Design, Interiors

Basement Apartment Diaries: DIY Kitchen (The Before)

Hello all!

Something I tend to do is wait until something is completely finished to share. I don’t like showing my work half finished.. but I realize that people love to watch something be created. It can be a lot of fun to feel like you’re part of the ride. So.. I’ve decided to write about my kitchen renovation so far- even though part of me really wanted to save the totally juicy before and after for one big sexy post- but I feel like I can share some peaks into the process so far!

So for those of you who don’t already know- I live in a basement apartment on the edge of Toronto. Other than the fact that the ceilings are pretty low and there’s not much light- it’s a pretty decent spot for the money. We live in a great neighbourhood, our direct neighbours share veggies with us all summer.. our landlord is an absolute GEM who literally bakes us pizza and feeds us cake.. we have a MASSIVE back yard which next year I am absolutely DETERMINED to outfit with proper patio/outdoor dining furniture so we can make the most of it.. We have two bedrooms, so I technically have a mini office/mess room.. and all in all the space is okay- we are in a pretty okay place for what we’re willing to spend, how close we are to work, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I am going to chug an entire bottle of champagne the day we move above ground.. but for now, instead of concentrating my energy on what I don’t like about my apartment, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.. Well, my hands.. my boyfriends hands, my boyfriends Dad’s hands.. and anybody else’s hands I can wrangle into helping haha.

So essentially, I decided the place I wanted to start focusing my attention on first was the kitchen. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door to our place.. and the “current” kitchen (I’m saying current but really we’ve already half finished, but pretend I wrote this when we started).. was very dated and cheap looking. It was peeling, it was discoloured and just kind of heavy in the space. I think when they decided to make the basement into an apartment, the kitchen was an afterthought that was just thrown in as affordably as possible. Here’s our “before” kitchen. As you can see it was pretty dark in terms of the countertop. Also, I added a chalk board wall which, don’t do if you live in a basement, duh. You can also see the toe kick was chipped, the vent was all greasy and there was literally only like 10 inches of counter space on each side. Also, because of the wacky pipe job under the sink, there was nowhere to put our garbage and our compost.. so we kept it out on display, like art. The first beautiful art you see when you walk into the house.


Yes, that’s a list of patios we wanted to drink on this summer.. Real mature Bradley. (And icecream)..


Our landlord has a very heavy italian accent and doesn’t always understand english- and.. she’s in her 80s. So when I asked her to go in on a kitchen renovation with me, you can bet she was pretty confused and it was a bit hard for me to explain that I just really thought our current kitchen was.. well, ugly.. and not as functional as it could be. (There was quite a bit of wasted space- and LOOK at that cutlery drawer. We couldn’t even fit a tray in there so you literally had to dig for forks and knives every time you needed cutlery.. and when your bagel is piping hot and  your mouth is watering and you can’t find a butter knife because they all seem to get sucked into the butterknife abyss, it can make for some stressful mornings.).. Her first question was “Why do you want to do that, the kitchen works great”.. Followed by “No..”.. To which I said “Okay okay okay I am silly, I just thought it would be a great project and it will increase your rental value when we leave and” … explaining my story.. “To which she replied “No no no no. You stop. I will do for you, but, is only because I love you.”.. Literally her words. Which was so freaking cute.

So we decided to go halfsies on the kitchen, and believe me.. I do not want to be spending a whole wack of money on a kitchen that isn’t even technically “mine”.. however.. I really love my landlord too, and I personally really wanted to take on the challenge and test of my design brain, so halfsies it is.. but on a pretty snug budget.

So, after she agreed, I did the most irrational thing you could do when you “plan” a kitchen renovation, and I literally just ripped out the top shelves without any idea of what was going to happen next… All I knew was that they were going bye bye. Do as I say kids, not as I do.



So now that all the food from our cupboards was conveniently stored on the floor in my room, we were ready to make a plan! (laughing at myself).. Well, I had a bit of scribbles on paper before I ripped the cupboards out, but really I hadn’t considered much in regards to you know, plumbing.. installing said plumbing in new cabinetry, cutting a countertop.. hooking up the hood fan’s electricity.. you know, all the unpretty technical unfun stuff that happens with a reno.

