TWO BEDROOM APARTMENT CONCEPT

Check out the latest concept I've been working on for my website! I'm putting together three small residential concepts based on real floor plans from around Vancouver. I hope to specialize in stylish and unique, but often small, metro dwellings that require excellent functionality moving forward, so these will illustrate what I can offer clients looking for just that! 

For this two bedroom apartment, I'm working with high contrast neutrals, warm woods, cozy textures and abstract art to create a look that would appeal to both men and women. The kids room was created with a little girl in mind but with a few small changes it could work for either gender! I ADORE designing kids rooms! 

Stay tuned for more developments on these concepts!

XO Bryony

LIVING ROOM

DINING/KITCHEN 

MASTER BEDROOM

LITTLE GIRLS ROOM

How to Decorate a Small Space for Christmas

The holiday season is upon us! Bells are ringing, children signing, all is merry and bright.....and all that jazz! This post is for anyone hoping to dress up their small space for the holidays! 

1. Go Natural

Use natural items like greenery, berries, and pinecones to fill existing vases or bowls! Add a little greenery to the top of a table or the mantle of your fireplace! The perfect thing about these items is that they are long lasting (Think the month of December) and disposable after the holidays are over. If you're on a tight budget, you might even be able to collect a few of these items from the great outdoors! Go for a hike and see what you can find! 

Decorating for Christmas is a fun tradition! If you're living in a small space you may not have a lot of room to store decorations throughout the year. You also don't want to go overboard in small quarters or you might reduce the functionality of your space and feel overwhelmed by the extra clutter. Here are some simple tips for getting your small space festive! 

6. Get a Mini Tree!

Don't have the space for a full sized tree? Why not get a mini one instead? Many florists and nurseries carry real mini trees at this time of year and the best part is you can probably plant it somewhere after the holiday season! Make a mini sized garland and some mini paper snowflakes to hang on the branches. You can even get a set of mini twinkle lights! 

2. Make it Smell like Christmas! 

Scents have the ability to bring back good memories and improve well being. Every time I smell cloves I am reminded of the joy of opening up the Christmas chest to decorate our house as a kid (We always had a basket of pomanders in there). You can make your house smell great by brewing your own pot of Christmas potpourri on the stove (Any mix of cinnamon sticks, oranges, pine trees, and cranberries), by burning or diffusing essential oils like fir, pine, or cloves, or by burning holiday scented candles! The great part about these suggestions is that they can all be used up throughout the holiday season and they don't take up a lot of space! 

3. Candles.....Lot's of Candles! 

Candles are great for adding extra light on dark days and setting a cozy mood! They can fit on to any surface and will be used up by the time the season is through. If you're on a budget, grab candles from the dollar store and put them in existing jars, glasses, or on a serving tray!

4. Make your own Garland!

Garlands can be simple to make, cheap and disposable! Make it fun and get crafty! You could collect pinecones from outside, or cut snowflakes and stars out of printer paper and thread them on a string! The possibilities are endless but be sure to keep it simple for the best results! 

5. Get Cozy!

Make some space on the couch! A chunky wool or (faux) fur blanket is the best way to add warmth and texture to your decor. I personally love having them around all year long but they are especially nice to have during the holidays! 

Who's excited to start decorating?! December first is right around the corner! Wishing you all a fantastic holiday season full of family, friends.......and miniature Christmas trees! 

Please visit my Pinterest page here for the sources to all images and more fun decorating ideas! 

Living Small: My Micro Apartment in Paris

For the past five months my husband and I have lived in a pocket-sized 130 square foot apartment in Paris. We rented it from an interior designer who designs luxury yachts in Italy and who is most definitely a master of small scale design. Living in this minuscule apartment has admittedly peaked my interest so much that I too am working to make it my expertise. What draws me to this niche is the higher level of creativity and customization it takes to pull off a functional small interior. I now know first hand that living in a small space can be enjoyable with the right design and I want to help others discover that too! Today I'm taking you on a grand tour of the space and sharing my experience living in one of the smallest apartments imaginable.  

Full Measure Floorplans

Full Measure Floorplans

Here is the floor plan to give you a sense of the overall space!

On the left, we have our front entryway and closet! We came to Paris for the year with two large suitcases and a few small carry-ons. For two people, the closet space is limited so we pared our clothing and shoes down to the ones we were consistently wearing and left the rest in our suitcases. The smaller bags are also stored inside of our larger suitcases which are neatly tucked on the platform above the closet. Here you can see that the murphy-table is in the upright position and is secured to the wall with a slide bolt. The table's legs are on hinges so that they fold against the table when not in use. A small ledge underneath the table acts as a support system and as a small desk when the table is up. Most of our shoes fit under the closet space and a few of the taller ones sit under the table. 

