A Mother-Daughter Duo’s Rental Is a Creative, Cool ‘Post-Modern Scandinavian Maximalist Minimal’ Mix

published Nov 1, 2021

A Mother-Daughter Duo’s Rental Is a Creative, Cool ‘Post-Modern Scandinavian Maximalist Minimal’ Mix

published Nov 1, 2021
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November is Family Month on Apartment Therapy! We’re sharing stories all month about families — whether that’s partners, kids, roommates, parents, pets, or plants — from improving your daily relationships or going home for the holidays. Head over here to see them all!

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Name: Liz Sterrett and daughter Olivia, with two kitties
Location: Bellevue community Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Size: 826 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, renting

Moving in the middle of the pandemic wasn’t ideal, but for Liz and her 7-year-old daughter, Olivia, it was exactly what they needed. They survived the initial lockdown in 2020 in a one-bedroom apartment in Bellevue, Pennsylvania. Liz was working remotely while Olivia suffered through virtual kindergarten. When her landlord let her know about a two-bedroom in a nearby complex she jumped at the opportunity. Liz had spent a chunk of her childhood in Bellevue, a walkable community just north of Pittsburgh, and moved away at ten years old after her mother’s death. “It was always my goal to move back as an adult,” says Liz, so finding an apartment that actually met their needs without having to leave town felt serendipitous. 

“It checked all of our boxes,” says Liz. “It’s by no means a glamorous building, but the neighbors are sweet, the landlord is amazing, and it’s perfectly affordable for my single-parent income.”

While the building may be less than glamorous, it also provided the perfect backdrop for Liz and Olivia to completely transform the basic blank space. Liz is inspired by interior designers such as Gustaf Westman, Pernille Rosenkilde, Ganni, Bethany Brill, and Michelle Montana. Though she’s splurged on some key pieces in her design such as her Panton chairs, much of the apartment’s decor is from thrift stores and Facebook Marketplace. Liz loves to support local Pittsburgh artists. She also, along with Olivia, creates her own artwork for the apartment. 

The mother-daughter duo loves to create together. They spend time painting, completing DIY projects for their home, and building LEGO. Their space is constantly evolving, and they are always redecorating, trying new things, and adding new pieces. It’s a space for hosting a few friends — be they adults or second graders — or binging cooking shows cuddled up on their vintage couch with their two cats. 

“When I say we live here, we live here. We love our apartment. We’ve made it a colorful, cozy, and happy place to be.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Post-Modern Scandinavian maximalist minimalism  

Inspiration: Gustaf Westman, Pernille Rosenkilde, Ganni, Bethany Brill, Michelle Montana

Favorite Element: My collection of local art. There is an immense amount of talent in Pittsburgh, and I’d rather support an actual human, and invest in something meaningful and locally made, than something mass-produced from the internet.

Biggest Challenge: I hate carpet. I hate it so much, and we can’t have hardwood floors in this building. It was about a yearlong challenge for me to find rugs to cover as much of the carpet as possible, that fit both my budget and visual standards (I feel like “aesthetic” is overused).

Proudest DIY: My hand-tiled table. It was such a big trend on Instagram and Pinterest, and I just loved the look and idea of it. But boy was it hard work, when my only space to do it was our little 4×8’ patio!

Biggest Indulgence: My Panton chairs, and they were so worth it. I could not afford them whatsoever, but I made it happen. I will be buried with them and my Balenciaga bag.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My bedroom is my office and art studio. I made my desk to be massive so I’d have plenty of room for work, creative projects, and my daughter can sit with me and color or draw while I’m working.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Bleach cleaner and Oxyclean Max Force (lol!). My daughter makes so many messes, and the bleach spray keeps my counters and white table white, and the Oxyclean works well on rugs and carpets. We also always have lilac Mrs. Meyers hand soap; I refuse to buy anything else. 

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Don’t hesitate to buy little closet organizers. They don’t have to look good, they’re hiding in your closet. With being in such a small space, we have to be able to put as many things in the closets as possible, and those boring little organizers are a lifesaver. 

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Invest in local art and artists!! Also, scour Facebook Marketplace. It’s so budget-friendly, and you can find some incredible vintage pieces. 



  • All paints purchased from our local hardware store, T&M Hardware



  • Vintage yellow sofa — Facebook Marketplace
  • Vintage coffee table — Facebook Marketplace 
  • Checkered pillows — Society 6
  • Vintage mirror — Ohio River Antiques Mall
  • Cesca Chair — Seats and Stools
  • TV stand — All Modern



  • Bedframe — Wayfair
  • Shag rug — Amazon
  • Lacquer dresser — Facebook Marketplace
  • Glass Desk — Made by Liz
  • Vintage chrome chairs and notary sign — Ohio River Antiques Mall


  • Bed with slide — Amazon
  • Fuzzy rug — Amazon
  • Pink and teal dresser — Facebook Marketplace 
  • Art — Made by Olivia
  • Heart lamp — IKEA


  • Rugs — Cold Picnic and Urban Outfitters
  • Shower Curtain — Urban Outfitters
  • Checkered rug hanging — Meg Prall


Thanks Liz and Olivia!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.