Apartment Smart, NZ Herald, 24 February 2010

I am tempted to buy an apartment after years of doing up houses and selling them. My only fear is that I would find an apartment too bland. Do you know anyone who completely changes their apartment’s look every couple of years? And what sort of changes can you make to give it a completely different feel?

Have to fear apartments offer a great opportunity to be something way more than bland.

There are plenty of options to create different spaces even without changing walls. While moving walls would be great fun body corporate rules and council regulations may not be. There is still much that you can do to change the look and feel of your apartment without gutting it or your bank account completely.

Instead of removing walls, use paint to create the illusion of more space or to create a more intimate space.  Dark warm colours will make walls appear to advance so will make a room visually smaller.  Light cool colours on the other hand appear to recede making the space seem larger.

Create new spaces by using screens. There is a wide range of styles available.

A complete interior paint scheme, new carpets and tiles, drapes and blinds, rugs, lounge and bedroom furniture plus a new kitchen bench top and new cabinet handles will transform a drab apartment into a fresh and vibrant property. Reupholster a favourite armchair in a contemporary fabric to create a whole new look.

Get creative – you can paint a wall with write on wall paint or magnetic paint and have some fun with it.  Easy to change around whenever the fancy takes you!

The main feature of an apartment I saw recently in New York was the view of Manhattan from the large floor to ceiling windows.  We don’t always have these views ourselves but we can highlight what we do have or create the same effect by using mirrors and murals. Think beyond the 1980s murals – these days there are some stunning designs around.  Use this as an extension of your design not only does the long focus help your eyes relax, it also visually extends the size of your room.

Changing the complete layout of your apartment every couple of years could be an expensive option but it doesn’t need to be. Sometimes big surprises come from small features. Have fun and experiment, be outrageous and take the risks, you might love it.  If you really hate it you can always change it!

 

Modern…

“I wanted up to date colours to move me out of the 70′s and thought I could do it on my own but the choices didn’t seem to work. Karen’s training pointed me in the right direction so that carpet and paint colours in different areas work together. I have the more modern look I wanted and have moved the colours of my home into the present.”
– Colleen, Epsom

Elegant and classy…

“We started with a tired, worn apartment and with Karen’s knowledge and guidance on colour, product and placement, ended up with a very elegant and classy result that we are very proud of.”
– Character CBD apartment, Auckland

The result we wanted…

“Karen’s professional advice and approach produced exactly the result we wanted. Our 1960′s home now has a contemporary look and still feels like home. The new kitchen looks clean and modern. She sourced excellent choices of appliances and lights. Her advice on the whole design process produced an excellent result and all of our friends have commented on how great it looks.”
– Larraine and David, Northcote