A Lingerie Designer’s 500-Square-Foot Philly Home Is Small But Serene

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Lingerie Designer’s 500-Square-Foot Philly Home Is Small But Serene

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Maddie Flanigan
Location: Old City, Philadelphia
Size: 500 square feet (approximately – slightly less)
Years Lived In: 4 years, owned

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What’s old is new—that’s a theme that plays throughout every facet of Maddie Flanigan’s life. She is the founder of Madalynne Intimates, a Philadelphia-based lingerie brand (featuring bras, bralettes, undies and bodysuits that are made in the USA!), a sewing studio (she has five lingerie patterns with Simplicity that are available at Jo-Ann’s and Walmart) and a sewing blog (she literally has a tutorial for every sewing tip and trick). And when she moved into a slightly less than 500-square-foot condominium in Old City, her goal was to turn a cookie cutter space into something that was uniquely her.

An an expert designer, seamstress and educator, Maddie chose Old City as her home for its historic vibe and its sense of community. Two characteristics that are also important to her line of intimates and the bra-making workshops she runs. And four years after moving in, her house is exactly what she envisioned. She spent seven and half years working for Anthropologie’s corporate office, and her “chateau” (as she likes to call it), has the same charm as any of its stores, but with her own twist and character.

Mixing family heirlooms such as old plates, hand-drawn and painted portraits of her mom and grandmother, oriental rugs, mid-century modern record players, and more, Maddie’s place screams, well, Maddie.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Feminine, vintage and eclectic

Inspiration: Mid-century modern with a feminine touch. I recently became hooked to Amazon’s new show, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel – the interior is my ideal aesthetic. When I bought my condo, Kate Spade’s first house and home collection had recently launched, and that was my inspiration when renovating and decorating.

Favorite Element: Family pieces that were handed down to me and I incorporated into the decor in a modern way that fit my style.

Biggest Challenge: Transforming a cookie cutter space into a home that was unique and my style.

What Friends Say: “It’s exactly how I thought it would be.”

Biggest Embarrassment: My bathroom. It is the only room in my house that hasn’t been renovated. Renovating the kitchen, the living room and my bedroom was a huge undertaking and at the time, the bathroom was too much for me to handle and afford. I replaced the fixtures (toilet and sink), but the tile and shower are the same as when I moved in.

Proudest DIY: My sewing space. Measuring less than 500 square feet, you can say that space is limited. Every inch must be used efficiently and if I don’t have enough room for something, I have to clear something else out.

I don’t own a lot of clothes and my bedroom had two closets. I had seen a couple closets turned into home offices on Pinterest and came up with the idea to do the same for my sewing area.

Biggest Indulgence: The wallpaper used in my sewing space. Born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, at heart, I’m a Floridian. I’ve always been a fan of Anthropologie’s assortment of wallpapers; their unique patterns and even textures are the best. Pricey, I didn’t bite the bullet until I came across a light blue and white flamingo pattern. I had to get it. I’m one for staying on a budget, but this was an exception. It was definitely a splurge but the steep price tag was money well spent. I still don’t regret it.

Best Advice: It’s overwhelming to think about how every room and every nook and cranny will come together. What cabinets to get for the kitchen? Will the bar stools go with the carpet in the living room? Can one room be a completely different color and decor than another? Take it one step at a time. Buy one main piece for each room and decorate around it. For example, I bought a couch for my living room, and then found a carpet to match, then purchased a side chair that coordinated, and last, a coffee table that tied the whole room together. It’ll take a while. Enjoy the process and have fun with it.

Also, don’t be afraid to go back and forth and try things out. What I put on top of my coffee table went through many, and I mean many, iterations. First it was just coffee table books and a few candles, then it was a handful of Lladro figurines. I had nothing for a while, but that was too bland for my taste. The final layout? A mixture of books and other articles I’ve been featured in, a vintage sewing machine (which works!) and a vintage magnifying glass.

Dream Sources: Anthropologie’s House and Home Journal. Any and every season. Kate Spade Home, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Anthropologie House and Home, Lladro, Singer


Sofa — West Elm Rochester Sofa
Light Fixture – West Elm Staggered Glass Chandelier
Coffee Table – Urban Outfitters Shadowbox Coffee Table
Side Chair – Urban Outfitters similar one here
Oriental Rug – purchased at a local auction
Vintage Record Player – purchased at a local thrift store
Vintage Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine – purchased from a dealer specializing in Singer Featherweights
Crochet Throw Blanket – family piece
Green and Beige Throw Blanket – Urban Outfitters similar one here
Vintage Schwinn Bicycle – family piece
Black Tall Mirror – IKEA Mongstad Mirror
Gold Tall Mirror – Home Goods similar one here
Pictures – family pieces

Bar Stools – Ebay similar one here
Hanging Blue Plates – family pieces
Light Fixture – Amazon LightInTheBox Stainless Steel Pendent
China – family pieces

Bed – West Elm similar one here
Bedding – Pottery Barn Teens Emily & Merritt Scallop Duvet Cover and Sham
Top Sheet – Urban Outfitters similar one here
Flat Sheet – Target X Marks the Spot Sheet Set
2 Small White Pillows – IKEA Vigdis Cushion Cover
Small Dog Pillow – Anthropologie similar one here
Throw – West Elm similar one here
Computer Desk – IKEA Linnmon Table
Sewing Desk – IKEA Micke Desk
Sewing Machine – PFAFF Passport 2.0
Shelves – IKEA Lack Floating Shelves
Flamingo Wallpaper – Anthropologie similar ones here
Lladro Figurines – family pieces
Cream and Blue Rug – Anthropologie similar ones here
Sketch – Family piece
Portraits – My own
Curtains – IKEA Merete Curtains

Chest – Amazon similar one here

Thanks, Maddie!

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