Before and After: An Artist Embraces Dramatic Color in a Small, Dark Condo

Before and After: An Artist Embraces Dramatic Color in a Small, Dark Condo

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Name: Rachele Krivichi and Hammy (cat)
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Size: 780 square feet
Type of Home: Condo
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

I have mostly always lived alone and was not happy with what I would have to pay to rent an apartment with two bedrooms. My first idea was to buy a small, single family home, but I started to realize that the upkeep of even a small house all by myself was going to be a lot of work, and I had no intentions of buying a place with someone else.

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When my realtor showed me this condo, I knew it was right as soon as I stepped inside. There was something so cozy about it and I loved that it was on the second floor and felt like a treehouse. Plus, the beautiful hardwood floors and the cute little sunroom stole my heart immediately. I put in the offer the same night! Not only do I love my unit but I love feeling like I have a smaller footprint overall by living in a shared, four-unit condo building while still having the feeling of ownership and control over where I live. It’s a great solution for me as a single woman.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: I would describe my overall aesthetic as “sensual Art Deco minimalist” — although when I see those words all together like that it sounds hilarious! I had no idea I was interested in interior decorating until I bought my condo. It all sort of just came together.

Inspiration: I always loved the movie “That Thing You Do” when I was a kid and I watched it again right before I moved into my condo. I picked the colors of the living room (dark blue) and dining room (pea green), as well as some of the colors in the furniture based off the dramatic yet vintage-y color scheme in that movie. 

Favorite element: That’s a hard question! I absolutely love my dining room overall. It came together so perfectly with the large watercolor painting serving as the focal point. But I also adore my sunroom (which also serves as my cat’s favorite room), my wallpaper wall in my bedroom, my self-made neon artwork in my living room, and of course my hardwood floors.

Biggest challenge: Because of the floor plan, the living room does not get a lot of natural light, so it can be very dark in there. When I first moved in, the room was painted a neutral, taupe-y color to lighten it up a bit, but I decided to go the opposite direction and just embrace the darkness (hence choosing the dark blue). It makes it even cozier in there.

The other challenge was the fact that I did most of the work in the condo by myself. Right in the beginning I was very passionate with painting so I would wake up at 5 before work to do it. 

Proudest DIY: Nothing too crazy, but my brother, his girlfriend, and my dad all had to help install the countertop in the kitchen. It took the four of us two days because we are not experts by any means.

Biggest Indulgence: Definitely the wallpaper wall in my bedroom. Even just doing half the wall cost me around $200, and it serves no function other than aesthetics.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? We are a self-run condo association, so, myself and three other owners get to make our own decisions about what happens to the building and property rather than paying a higher governing body that makes decisions for us. In addition, I use my extra bedroom as an art studio.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I love my green velvet couch and dining room chairs because they are velvet and that is my favorite material for furniture (who doesn’t want to be able to pet a chair when they sit down?). I also love my chandelier because it is so elegant and perfectly ties my dining room together.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Everything I own is tiny! Since I live by myself, I don’t have the need for large appliances or furniture. My couch is a loveseat, my French press only makes one cup of coffee, my mattress is a twin, and my dresser has small drawers in it so I don’t buy too many clothes. 

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? DECORATE FOR YOU. I can’t say this loud enough or often enough. I know most people decorate a home with a partner or spouse, but I would highly recommend finding your own space if you can — even if it’s just an apartment that you live in for a short time — to find your own personal aesthetic before moving in with someone else. I am not sure if I plan on living alone forever, but for now I am grateful every day I had the opportunity to create a space that works so perfectly for my own needs and aesthetic preferences. I know I am lucky and unique in this privilege I’ve had to decorate in my own way, and I think it will serve me well in the future in terms of knowing myself and being able to stand by my own opinions for life. 



  • Living room —  Pittsburgh Paints “Blued Navy”
  • Dining room and kitchen —  Pittsburgh Paints”Pickled Okra”
  • Bathroom —  Pittsburgh Paints “True Black”
  • Sunroom —  Pittsburgh Paints “Calmed Coral”


  • Rolled Arm Loveseat — Wayfair
  • Faux Leather Pillow Covers — Hofdeco
  • AVSIKTLIG Rug — (originally from Ikea but now am only able to find on Pinterest)
  • Coffee table — Secondhand from Findfurnish in Minneapolis, Minnesota


  • Poynor Upholstered Dining Chairs — (from Wayfair but now sold out. Link goes to similar item)
  • Acton 5-Light Chandelier — Wayfair




  • Kanisha Home Printed Tropical Leaves Shower Curtain — Wayfair
  • Orren Ellis Manjarrez Bathroom Set — Wayfair

Thanks Rachele!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.