My Apartment Tour + DIY Guide (Part 1)

If you were expecting an MTV Cribs-esque apartment tour (is that still on?), you’ve come to the wrong place.

In my home, there is a shoe rack, not a room. The closet has so many things stacked on top of one another that it takes me a solid 10 minutes to get to the vacuum. Under the bed isn’t just for dust bunnies - those 4 inches are precious storage space that’s not to be squandered.

It’s a miracle if I can get anything out of the kitchen cupboards without having to make a ninja-like dive for the EVOO. There is only one shower head, and it switches from hot to cold at random intervals of its choosing.

At a whopping 237 sq ft, it’s probably about the size of your average celebrity walk-in closet.

What you can expect to find here is a cute little Cabbagetown apartment.  It’s taken a lot of DIY love over the last 9 months to get to where it is today. All quirks aside, I love the home that I’ve made. Because so much of what’ve I’ve done with my apartment has been DIY projects, I’m also including a little DIY guide in the apartment tour!

I lease my apartment, so as much as I’d love to replace the hardware on the cupboards, redo the backsplash and restain the floors, I had to hold back. However, here’s a look at what I could do:

The Entryway

Let’s get the most basic area out of the way first. It’s a small indent to the right of the door that was perfect for my nicer shoes (that didn’t fit in the closet), a mirror and a piece of art. I’m still so in love with my mirror today and think it works perfectly in the entryway.

While there isn’t a ton of space here, there are actually 3 DIY projects jammed in.

First up on the apartment tour, we have the Emerald Gem Mirror. This was inspired by A Beautiful Mess and came out 1000x better than I ever could have imagined. I’m so glad I came up with my own emerald design - the taller mirror is perfect for the space.

Next, is the Mini Mid Century Inspired Planter that I have my little cactus in. Also inspired by A Beautiful Mess, this planter is part of a group of 3 that I did to house various plants around the apartment. I think the planter helps to make the plant feel more finished. Plus it goes with the ‘T’ Watercolour.

The watercolour is a DIY, but I didn’t actually do a tutorial for it. I did it with watercolours after seeing Mindy Sato’s stunning work on Instagram (find her here). I loved the style of her watercolour letters so much that I had to make one for myself! Watercolours are my favourite medium to work with, so you’ll see a lot of them around the apartment!

The picture frame and picture shelf are both from IKEA. The shoe rack is very basic - from Wal Mart, I think.

The Gallery Wall

This is probably the section of the apartment that I’m most proud of! I’ve always wanted a gallery wall, so I’m thrilled that I finally took the time to paint/source pieces and put one together. I’ve got a detailed post here on the process behind my gallery wall, as well as tips to curate one of your own. The hexagon in the gallery wall is also a watercolour that I did myself.

Next, the white stump is actually a DIY by my friend Tash. She got a bunch of logs from her dad and proceeded to sand, paint and prime them, and I was lucky enough to get one! On it sits a Monstera plant in a terracotta pot that I painted white.

On the bookshelf, you’ll find a couple of DIYs. First is the Travel Keepsake Boxes that I made for my trip to Europe 4 years ago. I have 3 of these around the apartment, and I can’t wait to add a few more after my upcoming trip to Spain in September!

Next up on my apartment tour are the dust jackets that I made for my Harry Potter books. Making these helped to totally transform the way that my bookshelf looks. By covering the very colourful spines in a colour palette of my choosing, it brought the bookshelf together. As a finishing touch, I took a couple of the more colourful books and turned them around so the pages were facing me. Voila! I now have a curated bookshelf and it didn’t cost me a dime!

The bookshelf itself is another Wal Mart buy. It’s super basic, but is 6 years old and still does the trick. But, when it goes, I’ll upgrade to something a little nicer!

The Reading Nook

Onto the piece de resistance - my mid century modern chair. Ever since my first year of university, I’ve loved mid-century modern design. So, when I finally got a piece of my own, I was ecstatic. I found this chair on Kijiji for $300. The leather straps on the bottom need to be replaced, and I have to reupholster it (thanks to Sev), but I still love it. The man I bought it from actually brought it over from Denmark. I love the olive green colour and that the chair looks kind of geometric.  It’s definitely a piece that I want to hold on to!

Sitting on the chair, you’ll find the We are Knitters blanket that I made this past winter. The blanket knit up so quickly and easily thanks to the huge wooden needles that came in the kit. I chose the natural colour and love the contrast with the olive green of my chair. It’s done in the moss stitch so it’s got a really nice texture to it as well. In the winter I wrap myself in the blanket while watching tv, or use it on my bed at night to be extra cosy!

The pom-pom pillow on my chair is one of two that I made. They were a fun, easy little project that helped to refresh the old pillow cases while using scrap materials that I had.

To finish up the reading nook, I’ve got my snake plant in an IKEA pot and a turquoise lamp that’s also from IKEA. Snake plants are a great choice for adding a little green to your space. They’re super easy to take care of and don’t require a ton of light or space!

The Window

The last little area on part 1 of the apartment tour is the stools under the windows. The stools were a Kijiji find and have just sort of stuck with me over the last 6 years because Sev usually sleeps on them. On the stools is a pillow that I made along with some DIY catnip toys. The catnip toys are super easy! Just cut out squares of fabric, sandwich some catnip in the middle and sew a border around them. To prevent them from fraying, use pinking shears to cut the edges. Sev loves them!

The curtains on the window are only there because the apartment came with a curtain rod. It looked pretty sad with no curtains on it, so I sought out a DIY solution. I took some tulle that I had laying around and sewed a 3-inch tube at the top. I then just stuck the curtain rod through the tube and voila - curtains!

The plant that I have by the window is a Birds of Paradise and I’m so happy that I finally found one!  had to get it from a garden centre in Hamilton as none of the stores near me in Toronto seemed to have very nice ones. I’m hoping that this plant is one that will grow and last for a long time because I love the huge green leaves. The pot that it’s in is another IKEA find.

So, that’s it for part 1 of the apartment tour! I’ll be sharing part 2 in a couple weeks with the vanity, kitchen and bedroom areas.

Let me know what you think of the space!


  • xo, tess.



2 responses to “My Apartment Tour + DIY Guide (Part 1)”

  1. Kara says:

    So cute Tess!