Hi there! This is Daybreeze, a designer who loves finding beauty over little things and capturing every moment by taking photos. Currently, I work as a brand designer for a college.
It was my first time buying a new house and planning a remodel. It surely feels great and proud to see a beautifully-done house and thrilled to share it with you. Now, follow me through the virtual tour of my cozy home 🙂
⚡️3 Secs Shortcut!
Before Moving in
–My first home, a 213-square-foot studio
I bet we all have this fantasy of living alone, and my first home started as a 213-square-foot studio two years ago. Since it was the first real place of my own, I put a lot of heart into decorating the space. Then I bought this second home, a small apartment aged over 20 years. Moving into an old apartment, I had to tear down some parts of the house.
First, I placed old furniture used from my previous home then filled spare spaces with new items one by one. Since I tend to avoid overstretching myself in work and life, I’ve managed to have just enough of the right stuff at this beautiful home.
Planning a remodel was quite frustrating, but with the basic layout in my head, I had clear standards for making the agonizing decisions and saved both time and money.
Renovation From Start to Finish
– Furniture arrangement ideas
Though an old apartment, the former residents had kept the house neat and clean, while bringing in lots of natural light until late afternoon. Still, it needed some repairs and replacements for the time-worn parts.
Remodeling a 605-square-foot apartment was kept simple and to the point. Within a fixed budget, you need to make clear decisions on where to spend and save. I also decided to focus on freshening up by creating a cohesive color flow throughout the house without completely rebuilding it.
📜 Project Details
1. A 605-square-foot apartment aged over 27 years
2. Living room/Dining area + Bedroom
3. Redoing the bathroom and kitchen, repairing and insulating the sash windows of the bedroom, hanging wallpapers, flooring, replacing the door frames, installing a video door-phone, built-in closet in the bedroom, and shoe storage cabinet (had to leave out the windows/tiles of the living room and balcony due to a tight budget)
* How Long: a two-week schedule
* In What Order: Overall teardown-> Pulling down the bathroom -> Installing units in the bathroom -> Removing the sink -> Waterproofing the bathroom -> Rewiring -> Woodworking -> Installing the films -> Tiling & Painting the balcony -> Hanging wallpapers / Setting up the bathroom -> Flooring -> Furniture finishing
From the start, I had 1) sought out interiors references of the style I wanted, 2) switched back and forth between the existing and new fixtures on the floor plan, 3) talked with the builder on the overall color palette/moods and arranged what could be done within the budget, and of course 4) contemplated over and over till the end.
A. Living Room
I spend most of the day here, in the living room. It was quite big enough to make separate rooms for a couch to relax and enjoy some downtime and a dining room where I could eat or do some work on a round table. With the furniture placed in balance centering around the living room, I made better use of spaces in every corner.
Facing north, the sun barely reached into the old studio, but this house brings in abundant natural light from early in the morning and fills the whole area until late afternoon. I could enjoy every kind of light throughout the day which brings a sense of wellness to this home and boosts my energy during the weekend.
Actually, this couch, 86 inches wide with 78 inches seat width, is slightly big given the floor area of this house. But I wanted a sizable piece to take a restful nap during the day (and this one is just perfect!).
I picked a dark navy to create depth and visually expand the room. In fact, with proper furniture arrangements, light colors aren’t the only options for tight spaces. The rug underneath is where I would do some workouts or just sit and relax when guests are over. This 27 inches wide, full length mirror has been with me since the old studio. It makes the room look brighter and larger.
A-2. Dining Area
On the one side, there’s a hamper for storing all sorts of stuff, and a cupboard on the other. Small furnishings based on wood blend well with the oak flooring.
This 35 inches round table has also been with me since the old home and still doing its fair share.
Here, I watch some YouTube or Netflix, have meals, and even do my work, so I try to keep the table clean.
The white-on-white combination of walls and table become a good canvas in the sunlight. Any decorating ideas can help this place come alive with color.
B-1. Kitchen: from the sink
I had planned on creating a spacious kitchen before starting this remodel. I extended the sink to where the fridge used to sit and added an island in the end.
I was also dying to have a square-shaped sink bowl and high arc faucet. And instead of an induction cooktop, I placed a gas stovetop without removing the existing wiring. Underneath, I made room for a microwave rather than drawers.
An outlet was a must as I needed to put an electric rice cooker and kettle, but since this space was originally for the fridge, the outlet was placed on the bottom and I couldn’t tear down the whole wall to rewire. Then luckily, my builder came up with this idea of installing the outlet on top of the sink, and it’s been much better with the wireless charger and even an USB port.
The storage space under the cooktop came in pretty large enough to also put a rack above the microwave to stack cutting boards or plates.
B-2. Kitchen: from the fridge
Living alone, there was no need for a big fridge. I brought in a bottom-freezer fridge, helping me with keeping the container clean and tossing away the leftovers.