I knew from the start that I definitely wanted all new cabinetry and I also knew that open shelving was a must because A: It will open up our space a lot and B: It’s way cheaper that cabinets.

Then, with some bribery and some vodka- I convinced my boyfriend Bo and our friend Marc to rip out the remaining cupboards one Friday night. (Side note..Remember when we used to wait outside clubs in insane weather conditions wearing mini-dresses and uncomfortable heels to drink overpriced drinks?) Well now we are real adults. Drinking vodka on a Friday night while you rip out cupboards =adulting. This is what adults do right?




We ripped everything out a day earlier than we had planned (yes we planned it this time)..just because we were excited haha. But this is definitely the part to pre-plan because you would be surprised how often you need to use your kitchen sink. Or your oven. If you were wondering if you can live off pogos and bagels and pizza nova for a weekend, the answer is yes. Yes you can.

The next day was paintin’ day.. and to be super honest, if this was my real real house I would spend some time likely agonizing over the shade of white to paint my space. However, since I am going for budget basement, I used what I had kicking around, which was simply “pure white” paint from Canadian Tire that probably cost $20. Again, if this is your real house- whites are tough and you should do some testing.


I had been considering a pop of pink in the kitchen since I started planning but I had originally planned to colour block the opposite wall to the backsplash. I had one day to paint the entire space and as soon as the white dried I figured it was now or never. I knew I wanted pink and I had a few chips but none of them were looking like what I wanted. So, I started snooping around my apartment to find something pink I liked to hold up and take pictures of against to the wall to see if it would look good. I really wanted to steer away from being TOO pink. I didn’t want it to look immature or like a nursery… so I knew I wanted to lean more towards a peachy pink instead of a pinky pink. If that makes sense.

I found this vintage plate that I bought from a small flea market near my small town, and asked my boyfriend to hold it up against the wall for me. Actually, if I am being totally honest it was the first pink thing in my apartment I tried. (I might chalk a lot of this reno up to beginners luck…)

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Boom. I loved it. So, I took my plate and went straight to home depot, headed to the chips, and found an exact match. All within half an hour of actually committing to painting part of the wall pink. I had to act fast because I wanted to get the painting done before the cabinets went in, because knowing me, I would slop paint allover my new cabinets.


Pretty freaking close if you ask me. 

So I measured out the width of our new cupboards, taped off the space (and used that fun trick where you paint some of the edge colour on the tape first so that you don’t bleed- it worked like a charm!!) & went to town.

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Again, I was pretty lucky that the colour I chose looks good in different lighting conditions. My recco to YOU would be to test paint in swatches on watercolour paper, tape them up.. live with them.. get a feel for them.

Where as I literally bought a 1 LR can of a colour I found in ten minutes and said “if this doesn’t work I will paint over it later”…

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And then, my ADD went into overdrive and I decided, I should make some art to go with this pink painted wall. So I made some art..before cabinets, sinks, hardware, lightswitch covers.. Art. Perfect. (I’ll share a DIY on that later!)

And then… the super duper fun awesome “all my hard work is paying off and it was worth it to use my office as a cupboard for three weeks” moment came. …

CUPBOARDS!! (and look at that super fine-ass clean looking pipe job down there, Bam!)



We got super affordable DIY cupboards from Ikea. They literally slide onto a track you install to the wall. Easy peasy. (Well, tbh I did a lot of watching at this point haha- special thanks to my boyfriend Bo and his awesome Dad for getting the plumbing sorted out and getting those cabinets installed!)

Add a farmhouse sink, a matte black faucet, a butcherblock countertop.. and you’ve almost got yourself a kitchen!

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Sorry for the inconsistent lighting. It was night time by the time we got these cupboards on!

So here’s where we’re at right now. Next up.. Doors, hardware, backsplash and open shelving. (Woop Woop!)

I am super super happy with how things are coming along and I can’t wait for my kitchen to be done! I’m heading on the trip of a lifetime this week(no big).. so I won’t be finishing/revealing until the end of the month- but if you follow me on Instagram, I might share a few sneak peeks before the big reveal!

Thanks so much for reading. Anybody else live in a rental that they are dying to redo? Any homeowners recently tackle a kitchen reno and can share my pain (and joy?). Let’s talk kitchens!


Autumn Hachey Blog
GET A ROOM: Hotels, Wandering

GET A ROOM: Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh


I thought I knew what love was… and then I stayed at the Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh. 

You know when you have a good buzz on and you meet someone and you just get lost in an amazing conversation that you never want to end? You feel like you’re both totally on the same page in life and you wonder how on earth this is the first time you’re ever meeting and talking to them?

Hey Ace Hotel, nice to meet you. 

When I was researching hotels (my favourite) for my Porter Escape, the Ace was definitely at the top of the list- by far. I’m sure by now you know that I have a thing for interesting hotels. I like my hotels like I like a good sofa. Vintage, unique, and chock-full of history. There is not one boring square inch in the Ace Hotel let me tell you. Seriously, down to the cute little black dot they put onto their carefully folded toilet paper rolls. It’s all in the details and Ace has aced the details. (har har).







Our entire experience at the Ace was fantastic. We flew in around 2PM and took an Uber to the hotel. Unfortunately for us traffic was brutal, so it actually took us more than an hour to get there- but in normal traffic it would take about 35 minutes. It cost $39 US- which comes in a bit less than it would have cost to take a shuttle service from the Airport.

Once we got to the hotel we checked in and I was delivered an adorable hand written package from the front desk. Such a nice touch.



Our room was awesome. It was spacious and the ceilings were 12+ feet high- I tend to appreciate high ceilings more than your typical traveler as for the most part I spend my time in a not-so-high ceilinged environment. All of the rooms have a very minimal vibe with matte black finishes and mid century furniture.


Just finished some half price apps and draught at Mad Mex- heading to a beautiful rooftop garden for some Thai dinner! #Pusadeesgarden #AceHotel #PorterEscapes #FlyPorter #autumnandbodotheworld #getaroom



We started each morning the right way… caffeinated- with coffee from the in house coffee shop. The coffee bar in the lobby sells pastries made at the Whitfield, with coffee made by Stumptown Coffee Roasters who proudly use a Direct Trade method with producers in other countries.

The coffee is as delicious as the architecture.

The coffee is as delicious as the architecture. Guys, I'm not coming back. ☕️ @whitfieldpgh #acehotelpgh #acehotel @acehotel @porterescapes #porterescape

Ace Hotel hosts an in-house restaurant called Whitfield that serves a variety of great dishes. It’s located in the same room as the lobby but somehow manages to create it’s own quaint atmosphere. Plants line the top shelf of a white fence that acts as a wall at the entrance with some benches for people waiting in line. From morning to nighttime the Whitfield seemed quite busy all weekend!


Nestled in the vibrant neighborhood of East Liberty in Pittsburgh The Ace building is a 100+ year old YMCA building, and the Ace has done well to keep a lot of the original architecture in tact. Check out this three-story GYM.


The gym at the @AceHotel is totally badass. On our last night there they hosted a wicked live event that promoted local designers and makers with a couple of awesome live bands. We didn’t even need to leave our hotel to have the best time! #AceHotel #PorterEscapes

I have flashbacks of high school pep rallies and cheerleading routines. Like that one time we did a cheerleading routine in front of the school on the stage.. and usually when I performed routines I never wanted to know where anyone I knew was in the audience, because it would mess me up. So when the performance ended I could always scan the audience and make eye contact with my boo or my friends (when it was over).. Well.. this time, while I was frozen in my “end position” with a cheerleader smile plastered on my face-I made eye contact with my boyfriend… who for some reason had his hand over his eyes- looking at the floor. Turns out in the time it was taking me to find him to make eye contact, everyone else had left the stage…. except me. By myself. Center stage. With my arms in a high V over my head on one knee. Smiling, a big toothy cheerleading smile.

The Ace Hotel is different than other hotels in many ways but perhaps the most notable difference is their community involvement. It seems so fitting that the building used to be a place to help people and grow community, and now even though it’s a business they continue to open their doors to the public for activities and events. You can tell at night that the lobby and restaurant area become a social gathering location as well for the community and Ace patrons alike.

