About sixteen years ago, my husband and I made a decision to stay in Chicago and not just in any part of Chicago, but in Lake View (one of the hottest and trendiest spots in town). My father originally bought the condo, we presently reside and own, in the early ’90s with me as his “partner in crime” as an investment. The one bedroom apartment in the best neighborhood of Chicago would have suit this purpose perfectly, but as time past the purpose of the condo had changed as well.
When my husband and I got married, we had a very limited income and could not afford to buy anything in Lake View or Lincoln Park, so my father generously offered us the one bedroom condo he purchased as an investment to live in and make the best of it, and which we did. We turned our small one bedroom apartment into the best place to live, work, and entertain. It did not happen overnight. The transformation of our condo was gradual, well planned, and within our budget. The apartment visually looks bigger, more modern, stylish, comfortable, and reflects our personalities to their fullest.
The living space we created for ourselves serves the following purposes: it accommodates three people (my husband, our daughter, and I); it lets us sleep, eat, and entertain guests; and it gives me the working space as a professional photographer.
Here are the steps how to accomplish all the above:
Step 1. Begin with the decor, which includes the right type of furniture fitting in size, function, color, and purpose. If it is a small apartment like ours, don’t buy one huge bed, which will take over a whole room. Instead, buy a convertible couch or a bed, which could be easily folded and turned into a daytime sofa hiding any traces of the night sleeping. By doing so you would be able to use the same room for other purposes besides sleeping whatever it might me in your particular case. You can use your bedroom as a home office, play room, photo studio, or a library, just to name a few.
Step 2. If your living room and the dining area are combined, create a visual separation between them with the right kind of furniture. Place a nice dining table with matching chairs at the designated area for eating purposes only with the tasteful chandelier above it (could be a nice touch), and use the rest of the area for the entertainment. The trick is to create a visually larger space than it actually is with the furniture and the right decor. We achieved it with the wall-to-wall bookshelves to accommodate my husband’s enormous book collection on one side and balanced it with an impressive couch on the opposite side. This arrangement created the illusion of a bigger space.
Step 3. If you don’t have a nice view of the city or Lake Michigan, create the illusion of it. Our windows are looking at the parking garage, meaning we don’t have a nice view of anything besides the cars parked below. To remedy this we adorned our windows with the light fabric curtains of a golden hue, which created the illusion of the bright and sunny place, which in actuality it is not.
Step 4. If your kitchen is obsolete and looks like from a different century, remodel it. Don’t be afraid of drastic changes. Get rid off the old ugly cabinets, sinks, and appliances. Go for the best looking countertops, refrigerators, stoves, and other kitchen necessities. Remember, the white and silver color of the cabinets will create the illusion of a larger space. All our appliances are stainless steel, which match our silver color cabinets perfectly.
Step 5. Update your bathroom look. Make it look modern, light, beautiful, and convenient. Get rid off the old and ugly sink and replace it with something absolutely gorgeous. We replaced our atrocious looking one with the work of art sink. It is made of a blue glass and looks like an extravagant flower resting on the elegant silver stem (made of stainless steel). We kept the original large mirror though, which is wall-to-wall. We replaced the frosty looking glass doors over the bathtub with the clear ones visually creating the larger space. We replaced the bulky cabinets with the glass shelves, saving the space and making a whole look of the bathroom lighter. We changed the toilet cover seat from the plain white one to the clear blue one with bubbles, which is simple and extravagant and matches in color with our new sink. We kept the original bathtub, toilet, and plumbing intact. We just completely changed the color and the character of the bathroom, turning it into a beauty of modern civilization.
Check out www.flickr.com/photos/aronlankin/ to see the home improvement photos.