Laura’s Ultra Cheerful Design

published Dec 15, 2010
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Laura
Location: Financial District — Manhattan, New York
Size: 693 square feet — one bedroom
Years lived in: 1 month

While the Financial District can often seem dark and ominous — especially this time of year — Laura managed to foster a bright and uplifting aura in her home. The colors are cheerful. The design lines are crisp and meticulous. It’s a totally cute place!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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Front entrance and chalkboard wall. (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Laura is the second of three young designers we are featuring, and who was selected to transform one of the empty units for sale at the 99 John, an Art Deco building designed by the architect of the Empire State Building and located in the Financial District.

With only $5,000 and a month to make this one bedroom shine, Laura focused on great accessories and cheap knock-offs of tried and true furniture classics. She created intimacy and projected her personality through the details. For example, the wallpaper Laura splurged on, for the entrance hallway and bedroom wall conveys a feeling of permanence and home. The patterns are textured of give the impression of texture which helps to add depth and complexity to the space.

Laura received a lot of great feedback for her design including first prize in this competition, awarded by interior designer Jamie Drake.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey

Style:: I wanted to create a space that felt warm, playful, inviting and fun. Pops of bold, eye-catching color are combined with clean, modern design to create a fresh and livable atmosphere. Stylish, but not too sophisticated, this is the perfect place to kick back and relax after a long day at the office.

Inspiration: Because this is a model apartment, I tried to imagine the ideal space for a typical Financial District resident. I know that many people who work in this area spend a lot of time in a very rigid office environment. I thought that their apartment should be a relaxed and happy place to come home to. That’s why I chose a bright and cheerful color palette, and selected furniture that felt comfortable and informal.

Favorite Element: The wallpaper in the bedroom. It’s from Koroseal. I fell in love with it from the moment I first saw it. It’s so rich and dramatic. You really have to see it in person to get the full effect. It comes in several different color combinations, but I thought the light green was just perfect for this apartment.

Biggest Challenge: We had 4 weeks and $5,000 to complete this space, so the whole project was a big challenge. I think the hardest part about designing a model apartment is making it feel lived-in, like a real home. I made sure to consider every detail — setting the table, filling the shelves with books and adding air freshener to make the place smell nice. I even baked chocolate chip cookies for the opening party.

What Friends Say: Everyone just loves the chalkboard wall in the entry. It’s actually a paint from Rust-Oleum. It’s super easy and affordable to turn any surface into a chalkboard!

Biggest Embarrassment: The wrinkles in the bedding. Most people probably don’t notice them, but I’m such a perfectionist that’s the first thing I see.

Proudest DIY: My sister Lisa is a really talented photographer so we used several of her photos in the space. We had them printed for free at the Levi’s Photo Workshop in Soho. I’m really proud that the apartment showcases one-of-a-kind artwork created by my sister.

Biggest Indulgence: Probably the wallpaper, but I’d say it was definitely worth it. The bold patterns really bring so much interest and character to the apartment.

Best Advice: Don’t be afraid to add color. Painting is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to add personality to your space.

Dream Source:For this kind of budget? IKEA. It’s insane how much cute stuff you can get for super cheap.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


    • Wallpaper: Koroseal
    • Photography and Graphic Prints: Lisa Weatherbee
    • Entry Bench: White on White
    • Coat Rack: Design Within Reach
    • Dining Table, Coffee Table and End Table: CB2
    • Sofa: Macy’s
    • Dining Chairs: West Elm
    • Floor Lamp: Door Store
    • Bedding, Nightstands and Lamps: IKEA
    • Bedroom Console Table: Blu-Dot
    • Fake Plants: Center for Floral Design
    • Pillows and Accessories: Bed Bath and Beyond
    • Chalkboard Paint: Home Depot

Images: Jill Slater

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