Last week was quite the whirlwind! If you tune into my stories on Instagram, you may know that I recently completed an apartment makeover for a client in downtown York. Remember the Haines Hotel Project? (here & here). Well one of the owners of the building hired me to style her own apartment so that it could also be used part-time as a rental via Airbnb. The catch? The first guests would be arriving that Tuesday, and since I had the first install for the Bridgeton Project (more on that soon!) that weekend, that only left me Monday to plan, shop and style the whole apartment! Now I know HGTV makes it super fast projects like this look easy, but just a PSA: HGTV can be misleading. This is not usually how interior design/styling works, especially for a solo business owner like me who doesn't have a team of assistants and the magic of TV behind me! But since I'd worked with this client before, and had time in my schedule, I accepted the challenge! We met at the apartment bright and early on Monday morning and I immediately went out to start shopping. I had about 5 minutes to plan in the HomeGoods parking lot, and then it was full speed ahead!
My friend Scott came to help me unload and install around 4pm, and by 6pm we were done! I couldn't believe it, as I thought for sure I would have to come back in the morning to finish up. Good thing too! Because the guests had moved up their reservation from Tuesday to Monday night! We finished just in the nick of time and I am so excited about the transformation. We didn't have a huge budget, and we definitely didn't have much time, but we were still able to accomplish so much for this apartment! Without further adieu, I'll take you on the official 24-Hour Apartment Makeover Project tour.
This building had been recently renovated so we were starting with a pretty nice shell of white cabinets and trim, grey walls and wood-look flooring. The owner had brought in a freestanding shelf for storage and an antique butcher block table for more prep space. She didn't love how the microwave felt plopped on the table, and the room just didn't feel finished. If you look at the before photo, you see all the height was on the left side of the room with the tall refrigerator and upper cabinets. My solution was to add freestanding shelf on top of the butcher block to add height to the right side of the room and create purposeful storage for the microwave and coffee maker. A new bulletin board provides space to display menus, the wifi password and other relevant info for the Airbnb guests. New accessories like a small rug, tea towel, wall clock, white metal tray and some greenery make this space feel complete.
The biggest challenge of the living room was coming up with a replacement for the back cushions on the sectional, which had been damaged by the owner's pets. Before I left to go shopping, I measured and sketched the back of the sofa to scale. I wanted a collected, boho look so I decided that three 22"-24" pillows across the back would be best. I could layer a few pillows in varying sizes in front to fill out the rest of the sofa. I used my paint color fan deck to match the gray upholstery color as closely as I could, and used that as a reference as I shopped. If you've ever tried to match a color, especially a neutral like gray, you know how tricky that could be! Let alone finding three matching pillows, in the right size and with the right look! Target saved me with these Gray Stripe Throw Pillows. The solid back was so close to the upholstery color, and the varied tones and textures on the front add a lot of interest to the basic, neutral sectional. The blue Shibori pillow was the very first thing I picked up that day, so for the rest of the pillows, I focused on adding contrasting textures with a white faux fur pillow, blush pink tasseled pillow and a faux leather kidney pillow.
Adding greenery is a game changer for styling any interior, and this apartment was no different! Nothing adds life to a space like greenery, real or faux. Since this is going to be used as an Airbnb part-time, I stuck with faux for zero maintenance. I grabbed this statement-making palm plant from the clearance section at HomeGoods to balance the end table, lamp and art on the opposite side of the sofa and soften that corner by the bookshelves. I made sure to grab enough potted succulents so that I could sprinkle them around the room. Since succulents naturally have smooth, waxy leaves, it's easier to find convincing fake versions, even at the discount stores.
My client is an art collector and vintage enthusiast, so she already had a lot of great accessories to work with. I filled in with a few new pieces and then set about restyling her open bookshelves for a more cohesive look. One trick I have for styling floor to ceiling bookshelves like this is to find something with visual weight to ground the bottom shelves. In this instance, I used these faux leather covered bins. They are the perfect charcoal color to complement the wall color and add some contrast into the space, and they can hold extra pillows, blankets, cords, DVDs, really anything!
My client initially thought she needed a new coffee table, but with some simple styling I made her existing table make more sense in the space. I pulled the two white wire bins from the book shelves and placed them on the bottom shelf to catch magazines and extra blankets. A round woven tray adds warmth to break up the grey and white color scheme and another faux succulent finishes off the tabletop. Had I have been able to find white marble contact paper like this in York, I would have loved to add it to the glass top for a different look!
Overall, I love the way the living room came together! It's such a change from the "before"! Some of my favorite styling moments are the "bar shelf" I made with a vintage paint-by-number I found for $4, the white hand statue making the "L" for "Loser" sign (because I'm a true 90's kid and so is my client!) and my client's own vintage butterfly mount, colorful bird mobile and brass pineapple (a smaller version of the one in my shop!).
For the bedroom, I really wanted to create a calming, hotel vibe. I knew I wanted to use the art that had previously been hanging in the kitchen, so I picked up two pale aqua lamps to flank the dresser and completed the vignette with a glass tray, a stack of curated books (yes, I do judge them by their cover), a pink textured vase and of course another faux plant. Since a proper headboard wasn't an option with our budget and timeframe, I used this simple woven wallhanging to add definition to the sleeping area. Simple bedding in tones of white and blue really give the boutique hotel look. My client had already installed these adorable wall shelves, and I just restyled them using the things she already had. I love how polished and restful the bedroom feels!
I forgot to take proper before photos of the bathroom, but I love the way the new styling makes it blend with the rest of the apartment! My client had an awesome print of two foxes in bright pink and green that I wanted to use, and I found this cute little navy hand towel with embellished trim in shades of light blue, green and blush pink. It was the perfect way to bring the color scheme of the rest of the apartment into the bathroom! I chose a shower curtain with a subtle green stripe and pulled the cornflower blue out of the hand towel for the rug. This cute soap dispenser reminded me of the Shibori pillow, so I knew it was the perfect finishing touch. This bathroom gets the best light in the whole apartment and is such a charming little space!
Whew! Can you believe all that was accomplished in just 24 hours? Well really, 7.5 plus a few hours I spent collecting extras on the morning of the photoshoot. This type of project isn't what I typically do, but it was a fun challenge and I was happy to accommodate my client's quick turnaround. Within 24 hours of listing the apartment on Airbnb, it's already been booked out 4 months! If you're traveling to York (after August) or are just curious, you can see the listing on Airbnb right here.