House Tour: Michelle's Starter Home

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Name: Michelle

Location: Chelsea

Size: 450 Sqft. 1-bdrm owned condo

Years lived in: 3 months

Michelle started from scratch. From a share, to her parents' house, to a sublet and finally here to start her own home, Michelle wanted to do everything right this time...

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Michelle created a foundation of neutral tones, adding strategic bursts of color via accessories that she could replace when she tired of them. Having lived in Chelsea before, Michelle was very familiar with the home design stores in the neighborhood. She used these local resources, almost exclusively, to furnish her home.

To personalize the space, Michelle made a few elements by hand, added plants wherever possible, and painted, painted, painted. There was a lot of elbow grease that went into transforming it from a generic one-bedroom with very little light. Not only did Michelle put in a lot of time and energy, she enlisted her mom to help in the larger carpentry projects!

The slideshow says it all! From stark and lifeless to warm and designed, Michelle achieved success through hard work and diligent research--not to mention the ability to keep plants looking beautiful without sun?!

Michelle's Survey:

Style: Modern comfort with Michee's own personal flair

Inspiration: Even though I’m not a huge fan of reality TV shows, I was quite inspired by HGTV's Design Star and Bravo's Top Design. Watching other people take on the challenge of transforming living spaces helped me learn about what I liked and what I would do differently.

Favorite Element: The "transformer" tables! The solid wood dining table is perfect for discretely stashing my mini-bar and the rotating glass coffee table is like functional art.

Biggest Challenge: Maximizing the small space by not overwhelming it with too much "stuff". Whether or not to keep the decorative fireplace was under much debate, but in the end I decided that it added an element of warmth to the living room.

What Friends Say: "Cozy, comforting, and delightful - obviously occupied by someone who enjoys style but knows what 'home' means. If I had this place in the city I’d never go out!"

Biggest Embarrassment: The twiggy floor plant that is slowly going bald in the corner of my living room. Anyone have any tips on an easy-to-care-for floor plant that requires low sunlight? (And don’t say get a fake one!)

Proudest DIY: I painted the entire apartment myself, which included long excruciating hours of priming and painting all the door frames and moldings. I’m also equally proud of a few smaller DIY’s in the bedroom, such as the painted canvas panel artwork, reupholstered ottomans, fabric bulletin boards, and wood covering for the boiler in the closet.

Biggest Indulgence: The beautiful solid wood bed (by Baronet), plush mattress, and Egyptian cotton sheets. I decided to splurge on the bed since my absolute guiltiest pleasure is sleeping in.

Best Advice: Thoughtful planning is a great way to kick start your project, but don’t try to do everything at once! Sometimes even taking exact measurements won’t account for how everything will fit together in the end. On the other hand, if you see an item you really love, don’t delay in purchasing it because, as I’ve learned, it may not always be available.

Dream Source: The dozens of modern home furniture shops throughout Chelsea. I spent several weekends--prior to the closing of my new home--just walking around the neighborhood!

Do you have an idea for a house tour? Let me know! jill@apartmenttherapy.com
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