StyleMutt Home Designed Stay-Places

Hi Friends! It was this time last Summer that I had the privilege of designing 8 or 9 short term rental spaces over a two and a half month span in several major U.S. cities. The opportunity ended as quickly as it began when the company that hired me as a freelancer restructured and brought all the designing in house. But I still think about each of the units and randomly wonder from time to time if there is anyone occupying them right at that moment. And I pray that they're safe during their travels and feeling the comforts of home while they're away, and that they have loved ones to return to. I have never been a frequent traveler but have family and friends who travel regularly and exhaustively for work. I designed each stay-place as I would if one of my own loved ones were staying there.

Sharing a round up of some of my favorite units from last Summer! Each has it's own style and vibe, some more 'me', others a bit experimental. All were completed on a budget the size of a chocolate chip and turned in within 36 hours of being handed the sketched out floorplan. Some didn't even come with 'before' pictures so I was going on measurements alone! But the experience was invaluable to me as a new designer and I'd say the nights I worked through to complete any of these jobs on time was worth it.

Let's take a trip down memory lane!

Cozy Up In Beantown


Color Rich Sanctuary


Sophisticated Playing It Cool

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Inviting LivingBedDining Room


"Serenity Now!!!"

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Concrete Cave


That's a wrap for today! Thank you all so much for stopping by!


Design Reveal: Ali and Brian's New Nest

Hello, friends! I won't even bother trying to hide my excitement for today's post - it's a design project I've been looking forward to sharing with you since JANUARY! And in January, all I was looking at were these photos:

While these images represent a DECADE of dudes on rotation moving in and out, the potential had my heart fluttering at first look. But not just because of the potential for some really fun design - this is the second time getting to work with our dear client, Ali! You may remember Ali's Navy Yard condo, (bedrooms here)? Ali was absolutely amazing to work with the first time around - she let me dream big and come up with risky ideas that required HER execution! She's a total go-getter and when she's happy with the design, she will make it happen. So I knew going into this one that we could do some big fun things!

But the very best part of this particular design project is that it represents an incredibly precious new chapter in Ali's life. Ali moved into this space with her fiance, Brian! They tie the knot in about 6 weeks and we sure couldn't feel happier for these two lovebirds. Brian has lived here for 10 years and when Ali came onto the scene, she wasted no time transforming this long running bachelor pad. But combining two full lives under one roof proved quite the challenge! Their many, (maaaaaany), books needed ample storage space, their desire to entertain and host friends needed room to do so, and even the task of joining their individual styles together required some creative thinking. Brian prefers warmer colors, (hence the mustard yellow walls and red rugs), while Ali enjoys a lighter, airier space with room to breath. We used a lot of neutrals and blue tones throughout her previous condo and she expressed early on that she didn't want this home to look just like her last. 

Let's take a look around!


Brian works from home a good bit and uses the bay window in the living room as his office. So while table space and comfortable seating for his meetings were important, we were also weary of the space looking too much like a dining room. It can certainly double as dining space when need be, but thoughtful chair selection and styling was crucial in executing this space as a definitive work area.



I am the LUCKIEST girl to have a business partner like Cate who can come in with fresh eyes and style these spaces out on shooting day. There were some odds and ends to finish up here before we got pictures and it was such a relief to know Cate would bring the shelves to life with her thoughtful touch. We've done this enough times now that she understands my style, she's prepped on the vibe of the space, and works her magic to create groupings that make sense in the surrounding room. There was A LOT to work with in here and she hit the nail on the head. It doesn't hurt that Ali herself has acquired some really fun goodies to play with! Not only does she have the greenest thumb among us, she has a careful eye for art, photography, and pretty little things. It was a lot of fun to be hands on in this space after 7 months of selecting everything from paint to picture frames!


The first thing I started brainstorming for this space was storage. I knew I wanted to add storage to both sides of the fireplace, (which is, indeed, off center -  your eyes aren't messing with you), but one side is narrower than the other. Asymmetry doesn't bother me in the least so when I plugged two side-by-side IVAR cabinets from IKEA to the left side in the digital floorplan and saw that they were a perfect fit, I decided to just run open shelving up the right side. This solution makes absolute sense given that Brian's work area is on that left side and he really needs the extra storage space there. I wanted to have the IVAR cabinets floating over the floor by about 8" for a modern, custom look, and cannot express enough how much I love, love, love how they turned out! Ali and her handy Dad hung the shelves and they created the mantle from a DIY tutorial we found on Pinterest, (which they brilliantly added a notch in from behind to hide cords)!


