After 11 Homes in 17 Years, This Blogger Is a Rental Makeover Master

published Jul 3, 2018

After 11 Homes in 17 Years, This Blogger Is a Rental Makeover Master

published Jul 3, 2018
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Name: Jewel Marlowe and family
Location: Jamestown, Rhode Island
Size: 3,000 square feet
Years Lived In: 10 months, renting

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“As a military family, we have learned that even short-term rentals can have high style. This 10-month rental home is a prime example,” shares Jewel Marlowe, blogger, interior stylist, and frequent customizer of rental homes. “In less than a year I have added wallpaper, color, and an eclectic-glam vibe to this, our 11th home in 17 years of marriage (not a typo).”

Despite some outdated decor, Jewel confesses that this rental home already had a lot going for it when she and her family moved in. “It helps that the rental itself is gorgeous. The home boasts large entertaining spaces, a killer island, fresh new paint and finishes… and it’s less than half a mile to a breath-taking beach. It’s safe to say that our family of six has been officially spoiled.

Interestingly, the owner of this former ’70s split-level home (complete with green shag carpet) stripped the house down to the studs, reconfigured, and doubled its size. I can’t take any credit for that transformation, but I am truly inspired by his vision.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Colorful Glam with Soul.

Inspiration: One of our favorite military assignments was a two-year tour to the U.K. While stationed there I became addicted to the British furniture auctions. Each auction was a treasure box of pieces from various eras in a variety of conditions. It was here that I gained an equal respect for a Victorian bow front dresser and a mid-century teak credenza.

I was so intrigued by this mash-up of eras and periods that I began buying, refinishing, and reselling pieces that spoke to me. My enthusiasm was apparent, and I know I had to be the joke of the auctioneers. “Here comes that crazy Yank who loads her American SUV to the brim every Thursday.”

These two years across the pond proved to be a crash course in not only art and furniture history, but also in refinishing and reselling vintage and antique pieces.

Nowdays I am inspired by designers like Miles Redd, Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler, and Christine Dovey. I also scour my monthly design magazines and find a lot of great ideas from other bloggers on Instagram.

Favorite Element: I love the tension and drama created by mixing pieces from a variety of eras and styles in a room. Add a splash of color, and Bam! I’m in love.

Biggest Challenge: This house is undeniably beautiful and new and I am thankful to have lived here. The only challenge for me is the fact that my style really isn’t “beachy.” To overcome this, I found myself covering perfectly good shiplap with beautiful and removable Tempaper, and replacing relatively new light fixtures with Lamps Plus sconces. I went a little crazy in the kid’s bathroom and used lilac wallpaper from Wallpaper Boulevard.

Proudest DIY: Oh boy, most everything I do is DIY ‘ed or thrifted. Take the living room for example:

The sofas: I drove 12 hours round trip to buy a pair of curvy, metallic, puke-green, mid-century, Nordstrom dressing room couches off Craigslist. I then primed, painted, and waxed them to a pretty shade of Hale Navy.

The stripes: I found a stash of burgundy velvet spools at the fabric store. I simply stapled them to the wall around the fireplace. (Don’t forget, it was a 10-month rental)

The bookcase: I used paintable wallpaper to back the built-ins. (I can only recommend this product if it is being used on a GLOSS paint)

The art: I’d run out of time and money for this room, but lacked a statement-making art piece to hang above the fireplace. Luckily, I noticed something while spray painting an accessory for the room. There, on the ground, lay my plastic drop cloth covered in a beautiful array of shapes and colors. After pausing for a happy dance, I glued the large sheet of painted plastic to some white backer board. I then secured and framed out the entire thing with wood and staples.

Biggest Indulgence: I purchased 40 yards of powder-blue raw silk for the curtains in the living room. That one hurt the pocket book a bit.

Best Advice: Don’t just shop, curate and gather. My military movers might call this “hoarding” but I like to think of it as “planning ahead for all possibilities”… Though I can’t deny some hoarding tendencies 🙂

Also, don’t underestimate the power of enthusiasm and books, videos, and good articles. 11 years ago I told my husband that I wanted “to be good at interior design.” I went to all of the libraries in my area and checked out every single book remotely related to the subject. Literally 30 books later I felt like I had a better understanding of color, scale, and style. This is also how I learned to reupholster. There is always so much more to learn and so many ways to be inspired.


Panther lamp — vintage
Rug — Vintage

Rug- Overstock
Curtain fabric —
Sofas — DIY Painted

Glass and Brass table — Thrifted
Vintage Panton chairs — Thrifted

Tokyo removable wallpaper — Tempaper

Kimono removable wallpaper — Tempaper
ACE Wall Sconce — LampsPlus

Gold sconces — LampsPlus
Iona Lavender linen textured Wallpaper — Wallpaper Boulevard
French Tassel Shower Curtain — Serena & Lily
Velvet shower curtain — IKEA
Soap Dispenser — Target
Rug — RugsUSA

Thanks, Jewel!

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