A Warm & Simple Apartment for Two
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Name: Carmen Chavarri and Tom Mills
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years; Rented
Carmen Chavarri is one of our fabulous photographers here at Apartment Therapy, and she toured her Ottawa apartment last summer before they moved to the Philippines! “This was our home for only one and a half years, and yet it became such a personal and comfortable space that we find ourselves reminiscing about it every day,” she writes.
When we first visited the apartment, we loved its abundant natural light and spaciousness. We didn’t own any furniture when we moved in (or a car! although we did have the help of friends and family who came on a few IKEA and Home Depot trips with us) and I think it was precisely because we had to take our time furnishing and decorating the apartment that the end product was so organic and reflective of our personalities and style. Our furniture is a mix of vintage finds, DIY and IKEA hacks, and our style reflects the time we have spent in Asia, as well as my Spanish background and Tom’s musical endeavors.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Simple, modern and warm.
Inspiration: Our trips to Japan, especially Kyoto. I love that delicate balance between comfort and sophistication in Japanese interiors. We also seem to like plants and animals…a lot.
Favorite Element: The natural light, hardwood floors and almost white walls. They are such a rewarding backdrop to work with.
Biggest Challenge: Moving in the middle of the winter, with no furniture and no car!
What Friends Say: They appreciate the warmth and personality. Sometimes they ask for instructions for our handmade bed platform.
Biggest Embarrassment: The building is far from new and rooms like the kitchen or the bathroom could use a bit of work, but we were told the owner wanted to redo the whole thing in a couple of years, so he wasn’t willing to put any money into renovations while we lived there.
Proudest DIY: Custom shelves throughout the house and the bed platform.
Biggest Indulgence: Having art custom-framed.
Best Advice: It’s been said many times before but I will say it again: be patient. Don’t try to furnish an apartment in one week. Especially if you like vintage furniture and accents, take your time until you find something that feels right. Bonus tip: pick a few simple pieces and try to make them yourself.
Dream Sources: We would love to go back to a small vintage store we stumbled upon in Kyoto a couple of years ago. Also, Simple, in my hometown.
Explore this style:
- Giraffe print – Shuichi Nakano
- Japanese Mountains Print – The Paper Place
- Cardboard Dinosaurs – MUJI
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