Making my basement apartment look like it’s not a basement apartment.

Autumn Hachey Blog

I love design. L-O-V-E  love it. But I’ve been feeling kind of like a phony lately because I pin, and I aspire, and I dream about all of these unique, interesting, thoughtful spaces.. all while living in my mediocre basement apartment in a boring part of Toronto…

I’ve had this mentality of.. “Why put money/time/effort into it? You’re not staying here anyways.. Who cares, you’ll decorate nicely when you have your dream loft”.. (ha, lofty goals- literally). “This is temporary. Just wait until you have a real space.”

Well folks, I’ve been living in this “temporary” basement apartment for five years now. That doesn’t feel very temporary.  And contrary to what my mind may tell itself- it is a real space. Not only that, is it MY real space, and I need to start treating it as so.

No, it’s never going to have sky high windows and an exposed ceiling.. but I gotta give it some cred. I’ve got a MASSIVE backyard and a full vegetable garden. (Which this year I vow not to neglect!). I’ve also had some great luck with planting beauuutiful flowers. 

AND I’ve also got an amazing 85 year old landlord who sometimes cooks for me and my boyfriend.. Like Hello.. Show me a loft that gives you hugs and home-made spaghetti.

Anyways, since we’ve been here 5 years and we’re not really ready to give up fresh cucumbers all summer, I’ve decided that instead of fighting with my little space, I’m going to embrace it and be grateful for what I do have.. And you know, maybe just give it a little bit of a mini facelift. There are lots of small tweaks that I can make to my space that won’t cost an arm and a leg and will make it look and feel a little bit more like my lofty dreams.

The first step for me is going to be DE CLUTTERING.

My eyes are a lot bigger than my apartment.. let’s put it that way. Vintage furniture shopping is hands down my favourite recreational activity.. and anyone who shops vintage knows it’s kind of a sink or swim way to shop. If you see a matching set of velvet art deco lounge chairs for $80,  chances are if you don’t buy them RIGHT NOW and cram them into your house, you’ll lose them forever.. and then you’ll live with the guilt of “the ones that got away”  for the rest of your life.

Autumn Hachey

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How could I possibly let these beautiful chairs lead life without me?

Or this credenza. Or these tub chairs & or THESE teak chairs.. (K, this set of teak chairs were only $10 each.. C’mon.)

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While we’re on the topic of bragging about my greatest hits, check these out. Here’s some solid finds from a flea market in Hanover Ontario near my hometown Walkerton. Side note// I also picked up the credenza above there.. for $25.

10968413_10153196058037573_4127077981539069526_nI have a thing for brass boots. (This image doesn’t show their true size, they are bookends, they are close to the size of my feet..that means nothing, I have baby feet..but they are pretty damn awesome.)

And I also grabbed this set of vintage paintings of cowboys contemplating life in the dessert at a small second hand shop on the way to Toronto from my home town in Walkerton. If you look closely, it’s actually a paint by number.

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The moral of the story here is that I have found out that it is really hard for me to me to look a sofa, or a credenza, or a teak chair in the eye and say  “No.”

Usually I say.. “I’ll make room ..and I’ll bring you to my future new house where I will have lots of room”.. because it’s a dream land in my mind with beams of sunlight and giant exposed brick walls and airy open concept space where all my vintage furniture laugh happily together and tells stories about all the people that missed out on the opportunity to have them forever.

Actually, what usually happens is I get the furniture home (Usually in pretty unconventional fashions, like.. bringing it on the bus..Or hiring my boyfriend to chauffeur it in his bands murder van)..

Exhibit A:

IMG_9207BTW, in this case I was a little strapped for time, and was willing to take any means of transportation to get these babies home- if I were you, putting down something between your new furniture and the dirty floor of an old van is probably the way to go.

So usually I’ll trek my newly beloved furniture home, regardless of it’s shape or size.. and stuff it into my 1000 sq. foot basement apartment. It doesn’t fit. It never does. There’s no room in my apartment for MORE stuff. So what happens is I  leave it there for a few months in an awkward manner.. something that looks SUPERB, like stacked in my bedroom ontop of a dresser.. or crammed in a hallway so you can’t walk through it. You know, places that embody the elements and principals of design without interrupting flow.

Then once it’s percolated in a weird spot in my apartment for a few months, I try to pawn it off onto my parents to “save for me”. (You know, for my future house)..  So far, my Mom hasn’t minded THAT much, and has been sporadically spreading my art deco chairs allover the house.. but I think my Dad is starting to become aware of the influx of velvet sprinkled in every corner and I’ve got another credenza and an 8 foot tufted sofa that I have a feeling he may notice.

I haven’t really figured out an ending to this story yet, or this blog post… Basically, I am pairing down my things and it might mean parting ways with some of my treasured finds in the name of sanity and space. I’ll keep ya’ll posted.

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Side note.. weird timing. I was listening to the Jess Lively podcast this morning, a usual routine- and on the show she mentioned the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.. which, ironically in every sense.. is a book that was given to me by a co-worker (am I really that bad??) and is currently stacked (and unopened)..among a pile of books, collages, art supplies and canvases in my ultra-clean room.

I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

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  • I am the same way, and I live in a basement apartment myself, & I LOVE vintage anything (wow long sentence). I am in the middle of de-cluttering too(more or less the small stuff).. Isn’t vintage amazing? Such an obsession, once you start you can’t stop. Goodluck!! Your place sounds great.

    • Autumn Hachey

      Ahh, I know. It’s seriously an obsession. High five to basement apartments! Where do you usually shop vintage? Fleas? Thrift shops? VV?

      • Yes!! I usually go to Fleas and antique markets all sorts of places :)