Those of you living in Australia might remember when a couple of years ago our government decided to double the first-home-buyer’s grant. It was a time when a lot of young people decided it was time to enter the property market – and my little sister (B) was one of those people. I have to admit that I’m one of those annoying folk who love going to open house inspections when they have no intention of buying – just to have a good nose around other people’s houses. So you can imagine the fun we had finding an apartment for my sister to buy – nosing around properties and with someone else’s money to spend to boot!
B wanted to buy in Sydney’s trendy and expensive inner-East so we were limited to studio apartments (basically one room for sleeping, living and cooking with a bathroom attached). Some were amazingly small with imaginative space-saving notions like pull-down beds that hide in cupboards, single-burner stoves and kitchens without ovens or fridges. Others were not the sort of places you’d want to relax alone at night – on one inspection we eyed axe-holes in common hallway walls and doorways marked where the door had obviously been vigorously jimmied open.
So when we found this place it seemed too good to be true. Her apartment is around 40 square metres, but it has a full kitchen, lots of storage, and – this is truly a luxury - a bathroom with large window, bathtub and washing machine. The interior was very bland – all white walls – which is not my sister’s style. She set about transforming it to align with her Moroccan/slightly bohemian aesthetic.
I love this: B painted the bathroom door and the inside of the front door bright turquoise and painted on arches above the doors to fake architectural interest. The back of the bathroom door is painted bright red. The colours look great with the black-and-white tiled floor.
Plain cream walls became something much more welcoming: The main living area was painted with bronze metallic paint. Her colour scheme is orange, green and turquoise here. The kitchen area is red and the bedroom zone is a pale mauve. We are having the armchair and couch cushions recovered in a geometric fabric: green for the couch and orange for the armchair. Most of the art in the apartment is by our artist mum.
The kitchen is fitted out with lots of made-for-small-apartment-living storage solutions from Ikea.
The thing I love about B’s apartment is that it speaks so loudly about her personality and style. It’s filled with artwork and pottery by our mother that I remember from our childhood home, and though it’s a small space, everywhere you look there’s something interesting to look at. Though our decorating tastes are very different, I really appreciate this space because it’s personal and feels like a home.
I scored the lamp above for my sister on ebay for $9! It came with a matching ceramic shade but it didn’t let out enough light, so it’s being used as a sculpture.