My favorite small spaces to admire are the ones that the dweller really makes their own by not only maximizing the meager square footage to suit their needs, but also totally infusing the space with their personality. Jessica's tiny Calgary apartment is a prime example. She creatively re-worked the space to fit her artistic and lifestyle needs, while filling it with her artwork, memorabilia, and vintage style.
Jessica no longer calls this cozy space home. "Sadly, three years ago the building was undergoing change in ownership and they thought they would re-market it as commercial space, and I had to move. To this day it sits empty, the exterior of the building often graffitied or boarded up," she recalls. But taking a "warm and pretty fuzzy trip down memory," Jessica is happy to share her former apartment for inspiration's sake.
Let's start in the tiny kitchen! Jessica faced several challenges in this space: 1) A lot of beige paint that her landlord wouldn't allow painted over with a fresher hue. 2) Ugly floor tile stickers, also non-negotiable with the landlord. 3) Awkward, small, long dimensions. Working a little do-it-herself magic, Jessica modernized her basic white fridge by covering it with 'stainless steel' contact paper. In such a small space lacking drawers, she went vertical with storage above the stove. A shelf harbored decorative pictures while a rack underneath kept oft-used utensils close at hand.
She ended up swapping the dining table out of the kitchen in favor of her painting table and carts. "Having the painting workspace in the living area just got to be too chaotic, particularly when i'm in the middle of a big project." So the brighter corner of her kitchen became the designated creative spot for painting, while she moved the dining table out to the living room to create a hangout space.
When inviting friends over for dinner parties, Jessica moved the dining table up to an upholstered bench (with handy storage underneath). The temporary setup would allow more friends to squeeze around the table. And afterward, she'd just move the table out of the way. Christmas lights strewn beneath the window/heater and hanging paper lanterns added pretty accent lighting for get-togethers.
On the other end of the living room, you get to see just how much character the space had with its beautiful hardwood floors and an old fireplace. Jessica used the fireplace mantle as a focal point for the room, changing out the vignettes for a fresh, new look every now and then. A gorgeous easel to the right of the fireplace displayed her paintings. A vintage trunk (lower right corner of photo) served as a coffee table.
I love Jessica's vignettes and the way in which she displayed artwork along with photography, memorabilia, and beautiful flowers. Isn't that violin on the wall a lovely touch?
Here's a before and after of the reading corner Jessica created. Before, the vintage teal chair sat beside a low table with books stacked underneath... leaving a big blank space on the wall. But by bringing in a ladder-style bookcase, the books are now within easy reach and add visual interest to an otherwise empty wall. Going with a light, ladder bookshelf adds storage without the heavy presence of a typical bookcase that would have otherwise overwhelmed the small space.
In this vignette, Jessica displayed a gorgeous landscape photograph along with natural objects (shell, fossil) for a rustic, earthy feel.
And in this vignette, she lined up her beautiful matryoshkas (Russian nesting dolls) from Moscow and a crystal globe from Prague.
Besides needing a space for her painting projects, Jessica also required a designated space for sewing! She craftily separated her bedroom into two zones by hanging a crisp white curtain from the ceiling as a divider. On the sewing side, an L-shaped desk, floating wall shelves, and a metal hanging tool rack provided a cozy spot to sew. On the other side of the curtain awaited a tranquil retreat to relax and sleep.
An antique wooden headboard lined up lengthwise along her bed created a daybed look. A paper lantern and origami birds floated overhead. And---a girl after my own heart!---Jessica stacked vintage suitcases next to her bed in lieu of a traditional nightstand.
In her bathroom, Jessica took advantage of oft-overlooked above-the-door space to store toilet paper and extra towels. (I love how the towels were rolled up!) A magnifying mirror on an accordion-style perch could be pulled forward for close-ups.
And lastly, Jessica enjoyed this view of the Calgary skyline from her bathroom window!
For additional photos of Jessica's former apartment in Calgary, check out two of her albums on Flickr. In Dwelling, you'll find more photos of this lovely little flat. In her Apartment Therapy Spring Cure album, you can see the before and after shots of her makeovers and projects. Enjoyed the beautiful art she had on display around her apartment? You can also check it out on her portfolio site JessicaMatthies.com.
A big thank you to Jessica for sharing this cozy, artistic space!