Emily's Sophisticated, Secondhand Space
Name: Emily Sermons
Size: 610 square feet
Home type: Condo
Location: Charleston, SC
What you're looking at:My gallery wall is the star of the show in our living room -- I thrifted antique frames to display my favorite pieces of art above our loveseat. I love mixing old and new pieces in my space, so the antique humidor cabinet (which we use as a side table) is a fun contrast to our modern accent chair. (Image credit: Emily Sermons)
My gallery wall is the star of the show in our living room -- I thrifted antique frames to display my favorite pieces of art above our loveseat. I love mixing old and new pieces in my space, so the antique humidor cabinet (which we use as a side table) is a fun contrast to our modern accent chair.
Our striped entryway is the first thing you see when you walk in the condo. I love antique furniture, and we found this vintage pie chest and decided it would make the perfect bar cabinet. I love the way the light green stripes contrast the burnt-orange lounge chair peeking in from the living room.
Years lived in: 2 years, owned
Household: My partner Jay and my pup Charles
Have any design professionals worked on this space? No
Do you currently live in your Small/Cool space full-time? No
Describe your space:
Our home is a small one-bedroom in historic downtown Charleston, situated on the top floor of a hotel-turned-condominium from the 1920s. The city of Charleston itself is a collage of old-meets-new, and I wanted to pay homage to this dynamic in my home: I've paired my favorite vintage pieces with modern elements that makes it feel classy yet cool. Since the condo is small, it was important that each room flowed effortlessly into the next. Antique wood, gold, and pops of green work in harmony in each room help to tie the space together.
Did you DIY anything in your space? And, if so, what's your favorite DIY?
I am more of a vintage treasure hunter than a DIYer, but my favorite project in the condo is the gallery wall above our couch. I spent months collecting vintage frames for my favorite art pieces and finding just the right configuration to fill the plain wall with character. The art and the frames themselves each have a story, and the gallery wall makes for a great conversation piece with guests. Whenever I design a gallery wall, I love finding ways to sneak in nontraditional pieces — on this wall, it's a brass door knocker in the shape of a hand.
How do you make your small space work for you and feel bigger than it really is?
Our floor-to-ceiling built-ins are the centerpiece of our bedroom. They're the perfect way to display my favorite vintage tchotchkes that I've picked up in antique and thrift stores. I'm a classics nerd, so I have a lot of neoclassical busts and mythology books on the shelves. Our built-ins also serve as very functional storage space. We use wicker baskets to store our off-season clothes, and we have his-and-hers hampers on either side of the bed. The cleverest features are the wooden drawers that we use in place of night stands — the perfect place to tuck away anything we don't want out.
How does your home reflect you?
My passion is vintage furniture — I go treasure hunting every week at antique stores, estate sales, and on Facebook Marketplace for old pieces that I can breathe new life into. Our home is filled with these secondhand finds that are used in new and interesting ways: an antique pie chest became a bar cabinet; a humidor cabinet is used as our side table; a Queen Anne vanity is now the centerpiece of my partner's work-from-home setup. These pieces bring so much character to our home, and I love knowing that they're built to stand the test of time.