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Looking back: tiny apartment style.

The flip side of buying this house is that we’re also getting ready to sell our current apartment. It’s scary, after living here for a few years now. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. ♫

But hey, seeing as we’re about to move house, I can brag about what we’ve done to each room before we go. I’m not proud of all the older pictures – I only got a proper camera a couple of years ago, and I’m still more of a rookie than I should be. But we put in the work, and over the past three years we gave this tiny apartment style.

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Jamie bought this place several years ago, before he and I were together. The Australian real estate market was going berserk and this was an affordable starter opportunity, so he jumped on it. When I moved in, the apartment still had its glossy white cinderblock walls, its navy blue carpet and its 2″ thick yellow peeling laminate countertops, among other features.

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This apartment was built in 1970, and like a lot of other units, it ain’t much to look at from the outside but it’s highly functional on the inside. The kitchen and living room are open plan, and the living space is north-facing and catches plenty of sunlight. I keep my itty bitty chili farm by the living room windowsill for that reason. Having that direct sunlight makes me feel like it’s less of a fool’s errand to grow habaneros in a cool-coastal climate.

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The apartment has concrete block [cinderblock] walls in every room. Talk about no-frills. But it’s also got solid hardwoods and wood paneling throughout. (Fantastic that Tas oak was the cheapest, most builder-basic material in those days!) To modern eyes, the hardwood on top of concrete block looks like a peculiar mix of high/low. Like a crystal chandelier in a dorm room. Weird mix of material.

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We installed plasterboard over the concrete block in both of the bedrooms. The bathroom got some too, as part of the gut job Jamie and his dad did in there. I found that when we fixed up the crappy-looking surrounds, it really showed off the hardwood and the cool mid-century doorknobs.

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We also went ahead and replaced the all the floors. The bathroom and kitchen got more vinyl tile, but the navy blue carpet elsewhere has been replaced with laminate floating floor, which is nicely neutral as well as low-maintenence. If we were in a house, sure, we’d have sprung for hardwood floors. But this humble apartment doesn’t exactly need to dine out on caviar, you know? It’s still a solid floor, not at all flimsy. We found out just how not-flimsy it was when we took the pieces that needed trimming and sawed them BY HAND with a mitre saw. There  will be benefits to living somewhere with more space and more noise-tolerance for power tools.

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Dig the dark brown accent wall in the bedroom above. Or not. The wall colour bothered me every single night before falling asleep until I brainsnapped and painted all the walls navy blue. Turns out I love it. LOVE IT. It looks amazing with light neutral furnishings in white and cream and grey, as well as any and all natural wood tones. The room now feels crisp and profoundly restful to me, as though I get to sleep in a chic hotel room every night. Absolutely would do it again.

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We wanted to turn our cellblock of an apartment into a place that we’d want to relax and spend time in, and I’d say that we succeeded.

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It’s bittersweet to leave, after spending a little while here and making it ours. But we can’t wait to move in and make our new place feel like home, too.

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