Working on designs for two great projects -- an awesome home in Bethesda and a great townhouse in Dupont Circle!
For the past year, I have worked with an amazing woman to make her DC rental apartment feel like home. It’s taken a year or so to complete due to her crazy travel schedule, and while it was great to finish the project, I do miss our time spent together decorating her apartment. It’s one of the downsides of completing a project, and something I often feel. At the same time, though, there’s always the potential to work or get together in the future.
Let’s dig into the project! Note that if you just have time to look at the before and after photos, click into the photo below, and then you can then click through all of the photos.
We started with a few basics in the living room — all shades of white — a sofa, a rug, a screen that divided the living room and dining room, and a desk and chair.
In the living room, we really needed to figure out just the right layout to make the space work and not feel like furniture was just lined up against the walls. We started by figuring out where to put the TV. My client works in television, so placement of the TV was important, as they are generally on for work. (Most of my clients actually don’t have a TV in their main floor living space — a commonality I recently discovered that I thought was interesting — but for this client, TVs were crucial). We put the TV on a slanted wall opposite from the front door (you can’t really see that from this photo) so that it was viewable from the sofa and the desk area. The slanted wall was a natural space for it, too, given its size, and it left us the larger walls for art to balance out the TV. We then added bits of color and personality and created a comfortable space for my client that felt like home.
In the dining room, we started with a blank slate.
This was a tough space, as it was quite dark even with a light color of paint on the walls. And, it had the coat closet in the space, so it wasn’t really a formal dining room. And, it is a rental, so we didn’t want to get too custom with furnishings that would be specific to only this space. So, we tried a few things, and then finally I asked if we could paint this space along with the master bedroom, which was downstairs and even darker. The paint was the trick! We selected a dark gray from Benjamin Moore called “Dior Gray,” and it made the space feel rich and mysterious instead of dark and drab. I then had to work with my client’s amazing collection of books. Since it was unlikely that she would entertain much in this space (you have to be honest with how you use your space!), I set out to create more of an informal library/dining space that also connected well with the adjacent living room. You do have to walk through the dining room to get to the rest of the apartment, so we needed to finish the space, but we could also have a little bit more fun with it. We mixed high and low in this space (as we did in all the spaces) — using the modular Stacked Shelf System from DWR for the books (this can easily be reconfigured in another apartment); the Basque dining table from Crate and Barrel; amazing Chinoiserie dining chairs and (my favorite, old school) West Elm Overlapping Square dining chairs I found on Craigslist and had lacquered black and reupholstered; this beautiful chandelier from Lori Graham Home; and a white cowhide rug from West Elm layered over an inexpensive jute chenille rug (it’s dramatic, fun, and can easily be used in a different space).
We then tackled the master bedroom and set out to make it a luxurious and cozy space. We first needed to update the furniture.
In order to create a more luxurious feel in this basement-level space, we needed to paint (especially to offset its tile floors). I had my client at “Dior Gray,” which was the perfect backdrop to start to make the space more luxurious. We also needed storage solutions for all of my client’s stuff so that is was easy to access and she could be camera- and travel-ready in a moment’s notice. We started with a fun element: I sourced the vintage smiling Buddha lamps from the antique store Mode Moderne in Philadelphia. Then we worked on the functional elements using two red lacquer dressers from CB2 as a great and inexpensive solution for storage in a rental space; a Tyler storage ottoman in white leather from Room and Board as a place to dump bags after a trip; and to store her jewelry, a mix of colorful antlers from Furbish Studio, a vintage bust from Foundry (one of my favorite local antique stores), and boxes from West Elm. For the luxe quotient, we replaced a recessed light with a sparkly chandelier, and we added a metallic cowhide rug, silk curtains with brass hardware, and a Mongolian pillow and cozy blankets. To create a luxe and cozy nook where my client could relax, we added a perfectly-sized chaise lounge (also from Foundry), and we also mounted the TV on an angled wall across from the chaise. Check out the new and improved bedroom space!
We created spaces in my client’s rental apartment that make it feel permanent and like home using new and vintage finds and high and low purchases. These pieces can be easily moved into a new home or used in different combinations to recreate this feel in a new space. Just because you are renting doesn’t mean it shouldn’t (or can’t) feel like home!!
You can learn a little bit more about this project here, too — http://onmyagenda.com/project/a-glamorous-apartment/
* If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. And if you are interested in other work I have done, please check out my portfolio here. Happy Monday!