son due to Dear Son's disabilities. The hydraulic bath lift lowers Dear Son in/out of the water however Dad still has to transfer him from the wheelchair to the bath chair and back again. The black box is haircutting supplies. Dad cuts Dear Son's hair since it's easier than lifting him and taking him to a barber shop.

Since I don't have a formal linen closet, I placed a hand painted three drawer chest outside of my bathroom and use it for towel storage. This used to be in my living room at my former apartment. The second drawer stores my bath towels. Since I live in 650 square feet, you don't need a ton of towels. Six is plenty. You'll find when you downsize, that six is all you need of most anything...anything from dishes to glasses, etc.

I used my label maker to add labels to the drawers. I am the only one that uses the drawers, but still. I like things to look nice and it's so much nicer to open a beautiful chest of drawers to reach for a bath towel. I also like having white towels.

The top drawer stores hand towels and wash clothes. It also stores kitchen towels but that's another day's sneak peek.

And the wash cloths...

Everything is labeled. So much prettier than a standard linen closet, don't you think?

So in summary, I still have a few projects to do:

1) Paint the bathroom.

2) Line the drawers.

3) Re-label bins.

4) Replace hardware with glass knobs.

5) Replace plastic bins in the drawers with glass dishes.

Until then, it's simple, organized....

and beautiful. I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek of my new studio apartment bathroom.

Coming glamourous bedroom!

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