If this isn't your first StyleMutt Home design reveal, you might be noticing a recurring element - moody mossy green, and specifically green velvet, (examples A, B, C, D - walls and sofa for a double whammy, E, F - you get the point!). And those are only a few that we've photographed so far! As a young designer with an itty bitty portfolio, it can be risky to reuse an element over and over. Will that signature move be well received or turn people off? I've used this element both subtly and obviously in various jobs and it's just my favorite! Dark green was first inspired by my love for nature and the beautiful shades of green I see right outside my window. I view it and use it as a neutral and love how it adds a touch of earthiness! It's not right for every space, but somehow it finds its way in to quite a few!


When we got down to the final details and Ali was ready for pillows, I got a little carried away! But with all that we had going on across the room on the shelves, I wanted to balance the space with some weight on the sofa. I had A LOT of fun with the pillows. :)

And if you want to know what's behind the door that the couch is blocking, you'll need to take that up with Sweden. Apparently this old building in DC belongs to them LOL!!! All I know is that no one needs access to that door and it's the only wall in the room to place the sofa, (and with the dimensions of the room, floating the sofa is not an option). I only tell you this because I have already had one designer question this layout with a comment: "Sofa in front of a door?" I get it, it's not ideal, But this is DC living, folks. Old, quirky buildings with odd elements that you just have to work with. I worked with it by adding an oversized mirror to one side of the door and mounting a good sized sconce to the other. When the conditions are not ideal, you can always fall back on scale and at least get that right.




Recognize the art? It was over Ali's sofa in her last place! She took that photo in Cambodia and framed it herself!!


This sweet alcove is right off the kitchen and is perfect for dining and game nights. Nailing down exactly how Ali and Brian wanted to use this space was crucial and I had a couple different ideas for it. But when comfortable seating and dining height table space became priority in this narrow space with only two walls, it made sense to add a banquette and round pedestal table. A Craigslisted cabinet stores games and defines the space, along with a cozy rug and soft leather chairs. And more pillows - I'm telling you, I've never had more fun with pillows!


The bedroom is a quieter extension of the main living spaces - layered texture and pattern take on a more neutral vibe with the strong statements being the brick and green velvet covered headboard.



There are pleeenty of gorgeous lush green velvet headboards out there, but with a perfectly good headboard already in place and a willing Ali to recover it herself, I found this delicious mossy velvet on Etsy for her to use - this is a much more cost efficient solution but the results are dramatic!


One of the sweetest surprises in here was when they removed the makeshift desk that had been built over top of the window seat! It was something we had spent quite a bit of time discussing when they gave me the Facetime tour during our consultation, and at the time they weren't sure it could be broken down. But they made it happen and it completely opens this room up! I have a special place in my heart for window seats so this element just puts a smile on my face.



The last stop of our tour is the back room which doubles as Ali's office and their guest room.



A rolling desk floating in front of some Billies, (bookshelves from IKEA), make this an easily transitional space when guests come in town.


It's bittersweet to be at the end of this amazing project and to be done working with Ali and Brian. I cannot express enough what a gift it's been to get to work with them, (and with Ali TWICE). I said this last time, but she makes us look DARN GOOD! It's so hard to get projects to the finish line as things come up in our client's lives, (as we, too, experience and more than understand), so connecting with someone who cares just as much to see things through, even moving mountains to do so, just means the world. Fortunately we have had the pleasure of working with several like minded clients this year, so this reveal is the beginning of a short chain of finished projects we will get to share with you! We hope you enjoyed this one and we can't wait to share more soon!

Thank you so much for stopping by today!


eDesign Project: Final Reveal of Keila's Mid-Mod Living Space!

Hi guys! It's a reveal day here at StyleMutt Home!!! These are the posts that make me as excited as they do intimidated - trying to fit 3 months of work and decisions and major ups and downs into an easy 5 minute read is not easy for this details lover! But I'll do my best.

Let's start with a few 'BEFORE' shots, shall we?

Keila reached out to us in mid-February seeking help reviving her condo into something a bit more streamlined. She had a mix of pieces ranging from Asian to mid-century to French Provincial. Much of Keila's furniture had been painted over in a shabby chic look, (including her dining room chandelier), and she was ready for a change; primarily a prominent mid-mod point of view. If mid-century modern is at one end of a style spectrum, I'd say the polar opposite end would be shabby chic french provincial. So Keila had some stuff that just needed to GO. We always tell our clients, if you don't love it and it's not sentimental then there is no reason to hold onto it. Trust us, we can make anything work and look good; if you want to mix french provincial with mid century we will, (and we have, see this bedroom we did a couple years ago). But good design is as much about shedding as it is adding; letting go of what doesn't feel like 'you' anymore is always where we start with a new client.

