In the trendy, up-and-coming neighborhood of Vrsovice in Prague, Josef, an account manager at a marketing firm, bought his first apartment. When he first moved in in 2009 he made some basic changes: put in laminate flooring, a simple kitchen, and installed new windows. He had just a table and three chairs – no sofa, rugs or accessories.

So when he finally decided he needed a sofa he asked his partner, Daniele Melilli (senior designer at Stag Pads International) for some help. What was just a sofa purchase soon became a bathroom renovation and then a whole apartment update. “The bathroom was a mess,” Daniele explained, “the first time I saw it, I gasped! It was very old, and definitely needed an update.” The bathroom posed the biggest challenge because of its size. “Putting a full size bathtub was a risk, it paid off because of a few tricks I used to make the space feel visually larger,” Daniele said. He worked with proportions: the 12 foot ceilings were lowered, which not only helped visually but also would be a way to hide the new water heater. He then chose horizontal subway tile and black hexagonal floor tile to make it look wider.

The rest of the space was painted and accessorized. Because the budget was tight, many of the pieces of furniture were purchased from IKEA. The accessories were from some of the more trendy European brands. “I tailored the space around him, his lifestyle, and his personality. It was like painting portrait.” Daniele added, “I didn’t have to think too much, it just came along by itself somehow.” Many of the furniture items were wall mounted to free up visual space, including the desk that Josef currently uses to write his book on the Bonaparte Dynasty. “We also picked each piece of artwork, one by one, to create a puzzle.” Daniele said. “Every piece represent some of Josef’s passions. movies, history, and animals.”

Although modest in size, Josef’s home shows that a little bit of paint, personal touches, and crucial bathroom renovations can make a big difference.