Design Personal

My apartment makeover

Back in April I bought the Bang & Olufsen A9 sound system for my apartment. The A9 had looked so beautiful in the store but when it came time to take photos of it for my blog I just couldn’t make it look good which is why I ended up using stock photos from their website instead. I realized I couldn’t make it look good because my apartment looked horrible. Around the same time I was invited by the team at West Elm in Avenues to pass by and check out their store. I had only passed by the store from outside before and had gotten the impression it was an expensive brand so never really went in. But on that day I got shown around the place and I just fell in love with everything since their furniture had a very New York loft feel. Then I found out their prices were slightly more expensive than IKEA but less than THE One and it hit me, I needed a makeover. My apartment was looking outdated and I needed a fresh start anyway with my recent divorce and all so I asked them if they’d be interested in doing a makeover and they liked the idea. Last week I finally had everything done.

My apartment is a beautiful duplex located in one of my favorite places in Kuwait, the old Salmiya shopping street. The apartment has very nice space and a lot of potential but wasn’t getting any TLC. When I first moved in I was broke and couldn’t afford to furnish it properly and then later when I did have money I was spending it all on my apartment in Lebanon. Not only that but the walls had the most horrible colors that somehow seemed like a good idea years ago. The first thing I did when West Elm came over to check my place out was let them know what my issues were with the current setup and what I was expecting from the makeover. For example my living space had enough seating for around 5 people so when my friends were coming over I wouldn’t have enough space for everyone and the space I already had was very focused around the TV. I couldn’t have big lunches or dinners at my place either since my dinning room table fit only 4 people. I hated the lights in my apartment, I hated my kitchen which was an ugly purple and my living space was a bright magenta (it was a phase I went through so don’t judge me) which I honestly couldn’t stand anymore. I didn’t want a TV in my new space because I thought having a TV would be anti social plus I already had a TV room upstairs. I wanted the space to be very social and one that could hold a lot of people. Usually when people come over the groups are divided between the kitchen and the living space so I wanted people sitting in the living space to be facing the kitchen so they’re more connected. Finally I needed to have my iMac downstairs because I do most of my work on my iMac and I didn’t want to take any work with me upstairs. Based on those criteria’s we sat down and decided what we were going to do.

The first thing we decided on obviously was to change the color of the walls. They recommended I go with a dark grey which I was hesitant to at first but now I’m so glad I did. I also ended up ordering really beautiful Orla Kiely wallpaper to add a bit of color to the walls. I’ve loved Orla Kiely’s stem patterns for a very long time and figured it would give a slightly retro feel to the space which it did. I’ve also always loved baby blue walls and thought it would match perfectly with my KitchenAid Mixer so I had my kitchen painted a baby blue. I actually ended up repainting my whole apartment including my bedroom and my TV room since after I saw what a big difference it made to my space downstairs I wanted to change everything.

On my first visit to the West Elm store the first thing that caught my eye was an incredible bookcase/sculpture they had on display. I right away asked them about it and they told me it wasn’t for sale and that it was actually built by one of their talented employees out of wood recycled from their crates. It was love at first sight and I knew I had to have it. So after nagging them about it they finally told me I could take it. This was going to be the centerpiece to my living space. It was just insane looking, it wasn’t perfect, it had flaws and it was all over the place but that’s who I was and that’s why I needed this.

For the couch we decided to go with the Tillary 8-piece Sectional. It was comfortable, cozy and it would fit perfectly in my space while holding a lot of people. It came in a bunch of colors but I wanted grey which I thought was very bachelor pad’ish and worked well with the wallpaper and the black glossy floor. For the dinning room table we went with the Parker Dining Table. I liked it because it was minimal while still looking slightly retro like my wallpaper and it was also expandable so it could hold 6 people when closed and 8 when open. To give the table a funky touch we chose the John Vogel designed chairs and got matching barstool versions to use with my kitchen bar. Finally the accessories and lights, they had a ton to choose from and other than the lights I let them decide on the accessories for me and damn what a difference the accessories make. The rugs and the random accessories on my tables all around the apartment just give the place such a warm and cozy feel.

