Before and After: A 485-Square-Foot Studio’s Renter-Friendly Refresh Modernizes the Whole Space

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

Post Image

Name: Pierrick Beaulieu-Wojtowicki and my cat, Raphael
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Type of home: Studio Apartment
Size: 485 square foot
Years lived in: 1.5 years, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I’m calling this apartment “The Nest,” a space designed for growth, rest and comfort, high above the city in its big concrete tree. A simple, elegant yet highly functional space, perfectly tailored for my current taste and needs. As a young interior designer, I wanted to find a rental apartment where I would have the opportunity to make some significant improvements.

When I visited the studio back in March 2021, the place was in a pretty bad shape. However, I immediately saw a whole lot of potential in it. From the first plank of flooring to the last light switch, the space has undergone a complete cosmetic and renter-friendly transformation. While the apartment is perfect for my daily needs, I also do love hosting dinner parties. In consequence, the place was designed to be able to accommodate comfortably up to eight guests in the dining and living area. During the whole process, I was fortunate enough to have a very cooperative and trusting building management that allowed me to make my vision come true and unravel the full potential of their apartments. While I did all the planning on my own, I got a ton of help from family and friends during the renovation process. None of this would have been possible without them!

I’m a minimalist and I wanted that part of me to be reflected in my apartment. Clean lines, neutral tones, lots of closed storage, discreet and timeless furniture were used to achieve this look. The result is a clutter free and low-maintenance space. I decided to not use colors in the apartment. Colors have powerful ways to emulate certain types of feelings or moods and for certain people like me, they can become visual distractions.

By keeping my space neutral, it leaves more room for the mind to simply wander. As a result, the space is not screaming to be seen, it’s here to nurture a more relaxed state of mind. The space is completed with a few art and decor pieces that I truly love: art prints, vases, plants etc. all come together to tie the apartment perfectly.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Minimal Restful Neutral Simple Contrasted

What is your favorite room and why? Since the place is only one room, I’d say my favorite spot is the sleeping area. This space, marked with a contrasting black accent wall and many plants, fits a queen size bed and has a ton of storage underneath. While being entirely open to the rest of the space, it is lodged in a nook that separates it from the main living area. That way, it feels like a space exclusively reserved for rest and comfort.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? One of the latest addition was the IKEA HOVET Mirror. I spray painted it black and simply laid it on the wall between the desk and living area. It makes the space look much bigger while reflecting the north daylight.

Any advice for creating a home you love? As a minimalist, I’d advise to fill your home only with things that you absolutely love. Objects you will never tire to look at. For each piece you bring to your space, be mindful and ask yourself if it truly adds practical of aesthetic value to your life. On a more general note, I’d advise to always trust your gut when it comes to designing your own space. No matter what your style is, people will have a lot to say about it. Some of my friends love my apartment as it is, while others think it lacks personality. The only important thing is to do what feels right for you.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
Share Your Style: House Tour & House Call Submission Form