We don’t just design for a living. We live by our designs too. So our designers are opening up about their favorite design techniques and sharing advice based on their personal experiences. Keep revisiting this post as we continue to add new content from our talented design team, and view our Housing Design Introduction below:
Renovating a new home
Scroll through to see before and after images of Christina's home renovation.
Renovating a rental unit
Scroll through to see before and after images from Dana's rental unit renovation.
Personal home decoration
Scroll to see some examples of Dana's home design choices.
Home design tips
Scroll to see before and after design images from Nicole's home.
Curating Tips + Multi-Purpose Purchases
Scroll through to see before and after curation images from Amelia's apartment.
Renovating an old home
Scroll through to see before and after images from Krista's home renovation.
Renovation for a rental condo in Brooklyn
Scroll through to see images of James' condo with design renderings from before and the final result after the renovation.
I bought my Brooklyn condo in 2012, which was in an old factory that serviced the old trolley car network in Brooklyn (there used to be an elevated train track in front of the building). The developer did a good job with the “loft look” but left the space wide open with no individual rooms. I designed and built out cabinetry and partitions to create a living room, dining room area off the kitchen, an office/guest bedroom, and a master bedroom. For the portal into the bedroom and shelves in the dining room, I used reclaimed wood salvaged from a barn in Vermont. I now rent out the apartment full time while I live on the West Coast.
Rental home in LA’s Highland Park neighborhood
Scroll through to see photos from James' rental house in Los Angeles.
My wife and I are renting our house in LA and chose the Highland Park neighborhood as it most reminded us of our Brooklyn lifestyle yet had scenic hillside areas quintessential to East LA. The house is no bigger than my apartment in Brooklyn yet is freestanding, with both front and back outdoor space. We loved the location and the compact quarters as we didn’t want to live in a house that required us to buy a bunch of new furniture and helped us keep the minimalistic life we enjoy. I’ve also included pics of surrounding areas we frequent as this is an integral part of the way we live out on the West Coast; from the mountains of the Angeles Forest to the beaches of Santa Monica. We also love the farmer's markets out here!
Renters: How to turn a bland canvas into a designer’s dream
Tara's design advice:
Slide below to see Tara's bedroom before and after.
Life after College - Designing for an apartment
Scroll to see design examples from Gissela's apartment.
Keep a small apartment interesting – Add removable wallpaper to the bedroom wall to create murals
Scroll through to see Kristyn's process photos.
Designing for a condominium
Slide to compare before and after.
I chose this home for its character, size, and proximity to downtown Salem. Although the interior doesn’t reflect it, my home was built as a theater back in 1828. I love the Greek Revival architecture, with a brick façade and slate roof. Walkability and access to public transportation and amenities such as restaurants and shops are extremely important to me and were a prime reason for moving here.
The architecture of my space influenced my design choices. I only have two windows, which means all plant life must live in that area. My garden unit has a ledge on the exterior wall, so instead of adding more furniture to the space, I took advantage and use it as a bookcase.
Tips to consider:
Scroll through to see Jess's before and after condo redesign photos.
Apartment in Los Angeles, CA
Drag the slider to see how Kate transform her living room into a meditation room.
When your space is small, dual function is the name of the game. I have filled my apartment with movable pieces that function in multiple ways and arrangements. My nightstand is also jokingly called “the office” and keeps all-important paper documents in the apartment organized. The living room is made up of a sofa and ottoman that can be continuously re-arranged to allow for space for a gym or some downtime for meditation when we aren’t lounging (Los Angeles will change you!).
Scroll through for a look at Kate's different setups and design details.
I believe your furniture and décor should bring you joy - you shouldn’t settle for a piece because you need it, but instead, wait for the right one to come along. For the environment and the sake of design, I have been a fan of investing a little extra in furniture and décor that will last a long time. I also appreciate the traditional and classic pieces that I have that balance with my contemporary taste – so I aim for an eclectic vibe. If I fall in love with anything unusual, and often do, I can make it work with my existing aesthetic.
The porch furniture is made for lounging and working with your feet up. The ottomans can be scooted out, and the side table can easily be repositioned as the centerpieces to a four-person hangout. The plants are all on casters to be moved around based on the number of guests or creating privacy from the adjacent street.
Apartment in Boston, MA
Scroll through to see before/after pics, detail shots, and final design photos.
Steve's tips and recommendations:
Home renovation in Philadelphia, PA
Scroll through to see before and after photos.
This renovation is of a 1915 Philadelphia row home, that had a 1970s makeover. Stripping back the years of neglect meant ripping out pastel carpets and pulling up bland tile, in order to let the original spaces shine. Highlights were a budget-conscious kitchen upgrade with paint and new appliances, a vintage-inspired tile foyer redo, and exposing the brick wall to add warmth and character. Tips to consider: