Before and After: A Condo Gets a Fresh and Charming Facelift Thanks to Paint

published Apr 30, 2021

Before and After: A Condo Gets a Fresh and Charming Facelift Thanks to Paint

published Apr 30, 2021
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Bedrooms
Square feet
1474
Sq ft
1474
House tour cover

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Name: Lisa Malley, partner Adam, kids Anna, age 6, and dog, Sam
Design Professional Name: Erin Derby Photography & Design
Location: Needham, Massachusetts
Size: 1474 square feet
Type of Home: Condo in a House
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

After nearly 15 years of living in Brooklyn, NY, Lisa and Adam moved to Needham, Massachusetts. “We were a little nervous about life in the suburbs after living in the city for so long but we have adjusted very well,” Lisa says. “The condo is on the first floor of a two-family home, located in the heart of Needham Center. We can walk to stores, restaurants, coffee shops and enjoy the benefits of the suburbs like a backyard AND free parking at your house!” Lisa explains that the house was built in 1910 and comes packed with architectural charm like built-ins and what she describes as an inviting front porch. While it came with good bones, it needed a surface update to reflect the couple’s style. Lisa and Adam recruited their friend Erin Derby, who, in addition to being an Apartment Therapy house tour photographer, also has a passion for interior design. “I’ve been branching out into interior design and styling, as well as art consulting, and Lisa and Adam are my favorite clients!” reports Erin.

Credit: Erin Derby

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Homeowners’ Style: French country meets farmhouse meets mid-century (is that possible?). I want my home to feel clean, cozy, comfortable, calm, colorful (just kidding about colorful. I just wanted to use another “C” adjective. But you will see I’m not drawn to a ton of color).

Homeowners’ Inspiration: I turn to Pinterest for inspiration… and the Serena & Lily catalog I just got in the mail.

Credit: Erin Derby

Design professional’s Inspiration: Having known Lisa for more than 20 years now, I have a fair sense of what she likes. She’s an organized and decisive professional and she loves a clean, bright, white space. But Lisa also appreciates brass and vintage touches, so we really loved mixing French country with modern. We also brought in a little color with sea glass pillows and muted blues, which still maintain the peaceful palette and look amazing with brass. The hallway was a very bold standalone color for the couple, but it totally worked and we’re all in love with it now!

Homeowners’ Favorite Element: My fireplace!

Credit: Erin Derby

Design professional’s Favorite Element: The house had tons of charm already, with lots of windows and light, and really great molding. We worked to allow those elements to shine. That’s why we went with more subtle Roman shades instead of drapes taking up a ton of space. And the layout of the living room was arranged to highlight the fireplace, which they actually use regularly!

Design professional’s Biggest Challenge: Since they were first-time home buyers we wanted to create an amazing home with quality finishes, but also had to keep a budget in mind. So at times, some things were done piecemeal. But waiting for things like the perfect chandeliers, custom Roman shades, and a quality dining room table was worth it because those items are for keeps!

Credit: Erin Derby

Oh and the hallway! It was this no-man’s-land with approximately one million doors and angles, and felt to me like it could at the very least be nice to look at as you pass through. So over a weekend I did a makeover that turned it into a space that had legs of its own. I’m proud of that one, if I may say so myself.

Homeowners’ Proudest DIY: I painted the brick fireplace (with my dad’s help).

Credit: Erin Derby

Biggest Indulgence: Erin – I had custom shades installed in the living room, dining room, and kitchen and LOVE THEM. So clean and fit the space so well. Curtains were a challenge with giant radiators in the way so the Roman shades were a great solution.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? There is a staircase that originally led to the second floor but when it was converted to a two-family home they closed off the top of the stairs. So now there is a closet with stairs that go nowhere. I store cleaning supplies and dog food in there.

Credit: Erin Derby

What’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Erin – This is an impossible question to answer! I think painting your space has HUGE impact and is life-changing! And saving up for the items you LOVE instead of using fillers “for now.” And large art you love! And don’t get too snobby… you can definitely mix in more affordable items and have your house look like a million bucks.

Resources

Credit: Erin Derby

PAINT & COLORS

Credit: Erin Derby

LIVING ROOM

Credit: Erin Derby

DINING ROOM

Credit: Erin Derby

BEDROOM

Thanks Lisa and Erin!

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