Melissa and Louis have been long time renters with Hollyburn. They rent a north-facing 1 bedroom unit in Vancouver’s lively West End. They’re a vibrant young couple determined to make their rental feel like home. Working together, they’ve made DIY projects and incorporated meaningful mementos into the design of their apartment to add personality and make it feel more welcoming.
The pair are accomplished creatives in the city, finding work in film, music and photography, so it’s no surprise that their unit boasts an artistic flare! Their long-term goal is to move to Los Angeles to help perpetuate their careers, so renting has been the best option for them during their time in Vancouver…their “for-now” home city.
We interviewed them to find out how they’ve chosen to Make Hollyburn Home.
Hollyburn: What do you like about renting?
Melissa: We like the location and proximity to convenience stores, shops, nightlife and restaurants.
Hollyburn: Do most of your friends rent or own?
Melissa and Louis: Most of our friends rent, only a few have bought places. Vancouver’s so expensive to buy!
Hollyburn: What’s the biggest myth/idea you want people to know about renting?
Melissa: You CAN make a rental feel like home! In past apartments, we felt nervous to add personal touches to make the space feel like our own. Here, we decided to do things to personalize the unit – I love DIY and have done a lot to put my stamp on the apartment. We also discovered easy-to-use stickies for photos, so I love being able to display Louis’ photography without worrying about damaging the walls or losing our security deposit.
Hollyburn: Favourite décor/furniture pieces/feature about your suite?
Melissa: The photo wall is my favourite part of this apartment for sure! I like to switch it up often and move things around!
Hollyburn: What is your best DIY upgrade?
Melissa: Michaels is my favourite shop and I’m always looking for creative ways to personalize the apartment. I found this amazing stick on contact paper that looks like marble that we put on the countertops in the kitchen and bathroom – it makes the space feel much brighter and more modern! I also love to make art pieces, I painted a few things that are on the walls and made the neon Salt & Sea sign, too. I’m always looking at Pinterest and Instagram to find new inspiration for design ideas!
Louis: It’s all Mel! She’s the queen of DIY!
Hollyburn: What is your favourite room/space/nook?
Louis: We hang out mostly in the living room, but I like that I have my photography corner and Mel gets her music corner; it’s been really great to separate our hobbies and create a “home” for all of our equipment.
Hollyburn: Any tips on “nesting” or feeling like you belong in your home?
Melissa: We like to travel a lot, so hanging photos of our trips and memories is my favourite way to make the apartment feel more like home.
Hollyburn: What’s a staple item you think every renter should have in their apartment?
Melissa: Mirrors! They’re a great way to make the space feel bigger and add a touch of décor.
Hollyburn: Best storage tip/hack?
Melissa: We’ve hung all of Louis’ hats and my jewelry on the wall; it’s great because it looks like art, but its also super functional and keeps the hats from getting squished or my necklaces getting tangled. We also put a dresser in the front entry way to store all of our shoes – it makes the entrance look cleaner and more organized.
Hollyburn: Where did you move from?
Louis: We actually met in Asia and lived there for about five or six years in short term, furnished places and then decided to move to Toronto. Mel, coming from Australia, enjoyed the winters at first but quickly decided it was too much, so we knew we were going to move to the West Coast once our lease was up after the first year. We talked about London, but it’s so expensive so we landed on Vancouver! I’m from Vancouver Island so I was sort of familiar with the city as well.
Hollyburn: How was your experience searching for an apartment?
Melissa: So great and easy!! We were actually just walking around and only in town for two days to find a place, so we were on a tight time crunch. We were looking at another Hollyburn building that wasn’t quite right for us, but the resident manager knew about this apartment and told us to come and check it out; I instantly fell in love!
Hollyburn: What was the most important factor to you in your apartment hunt?
Melissa: I think mostly the location and then being able to visualize ourselves in the space. We also really didn’t want a carpet so the hardwood floors here were a must!
Hollyburn: How did you find the leasing process?
Louis: It was super easy and fast.
Hollyburn: Do you like your Resident Managers/are they friendly?
Melissa: We love them! Wilma’s the best! They’re so friendly, always say hello and they go all out with decorating the lobby for Christmas and Halloween. We had a small issue with the fridge and the blinds and they were really helpful and fixed everything super quickly, as well.
Stay tuned for more blog posts just like this one in our #MakeHollyburnYourHome blog series!
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