On the right, you can see that there is a rod to hang jackets from and a few additional shelves for storage. The rod is able to extend out so that it is easier to get items out of the closet.  I am used to hanging most of my cloths at home so only being able to hang jackets was an adjustment. My wardrobe is much more casual here for that reason. 

When the table is down we bring over the "living room furniture" and use it as both a shared desk and dining table. It is actually quite a spacious table and can easily support two work stations. We both work from home so having a good workspace is important to us. 

Here we have the table back up and the murphy bed down for sleeping. It's a comfortable and simple bed with two white pillows and a duvet....What more could you need? When the bed is down it basically fills the room. As it only comes down right before we go to bed this isn't a problem. Murphy beds can transform any room into a bedroom in a flash! It's one of the best tools in the small design belt and is perfect for multi-functional rooms. 

Here we have both our kitchenette and bathroom sink. This concept took a bit of an adjustment period but makes perfect sense in a space like this. The key is keeping it really clean so that there aren't dishes sitting in the sink when you want to brush your teeth at night. Small spaces tend to force good habits like that! Our kitchen consists of a two burner stove and mini fridge. I do miss having an oven because I love to cook and bake but it's still possible to whip up great meals in here. I even managed to pull off a half decent Thanksgiving dinner! I did have to buy a little rotisserie chicken but the rest was possible! 

Under the sink we store toiletries, hand soap, dish soap and sponges. We attached a metal hook onto the existing rod to hang our dish towel up after drying dishes. Under the toiletries shelf we have a small garbage can that we take out daily. Each day we shop for groceries and then use our grocery bag to line the garbage can. Our small fridge is more than sufficient and I waste a lot less food when things can't hide in the back. I really enjoy the "daily shop" lifestyle and hope that I can continue with smaller shops at home. Luckily I live close to Granville Island Market in Vancouver! 

This is the other corner of the room when the bed is down. We tuck the lounge chair in the corner and have a small side table and lamp for bedside reading. The small table can also be used with the lounge chair when the bed is up for a nice little reading nook. 

On the left you can see our shower next to the kitchenette. We added a hanging shower caddy so that we can easily reach our bath products. Using a small shower means having one bottle of shampoo, one conditioner, and so on open at a time. If your shower is feeling cluttered at home and you are constantly picking bottles up off the shower floor, consider this idea. 

Fresh flowers always bring natural life to a space. No space is too small for flowers and I like to keep them around! Instead of keeping a vase, jars like this one work well and are multi-functional for times when you don't have flowers. 

Here we have our living room set up. The fireplace isn't functional but adds charm to the space and provides a nice shelf for the TV (even though I haven't turned it on) and some decorative mirrors. Mirrors help to make the space feel larger and I often do my makeup over here as there is better natural light. Behind the fireplace is a nook with shelving from floor to ceiling. We store books and some pantry items over there. Behind the chair is a cupboard with two shelves where we store our dishes and the rest of the pantry. We have a complete dish set for two and a few pots and pans! Sometimes I have to get creative when cooking but we make it work!

On the left you can see the shower and the toilet. This was the hardest part to get used to as it doesn't offer a lot of privacy. Not shown here is the make-shift curtain we threw up between the toilet and the shower. The barn style door is a smart solution in this case as fitting a regular door in here would be next to impossible. Not shown here are metal hooks that we hang our bath towels on to dry after a shower. 

On the right the barn door slides open to reveal our little toilet room. I'm not going to say this couldn't be bigger. It's like human origami to fit in here with the door closed. There is a small storage space in here where we keep cleaning supplies for the apartment. 

levi.jpg

In warmer months, the balcony can be used as a little work station or breakfast spot! There is nothing like having your morning coffee in the rooftops of Paris! The table also folds down so that both of us can stand out there and watch the sunset. Having a balcony is a lovely thing. To step out in the fresh air and take in the view is something I have really cherished. 

Here are some of the splendid views from the balcony. A nice view can make all the difference. Especially when it's a view of Paris!  

So there you have it! My tiny Paris apartment. Do you think you could live here? It's definitely an extreme case but it has taught me a lot about design and about myself. This experience has taught me to live with less and that's something I would never change. 

