Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rentals Dos and Don'ts

Rental apartments can be a lot of fun to live in.

And most importantly they do not need to be plain or boring.

With today's economy many homeowners are downsizing and renting apartments as it is the easiest and least expensive way of living.
Taking into consideration they do not have to pay for property tax, and all the expenses that come from owning a home.

When renting an apartment a lease is signed and there are many rules as to what is allowed and not allowed to do in a rental apartment. Pay attention to the details of your lease, and if you have any ideas, before proceeding with them, discuss with the landlord and get their approval first.

In a nut-shell what you can do and what you cant do in a rental is pretty straight forward. Most importantly treat this space with a lot of respect and love, it is going to shelter you just as much as your own home.

In most cases the things you are allowed to do are:

  • Paint, oh yes paint one of my favourite ways to change the mood in a home and personalize it. Painting the walls of a rental apartment will not cause any damages, however when you leave the place, take into consideration that you might get asked to paint the walls back in the off white colour you found the place with when you got in.
  • Wall paper, today's technology has changed so much that you can easily apply wallpaper and remove it without damaging the walls. Some glues will actually remove layers of the drywall and this is why the landlords prefer not to have wallpaper applied to their walls. Wallpaper is a fantastic way of giving your room a lot of character and dimension. Have fun with it and follow the instructions of the manufacturer carefully.
  • You can change the light fixtures of your apartment, have this done by a pro. Last thing you want is to give yourself a nasty electric chock or cross the wires and cause a fire. Hire a pro for this. Make sure that when you leave, you put back the original fixtures. A great way to stay on top of things is to label each fixture you remove and put them all in one big bin together.
  • You can change the hardware on your cabinets as well, just as above make sure you label the originals and number them so you know where they belong when you have to put them back. Again it is wise to store all these in one container easy to find when it is time to go.
  • Hang drapes and curtain rods, they give the room a beautiful gentle layer and soften the hard shape of the window frames. Drapes give any room a cozy homey feeling and are a great design element, they are the dress that frames the view outside your dwelling. Whether you love a grand dress or a simple nature inspired one, this is your game, have fun co-ordinating. Make sure when you leave that you repair the holes you put in the walls to hang the curtain's hardware.
  • If you got a carpeted apartment, do steam clean the apartment at least twice a year, so that the place will feel clean.

The following you are absolutely NOT allowed to do, unless of course you have done some sort of agreement with your landlord:

  • You cannot change permanent elements in your apartment. Like carpeting, flooring, sinks, cabinets, tub etc... It is totally forbidden to do so, and if you need something replaced you have to ask the landlord to do it.
  • You cannot bring walls down. You could end up compromising the structure of the building, also remember you are not there permanently.
  • You cannot do any plumbing or electrical repairs either, if something is broken, call the landlord and they are responsible.
  • You cannot put permanent fixtures in the apartment either. For example you cannot add a back splash in the kitchen if there isn't one, or add permanent cabinets etc.

Living in a rental is fun and easy to do, just follow your landlord's requirements. If you want to do some decorative and aesthetic changes, ask them first before you do anything. You'd be surprised at how many do not mind it, as long as there are no damages caused to the structure or the safety of the building, and as long as other tenants safety is not put at risk either.

Enjoy your rental and have a blast decorating!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Touch of Chic

Turning a Walk-in closet, from drab to fab, was a lot of fun, given the very small space, and the limitations of a rented apartment.

"Combining exquisite elegance with functionality is one of my favorite design games, since I have to make every part of my 900sqf apartment work for me and my family". Explains the designer.

In this particular project, roomy pieces of furniture in an ultra dark brown color were strategically placed in the space in order to allow easy movement, while avoiding the feeling of stuffiness in that very small closet.

In an effort to be eco friendly, an existing cabinet was recycled by painting matching ultra dark brown stripes and replacing the hardware, it was inexpensive and ended up being a very functional esthetically pleasing solution.

An elegant, wallpaper with a shimmering silver leaf picking up reflections of light, off the crystals on a delicate mini chandelier was placed as a backdrop to the two largest cabinets.
The wallpaper was used to a minimum, since it is not, allowed in rental places because of the damages it could cause to the drywall, while removing it.

The remaining walls were, painted in a neutral color enhancing the light feel in the dressing room.
Pink was, used as an accent color in oversized storage boxes, to tuck away all clutter, making the room and shelves look neat and roomy, adding a hint of femininity without going overboard.

Decorative items in shades of white, pink, black and silver were, used to pull the look of the room together.

This is how a previously dreaded and cluttered walk-in closet got a face-lift and now feels breezy and light with a little touch of chic.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Mighty Powder Room

The almighty tiny powder room. One room that speaks interesting dimensions.
However, this tiny little nook is perhaps one of the most important rooms in your household.

Why? You may think.
This is the room where your guests will go and visit, and feel really pampered or feel uncomfortable depending on what is in it at the moment.

A room that will say a lot about you and how you treat yourself and others. Yes, our homes are a reflection of who we are and how we feel, they show our style, our moods, they say a whole lot of who we are.

The powder room in my opinion, should be designed in a grand way. When your guests visit they should be in total awe, and this will make them realize how much you care about them, how special they are to you, they will feel treated like royalty.

Go bold in your powder room and splurge, splurge, splurge. Invest in a professional reno, beautiful accessories and fixtures this is money well spent and an investment that will show you its value, every day when you visit your own powder room, every time you have guests, and surely at resale time.

Always remember, beauty and functionality go hand in hand when designing, especially in small spaces. You want to make the most out of your space, and you want to create a feeling that the room is larger than it seems.

Go grand go bold and enjoy!