As work progressed on The Hug for our client CJ, the plumber needed to enter the adjacent basement apartment.  Which revealed an extremely problematic mold situation which was made apparent by smell alone.  After making it clear to CJ that this is no small issue, she approved work on that unit.

Now, unlike the civilized and planned progress next door with The Hug, here our crew simply went to town discovering as they went.  We had no idea where this would stop, or what we would have to work with.  So we simply stayed nimble, and dealt with it as it came up.


the kitchen – before

Even at a glance, seeing that electrical panel wiring… we may be in for an adventure


beneath the kitchen cabinet

Once we saw this behind the cabinets, we knew there as going to be trouble…


A close up shot of the bathroom floor. Those are veins of mushrooms growing in the floor.

The bathroom revealed what we hoped would be the source of the evil smell.



Turns out a major culprit was the toilet flange.  Little bastard had been leaking for YEARS!IMG_2734And after seeing THIS kind of electrical, it was an easy decision to just gut the whole thing…

Sadly, there are no photos of the gut.  But suffice it to say, we gone ahead and

  • exposed all exterior walls
  • redid all the the elctrical
  • redid all plumbing
  • discovered catastrophic foundation issues
  • spray foamed all exterior walls

And this finally left us with a blank slate to work with.  So we set to work making this space as fabulous as possible.  This being a similarly sized unit to The Hug, we still needed to keep our focus on maximizing the space usage, but with this unit, the idea was less about cozy, and far more about light.  With a southern exposure and a good amount of windows this unit had a good deal of daylight to work with.  And we wanted this space to celebrate that.  Every element needed to speak of lightness, of vibrance, and of energy.  How better to defeat the basement blues than with a good dose of energy?

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view from the entry door to kitchen and living room

As with the other apartment we opted for white cabinets and dark counter top.  The kitchen was given a sharp hit of super saturated gold, which sings so nicely against the milky white walls of the main room.  Pale birch floors allow the room to just glow with the reflected daylight pouring in through the windows.

compact kitchen design

compact kitchen design

The kitchen proved a very problematic space to design for. It was simply tiny.  But with the clever application of corner cabinet units, and a fairly novel deep counter top bar out crop on the left, we were not only able to get maximal counter top space, but also fit a surprising amount of storage into this tight little corner.  The undersized stove helped a lot.

With wall sconces at either side of the kitchen, and with the bright over stove lights, the corner feels nice and bright, even in the middle of the evening.

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view of the kitchen from the main room

The golden orange of the kitchen really pops as an exciting visual element as seen from the main room.  The contrast of colour is echoed in the grey tile in the kitchen next to the birch floors of the main room.

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view of the main space towards the entry door

Forgive the distortion of the photo, but it IS a small space, despite its feeling so open and big.  From here you can really feel the flood of light as it bounces off the warm white walls and pale crisp floors.  And you can JUST see the fun pop of colour of the bathroom door.

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The Bathroom


Speaking of distorted photos… again, forgive the distortions, but wanted to get the whole room into one image.

We went with the same tile in the bathroom as in the kitchen for continuities sake.  Tiles were laid the lengthwise from door to shower ceiling to give a sense of depth and height that quite simply would not exist otherwise.

The warm white continues here in the bathroom wall, with a saturated pop of red on the accent wall to give the room some vigor, spark, and its own little surprise!

The space is bereft of finishes like furniture and whatnot, as CJ, as with the Hug, wants the chance to decorate it herself.  Which we clearly understand, as thats what we love to do too!


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