On Saturday evening after returning from a day of exploring Pittsburgh I noticed the lobby area was getting a little busy, and it looked like they were preparing for some type of event in the gym space. I got ready and headed down to see what was happening – at this point it was pretty busy. I found out it was a local event that showcased clothing brands, jewelry, eyewear, and even had two live bands and DJ to keep the night moving. It was really cool to meet and talk with some of the brand owners, everyone seemed very proud of their brand and of Pittsburgh in general. Lots of positive vibes all around! There was also a photo booth that I felt obligated to force Bo into.


All in all we had an amazing trip to Pittsburgh and we can’t wait to come back! For info on booking your own Porter Escape click here! Thanks for a great stay Ace!

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Done is better than perfect

Hey ya’ll.

I’ve heard this phrase before and I’ve decided to make it somewhat of a mantra for myself. I find that a lot of the time it can be really easy to get hung up on perfection. With the internet we are constantly receiving inspiration and ideas and content every waking second. It can be really easy to look at someone else’s work and get discouraged. It’s easier to make up scenarios in your head and accept defeat without even trying than it is to suck it up and actually try something. Trying is risky. Trying makes you feel vulnerable. Trying could mean failure..

I’ve learned by launching a few projects that the only way to learn, is to try. The only way to get better, is to do it in the first place. It can be hard to muster up the courage to do something vulnerable. It can feel awkward to put out something that isn’t your “best work”.. but to be honest.. Starting, grinding and putting out work is the only way to improve.

I used to accept D’s in highschool art class because I would give up on projects that weren’t perfect. I would rather accept a failing mark then hand in something that wasn’t perfect- and I have half finished art projects all over my house because they weren’t turning out right. Guess which art projects I adore the most? The ones I completed. Because regardless if they turned out or not, they were done- and DONE in itself is an accomplishment.

Perfect never happens, it’s not real. Waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect words, the perfect anything.. you’ll be waiting forever.

This is a fantastic example of me swallowing my own pride and trying something new. I’ve been wanting to try video as a medium for YEARS, but I always made that master list in my head that discouraged me from starting.

Here I am world, hear my hamster roar.

It feels great to simply try something you’ve wanted to try. I’m excited to get better. I’m excited to learn more about video. I’m just amped in general. Fuck apathy, do what makes you happy.

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Hey guys!

Dropping in to share some realness.

The hardest things to say or share are always the ones that leave you sitting staring at a blank cursor trying to come up with the right pairing or words to really say what you want to say. I’ve learned a new word today, and it’s a word that I am not really fond of. The word is apathetic. It’s that feeling you get when you kind of feel a bit defeated. Like you’re constantly climbing uphill and the top of the mountain just never seems to break through the clouds. Like you’re pedaling on your bike but the chain fell off so you’re not going anywhere. Like you’re losing traction and you just don’t even really care. Like you’re tired of fighting and just want things to be easy. Like you’re just tired, tired of standing up for what you believe in and you just want to sit down for a minute.

Today, I feel apathetic, and I don’t like it.

When I sit down to write a blog, usually I am on a high. I am excited about something. I want to share something that I love or that I am passionate about. Nobody wants to hear about the days that are crummy. Nobody wants to hear you whine or moan about something being hard or difficult. Everyone just wants to see and read the highlights.

Feeling apathetic is frustrating, because it’s not my personality. I’m the protestor, fighting for my ideas to be heard, waving my flag of optimism and opportunity. I’m the one who will stand against all odds, Autumn vs everyone and dig my heels in until people see.

But not today…

Today I feel half hearted and indifferent. My megaphone needs batteries and I ran out of markers for my picket sign. I’ve stepped down from the top of the table and I’m sitting deflated off on the side lines. I’m left kind of wondering what my why is and if I’m living my fullest potential.

I know this won’t last forever. I know it’s just a feeling much like the ebbs and flows of life.. but I thought it is important to share. We can often look at everybody’s online life through rose coloured glasses and think that everybody’s got it much better than we do. Experiencing different emotions and feelings is part of real life.

Now it’s time for me to chin up and do a little bit of self-exploration. What do I want in this lifetime, and how am I going to make sure it happens?