As some of you may know, and for those of you who don’t, myself and my partner Ricky moved to Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on June 26, 2018. I can not even begin to tell you the mixed bag of emotions and circumstances we have been through since then – in my mind everything was going to be pretty straight forward and rather picturesque. Prior to the big move I spent almost one whole year daydreaming of this incredible life we would build for ourselves and saw no room for error. Unfortunately that is not how life goes and though we have had our fair sure of bumps along the road it has lead us to exactly where we are today, and to let you in on a secret I would do it all again tomorrow if I was given the opportunity.
I will go into a lot more information on our Canadian adventure and our type of visa in another blog post soon, incase anyone reading this is considering a move to Canada, but today I would like to take you on a little tour of our first ever apartment together.
We Live In A Basement
Had someone told me I would be living in a basement apartment I would have laughed. During my endless days of daydreaming and visualizing myself living in Toronto I imaged a downtown condo on the fourteenth floor with floor to ceiling windows, an incredible view of the CN Tower and access to an onsite gym and swimming pool. While those things do exist, in reality it is just not economical for the average worker.
The housing market in Toronto is gruelling and while we did have help from family and friends when we first moved here, we were not prepared in the slightest for the cat a mouse game of apartment hunting.
In exchange for a downtown condo – which in reality would be torture with the amount of noise and events that constantly happen in and around Toronto – we settled into a cosy little basement apartment in the East End with access to a back garden, within walking distance from both our jobs, only a 15 minute subway ride from downtown and… we can still see the CN Tower.
When we arrived to view the apartment our landlord told us during construction they ran into one or two issues with the foundation of the home and the fact we are on a slight slope – so the floor is a little uneven which means wooden floors are not an option and instead we have carpet running through the entry way, living room and bedroom.
With white walls and a cream carpet we knew immediately we needed to mix colour into our decor to not leave the living area looking sparse. Our original plan for a corner sofa was compromised once we had taken some measurements and discovered the severity of ‘uneven flooring’ in a particular area and opted for this sofa / couch \ chesterfield. Depending on where you are from, you will understand at least one of those terms!
Keeping the area light and bright when shopping for a suitable coffee table, which unfortunately due to space has doubled as our dining table. This is the perfect size against our sofa and we are very aware of keeping it clutter free. Which is why we picked up a side table, which matches the TV stand, and use it to place two of our current books and my seasonal favourite Bath and Body Works candle.
Since I moved to Toronto my blog has taken a backseat for me to fully focus on my career as a hairstylist and really gain the knowledge and experience needed to progress further. I realized that may not be the only factor working against me, it could also be the amount of distractions in our apartment. I decided to dedicate a small area for me to go that is quiet, comfortable, visually pleasing and a source of inspiration. I may not have all of those boxes ticked (I’m talking about that desk chair) but it appears to be working and hopefully it continues.
The first piece of furniture we ordered for the apartment and the only piece of furniture we had for the first week. Our queen size bed is my pride and joy – the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. Quite surprising but fairly common in Canada is to keep the mattress on box springs. To finish we converted an Ikea dining table top, from said previous mishap, into a headboard. Every cloud has a silver lining, eh?
Matching bedside tables were a dream of mine, as in my family home the bed has always been against the wall. To create an ambient mood we got two matching bedside table lamps and to keep that little bit of sparkle I needed some fairy lights. I know what you must be thinking and trust me I know it is not the 90’s, but it just gives so much warmth to the room against so many white walls.
I do not spend much time in the kitchen – and for good reason. You may have noticed in the photos there is not a lot of storage options when it comes to the kitchen and that was immediately a fear for us. So we decided our original plan for a dining table was no longer a priority and instead received this incredible piece we now call our pantry.
Having our food and snacks constantly on show was no where near as bad as I thought it would be. If anything it makes it fairly easy to have everything out in the open, exactly where we can see it and means we are not wasting any of the food we buy.
Launderettes are very common in Canada or if you are living in a building complex there may be a communal washer and dryer (washing machine and tumble dryer) on site. To me that is not something I felt entirely comfortable with, especially the fact it costs to use them in an already extremely expensive city, so having our own washer and dryer was ultimately a deciding factor. These Samsung machines are game changing and with no offence to any UK & Ireland readers but the fabric softener here smells three times better!
To finish the space Ricky installed a railing that we now use to dry clothes that can not go in the dryer. Not getting handyman of the year awards anytime soon I know but it was honestly a brilliant idea and has become such a part of our laundry duties.
While apartment hunting in Toronto it is highly recommended to ask if amenities are included in the monthly rent cost, such as hydro (electric), water, internet and air-conditioning as it can very easily determine if the place you are viewing is within your budget or not. When we moved here we were much more interested in being able to go exploring the city and other parts of Canada rather than spend our entire wage on rent. Let me know if you have ever lived in Toronto or another part of Canada in the comment section below.