I can’t believe how my place looks so different after the makeover. I still need to buy my dinnerware and a few more accessories from them but the overall look is done. The difference is night and day and I now love spending time chilling on my couch listening to music while browsing on my iPad or hanging out with friends. Friends are also loving the fact that I don’t have a TV in the space since without it all the attention goes on socializing. To think all this started because of my Bang & Olufsen A9. I just wanted it to look good at home and I ended up getting a whole makeover done around it. Now my A9 looks like it was made for the space and the bookcase looks like it was built around it. If you’re interested in checking them out, West Elm is located in Avenues Phase III near Harvey Nichols and opposite Life with Cacao. Here is a link to their [Facebook Page]

Photos of the bookcase and accessories were taken by the super talented @tammyque

45 replies on “My apartment makeover”

Looks fancy, just like the magazines. What kind of budget are we talking about for something like this?
Personally I would never put that kind of money on decking up my place, since no matter how long I live there, at the end of the day its just a temporary rented place, which I can be asked to vacate at any time.
On a side note, hit me up when you are moving out of that place.

Looks insanely beautiful and cool all at the same time.. I’ve been trying to get that shade of grey on my walls but when the painting was done it came out a bit darker and a bit glossier than I liked it to look… But the Grey and Yellow is just beautiful!

Congrats on the makeover and for some reason I feel that this blog will be getting a makeover to reflect the grey and yellow you have decided upon as the next chapter colors 😛

Seriously though well done Mark, looks absolutely beautiful!

one thing about west elm/pottery barn their wood furniture is 10x heavier than the cheap ikea mdf. one bump to any ikea wood and you get instant dent.

It’s usually solid wood vs. the Ikea one which has an outer finish that is made to look like wood but which is basically compressed sawdust on the inside.

I cut an ikea cabinet in half once because I wanted 2 cabinets and it literally had cardboard strips on the inside.

“Then I found out their prices were slightly more expensive than IKEA but less than THE One”


Well, I never really bothered to ask them about their prices, but it looked to me like another Potterybarn with overpriced items just as well.

“Then I found out their prices were slightly more expensive than IKEA but less than THE One”

Yes, like saying a 2014 Mercedes Benz S Class is not so expensive… its slightly more expensive than a Nissan Altima but less than a Bugatti Veyron.


So cool and bachelorish in a way! I think you have got it all figured perfectly with this one. I love how spacious your house is man. Oh and that bookshelf!!! I think I’m going to steal that idea for my apartment in India

Everything looks very nice , just like in a magazine. I think the bookself looks weird xd
maybe thats just me 😛

That’s beautiful! it’s just perfect! Honestly speaking I didnt find the old design that bad thu 😛 it was just a different style, with a few touches missing, but the new one is just perfect! I’m so in love with 2 things the most, the dining table’s centrepiece (Which I’m so getting one) and the bookcase (Which I saw before and I’m so jealous you managed to take:P) hehehe but again, this is beautiful, and thank you! you just inpired me! I’m an interior designer myself, and im working on an industrial design, and your place is a really good inspiration 🙂

I thought the pink apartment was the new look.. The actual new one looks disappointing. It looks like a 40 year old divorced lady apartment.

Mark, your new place looks hip and totally fabulous! May it bring you lots of happiness and enjoyable moments!

@ Meh and those asking Mark about how much he pays for things, you clearly have no sense of style and class!!

So if I don’t like it I don’t have class…

Did you know scientists were able to grow a small brain in the lab? I hope they will be able to grow a full functional one in our life time.

You certainly don’t have to like what is (clearly) a lovely designed apartment. But to insult the looks of Mark’s home in the way you did, choosing the words you used, is just rude.

Also, I didn’t know 40 year old divorced women decorated their home In the same manner. Thanks for teaching me, wise one. You’re so enlightened and interesting.

Mark, your apartment looks great and I was wondering if you could do a write-up of how to find decent apartments in Kuwait. I’m looking for one at the moment and have been doing the driving around asking the haris thing and google searches but it’s getting me nowhere. Mind you, I do have tighter budget than I’d like at the moment. Do you know of any openings as well? Mabrook on the new design, too. It looks so put-together and inviting.

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