Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Before getting married last spring, my husband and I lived in separate spaces. I owned a west-coast modern/ranch hybrid of 4,600 square feet, and he lived in a 1,200 square foot condo. After having talked about moving in together for many months, it came as a surprise to both of us that we chose to sell both and start fresh. The idea of amalgamating and downsizing was daunting but exciting as well. We impulsively bought another 1,200 square foot townhouse in a different city and moved all our worldly possessions across the water, lock stock and barrel.
The first challenge was for me to get rid of a lot of "stuff". Being an artist and collector, I feel quite comfortable surrounded by things that I find beautiful. My husband is a minimalist, though. I was ruthless with the large items, but hung onto smaller pieces, knowing I could create a way to display them without creating cluter.
Our 1980 townhouse consists of a large main living area flanked by a galley kitchen, den, small studio space for me, a generous bedroom and two small windowless bathrooms with very interesting "space age" tubs. As strata regulations and building logistics made it difficult to even think of removing the tubs, we decided to let them dictate the style in those rooms, which in some ways made things quite easy.
The place's biggest asset, as I saw it, was a long wall in the living room. At once, I saw that if we could get shelves built-in, I could house my books, lps, stereo and my husband's TV, and create small vignettes of stuff, while keeping it neat, and all tied together thematically with color and line.
Through the rest of the apartment, we replaced old carpeting, changed moulding, added more storage, updated cabinet doors and repainted. We feel the transformation was a great success, and more than worth it. We're living in wedded bliss!
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