Friday, March 14, 2008

My first bespoke room

The story

My father decided, within 48 hours after my plane touched down in Hong Kong, to sell his property. Closing was in thirty days and renting seemed to make the most sense. We weren't sure where I would be working and their old place was in a district I HATE.

In two days' time we rented this apartment in Prince Edward. The building was crappy. The apartment itself was quite sunny though and rent was cheap.

The challenges

My room had a few technical challenges. First, the landlord decided it was a good idea to add a built-in closet that will cut off 1.5 ft by 6 ft from my already small (7 ft by 9 ft = 63 sq. ft ) room:

The closet blocked part of the window, making it impossible to add curtains. We had no plans to stay in this space beyond our two-year lease so there was no reason to remove the closet.

To make things worse, there was a structural column in a corner of the room to the right of the other window.

I must, MUST, sleep in a bed that is at least 3 1/2 ft wide. I also needed a vanity table.

The only way to work around these problems while maintaining my sanity was to design furniture that maximized my space as much as possible.

The solution

The bed
I needed storage any way I could get them. The built in closet gave me no options but to push my bed against the side wall. I designed a headboard that doubles as a storage unit. The headboard was designed to fit against the column. I've added extra storage by adding a side door that closes by magnet and a spring-hinge. I store my winter boots in there once the season is over.

The base of the bed was an effective storage system. There are two big trunks to store my seasonal beddings under the mattress. Four drawers are added to store my clothes.

The vanity was interesting. I was moving countries (from Canada to Hong Kong) and I had a lot of small trinklets and farewell gifts from friends I still love dearly. I wanted to display them and the theory was that I would see them daily as I prepared for my day on my vanity table.

The truth was, while the table was very good at displaying them, it was just too, small. 1/2 the desk was permanently covered by things like makeup brushes and the other half were often covered by bills, bank statements, etc. The table became a piling heap and my oval mirror and cheap plastic trolley became my vanity instead:

My board game boxes became my makeshift counter and a disposable bowl housed most makeup items I used daily.

The colours

As my first bespoke space, I made a few mistakes with colours. I know that in my new apartment, I will stick to a lighter colour palette. The matte walnut wood (no, they are not vaneers), while gorgeous in wood grain and colour, made the space smaller. The black and beige roman blinds added to the claustrophobia. I should have picked that fabric in the all-beige variety instead. I tried to lighten up the room by opting for beige/white bedsheets. It helped somewhat but it felt bland. I purchased the heart pillow from Ikea to try to pack a punch to the room.

The conclusion

Overall, I live comfortably in the space. I will most likely take the vanity to the new space, while the bed will be re-configured for my parent's new space. The headboard of my bed will be knocked off and remade to fit their new space better.

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