As an enthusiastic home cook, I’ve been keeping this large-sized air fryer and definitely had to make room for it. This shelf by the fridge, let alone the fryer, houses all sorts of stuff from bathroom items to a laundry basket and fits in various sizes of storage boxes.
I needed a sweet retreat with a hot bath every weekend, so I asked for a tub, instead of a shower booth. With that, I asked for a glass partition between the tub and sink. Although I have to do some extra work wiping off water stains every time I shower, I love how it prevents the water from splashing to the sink and floor.
I mounted a medicine cabinet with mirrors to store some toiletries and skincare products. It totally saves my time getting ready. The wooden tiles on the wall were actually chosen by the tile company, adding more coziness in the bathroom.
A slight bummer is the grout joints. The dove-gray colored joints make the beige tone tiles look brighter. I had no idea that the same tile can look very different, depending on the color of the joints. White joints make the tiles darker, and vice versa. It would’ve been better if I had known this before, but oh well.
To build this space as the bedroom, I had replaced the sashes and taken extra care of improving the insulation. I wanted to curl up in a welcoming sleeping nook, so I put up oatmeal-colored wallpapers and installed a warm sand gray built-in closet to correspond with the ambience.
Frontal view of the built-in closet.
For the curtains, I thought of hanging blackout curtains at first, but chose to go with dark-colored and patterned curtains to avoid creating a stuffy feel while blocking out the sunlight to some degree. The length was also cut to fit with the size of the windows to give an airy look. I picked the LED flush-mount type for the ceiling lighting as I might do some reading or use my phone before bed.
E. Foyer & Closet
I found a lot of foyer interiors with a table to provide a spot for accessories and a coat rack. Inspired by some of these designs, I decided to place a half-height cabinet by the front door.
The cabinet was big enough to put all my shoes in and a 31 inches round mirror above gives a spacious look.
I put an accessory box and some of my everyday perfumes on top of the cabinet. Occasionally, I let some décor objects sit here to change the mood.
The flooring right in front of the door was finished with ceramic tiles. The builder had done a fine job in laying these tiles while minimizing the height difference in the floor level.
And this HAY jute doormat, got after a long wait, is thick enough to make the floor look cohesive. Remember, this doormat needs an anti-slip backing doormat underneath!
After discovering this hidden closet by the door, I thought this could provide perfect spaces for storage or serve as a coat rack. I removed its old wooden door but kept and painted the inner shelves. The patterned drape is more convenient to open and close, brightening the first impression of this home.
– Inside the closet
This 3-tier trolley was originally going in the balcony, but settled here as a storage spot for towels and groceries.
The wooden clothes rack standing by the side is just the one I’d imagined for entryway furniture. Usually it holds my bags, but as soon as guests walk into my home it welcomes them with a place to hang up the coats.
I didn’t do much for the balcony. Just the walls got some freshening up. I replaced the old shelves with a plastic storage box to contain odds and ends.
A typical balcony with a washer and bike! 🙂 I might try something different with this space when it gets warmer.
💡 Storage & Styling Tips for an Old Apartment
Without built-in furniture, the storage spaces of an old apartment are far from enough. The small built-in closet in the bedroom, my bed with drawers underneath, and a small modular cabinet managed to store all my clothes. The closet by the front door also helps keep the home organized. But I still had lots of belongings that beg to be stored. In the end, I settled on finding fixtures that can both store stuff and decorate the home, while meshing well with the overall vibe and mood.
1) Bamboo storage basket
Because of the simple and minimal surrounding, devices like multi-outlet power strips or set-top units are easily noticed from any corner of the house. I decided to put them in this bamboo basket with an airy storage. A rattan laundry hamper aside stores some fabric items.
Neat and tidy while pairing well with the living room area
2) Picture frames
After arranging most of the loads, I picked picture frames to give life to the house. Using my skills as a designer, I made these posters from the pictures taken myself during a trip to Australia. I hand picked several shots considering the vibe and mood of the home.
The one standing by the mirror is actually an art piece by a friend of mine. I placed it here to enjoy more often.
3) Décor items
I had longed for a decorative mobile before moving in. It livens up the atmosphere and naturally connects the kitchen and living room.
I installed a pendant ceiling light for the living room. I’d actually wanted a longer one, but given the low floor height of 90 inches, I had to settle for about 20 inches in length. To add more lighting, three bulbs of recessed downlights were installed on one side. I chose a warm white bulb for the recessed lights and a cool bulb for the pendant light to cozy up the area.
The bedroom has a smart light which I can remotely control the bulb’s color and brightness depending on the time or purpose. I can program when to turn on and off as well as find my own creative uses!
Most of the time I rely on the smart light, and this table lamp by the bed adds more lighting when needed.
I love capturing every single beautiful moment in my life. After moving in, I’ve found myself holding the camera more often than before.
I guess my original style and personal touches have created a house saying a lot about myself. It was so good to share my sweet home filled with my own details and ideas. Thank you all for making it to the end! 🙂