Planning the Garden Apartment’s Color Scheme

The garden apartment has been full steam ahead since we last shared the flooring update! Our favorite general contractor has been working down there as part of a four person team, and they’ve been so very patient as we’ve added updates and changed our minds (more than once). As with any renovation project, there have been a few hiccups along the way, but  luckily, everything has been an easy fix. Think: incorrect doors installed and way too many recessed lights; we’re counting our lucky stars that, despite our home’s old age, we didn’t run into any major road blocks. The best part? They’re wrapping up this week before we officially take over!

In the meantime, Scott and I have been shopping our little hearts out. A few weeks ago, we created a massive spreadsheet of every task that we need to complete, including a detailed list of what items need to be purchased to complete those tasks. Over the holiday weekend, we made a lot of progress, took advantage of a few sales and crossed off the majority of our shopping list! Above, you can catch a glimpse of where we’re headed – subtle gray cabinetry, pretty brass hardware (purchased on crazy clearance!) and, like we do, a good mix of polished chrome (a classic!) and oil rubbed bronze.

The goal? We want the garden to feel warm. Inviting. Bright. There will always be a few things working against us, as with any city garden apartment – lower than normal ceilings and a shortage of natural lighting (although a fair amount considering!) – but we’re doing everything in our power to squash those less-than-ideals and create a space that someone will love. Additional lighting, light filtering window shades, glass paneled doors and wood toned tile has already made a world of difference (there’s a lot more to come with these updates!), and as we check on the renovation progress every evening – even surrounded by dust and debris! – we can’t stop smiling. What was once cold and sterile is starting to feel like a really adorable apartment!

With the majority of the finishes picked out, we’re currently on the hunt for the just right wall color to set the stage. Although we haven’t landed on The One, we’d like to tone down the cool gray walls with a lighter, warmer shade. The only exception is the laundry room where we’re leaning towards a gray-green, but the verdict is still out (thoughts?). The ceilings, every inch of trim and doors (done!) will receive a fresh coat of Valspar’s Ultra White, which always helps to clean up grimy baseboards and old, yellowed drywall. Our eyes are crossing as we look at all the swatches, but once the construction dust has been swept away, we’ll start taping these guys to the walls:

First on our project list is the bathroom, and our goal is to knock it out by the end of the month, fingers crossed. Below, the gray sample is a stand-in for the IKEA HEMNES, but we’ll be swapping all the knobs for four of these sweet bin pulls in oil rubbed bronze. We’ve already picked up a matching ORB pivot mirror to hang above (it’s the Bingham, but it looks like it’s since sold out!), and all of the more permanent fixtures will be a shiny, polished chrome – faucets, shower head and this cute, affordable double sconce (that we couldn’t love more!). You know we enjoy mixing metals, so there’ll be subtle brass touches too, likely with this steal of a shelf and vintage bath hooks, both of which we have in our own bathroom. The marble pencil tile you see down there will replace cracked glass tiles that edge the shower, and we’ll set the room with a pure white backdrop on the walls (the only ‘color’ we’ve agreed on!).

We’re bracing ourselves for this weekend, when we’ll be jumping in with both feet! No looking back. There’s still so much to share with the addition of a mudroom and a completely new kitchen layout (the two largest changes, no doubt), and we’ll be getting into those details soon!

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  • Kate - June 1, 2017 - 7:29 AM

    Hey! Love everything about this garden apartment plan! Would you ever think about a post regarding how to pick items/finishes for an apartment?? Knowing that they may get a lot of wear and tear because it’s a rental and tenants may not always treat things in the nicest way?

    Would love to hear your opinion! It would be really helpful!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 1, 2017 - 8:55 AM

      Thanks for the suggestion! We think that’s a great idea to share once everything’s in place. I’ve added it to the list.ReplyCancel

  • Dana - June 1, 2017 - 8:36 AM

    Hey, THANKS for posting the clearance pulls from Rejeuvanation! I went straight to the site and ordered all the hardware for our kitchen reno, which the hubs is working on downstairs as I type. You saved us hundreds! :-)ReplyCancel

    • Dana - June 1, 2017 - 8:39 AM

      OH, and your windowsill/window framing tutorial has also been a linchpin of our kitchen reno–so DOUBLE THANKS! Two newly framed, gorgeous kitchen windows, looking much more like their 1920’s selves!ReplyCancel

      • Kim - June 1, 2017 - 8:54 AM

        Haha, you’re welcome! Love this.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 1, 2017 - 8:53 AM

      So happy to hear! It’s a screaming deal! We couldn’t believe it ourselves when we saw it, and it made our decision super easy. Rejuvenation kills it with hardware.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - June 1, 2017 - 1:07 PM

    As a Chicago renter, I’m really curious about the paint. Most landlords have allowed me to paint the space myself, as long as I’m willing to paint it back to white when I move out (in many cases, “Navajo White” was specifically requested, no joke). If you are choosing beautiful paint colors for the space, will there be a no-painting rule in your lease?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 1, 2017 - 1:15 PM

      Ahh, Navajo White! That was the color on every surface – walls, trim, doors – in our condo! If our tenant wants to paint, it would be the same rule to paint it back. When we were renting, that was the rule for us as well. Our hope as we make decisions is to find someone who will love this place as much as we see the potential in it. We’re always open to discussion though!ReplyCancel

      • Elizabeth - June 13, 2017 - 9:51 AM

        What is it with Navajo White???? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Kate - June 1, 2017 - 8:54 PM

    Just used Sea Salt on my bathroom walls and it is sooooo pretty. Might have to use it in the other two in my house. Agreeable Gray is also on my list of colors to use somewhere if possible!ReplyCancel

    • Cindy - June 1, 2017 - 10:28 PM

      I second the shout out to Sea Salt. It’s very subtle but a great greenish-blue. We have it in our office and I have yet to find something it doesn’t match. Highly recommend.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 2, 2017 - 8:30 AM

      Ohh good to know! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Molly - June 4, 2017 - 1:50 AM

    Hello! I’m sure you’re situation isn’t exactly the same as everyone’s in terms of renovations, but I had a general question. Are there any renovations that, in your opinion, are just too big or risky to do without a contractor? I always love to hear your input!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 4, 2017 - 5:30 PM

      For us, we never cut holes on the outside of our house (new windows, doors, etc), and we prefer to hire out electrical and larger plumbing jobs. While the pros are there, if drywall needs repaired, we love how fast and efficient they are! You’re right, it’ll differ for everyone, but we would rather gather quotes on larger jobs before we jump in and realize we’re in over our heads.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Wilson - June 4, 2017 - 9:14 AM

    I love the idea of sea salt in the laundry room- super safe, but still a little fun. Of course you can’t go totally neutral in a laundry room #ostrichwallpaper ;)ReplyCancel

  • Elaine - June 4, 2017 - 12:37 PM

    Love all the grays and whites, can’t wait to see it finished. Good Luck!ReplyCancel

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