MINI PENNY: Candyland

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Back in October, I gave you a preview of my Chicago apartment, aptly dubbed "Candyland" thanks to its purple walls. While my preview had some pretty vignettes, it by no means gave any indication of space. Today I'm finally excited to share my lilac-tinted third-story vintage flat with you!

For starters, here's a basic (and rough) layout of my 1BR space:

The entrance comes into the kitchen. Off to the left there's a decently sized bathroom and storage space, and off to the right is the living room and bedroom.

So, when you begin to enter into the living room, there are these huge white pillars on either side that sort of "divide" the space between the kitchen/dining and the living area. The bay windows bring in tons of light — it helps that I'm on the third floor and am on a higher level than the buildings around me. There's nothing blocking the sun! Keep in mind that this apartment was painted purple before I moved in. The color was something that attracted me to it when I first saw it on Craigslist.

Upon moving in, a lot of the lighting fixtures were hideous. As you can see in the top photo, I just went to Ikea and bought all new lights (I think this giant sphere was the most expensive at around $30) and replaced them all. It was a really easy and cheap way to upgrade the space.

The fact that I stumbled upon this place was a miracle, to say the least. I had flown in from Philly for five days to find a 2BR for myself and a friend (which in itself was a very complicated issue. The friend ended up flaking — I'm very thankful that I went my own route! I had told myself that I would rather us get in a small fight about me getting my own spot rather than ruin our friendship over cash, but instead she was so bitter about me refusing to front all the money/couch surf for three months that she never spoke to me again. So... oh well.) So Brock and I were running around, spazzing in the dead heat of summer, trying to find me anywhere to live. I was pretty discouraged, and on the very last day, I saw this place on Craigslist list for beyond cheap. When I was about to walk out the door to come try to look at it, I noticed the CL ad had been taken down. Desperately, I walked over here anyway, knocked on the first floor door (who I knew from the listing to be the landlord), and discovered that the place was for rent and that he had taken down the listing because he felt it wasn't "ready" yet. I saw the place, fell in love with it, and Brock and I sat and shot the shit with potential landlord for about two hours. While Brock went to work, I ran to the bank and got the money to put down, dropped it off to the landlord and then rushed to board a plane back to Philly. It was some serious last-minute luck.

The kitchen was pretty easy to update as well. It has all of the basic fixtures, but not a lot of cabinet space. And the high cabinets are really high for someone like me, who is only five feet tall. So I use all of my reachable cabinet space for pantry-esque storage and the harder-to-reach cabinets (like the ones above the fridge and stove) for lesser used items. I then bought a white metal cart (as you can see in the bottom right photo) to store dishes and glasses. I've always been a big fan of open shelving in kitchens, so this is a simple way to give me the best of both worlds.

I love that the kitchen is still purple, but that the white tile extends more than half way up the walls. It makes for a lot of reflecting light and bright spot to have breakfast. Bonus: The west-facing window goes out to a fire escape, where I love to have my morning coffee. In the spring, I'm looking forward to getting some planters! I bought a vintage style metal light to hang over the table. I really want to replace the cord kit with a fabric-wrapped cord, but this works for now.

Since my new place is small and doesn't have a lot of solid walls, I had a bit of an issue figuring out bike storage. I ended up getting a basic hook and storing my bicycle sideways in front of my storage space. The storage space is rather large and goes pretty deep. I am keeping some extra furniture in there for now (a desk and a dresser), plus all of my Etsy inventory, my extra sewing machine, and those types of things. I hung a large curtain using some airline cable to make for easy entry and for a nice cover-up.

I wish there were more to show with my bathroom, but really, it's pretty boring. It's smallish (and still purple) and has some really crazy architecture going on. There is one little cubby in the back that had some ugly press board shelving in it. I ditched it (it was screwed into the wall) and replaced it with a sleek mirror-cabinet ikea shelving. It ended up working really, really well. Also, there was an ugly in-wall medicine cabinet and non-working vanity light. I removed both of those and replaced it with a flat mirror and vanity strip light from Ikea (which ran around $15). You can see what that looks like in my Clearasil post.

And of course, my bedroom. The lighting in this room is the best thing to wake up to — it's just cozy enough to feel comfy under the covers, but just bright enough to tell me to get my ass out of bed and work. Moving from my gorgeous 3BR house in Philly to a 1BR apartment was tough in itself. I got rid of quite a few things, but notably was most upset about losing my giant closet. This apartment's bedroom is much smaller (which I prefer to a big room. I like to sleep in a nook-like space), which means the closet is fairly small as well. My clothes fit fine, but my shoes are where I have a bit of issue. For now I use shelving outside my closet (shown), a little bit of shelving inside my closet, and additional space below my dresser. Needless to say, shoes are my favorite accessory.

I dig this apartment. I have a great landlord and I'm in a great location. It's the first time I've ever had a fireplace/mantle (it isn't working, but still a great focal point!) and the lighting is fantastic. Home sweet home!

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