This Tropical Plant Collector’s Atlanta Rental Loft Is a Love Letter to Post Modernism

published Sep 30, 2021

This Tropical Plant Collector’s Atlanta Rental Loft Is a Love Letter to Post Modernism

published Sep 30, 2021
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Bedrooms
Square feet
1100
Sq ft
1100
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Name: Mitzi and my husband Zack. 1 dog named Banana, and some cats.
Location: Little Five Points — Atlanta, Georgia
Size: 1,100 square feet
Type of Home: Loft
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

Mitzi, who’s a tropical plant collector and seller under the name Plantmodernist, is also a self-professed design nerd. With a passion for postmodern design, the loft in Atlanta she rented with her husband, Zack, isn’t just unique for the colorful elements she’s incorporated into the space. It’s also a unique building, too. “My loft is two and a half stories in the back of the auditorium of a 1920s schoolhouse in the heart of Atlanta,” Mitzi explains. “Past the old auditorium seating is door in a place that often made people ask, ‘Oh you really live there?'”

There are enviable design details all over the loft’s spaces, but the entryway and two bathrooms Mitzi designed are particularly amazing. The entryway is inspired by Op Art, and features a mind-bending mix of black and white patterns on nearly every surface. The guest bathroom is Mitzi’s love letter to Memphis Milano, and has ’80s-inspired patterns and colors used in unique places. She calls the main bathroom an “homage to my love of the Colony Hotel in Miami and the Stylenada Pool Cafe in Korea designs.” And the most impressive thing? These creative spaces didn’t cost an arm and a leg. “I wanted to instill my love of postmodern design into the space but on a tight, renter-friendly budget,” Mitzi writes, explaining that a lot of the projects were completed thanks to affordable materials and elbow grease.

While Mitzi and her husband have since moved into a new home, their moving out of this one did NOT signal the end of some of these creative designs; the guest bathroom was so beloved Mitzi says the next tenant wrote it in her lease to keep it as-is!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Bold, whimsical, postmodernism. ’70s-’90s style. And a tropical plant collector wedged into all of that.

Favorite Element: About the space: The two massive south-facing windows. About the design: The Op Art entryway

Biggest Challenge: The ideas I have versus the money or options to do them.

Proudest DIY: The whole apartment was a proud DIY but my entryway took so many days and most people mistake it for paint or wallpaper.

The crowd favorite is my Memphis Milano bathroom. I did it so over the top I didn’t think anyone would like it, but you would find a crowd during a party just gathered in my small bathroom. You’d often hear “Come into the bathroom” as the first thing friends say to their guests when they’d come into my place.

Biggest Indulgence: My Pilastro stool by Ettore Sottsass. You know you’re a design nerd when you get a stool for Christmas.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Washi tape! You’d be amazed what you can do. Killz primer for any furniture remodeling. And Flor carpet tiles; the limit is your imagination and they’re so pet friendly.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Don’t be afraid to put furniture in a bathroom. My towel storage is an old entryway console I found for $50 on Facebook Marketplace. Go for maximum print in a small space; it’s a great way to restrain whimsy.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? If you can dream it, you can probably do it. You just need to plan plan plan.

Resources

PAINT & COLORS

  • Paint is all base white done by the building. Other paints are Benjamin Moore “Sweet 16” in the main bathroom. Guest bathroom are tiny pints from Valspar.

ENTRY

  • Shoe bench is Cubicle Shoe Bench — Birch Lane, recovered in a tweed clothing fabric found on Etsy. Topped with an IKEA Pillow (deadstock) that was two pillows sewn into one to fit the bench.
  • Pedestal — A plaster DIY made of cardboard post cement pour tubing and Styrofoam Christmas wreaths. It’s a riff of an Ettore Sottsass totem.
  • Framed art — Vintage magazine ad for an Op Art exhibition from the ’60s, as well as a Moschino flyer from the Mint Museum exhibition Viva Moschino!
  • The bananas are hand painted because I have a dog named Banana and I like to see if people catch onto small pieces in a busy room.
  • Bone inlay mirror — Etsy
  • Boby Trolley — Kartell (vintage Craigslist find)
  • On top of the Boby Trolley is a Yayoi Kusama box from her museum in Tokyo. Also Jonathan Adler catchalls in his Op Art print
  • The Mickey Mouse tray — From a Japanese home goods store called Franc Franc.
  • Small table — Vintage tulip-style record player holder found on Etsy topped with vintage op art fabric from the 1960s. The tray is another vintage find and the box (which stores dog items) is another Jonathan Adler Op Art piece.
  • The walls are all washi tape and round canvases. The tapestry is a Yayoi Kusama handkerchief from her museum in Tokyo.
  • Rug — Custom Flor Tiles creation.
  • Hanging orb — Found at a local vintage shop and held by a giant carabiner with a large disco ball inside. Inside is painted in “Semple Black” by Stuart Semple.

