A Baker’s Bold Rental Decorated on a Teeny Budget

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Baker’s Bold Rental Decorated on a Teeny Budget

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Miriam Rieder and her sister Angel
Location: West Hartford, Connecticut
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

As the hardworking owner of Taste By Spellbound bakery, Miriam wanted to live in West Hartford for the hip young vibe of the town. But she also wanted to create a home that could be her oasis away from the rigors of owning a business. And, being self-employed, she needed to find something she could afford on a tiny budget. Two years ago, she and her older sister Angel found this old 1920s rental house on Craigslist and were delighted that it fit all of their needs — except it needed a major face-lift.

“Owning a bakery means I work a lot so I wanted a place that was an oasis on my time off. Being a lover of color, I knew I wanted the place to be bright and vibrant.” Miriam reports that every project in this rental house was DIY, from the refurbished wood floors, kitchen, bathroom, walls, etc. “I renovated the place for 12 months with one project a month. Everything was either done by myself or with a friend or family member. Thank God for Youtube.”

And though it looks like an expensive, high-end home thanks to all the color and pattern, Miriam says most of the furniture and decor was found on Craigslist, at Goodwill and at second-hand shops. “What makes me most proud of the place is the shoestring budget I did it on and making it look like a little jewel box.”

Every room is Miriam’s favorite, and honestly I can’t blame her. There are architectural details from the 1920s still intact, like a butler’s pantry and round button light switches. Vibrant wall paint colors cover every room, patterns are bold and energetic and the accent color is basically rainbow. But beauty like this doesn’t always come together quickly, particularly when working within financial constraints; it took Miriam and Angel 18 months total to finish decorating and remodeling the place.

“What I love most about the place is the use of color. I wanted a place to come home to that would instantly make me happy, and how can you not be when surrounded by a rainbow. …Having put so much thought and effort into each room, I catch myself walking through the rooms and looking around feeling complete happiness on the daily.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Collected, Colorful and Recycled

Inspiration: Eddie Ross and John Robshaw

Favorite Element: Most decor/furniture is either Goodwill, Craigslist or vintage shop

Biggest Challenge: Renovating the whole place on a TINY budget.

Proudest DIY: Kitchen floors, wood floors, butler pantry overhaul

Biggest Indulgence: West Elm Couch

Best Advice: Take your time and find things you truly love. It took 18 months for me to finish the place because I searched for the perfect pieces. Also, take ricks and be different.


Dining room wallpaper — Romantic Pop Wall Mural – 4-749 Romantic Pop Photomural
Rugs through the house — rugsusa.com
Couch — West Elm
Pink Velvet Chairs — World Market
Large Umbrella Beach Print — gilt.com
All pillows through the house — John Robshaw
Everything else is all second hand

Thanks, Miriam!

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