Saturday, June 28, 2014


By the time this is posted, my Mum & Dad will be on their way to my place for the first dinner I've ever hosted, and of course, this means my place is so clean that it could pass as an operating room (without the tragic lighting... anymore). What better time to snap some photos and show how far everything has come along in the past two months?

And why will I know that they're on their way when this is posted and not a moment sooner? Because I've waited 2 months for the chance to show them the finished product and I do love a big reveal with "ooo"s and "aah"s.

Needless to say, I'll go into more detail down the road about things that have been changed, added, or taken away, but for now I'll just briefly outline the transformation process room-by-room.

See "Before" for the full comparison

Living Room:

My biggest problem was the cracks in the wall running between the kitchen and closet doors. They appeared to be cracks in the actual wall (yikes), so my Dad offered to come in for a couple days and fix them up properly for me. (Thanks again!)
But here's a fun fact: this place was stripped down to the bone in 1961 and wallpapered (not before someone so generously wrote '1961' on the wall). After that it was painted, oh I don't know, a hundred times? I believe my square footage has been drastically decreased by how many times this place has been painted.
So why does this matter? Because sometime between 1961 and 2014, amidst the hundreds of layers of paint, a small leak sprung upstairs and water leaked in behind the wallpaper, causing the paint on top of it to crack. The wall was in perfect condition once this was all pried off. It's funny to think how myself and my Dad are likely the only people who know any damage is just due to wallpaper.

Tragically, all doors and mouldings are original and in perfect condition under all the paint (partially due to what is likely a layer of lead paint that formed a perfect barrier overtop the majestic stained wood). It would have been very satisfying and not too difficult to chip it all off, but it would have taken days and... well, this is a rental.

We also pried off (and I do mean pried off) the original antique doorknob plates and my Dad got them back to original condition. Whoever is painting over all this lovely original material should be shot.
Other than that, it was a lot of filling holes, sanding, painting, scraping, cleaning, and decorating. You'll see I also swapped out the hideous paper-esque light fixture for my mason jar fixture. Much better, and less people will hit their head off it.

Same problem in the kitchen with the cracks, and more or less the same solution.

And of course, we all know the debacle of the kitchen cabinets.

I had to remove a lot of screws from windows and door frames (more on that shortly) and change out the lightbulbs (the light was uneven and very industrial). You'll see the microwave carts were swapped; a wise recommendation from several people. Added a curtain to cover the old exhaust outlet, added my usual kitchen organization, scrubbed the stove half to death, and we're in business. I love the amount of space in this kitchen. It may not be used wisely in the general layout of the apartment, but the fact that I have all my furniture back is lovely.


I should mention, there was a lot of sanding happening in the apartment in general, but the bedroom especially. From bad patching to bad painting, there were lumps and bumps all over. Some fun with a belt sander on both walls and doors lessened that a little. I'll admit by the end of the bedroom I was really bloody sick of sanding so, I didn't mind a couple remaining dimples.

I haven't put a curtain in here because of the window frosting (which is just frosted MacTac), and the need for a curtain just hasn't arisen. Okay, fine, I don't want to hem the ones I bought, alright?

Added fold-out hooks that you can probably find in your grandmas's sewing room to the back of the door for my expertly curated collection of sweatshirts. The dresser is new (well, not really, obviously) and I really like the shabby chic aesthetic it adds to the the room.


As I mentioned before, I didn't have a lot of photos of the bathroom. I can tell you that a major problem though was sanding down the wall and the cabinet (more bumps), and filling in holes. It's not clear, but there are two knobs at the back on the left wall and it took me a while to figure it out; turns out the kitchen and bathroom used to have heaters and they were removed. Why? I don't know, but I'm sure I'll be seeking answers in 6 months when my morning showers are a bit more death-like.

Since the main wall is cement, I wasn't able to mount any fixtures, so I kept the two decrepit, bent nails in the wall to hold my towels. Judge me if you will, but it gets the job done. One of the former radiator knobs serves as a washcloth holder.

Also scraped a lot of paint off the floor, walls, fixtures... clearly dropcloths weren't a concern in the past 50 years. Also got a cover for the curtain rod so it's white like everything else.

BONUS: Remember how I mentioned removing nails and screws from the wall? Well that's not all. It seems no one has bothered to remove any of their curtain brackets in the past 50 years and I was left with a hell of a collection to remove myself...
I felt like I was going insane from all these curtain brackets. To the point where when I saw this in the oven, I was sure I was losing it...


  1. So just to verify, you took that first bathroom photo while standing in the tub, yes?

    1. ...yes. Yes I did. I'm glad someone noticed it.