After selling and donating, (hello, tax refund!), the pieces that she didn't care for anymore, Keila was left with this short list:

a sofa,
a gray painted mid-century dresser,
a mid-century desk chair,
two Asian storage pieces,
and two brass floor lamps.

Now THIS was a solid starting point. And here's where we went from there!

So sleek, isn't it! Keila said she wanted straight mid-century modern, so that's exactly what we did. Let's discuss the dining room first! We had her move an Asian sideboard that had formerly been occupying space in her bedroom out here to her dining room to use as a buffet. We adore the stunning details on the cabinet doors and knew this piece would be a great anchor on the far wall. An oval brass mirror bounces some much needed light from this space, as does the glassy white tulip table. The wood and black leather dining chairs bring home the mid-century style while a brass light fixture adds a touch of polished emphasis. Below is the design board we showed Keila once we finalized the vision:

And here's the vision realized!

When considering the long and narrow shape of the entire room, end to end, I really wanted to add some curve to break up the length. These angles do wonders for the room as a whole and make this dining area feel cozier and more a part of the shared space. Cate has her own white tulip table and McKenna had shared with us one she's had her eye on for her own upcoming move, so drawing inspiration from those gals it seemed like the perfect piece for this space. The shine is really unbeatable and exactly what this darker space needed! (And since this table was an inexpensive Craigslist find, it was a no-brainer)

Now if we just do a 180 we can check out the living room!

The plan for this space was to blend it with the dining room so the two areas of the room looked connected. A strong black, white and wood theme was continued with a graphic rug from PlushRugs, a hand-me-down leather eames lounge chair replica, a new desk, and some minor filling in with curated details. Here is the design board we sent to Keila to share our vision:

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And here's the vision realized!

Because this condo is intended to be an airbnb rental, the budget was quite small. So we got really creative repurposing some of Keilas own pieces. The mid-century dresser that she painted gray and had in her bedroom was brought out here, (she had another dresser as well - don't worry, clothing storage is of high importance to us!), and rather than brand new shelves we found this set on Craigslist.

This statement area rug from  PlushRugs , ( found here ) is as cozy as it gets, folks! A high pile like this keeps a sleek mid-mod space cozy, but the pattern slips right in with the style. Truly the best of both worlds!

This statement area rug from PlushRugs, (found here) is as cozy as it gets, folks! A high pile like this keeps a sleek mid-mod space cozy, but the pattern slips right in with the style. Truly the best of both worlds!

Savings and style won once again with this leather Eames lounge chair replica. Keila actually scored this piece from some friends who'd forgotten about it in their basement, (talk about tragedy!).

Keila had more than enough collected treasures from her travels to style her shelves so nothing new was needed here - just a bit of time styling, (aka playing). A happy little plant party by the window softens the shelves and adds just enough freshness to the space.

Another discounted score was this brass 'C' table Cate found while thrifting! Local clients are particularly fun because we can actually do some hands on shopping on our own time.

An old chair that Keila already owned was a perfect match to the new walnut desk we found at Target, (topped with a sleek Target task lamp).

And finally, the Asian storage cabinet that Keila owned was moved to the other side of the living room to allow the light to really filter in and also to create some natural definition to the living room.

We were initially concerned about the wall color as we were not allowed to change it for this particular project, but ultimately we found it to be a non-issue once we decided on such a simple and sleek color palette.

We are so pleased with house this main living space turned out and most importantly, that our client is in love with her home again. Unfortunately she'll be moving, but what better time to makeover a home! We're crossing our fingers that the effort produces eager renters for her down the road.

Thank you all so much for coming by and checking out our latest eDesign project! And a special thank you to our girl, McKenna, for all her help with this one! It was such a blast having her on board.

Source List:

-Table (similar) - Poly + Bark
-Chairs - Overstock
-Mirror - West Elm
-Light Fixture -

-Rug - Plush Rugs
-Pillows - Corner Oak Design Co.
-Shelves - IKEA
-Desk - Target
-Black Task Lamp - Target
(If something isn't sourced, it's either a UTF - Unidentified Thrifted Find, or something our client already owned)