Virginia & Garrett’s Modern, Eclectic Treasure Trove in Florida

updated Feb 20, 2019
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Name: Virginia and Garrett Cortese
Location: Maitland, Florida
Size: 817 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years, Rented

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Virginia and Garrett’s lakeside home is a treasure trove of fine art, travel souvenirs, family heirlooms, lush greenery, and their own art—Garrett is a photographer, while Virginia is a graphic designer who dabbles in painting. Their apartment is wonderfully, as Virginia describes it, “modern but eclectic.”

Through some clever purchasing and rearranging, Virginia and Garrett have reconfigured their home to allow both of them to work from home, without having the space become overrun by photography equipment, inventory to be photographed, and other supplies. And though the apartment has a few features that the couple would change in a heartbeat if they weren’t renting—the builder’s grade carpet, for one—Virginia and Garrett have managed to truly make it their own.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern but eclectic. I [Virginia] am drawn to clean lines and modern pieces but also love a collected feel: layering colorful pillows, adding original artwork, and displaying travel souvenirs and family heirlooms.

Inspiration: I am often inspired by places I travel, but more tangibly I love combing through design blogs, flipping through my hoarded copies of Domino magazine, and more recently, following fellow designers on Instagram.

Favorite Element: The view. Central Florida has beautiful lakes and we are lucky enough to count one as our front yard. There is an amazing serenity that comes from a body of water and the sunrises can’t be beat! Check out our Instagram!

Biggest Challenge: Storage. While we are lucky enough to have generous-sized bedroom closets, Garrett works from home full-time and I work from home a couple days a week. As a photographer he has a lot of equipment and also regularly receives inventory to shoot for the magazine. We were able to overcome this with affordable pieces from IKEA, such as replacing a smaller side table with a dresser in the living room or the addition of the shallow bookcases in the dining room.

What Friends Say: They definitely come for the complex’s amenities, specifically our amazing lakeside pool. But I like to think we’ve created a warm and welcoming home with a couch that invites them to crash after one too many glasses of wine!

Biggest Embarrassment: Renter’s grade carpet. Let’s just say cream, poor-quality carpet is hard to keep clean. Were we the owners, this would be the first to go!

Proudest DIY: Artwork. Our gallery wall is a combination of both Garrett’s photography and small paintings of my own. These remind us of favorites memories and trips—whether a photograph from a trip to Yosemite or watercolor beetles inspired by our honeymoon in Phuket.

Biggest Indulgence: The sofa is the most expensive piece in the apartment, but fine art would be the biggest indulgence. We were lucky enough to affordably purchase a couple pieces (dining room and bedroom) at a friend’s art auction benefit, subsequently framing the one over our bed. It is definitely one of my favorite pieces in the apartment.

Best Advice: Growing up with a passion for interior design and watching design shows before they were cool, I heard along the way: if you love it, buy it. Ultimately your style will show through, and the pieces you love will always go. This also injects so much personality into a space without it being overly curated.

Dream Sources: A trip to Morocco for textiles, iconic pieces such as a vintage Eames Lounge Chair, sourcing from more independent artisans and fewer big box stores!



  • Sofa: Walton by West Elm
  • Magenta pillow: CB2
  • Black and white pillow: IKEA
  • Blue cross pillow: Leif Shop
  • Coffee table: Box Frame by West Elm
  • Orange crate: family heirloom
  • Brass side table: West Elm
  • Dresser: IKEA
  • Elephant plant stand: family heirloom
  • Rose gold mirror: CB2
  • Hexagon bar tray: Kaleido Trays via A+R Store
  • Yellow chair: Macy’s
  • Yellow throw: Marley by Crate & Barrel
  • Teal pillow: West Elm
  • Black bookcases: IKEA Besta
  • Shelf backers: Sam Flax
  • Hexagon picture frame: Jonathan Adler via Macy’s
  • Marble light: CB2
  • Wall hanging: Etsy


  • Table: IKEA
  • Stools: Target
  • Bookcases: IKEA Billy with Oxberg doors
  • Starburst mirror: Garden Shop in Boca Grande, FL
  • White vases: Kate Spade via Macy’s
  • Artwork: Jean Banas


  • Bed: IKEA
  • Dark dresser: IKEA
  • Gray dresser: family heirloom
  • Mirrors: family heirloom
  • Wall hook: CB2
  • Silver lamps: CB2
  • Sconces: IKEA
  • Orange hexagon pillows: Inhabit, Plinko
  • Bedding: Pottery Barn
  • Artwork: Kathy O’Meara


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Thanks, Virginia & Garrett!