A Charming Apartment Full of Secondhand Finds

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The living room. 95% of this room is thrifted, including the themed gallery wall. (Image credit: Erin of Fresh Zen )

Name: Erin and her husband
Location: Shadyside — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The basics: 7 months (but in the same building for 3 years), rented — 700 square feet

Erin’s home is full of truly excellent secondhand finds and tons of layered textures, giving the space an eclectic warmth.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I live here with my husband, who is a professional fly fisherman and a born and raised “Pittsburgher”. We met in 2013 when I was working on the Les Miserables National Broadway Tour and we came to Pittsburgh for two weeks in freezing January. I met him randomly at L.L. Bean when I went to get warmer provisions, we started talking, went on a date and the rest is history so to speak! I had been living in Manhattan for five years at the time, so once the tour finished we did long distance for a year, until I decided to make the move to Pittsburgh in 2014. We got married last April in Columbia, South Carolina (where I grew up).

A little about me, I work in marketing by day and have my own organization, design and home refresh business that I am hustling the rest of the time. I specialize in helping people really personalize their homes and find their own style by either helping to create a fresh look from scratch, or making the most of what they have and incorporating new design elements to the mix.

What is your favorite room and why? Definitely the main living room. I love the insane amount of natural light we get from four huge windows, the architectural details and the beautiful original hardwood floors that continue through the whole apartment.

I love scouring thrift and consignment shops (and Craigslist!) and absolutely covet unique things that I know other people won’t have. I have acquired a statement collection of things I really love and that really showcase my personal style and overall vibe, especially in this room. My favorite design element is texture, so I love the contrast of the layered jute and leather shag rugs, with the faux leather and brass coffee table, with the velvet throw pillows.

Fun fact: with the exception of our IKEA couch, a small cabinet from HomeGoods in our dining room and our bed— every single piece of furniture we own (and most other decor) was acquired second hand from thrift/consignment/Craigslist (but cleaned thoroughly!) I think the quality and craftsmanship of mainstream items for the most part just doesn’t compare to the vintage stuff, plus I like the idea of upcycling and giving pieces new life!

Another little reason this room is my favorite is because when my husband moved into my studio with me, there wasn’t enough room for a sofa, so one of us usually sat in an armchair and the other laid across the room on the bed to watch tv. Now we can actually enjoy watching a movie together on the couch, sometimes it’s just the simple things!

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? The plaster walls, hands down. They are the bane of my existence because I love to hang art!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The most recent piece I found at a local consignment shop (for only $37!) was a vintage parsons table that we are now using as our TV stand. I refinished it myself in my favorite color, chartreuse.

Which fictional character would be most at home in your place? Now that’s a hard question! I want to say David Rose (Daniel Levy) from Schitt’s Creek, simply because I’d want to hang out with him!!

Erin’s words of wisdom: Try to buy and invest in pieces that you think could have multiple purposes, especially if you aren’t at a point in your life where you are going to be settling in or buying a house. For example, I justified buying our current TV stand knowing it could be used in an entryway or even a nightstand in a guest room down the road. That way you aren’t limiting yourself, or wasting money, if your living situation changes.

Thanks, Erin!

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