LIVING ROOM

  • Bookshelf — Deadstock modular bookshelf from Design Within Reach
  • The plants are all tropical collector plants.
  • Planters/pots — H&M Home or terracotta painted with a black acrylic wash for uniformity.
  • TV stand — 1970s vintage piece repainted in Farrow & Ball’s “Pavillion Grey”
  • Matching Biorb Air stand is also painted in “Pavillion Grey”
  • Biorb Air terrarium — Oase via Amazon
  • Print behind TV stand — From the Museum of Japanese Craft in Tokyo
  • Low art shelves — Stairs painted white and held up by old Beanie Baby Acrylic Cases filled with gold leaf or blue cement dye. All found on eBay.
  • Prints on the shelf — By friends, from Japanese museums or a local old shop called “Paper Ghost.”
  • Rug — Flor Carpet tiles
  • Coffee table — West Elm Streamline End Tables put together.
  • Couch — 86’ Charlie Sofa in Sapphire Rust from AllModern and I couldn’t recommend it more.
  • The side table — Adan Stool by Vondom

DINING ROOM

  • Sideboard — IKEA Kallax hacked with doors and circular hobby wood
  • Dining table — 1970s Burke Tulip table.
  • Dining chairs — Globus chair by Stua found at DWR
  • Two art prints above the plants — One is a museum advertisement for the Tadanori Yooko museum in Kobe, Japan. The other is origami paper bought at the Yayoi Kusama museum in Tokyo and quilted together to make a larger piece.

BEDROOM

  • Acrylic bench — CB2
  • Bed — Simple Bedframe from West Elm
  • Headboard — Painted plywood cut by a friend
  • Bedding — Rady, a Japanese clothing company
  • Pink Moroccan style rug — Safavieh
  • Side table — Old West Elm stool
  • Pedestal —1980s vintage found on Marketplace. It is topped with a cement planter that was spray painted white then dayglo pink quickly after so the pink paint cracks and was painted with gold to help the cracks.
  • Giant Audrey Hepburn — An original done in spray paint. I found the easel cheaply off Amazon and spray painted it black.
  • The Monstera is held up by a Pilastro Ettore Sottsass  by Kartell stool
  • Shelves — DIY. The IKEA stool (now cat bed) was in the free item space of my building. I painted with white and recovered with upholstery fabric.
  • Other cat bed — Raffia bin covered in tweed clothing fabric and cushion inside.

GUEST BATHROOM

  • My love letter to Memphis Milano.
  • Paints — Valspar, black is all Washi Tape. You can paint on Washi tape with acrylic paint so if you’d like to make your own wallpaper it’s quite easy.
  • The black elements — Washi tape is various sizes (you can buy giant washi tape). I heard from my building staff they don’t charge to repaint your apartment, but they will if it’s a dark paint so I had to mix washi and paint.
  • Console table — Secondhand piece I spray painted in Krylon “Ballet Slipper.” I painted the rim using DecoArt furniture paint. It is an Ettore Sotssass-inspired bacteria print.
  • Console top — Print from Spoonflower called Hands by Dearchickie. I asked her to enlarge the print and I modge-podged it onto a canvas I cut to match the top shape of the console.
  • Console knobs — Mismatched marble from World Market and a glass triangle knob I found off Etsy.
  • Yellow mirror — I found in the free pile of our apartment complex and painted it yellow and cut and glued the shapes made out of hobby wood. I also painted a strip of Cucumber print on the mirror with hobby wood. The whole mirror is inspired by the Cucumber Vase by Martine Bedin.
  • Hand — Was a tealight Halloween candle from Target spray painted white and then I painted the nails. The coaster is by Jonathan Adler for Now House Amazon
  • Devils — By JellyKoe. I asked them to custom make me a lady devil to match the space.
  • Triangle rug — Flor carpet tiles.
  • Terrazzo print window ledge — Another Spoonflower fabric + modgepodge DIY.
  • Hand towels — Dusen Dusen.
  • Pink mirror — Great Stuff spray foam and Krylon “Ballet Slipper” DIY.
  • Neon watermelon — Urban Outfitters.
  • Toilet essentials kit — IKEA Variera with round cabinet knobs found on Etsy as a base.
  • I DIY-ed the trash can to match the bathroom as well.
  • The ceiling is giant strips of Washi tape and I painted white acrylic on top of them.

MAIN BATHROOM

  • The main bathroom is a homage to my love of the Colony Hotel in Miami and the Stylenada Pool Cafe in Korea designs.
  • Shower curtain — “Art Deco Divers in Champagne” print from Society6. The liner is Quiet Town’s SunShower liner in “Atlantic”
  • Wallpaper for the cabinets and trash can — Swimmers by Spoonflower. I was able to purchase a smaller amount for the project on Etsy.
  • Peel and stick wallpaper for the mirror edging — Seashell print in “Marigold” from Etsy
  • The “pool noodles” hanging from the ceiling are actually plumbing insulation spray painted and wired into shapes.
  • Bathmat — Urban Outfitters

STAIRWELL WALL

  • Gallery wall I call my Wall of Whimsy. Any fun prints I find go on there backed with painters tape. Most are museum exhibitions from Japanese museums. I travel to Japan a lot so my house has a lot of Japanese art.

Thanks Mitzi!

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