Merisa's Playful Modern Apartment

Merisa's Playful Modern Apartment

Bethany Nauert
Aug 27, 2012

Name: Merisa Libbey + her pup Zoe
Location: Silver Lake — Los Angeles, CA
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years — rent

Merisa Libbey's cozy Silver Lake apartment is the epitome of DIY charm. Newly bitten by the design bug, she has enrolled at UCLA in the Interior Design and Architecture program, quite a change from her (soon to be former) career as a dental hygienist. Her home displays her talent and promise as a budding designer. Working with a budget and plenty of elbow grease, Merisa gave this beloved apartment the care it needed. Layered textures, huge splashes of color and mismatching accessories are just three of the strong elements that pull her home together.


Merisa firmly believes that you should feel great coming home to a place you love — that you should be proud of your space and that it should represent who you truly are. Taking a few design tips from her interior designer friend Gidget Grimaldo, she was able to create a great layout that makes wise use of her space. One of the challenges was the small bedroom and bathroom, where Merisa used painting tricks and made furniture choices that really show off the tiny but wonderful rooms.

Merisa explained that her yorkie Zoe, along with a collection of personal photographs, are the most valuable things in her apartment. Each room is gathered with great care and shows her DIY skills; she painted the walls, patio, and bathroom, reupholstered a chair in fabric from Dwell Studio, and configured lighting and wiring to suit her needs. I found it was a great example of her talent and promise as future designer. Plus, when you are able to find a cool apartment like this in LA, you really should embrace it for all it's worth. "I love Los Angeles! I moved here from Orange County six years ago and I am constantly evolving and learning new things. I feel that living on the east side of Los Angeles has let me embrace, explore and pursue my creativity and passion for design. "

Many thanks to Leslie Landis for introducing us! Also thank you to Gidget Grimaldo for lending an extra hand in organizing the space for the house tour shoot.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Playful mid-century/modern prep.

Inspiration: I wanted to create a happy and stimulating atmosphere for socializing with my friends that was also functional for my everyday needs. I really like the idea of mixing patterns and using bold colors and graphics.

Favorite Element: My apartment is small but has space in all the right places. The living room, kitchen, and patio are larger for entertaining and lounging. On the other hand, the bedroom is literally just that, a room with a bed in it!

Biggest Challenge: The apartment is unique and has some challenging dimensions to work with. The bedroom is a narrow rectangle with the closet and door in weird places. I had to do a lot of experimenting with the bed placement before I got it just right.

What Friends Say: "This place looks great!"

Biggest Embarrassment: When I moved in, the floor tile grout was black! After bleaching it to a dingy yellow I discovered a product called "grout paint", which I use to keep the grout looking fresh. Unfortunately, it has to be touched up every 3 to 4 months.

Proudest DIY: I am proud of everything! This whole apartment was one big DIY project.

Biggest Indulgence: My sofa was the best investment ever! The quality is amazing and it's super comfy!

Best Advice: Take your time decorating and look for special pieces. If you like something, but it's already been deemed "trendy", who cares, get it anyways! Don't be afraid to be bold and use color. Most importantly, have fun!

Dream Sources: Jonathan Adler, Modernica, Dwell Studio, Living Room, Room and Board

Resources of Note:


    • Behr: Granite Boulder
    • True Value: Gold Fringe


    • Sofa: Living Room
    • Desk: Vintage
    • Arm chair: Vintage (reupholstered in Dwell Studio fabric)
    • Eames chair: Craigslist
    • Coffee table: CB2
    • Side table: DIY project
    • Dresser/tv stand: Vintage
    • Record stand: Vintage
    • Pillows: Thomas Paul, Orla Kiley for Bed Bath and Beyond
    • Rug: West Elm • Abacus: CB2
    • Paintings: Kristi Mundell Gavagan (
    • Poster: Ebay


    • Art : Etsy
    • Table: West Elm
    • Eames wire chairs: Craigslist
    • Curtains: Etsy


    • Duvet and shams: Dwell Studio for Target
    • Headboard: Target online
    • Rug: West Elm
    • Mirror: Ikea


    • Shower curtain: Anthropologie
    • Posters: Ebay and Etsy

Thanks, Merisa!

(Images: Bethany Nauert)

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