Name: Rachael Barlock
Location: Metro Detroit — Ferndale, Michigan
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, renting
There's a duality to Rachael's life: She's a water engineer by day, but by night she runs a hand-lettering and paper goods business, Hazel + Dolly. She loves balancing the structured, math and science half of her life with the fun, creative half. And her home is a balanced mix, as well.
"I live in the upper apartment of an old duplex home in Ferndale. When I was looking for a new rental, I walked into this place and the leaded-glass windows in the living room were the first thing I saw. I signed the lease five minutes later. This place has so much character!
Like many rentals, this place had been painted poorly, and needed some love, but I was willing to put in the work to make it my own. I painted everything white, including all the trim, which was a sad, beige color, and it immediately brightened it up." says Rachael.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: I like to think that my style is a bunch of quirky, old, industrial stuff mixed with a clean, modern vibe that's been taken over with houseplants.
Inspiration: I find inspiration everywhere! I gravitate toward Scandinavian design, but then vintage industrial and textile items also really appeal to me. I love thrift stores and estate sales. I'm all over the place!
Favorite Element: I love how much light I get in the apartment through the leaded-glass windows. As far as design, I really love my lockers that were a school auction find, which are currently surrounded by houseplants and my hulk hands.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was painting. The place has been painted over many times. The beautiful wooden doors have paint splashes or have even been painted over in some rooms. Because it's a rental, you can tell people haven't really valued the space. I wanted the old character of the home to blend with my clean, modern aesthetic, so the white paint refresh helped with that.
What Friends Say: My friends love how much natural light I get, and I've offered my space up for photo shoots before!
Biggest Embarrassment: The bathroom. Because it's a rental, I don't want to invest in a remodel, which is what this bathroom needs. The tile flooring is AMAZING, but the tub/shower stall is old and gross. I keep it hidden behind the shower curtain always, even though it blocks the window. I couldn't even bring myself to fix the paint job, which is so terrible right now. The previous tenants painted over the tile with this awful beige paint and then touched up with a different beige, so it just looks grungy. Someday I'll get to it.
Proudest DIY: I love how the school auction lockers turned out. They were once bases for a shop class table. I cleaned them up, painted them, and stacked them. Now they're a pretty focal point in my dining room. Also, a shout-out to my mom who found an old macramé hanging table she made in the '70s in my grandmother's garden shed. She brought it over the last time she visited, and it's definitely the best part of my living room!
Biggest Indulgence: I finally broke down and bought a nice West Elm couch. I usually try to do thrift store items for my furniture because I feel that they have so much more character, but I wanted a clean, modern style, and couldn't pass up this couch.
Best Advice: So many people laughed at me for putting so much effort into a rental. That doesn't make sense to me. Make your space how you want it to be— even if it's a lot of work — because you're in that space every day. If you love it, you'll love being there, and your space will recharge you and make you happy.
Dream Sources: West Elm, CB2, and killer estate sales!
Couch – West Elm Eddy Sofa
Gold trunk end table – Thrifted
Living Room Lockers – Thrifted
Macrame Plant Hanger – DIY from my mom in the '70s!
Blue velvet chair – Thrifted, originally Ethan Allen
Coffee Table – DIY
Bookshelf – IKEA Mulig
Pennants – Antique stores
Landscape photo – Hand-me-down from my parents; house
Weaving — Etsy
Table top – IKEA Linnmon
Hairpin Legs — HairpinLegs.com
Clear Chairs – IKEA Tobias
White lockers – school auction purchase
Green cabinet – was in my grandfather's workshop
Mirror – Antique Store
Dresser/Buffet – IKEA Malm 4-drawer
Record table – thrifted
Plant pots and hanging baskets – IKEA
Hexagon Shelf – DIY
Hazel + Dolly Sign – DIY by Kenny VanMaanen
Old Man Drawing – Joshua Tad Mulligan
Brass frames for family photos - thrifted