There are a lot of benefits to renting. A first and last month’s rent deposit is significantly less than any conventional down payment. Repairs, renovations and anything over general upkeep aren’t on you to finance and make time for. You can make plans to move at the end of the lease without worrying about losing money if the apartment doesn’t become occupied right away. It’s a great situation for a lot of people, even in the interior design community. Renting does come with several restrictions, of course, including minimal ability to change wall colors, much less to redesign the most expensive rooms in the place. But for Autumn Hachey, wishful thinking turned into a collaboration between her and her landlord to remodel the kitchen of her Toronto apartment.
Autumn, a digital strategist for Leon’s with a background in public relations and interior design, and her partner Bo, carpenter apprentice, took a risk right after college. Their jobs in the small town of Walkerton, Ontario weren’t fulfilling the couple so they saved enough money for a first and last month rental deposit and decided to move to Toronto. “Neither of us had jobs, or job leads. All we had was first and last month’s rent, a stack of resumes, and 30 days to either find jobs and stay, or pack up and go back home,” Autumn shares. They booked a hotel in Toronto and started touring potential apartments. “The first two were duds, so we were crossing our fingers we would like the third option — as we couldn’t afford to stay another night and this was kind of our ‘shot.’ Luckily, we really liked option #3 and without hesitation we signed the papers and moved in two weeks later.” The last-resort apartment turned out to be a great find with a massive backyard.
Autumn knew what it meant to sign a lease. She knew that there was little she could change other than furniture placement. But for an interior design enthusiast, it was hard to keep the desire to design at bay after five years in the same apartment. “For a long time, I felt like I wasn’t really living in my space. I often felt like I was living half in and half out of my place, not really ever putting any energy into making it feel homey,” Autumn says. “After five years of ‘temporary living,’ I decided enough was enough. I wanted to love the space I was in, and I was willing to put a little bit of my own money into the equation to improve my overall living experience.” The place that needed the most love? The kitchen. “It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door to our place and the kitchen was very dated and cheap looking.” Shockingly, her desire to make her space more beautiful aligned with the landlord’s desire to increase rent for future tenants and the pair decided to split the cost of the $2,000 project. The kitchen designed and executed by Autumn brings light and energy to the basement apartment. Flip through the gallery for all the renovation details. –Lauren