An Industrial Philadelphia Loft Apartment Is Like an Eclectic Disco Greenhouse
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Name: Kat Malo and Winslow, a 14.5-year-old Papillion (who has unfortunately passed since this tour’s photoshoot).
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Size: 1,000 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years Lived In: 3 years, renting
Born in the Ukraine, Kat Malo moved to States with her family when she was four years old and grew up in Philadelphia, where she lives today. Currently working in sales, Kat says that it’s important she have a creative outlet outside of her day job. “As a photographer, I love bringing ideas to life through photography, as well as capturing moments of my own everyday life through digital photography and film. I am always looking for new projects to work on with individuals or brands. Part of why I became a photographer is because I love connecting with other people and hearing their stories and perspectives. Sharing my own experiences and challenges, while connecting with others online, has been vital for me as well,” Kat writes.
The apartment she rented for three years played a role in fostering her creativity, too. “For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to live in an industrial, loft-style apartment with high ceilings and exposed brick,” she writes. “This apartment had everything, with the addition of top-floor city views. Used as a mill in the 1800s, the apartment — with its 20-foot ceilings — was already a dream, but I was excited to make it look and feel like my own. I only had a few plants when I moved in, but when I saw how well they were doing in there, I fully embraced being a plant mom and I now have over 50. A lot of time is spent watering and tending to them. During quarantine I did a series of self portraits since I couldn’t shoot with other people at the time. I started to fully embrace all parts of myself, and that’s when the apartment really started to come together.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Eclectic Disco Greenhouse
Inspiration: I want my apartment to feel like a sigh of relief when I walk in, like an escape from everything else. Gathering inspiration from so many different parts of my life, my apartment is where I can fully be myself and embrace all my different interests. Nostalgic items fill my home that take me back to memories of other times in my life, just like a photograph. When I was a child, my parents had a VHS of Abba’s Greatest Hits, and I would watch these music videos over and over again. So from a young age, I was already into the retro disco style.
I love anything ornate with sequins, velvet, and of course, you can never have too many disco balls. On the other hand, being Ukrainian, so much of the traditional design is based around bright florals. I do enjoy colorful decor with gold accents, as well as dried flowers. I love horror movies and Halloween, so a lot of my decor is Halloween decorations that I leave up year-round. There are plenty of other inspirations as well, like my love for cow print and a bit of inspiration from the short time I lived in the Midwest. Like a disco ball, there are many facets to my personality and that is reflected all over my apartment.
Favorite Element: I absolutely love the light in this apartment. At golden hour or as I call it, Disco Hour, I get gorgeous reflections of light from the disco balls. The view provides for some prime sunset watching along with beautiful shadows and silhouettes. The plants love it, too. I used to be so bad at keeping plants alive; turns out you just need good light and water, who knew?
Biggest Challenge: Storage for things and clothing. There wasn’t much storage other than two closets and I have a lot of clothes, my own and pieces I have for photoshoots. I had to get a separate clothing rack, which I call my disco closet, and I put it in the second bedroom.
Proudest DIY: My disco skateboard deck. I’m planning to make more in other colors, too.
Biggest Indulgence: My couch. I wanted a velvet green couch forever. There was no shortage of velvet green couches, but I wanted one that was not only stylish, but also comfortable and roomy. I spent years looking and when I found this one, it was perfect, so I went for it. Totally worth it and it’s held up really well.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? One of my favorite pieces I’ve ever bought is my antique crystal lamp. It’s that “wow” moment in the living room and it’s a one-of-a-kind piece.
My favorite cleaning product is the Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner, I wish I had found it sooner. If you have stainless steel appliances, it’s magic.
Can’t forget Scrub Daddy, I swear by all their products.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I find that things that can have a multipurpose use are a great space-saver when in a small space. I don’t like having furniture solely for storage that looks like storage, so I try to multipurpose things, like using a dresser as my TV stand and using my bar cart as a record player and plant stand. As someone who owns too much clothing, looking up ways to fold specific items has been my newest passion and has saved me so much space.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t follow trends. Collect pieces that cultivate the way you want to feel at home. My apartment before this one, I did a minimal look, and it was obviously so not me. Coming home felt like walking into someone else’s space and it never felt like home. When walking into this apartment, it’s unmistakable that I live here. I created a feeling and space that I was excited to come home to. Don’t be afraid to mix styles or inspirations. There are no rules!
- Avec sofa — CB2
- Antique Crystal Lamp — Jinxed
- Antique Gold Mirror — Jinxed
- Gold Bar Cart — Retrospect
- Heart Pillow — Target
- Female Form Vase — Urban Outfitters
- Face Planter — Target
- Plants — Stump, Ott’s Exotic Plants, McNaughton’s
- Tarot Cards — Mystic Mondays
- Yellow Banner — Oxford Pennant
- Alligator Print — Art Star
- Disco Planter — Gift
- Antler Table — HomeGoods
- Bird Leg Side Table — Urban Outfitters
- Gold Skeleton — Target
- Planters — At Home, McNaughton’s, Lowe’s
- Decanter — CB2
- Glitter Coasters —Gunnar Montana
- Coffee Table — Found
- Dilo Coconut + Vetiver Candle — Dilo
- Cowgirl and Circus Ladies Prints — Big Feelings
- Cow Horns — Retrospect
- Cow Print Lava Lamp — Neon Cowboys
- UR POISON print — Amberellaxo
- Ghost and Flower Prints — Angela Deane Studio
- Flower Head Print — Sarah Hartstein Art
- Skeleton Print — Meagan Meli
- Lavender Pillow Mist — Lavender by the bay
- L’amour C’est Tout Banner — Oxford Pennant
- Palm Tree Lamp — CB2
- Pink Reversible Duvet Cover — West Elm
- Pink Planter — McNaughton’s
- Trinket Tray — Target
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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