Before & After: An Outdated, Blank Condo Now Has a Cool ‘Parisian Modern’ Aesthetic
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Name: Brianna Holt
Location: New York, New York
Size: 1,000 square feet
Type of Home: Condo
Years Lived In: 1 year, owned
Freelance journalist Brianna Holt had big plans when she landed her book deal last year. “I thought I would spend half the year in France to work on my manuscript,” she begins. “Covid ruined those plans, so I bought a condo in Brooklyn instead, and started building Pinterest boards using ‘Parisian modern’ aesthetic and looked through Airbnb rentals in Paris for ideas on how to bring my home to life.” Brianna’s debut book “In Our Shoes” will publish in April of 2023.
The condo she purchased is a good size at 1,000 square feet, but it didn’t come with much architectural character. The kitchen, for instance, had a dark wood, closed-off look; Briana says it was so unappealing “it almost deterred me from putting an offer on my place.” Brianna put her “Parisian modern” research into motion, fully remodeling the kitchen, renovating the bathroom, having a beautiful wall of shelves installed in the living room, and adding new doors and crown molding throughout.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Parisian modern
Inspiration: I’m very inspired by the Airbnbs and hotels I’ve stayed in while vacationing in Paris. To date, it’s my most-visited international city. I think there are a lot of similarities between the architecture of brownstones in New York and apartments in Paris, like large bay windows, crown molding, wainscoting, and ceiling medallions. In my opinion, these rich and tasteful features add character to a space.
Favorite Element: My favorite element is the blue ceiling in my bedroom. It makes the space really pop without feeling smaller.
Biggest Challenge: My greatest challenge was my kitchen. I would avoid cooking in it and it made the rest of my condo feel extremely outdated. It was so unappealing that it almost deterred me from putting an offer on my place. So I recently had it remodeled by using Parisian Modern Pinterest boards and inspiration from Airbnb photos from homes across France. Now I cook in my kitchen every day and often host dinner parties.
Proudest DIY: I handpicked and mounted the art in my foyer. I love how the colors and frames really complement each other, and the sizing and positioning of each piece brings everything together in unison.
Biggest Indulgence: My dressers, which started off as a set of three but are now two (I sold one to save space in my bedroom). They are customized vintage pieces from Etsy, and total, all three cost around $4500. I’ve never really spent a ton of money on dressers, previously I always got them from IKEA but I felt these vintage pieces would really add to the Parisian Modern theme.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My home is my office. As a debut author and freelance writer, I use my space mostly for working. The large windows in every room and the big layout really create a nice space for writing and creative thinking.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I have a few nice, gold candlestick holders that really add that Parisian touch. I thrifted them from small consignment shops while in Sweden. My buffet is from a vintage shop on Etsy and is easily one of my favorite pieces for its mid-century modern look. I’m also really in love with this sculpture I bought at an estate sale in The Upper West Side, because it reminds me of something you’d see in a museum in Rome.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Permanent shelves! I had a shelving unit built in my living room to optimize space and use it to store my books and magazines. Personally, I like it better than having a portable book shelf because it makes a small space feel larger when the shelves are built-in/permanent as opposed to the cluttered look some bookcases can create. My unit was designed and built by Ficon Construction and Renovation Corp.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My best advice would be to use Pinterest to get inspiration for the kind of space you want to create. I think a lot of people feel like you need to be able to afford an interior designer to make your space look nice, but Pinterest is really good at suggesting products and designs that fit your taste as you spend more time on the app. I also highly suggest shopping secondhand, whether it be vintage shops on Etsy or estate sales; you can find some really great stuff that is made well and will last long, from previous owners.
PAINT & COLORS
- Bedroom ceiling — Benjamin Moore “Yarmouth Blue”
- Foyer — Benjamin Moore “Aura Dark Harbor”
- Bathroom — Benjamin Moore “Intrigue”
- Other rooms — Benjamin Moore “Cloud White”
- Nora Dining Chairs — Edloe Finch
- Buffet — HomeGoods
- Saarinen Dining Table – Facebook Marketplace
- Remodeled by Ficon Construction and Renovation Corp. in New York City
This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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