This Designer’s Philadelphia Apartment Has an Overflowing Plant Room, Bold Bedroom Nook, and Much More

published Jan 13, 2020

This Designer’s Philadelphia Apartment Has an Overflowing Plant Room, Bold Bedroom Nook, and Much More

published Jan 13, 2020
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Name: Chanae Richards
Location: Germantown — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Size: 1600 square feet
Years lived in: 14 years, owned

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Home is important to Chanae for a lot of reasons. As the owner of ọlọrọ interiors, she does interior and production design for a living. And while working in NYC is fast paced and exciting, it’s important to take time away and recharge. The horns and sirens of Harlem (where she stays when she’s in NYC) are a constant soundtrack of the city. But her Philly home, in comparison, is quiet. “My focus is different when I’m at the house. It’s my idea of a country house, but in a spectacular city.”

Credit: Carina Romano

Chanae’s house is located in the Germantown neighborhood in Philadelphia. Separate from the center city, Germantown is a historic neighborhood surrounded by nature and parks. There’s even a stop on the Underground Railroad a few blocks away. Close by is her favorite local coffee shop and bookstore called Uncle Bobbie’s. It’s the perfect setting for what she calls her minimalist retreat.

Credit: Carina Romano

“It’s a quiet oasis away from the hustle and bustle of my life and work in NYC,” explains Chanae. “I didn’t find this place, the home found me. Its French doors and ample room sizes attracted me the very first time I walked in. It’s peaceful here. There’s no TV and I only recently installed wifi. Though no one else lives here, the house always feels full. Once or twice a month, I invite other creatives, who like me, are entrepreneurs navigating our way through this journey. The space is here to rest, read, eat and/or simply ‘be’ for a couple of days. It’s a truly magical place and I enjoy sharing it with others.” 

Credit: Carina Romano

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I’d describe my style as minimalism with bold, curated accents. 

Inspiration: I’m inspired by other immensely talented designers from across the country whose skills are amazing. In particular, Keia McSwain in Denver who is president of the Black Interior Designers Network and design powerhouse Kiyonda Powell in Washington, D.C.

Credit: Carina Romano

Favorite Element: The bust in my living room that was given to me to me by uncle Writchley in Brooklyn is hands down, my favorite element. This iron sculpture was created in the ’70s and he had it for well over 40 years. During a family dinner at his home last year, he saw me eyeing and told me I should take it with me. Such a testament to how kind he is. 

Biggest Challenge: It was challenging not having WiFi for over a year. While it did decrease my reliance on technology, the amount of data I used streaming music and podcasts on my phone was way too much!

Credit: Carina Romano

Proudest DIY: I recently participated in the One Room Challenge. Over six weeks, I blogged about redecorating the master bedroom by using items I had in the basement, garage, or my prop room. As an interior and production designer, I have a prop room with an abundance of furniture and accessories so it made it easy to transform the space without having to buy a bunch of new items.

Biggest Indulgence: A Danny Simmons painting. He’s a legend in the art world and has blazed paths for artists of color. I’m grateful to have his work in my home. 

Credit: Carina Romano

Best Advice: Take your time decorating a home. When you first move in, feel it out. The space will tell you what it needs. And don’t buy pieces you like. Buy only what you love, those are the items that will last.

What’s your best home secret? You are the consumer! It’s time to take the tags off those throw pillows and mattresses. This speaks to a larger theme of ownership. Our homes, whether we rent or own, long term or short term, belong to us. Run you hands on the walls… actually feel the texture. Hang art. Don’t be afraid of making nail holes in the wall. There’s plaster for that in case we err. Making home yours is a concept some people struggle with. Let’s work on that.


Credit: Carina Romano


  • Most of the home was painted using Benjamin Moore Aura. The coverage is next to none. 



Credit: Carina Romano
  • I’ve created a space that works well for me. As an entrepreneur who works from home, it’s important I have different areas that are conducive to concentrating for long periods. I need both comfort and style in a way that doesn’t take up too much space. Instead of a large sofa in the living room, I opted for a settee. I didn’t want a traditional coffee table so I went with a multifunction, Anthropologie feather drum table. The surface is large enough to display items and can be used as additional seating when I host guests.
  • I wanted a way to display books without a bookshelf. The fireplace is non functioning so it’s the perfect place. Creating a space that’s very much reflective of both by my style and lifestyle means it doesn’t look cookie cutter and I appreciate that.
Credit: Carina Romano


Credit: Carina Romano


  • A lot of cooking happens here as I prefer a home cooked meal over going out.  (Check out this recipe I created!) The kitchen island I scored from Ikea is helpful for the items I use most but don’t necessarily want to see on the countertops. The curtains are burlap sacks I scored from a local salvage yard. They have a rustic appeal which I adore in the kitchen. The oversized mirror was found on the Upper East Side via Stooping NYC. I’m grateful for the M15 driver who was gracious enough not to side eye me as I brought it on the bus. It’s part of a number of items I had in the apartment which were a better fit here in the house.
Credit: Carina Romano


  • My favorite piece in the Master Bedroom is a lucite side table from Remix Living Showroom. The rug is recycled silk and bamboo from Anthropologie. The lovely wallpaper is from the Jungalow. My grandmother’s leopard robe certainly adds to the jungalow vibe. I appreciate finding art in unlikely places. The framed faces art is UNWRP gift wrapping I scored last year. The mirror, a vintage piece I sourced in DC was a piece I had in my prop room from a set I worked on in 2017. 
  • I found the branch on my windshield in Harlem as I rushed outside to move my car on a dreaded street cleaning day. The ticket agent was there at my car prepared to give me a ticket but was distracted by the branch. The branch saved the day so it came home with me.
Credit: Carina Romano


  • This is another space in my home created just for me. When I wake in the morning, I like to have tea and read here. It’s also where I meditate. The DIY happened when I was snowed in one day. Oh the things one can do with an old ketchup bottle and a sample size jar of paint. My favorite item in the room is a framed newspaper cover of the legendary Nipsey Hussle. 
  • The rug in the sitting room is from World Market.
  • The teal chair in Anthropologie. The brown chair is CB2. The table lamp is Urban Outfitters. The artwork is from Danny Simmons a Philadelphia artist and founder of the RUSH arts foundation.
Credit: Carina Romano


  • The plant room is home to all of my green friends during the colder months. It is temperature controlled and there’s added lighting for days when they need a boost. The floral Anthropologie wall mural was one of the first updates I made to my home when I moved back in. Who knew floral would be the perfect backdrop for the plants!
  • I am generally a nursery kind of gal and shy away from big box stores but my favorite place is my local Home Depot and here’s why…they source from an amazing nursery in Delaware so I know exactly where they came from and who cared for them.
Credit: Carina Romano


  • I love, love, love, eucalyptus in the shower! I always have some on hand. 

Thanks Chanae!