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Refit for a queen

The serious apartment makeover that led one Halifax couple to pursue the world of renovation and interior design.

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To the average apartment hunter, this Windsor Street one-bedroom was just another charmingly weathered rental property. But Claire Leger saw nothing but potential, which is what lead her to sign a lease for the little bare-bones flat in west end Halifax. After years living in university residence, sublets and shared spaces, she was craving a real home, and this find was a perfect blank canvas---with just the right amount of character. After working in DIY tandem with her boyfriend Nick Rudnicki---a photographer-turned independent- handyman and furniture designer---a completely ordinary space was transformed into one that was both inspired, and inspiring.

"We spent a lot of time just reading magazines and blogs and searching the internet," says Leger of the makeover, which began with some powerful paint choices. "Paint went a long way," she says. The pair took risks by using a deep plum in the bedroom and dark navy in the tiny bathroom."Everything was kind of neutral before, so by giving all of the rooms strong colours, it immediately gave them their own feel and personality."

Luckily, Leger's lack of furniture wasn't much of a problem. Rescued materials that Rudnicki had harvested from various sources---like barn boards, old doors and beams---became rustic pieces that complimented the airy and feminine vibe, pulling the entire flat together.

"The whole place functioned pretty fluidly, there was a cohesiveness," says Leger, crediting the farmhouse table, coffee table, custom bed, end tables and kitchen work station that were custom built for the space. Rudnicki also crafted a wall-sized floor-to-ceiling bookshelf that offered a stylish storage option and framed the living room's focal point, a big bay window.

Combining their tastes, and passion for all things beautiful, over a few months Leger and Rudnicki turned the apartment into a bright, fresh space that puts most 20-somethings' apartments to shame. Clearly, they had a knack for home improvement. After photos of their work were published on popular blog Design Sponge, and commenters sang their praises, the pair got to thinking about the future.

"It's an amazing little project that sort of started the whole thing," says Leger. "We started thinking could we do this? Could this be a job?" Taking inspiration from the flat's facelift (and Rudnicki's adventures in home repair and furniture design) the pair are now otherwise known as Rude Kitten, an interior design and renovation team.

"Your home should be beautiful--- it's where you spend tons of your time and you should just feel happy when you walk into it," says Leger, who's recently moved out of the bright little flat, which she lovingly calls "the nest." "That's how I felt every single day that I lived in that apartment."

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