One room at a time: My second bedroom

When Jarrod and I decided to move in together, we were pretty determined to find a two-bedroom apartment. We saw ourselves as needing an oasis to occasionally retreat from one another, and to work on our respective hobbies — for me, writing, blogging and food photography, and for Jarrod, working on his model trains and personal IT projects.

And then reality happened. Today, the room sits as a glorified storage space, mostly used for me to shoot my blog and social media photos, and store what train stuff Jarrod hasn’t brought to the club yet.

The truth is, we probably could have survived in one bedroom. When I temporarily moved into his very roomy one-bedroom in Midtown (without my furniture, mind you) space never seemed to be an issue. And now, two years later, our second bedroom has become little more than a storage room.

Okay, so there are a few practical functions for it. It serves as Ben’s room. Yes, our cat has a “room” (any pet owner would understand). When he isn’t glued to our side, he spends much of his day perched on the cat condo in the second room, staring out the window.

Secondly, it has still become my primary shooting location for my blog photos, because it’s a practical location for storing my photo lights and gets a good amount of natural, south-facing light as well (despite there only being one medium-sized window).

Oh, and it briefly served as a room for our temporary roommate last fall — after a year of saying the room could never reasonably fit an adult, we were proven wrong!

Recently, after a few stressful weeks at work and a realigning of my own priorities when it comes to my spare time, I shared a revelation with Jarrod: I need something in the apartment that feels like mine.

I’m not 21 anymore, so I don’t like the idea of spending all my spare time in my room. Right now, I mostly use my computer at our dining room table, or sometimes at our living room desk. But the truth is, this summer I’ve come to really, truly appreciate solitude. I’ve become obsessed with the serenity of the beach and quiet walks through sleepy neighbourhoods, and I would love a way to keep that with me all the time. So I’m aiming for that with this room.

I’ve also told Jarrod that I want to make this project mine. Even if he is handier and tends to have better ideas than me, I want to really go all-out and see what I can do when left to my own devices. And he’s been very supportive of that… while still offering help if I need it. How’d I get so lucky?

This post will serve as an accountability post for me to regularly provide updates on the progress of my room. Hopefully it can also be inspiring to readers who want to tackle on a room restyle project of their own!

Aside from the photo of the east wall, here are a couple more (unedited) photos to show you what it looks like now. Brace yourselves.

Here’s what I know I want and need:

  • Get rid of the shelves (a note on what we’re doing with the contents below)
  • Add a Futon
  • A paint job!
  • Add a small desk and chair
  • Replace paper blinds with thicker curtains
  • Keep my light and flatlay setup without it being too disruptive
  • Keep Ben’s kitty condo

Here are the steps I know I/we have to take:

  • Find a storage solution for Jarrod’s tools and things. This will largely be solved by Christmas with a locking tool chest he can keep at the club.
  • Get rid of a lot more junk. When we rented our place, we were told we would eventually have storage lockers, so we took some stuff we were on the fence about. That now appears to not be the case, so we’re having to rethink what’s worth keeping.
  • Fill some holes before we paint the walls — Jarrod previously had a train display up, so a good excuse to get the bright, clean white that I want.

Here are a few ideas I have for inspiration:

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My plan is to keep you posted every few steps on the way so you can follow along my decor journey, get some ideas for yourself and swap suggestions — I’ve already made some sneaky progress, but I’m excited to show you what the next stage is!

About Bree Rody-Mantha

Chronically sarcastic ethical vegan living in Toronto. Unapologetically open about my struggles with mental health. Climber, dancer, journalist. They say I’m “quirky.”


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