10 TIPS FOR LIVING SMALL

 Living small has become a huge interest of mine and I have taken it upon myself to become an expert in the field. Experiencing it myself was the perfect way to start my research on maximizing small spaces and living a more minimalist lifestyle. At the beginning of August we moved to Paris for one year. Just like many other giant cities with condensed populations, space is at a premium. If we wanted the same amount of space we had back home in Vancouver, the rent would be astronomical, so we decided to keep it small and settled into a 200 square foot apartment. In the first few days it became apparent that in order to make this space work, we would have to adopt some new routines. Here is what I have learned so far about living in a small space. Some of these tips can be used to great effect in larger living spaces as well for a more minimalist lifestyle. 

1. All clothing and shoes should be items that you a) love and b) wear often. Invest in quality items and only buy things you absolutely love and need. This is a constant process of evaluation and if something isn't being used it needs to either be donated, sold, or thrown out. Be ruthless in your decisions and you will never leave the house in an outfit you aren't happy with again due to the fact it was all that was left in your closet. You will also do less laundry. This has been one of my favourite changes so far. 

2. Clean and organize for 15 minutes a day. In a tiny space, being messy is not an option. You simply can't close the door to the overflowing storage room or shove your cloths under the bed. I have found taking a short break to clean and organize each day is necessary to keeping our sanity in check. Doing something each day avoids hours of doing everything at once and doesn't seem like such a chore. 

3. Shop for your food daily and eat everything you buy. North Americans are notorious for wasting hoards of food left to rot in the back of their gigantic fridges. I for one was extremely guilty of this! It was insane how much food I threw out. When your fridge is a bar fridge, you are very selective in what you can store and it is usually only enough space for one or two days of food. I can't remember the last time I actually finished a jar of jam or pickles without accidentally buying another one first. When you buy your food daily you can eat exactly what you feel like that day and it is guaranteed to be fresh and delicious. In Paris it is much easier to accomplish this as there are markets on every corner and they package their food in smaller quantities, but you could probably swing every few days in a North American lifestyle without too much trouble. 

4. Use your daily grocery bags as garbage bags. Instead of buying garbage bags here, I have been using the plastic bags as my daily garbage bag. I fill it up each day and take it down the next day. When you sleep right beside your kitchen, garbage can't be hanging around for too long before things become unpleasant. I have found the small grocery bags to be the perfect size to collect the days garbage and that way we are re-using the plastic bag instead of throwing it out or letting it pile up in a drawer. Yes, you could use a tote bag to get your groceries and buy garbage bags, but this is cheaper. 

5. Do your dishes immediately after your meal, eliminating the need for a dishwasher. Not many places in Paris have the luxury of a dishwasher. Keep dishes to a minimum and wash them after every use. In North America we all have far too many dishes taking up far too much cupboard space. If we washed them daily instead of letting them pile up in big dishwashers, we wouldn't need as many dishes. It's a vicious cycle really. 

6. Hand wash one item of clothing each day. Many apartments don't have washing machines here and even fewer have dryers. While I don't think I would give up having my own washer and dryer upon moving home, for now, I'm going to avoid the high cost of doing laundry for a daily hand wash of one item. A lot of my cloths are hand wash anyways so it works out nicely to keep on top of it daily. I will still head to the laundromat from time to time but I'm going to try to keep it to a minimum.

7. Use products (make-up, lotions, cleaners) until they are completely finished before purchasing new ones. You only have so much storage space for products and you don't need two different products that accomplish the same thing. Are you like me (pre-minimalism kick) and have 10 bottles of body lotion half used in your bathroom cupboard? I thought so. When you live in a small space it's best to stick to products you enjoy and use every day. You will save money, reduce clutter, and need less space. I would challenge you to completely purge your product hoard and start fresh. It feels good. Trust me. 

8. Mirrors make things look more spacious. Strategically placing mirrors on different walls in a small apartment can make it look twice the size. In our place there are mirrors on all of the closet doors. It gives the illusion of a continuing space and reflects light to brighten the space. 

9. Utilize multi-purpose furniture. Our sofa folds into our bed and our table folds into the wall to free up space. In such a small space you need more out of your furniture than ever before. Everything has to be easily moved and multi-functioning to warrant it's place. Function and beauty should still go hand in hand in small places but function is king. 

10. Keep clutter and unnecessary decoration to a minimum. Decorative objects aren't really an option in 200 square feet. Great art on the walls is a good idea, but keeping the small surfaces you have clear is a necessity. Focusing on great finishes, fixtures, and storage units that are permanent is key to great design in small spaces.  

I am really enjoying incorporating some of these new tactics into my increasingly minimalist lifestyle. It has been an adjustment, but will ultimately save me time and money. Time is our most valuable asset. No amount of money can buy you time so spending the day cleaning your giant house might be better spent exploring a new cafe or museum wouldn't you say? 

Until next time,

Bryony