Interior designer Lauren Li and her husband Phillip Li moved into their sweet two bedroom unit in Parkdale two years ago, and though she was 7 months pregnant at the time (!) Lauren wasted no time putting her stamp on the place.
‘It was all original 1970s kitchen and bathroom, so it was time to go’ Lauren recalls. A new kitchen was quickly designed installed (incorporating IKEA cabinets) – Lauren selected a distinctive sea-green colour for the cabinetry, paired with a stone bench top, handmade tiles and brass details. The pair also added ‘V Groove’ paneling to the kitchen and living room walls for durability and texture, and installed a sliding barn door to separate the living area from the bedrooms, which was important with little ones sleeping.
Gradually, they’ve added finishing touches, including the most amazing wallpapers from US brand Hygge & West. The overall result is a bright and cheerful space, with a slightly 1970s, beachy vibe. ‘Every room has a different colour or pattern but to me, it’s not overdone. It keep things interesting’ Lauren says. ‘Why not splash around some colour, it feels good and makes me happy!
Though there’s not an inch to spare, for the Li family, this two bedroom unit is the perfect size. Having spent the past 10 years living in small apartments, Lauren has been quite strategic in her design approach here. Interestingly, she’s not a fan of open plan living.
‘Often with these small spaces, the first instinct is to remove the wall between the kitchen and living, however we like being able to separate the spaces.’ Lauren says. ‘With cooking smells and noise, it’s nice to be able to slide across a door. Also it’s nice to relax in the living room and not see mess and dishes in the sink. I think that there is a growing realisation now that open plan living isn’t always the right approach for every space’.
We love Lauren’s fun, relaxed decorating aesthetic, but we also love her no-nonsense approach to apartment living. ‘We love living in a small space, no one gets lost and you can almost vacuum the whole place from one power point!’ she says. ‘We use the space very efficiently, we can’t hold onto too much stuff. If toys don’t get played with, they’re out. And guess what, they’re not even missed. It’s a humble home, as you can see, but we love it.’