Wednesday, April 18, 2012

dream decorating project

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it before, but my ultimate decorating fantasy (well, at the moment, anyway) is to redo Idle Husband's apartment in Athens.

There's nothing inherently wrong with the apartment or the furnishings. It would be perfectly acceptable if one person stayed there but now that I'm around, that apartment has become the most uncomfortable place ever in the history of ever.

I'll start in the bedroom which has really good bones, i.e. a built in closet. The furnishings include:
  • 1 hard-as-rock twin bed
  • 1 pretty useless desk covered in stuff
  • 1 pretty useless shelf with doors also full of stuff no one's using (duh useless!)

The living room/kitchen/dining room, again, has pretty good bones, i.e. the kitchen cabinets are nice and all along one wall. The furnishings include:
  • 1 probably too large tv stand and 1 older model tv
  • 1 six-seater dining room table
  • 4 extra large dining room chairs
  • 1 three seat sofa that (get this) converts into a twin bunk bed (a twin set of bunk beds! I discovered this after I insisted I had to know what it converted into after one particularly sleepless night)
  • there might be a couple side tables doing nothing but taking up space, too, I just can't seem to focus on the little details anymore

In theory, that doesn't sound so dismal, right? But when I tell you this apartment is 388 square feet and this stuff is literally squished into it, do you understand now?

Let me describe to you a typical stay there. Since the bedroom is pretty much useless to us (twin bed and all), we leave our suitcases in there and live out of them. I know, I said there's a super nice built-in closet? Well, there's stuff in there or no hangers... or some reason why we never use it.

Therefore, we find ourselves pulling out the sofa "mattresses" that are really just foam pads that are a part of the twin bunk bed shenanigans. They don't really function as a double mattress but, pushed together, they kind of work (except they always slide apart mid-night). There are no sheets, no comforters, no suitable pillows for some reason, just blankets, and the mattresses go straight on the floor in the kitchen (my layouts are not to scale, so, to answer your thought, no we can't put the mattress on the bedroom floor. There's not enough space). To give you an idea of space in the living area, once the mattresses are on the floor, in front of the sofa frame, the bottom of the mattress (i.e. where our feet are) wedges right up against the kitchen counters. That's the width of the whole living area.

Now we're wedged on the floor and we have to get up off the floor, go around the dining room chairs -- let's hope we remembered to push them in the night before so no one stubs their toe -- and each other (sad is the person close to the window wall), to access the bathroom (and as much as I don't want to admit it, the older you get, the harder it is to get up off the floor in the middle of the night).

Furthermore, the tv is on the other side of the dining room table, so we can either sit in upright dining room chairs to watch shows at night or we can lay on the floor and angle ourselves so we can watch tv through the dining room chair legs from our makeshift bed (since the couch is unusable with all of its cushions on the floor for sleeping -- not like it was usable for tv viewing before since it's not even facing in the direction of the tv -- it's too wide to be placed that way).

Sounds like a relaxing vacation, right? And the jet lag going to Greece is absolute murder (coming back is much easier on the system). We're usually so tired from the trip itself that all we want to do for the first day is sleep and these are the accommodations we're arriving to. It's better than the chairs at the airport but not by much.

So I have suggested many times that the most awesome gift Idle Husband's parents could ever give us would be to empty the apartment of all the furniture and stuff. They don't have to do anything else to it. Just empty it (cuz for the life of me I have no idea how they got that stuff in there in the first place).

Then I could do something like this:

With this stuff:

Everything is from IKEA since they make a lot of cheap furniture (this is definitely a project for a small budget) designed for small spaces like this (and it would be easy to get most of it up the spiral staircase or the tiny elevator).

I might go with a different sofa once at the store but I actually had this one when I lived in the NAIT apartment and I like that it's small and can convert into a small double bed (good for anyone else -- especially with kids -- who happens to stay at the apartment when we're not there) and it's relatively comfortable (couple of throw pillows would round it out). The splurge is really the dining room set. I could be talked into another, cheaper version, but I've always liked the look of that particular set plus I love that the chairs slide under the table like pieces of a puzzle which makes the whole set only as large as the table itself. I also chose a small laptop desk that would double as a side console and a room divider when placed behind the sofa. We'd be able to use it as a table for drinks etc. when sitting on the sofa, a sideboard for dining, and we could swing a chair over from the dining room set and use it as a desk as well (multi-functional!).

The final total doesn't include the price of a double mattress (and I would definitely agree to a cheaper IKEA mattress, too. Any actual mattress will do!), and the price of the curtains are included, but they're probably not necessary since I think the existing curtains were just fine -- I just wanted to add some nice cheery colour to my layout.

I would also use existing lighting and accessories, I just can't really remember what they were. If anything, these are the things that should be collected over time, here and there, so that's why I haven't included them. I would definitely use this as an excuse to drag Idle Husband to the Monastiraki flea market again! And despite my usual disgust with fake plants, I think some of the fakes IKEA offers would be really perfect for the place since they'd provide that necessary green life without having to worry about keeping them alive while no one is there (shown: house bamboo, succulent, maidenhair tree -- nothing with flowers because I find fake plants with flowers look... faker than a leafy plant. It's not about the design of the flowers, but the fact that your plant seems to always be flowering and that's not natural).

One final thing, the tiles in the apartment are amazing! They're a coppery browny orange and shiny like glass, so I think blues and greys would work the best in the space because of them. And I'm envisioning a blue-grey tone for the walls. Perhaps a feature wall in the living area to make the space appear wider and then carrying that tone into the bedroom as well.

Pretend decorating can be so much fun. Do you have any dream decorating projects that you'd love to make a reality some day?


Laeli said...

My dream decorating project is in an Airstream:)

I love the colours you chose!

Deborah said...

ooh la la, fun! I hope you get to actualize this fantasy decorating. Seems very practical and would so ease the jet lag and make the trips to Greece more fun! My vote anyway--