Reader Design: Sara's Approachable Rental

It's December 1. Where has 2017 gone?! 

While I sit here and reminisce, let's take a trip to DC, where I lived at the start of this year. We're off to explore Sara's rental in our nation's capitol. Sara's one-bedroom spot is a step-up spatially from the studio she once had - the same spot that inspired her to start sharing her design tips in the first place.

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I started my blog because I didn’t find enough resources for studio apartment decorating and living when I first moved into my own studio apartment in DC a 4 years ago. I’ve since upgraded to a one bedroom, but after living in studios and apartments under 800 square feet, I really enjoy the process of designing a space on a budget and that’s entirely renter-friendly. It will probably be awhile before I own a place, so the challenges of making a rental your own are really fun. If your home or apartment is a rental and a place where you spend a lot of time, it should make you happy and reflect your style. Whether it’s new paint, changing out the hardware, adding art or anything else- I believe every home can be beautiful- rental or not!

Sara has pulled together the perfect home base escape, with mid-century, Parisian, and Cali cool vibes throughout. 

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I strive for my home to be inviting, stylish, yet approachable. I want people to admire the space, but also feel comfortable to sit anywhere and put their feet up. I don’t believe any space should be too ‘stuffy’ or so ‘perfect’ that guests are afraid to touch anything. I also have a dog (who is allowed on the furniture) so everything must be pet-friendly, too!
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In her home, Sara keeps things simple and calm with neutral tones and subtle pops of visual interest, using color, patterns, and texture. 

The images all over pinterest and instagram constantly give me the urge to paint every inch white and go very scandanavian and remove all color from my place. However... I don’t think I would realistically like that long-term. My apartment is fairly neutral but I do like a pop of color here and there. My bedroom is all white and muted pink accent of the rug and metallic elements keep the space calm and neutral and it’s really relaxing to come home to each night.

Since the room is rental, Sara still keeps her design budget-conscious and smart.

I’m always willing to splurge on bigger staple pieces that I know I’ll use for 5-10 years or more. My bed frame and my sofa were both on the higher end of the price scale but I know they are quality investment pieces that I’ll use for years to come. I try to save on accessories and other elements in the apartment- scouring thrift stores and craigslist for great vintage finds.

Sara, thank you for showing us around your home! And thank you, Laura, for the stunning eye candy.

Follow Sara along on Instagram @studiostyleblog for more! Follow the talented @laurametzlerphoto for photos like these and more!

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Reader Design: Erin's Fresh Space

We're off to Pittsburgh today, mutts! A great, interesting East Coast city that's especially great (or so I hear) during football season. Erin's fresh and ecletic home, though, is perfect in any season. 

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This place is chalk full of unique and interesting finds. The closet home I've seen like Erin's is an Airbnb I stayed in in London earlier this year that had artwork of actual human skulls...  you know your home is different and interesting when you're on THAT level. Erin's design inclinations may be due to her inherent taste, her attraction to rare things, and perhaps, something as simple as geography.

Well, I was born and raised in South Carolina, and I spent 6 years in Manhattan on the Upper East Side, so I like to think my style is combination of those regional elements— the laid-back, classic comfort of the south sprinkled with the refined glam of New York City.

You'll probably quickly note that Erin's home doesn't have many traces of trendiness; she does a great job of staying true to her tastes, using trendy elements sparingly. 

There are definitely trends that I have gone ga-ga over, and it is hard to refrain sometimes. I fell prey to a chevron duvet a few years ago, which still makes me cringe a little looking back! It’s one of the oldest design mantras in the book, but I think the key is using in moderation, and keeping the super trendy things limited to throw pillows or artwork, items that can be easily (and inexpensively) changed out later if you decide you are tired of it or the trend has passed.

Reeling yourself in and only keeping trendy elements to ones that are easy to swap out later is truly easier said than done, but Erin, you make it look easy - and the trends Erin does select, like over-saturated rugs and a pedestal table, still look timeless and functional. In addition to being unique, Erin values comfort just as much.

You know when you see pictures of beautiful rooms that stop you in your tracks and think - “Wow, that is so stunning! But I don’t feel like I could sit on any of that furniture!” I want it to feel the exact opposite of that.

Every choice in Erin's home seems to just invite you in - either physically, saying 'take a seat,' or emotionally, inviting you to ask a question or dive deeper into the story. 

In the bedroom, one of Erin's favorite pieces is the framed art above the bed, which is actually a vintage Hermes scarf. 

I love the nautical theme & pastel colors (I grew up sailing). I based my entire NYC studio design around it when I lived there, and later our master bedroom when I got married. Luckily my husband isn’t too picky about the pink!

Erin, your home is special indeed. Thanks for the tour! Follow Erin along on Instagram at @mediumalistdesign.

See you next week!

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Reader Design: Ashley's Adorable Abode

Friends. It's Friday!! Can I be honest? This week dragged. It was a serious struggle, and all I'm craving is a night in without my computer or phone. I need to unplug - and yes, I realize the irony of that statement coming from someone who just returned from a week-long California vacation. 

So, we're going back to California and checking out Ashley's gorgeous home - which, given an exciting turn of events, is soon to be on the market after Ashley and her family found a perfect plot of land on which to build! 

Her home is a gorgeous blend of rustic, modern, traditional, and eclectic. 

I think my style is unique because I am so eclectic. I love mixing blacks and blues together. I throw florals in with about every mix, and while I am very eclectic, I think everything flows well and it doesn’t feel harsh. I am constantly inspired by different aesthetics, places I travel to, and by people I admire.

Ashley's design philosophy also harkens back to the humble beginnings of StyleMutt Home, when Chelsea put her all into Craigslist hunting and furniture refinishing (don't worry, that's still a critical component of SMH!). 

I’m a bargain shopper at my core, a lover of garage sales and Craigslist, and am always searching for that hidden treasure. I have a passion for “recreating” pieces. I love hunting for the pieces that people can’t see beyond what is just sitting in from them... but I see the potential.

And seeing that potential has allowed Ashley to create a home that is carefully crafted, but so comfortable. Can you all just imagine a quiet Friday night in here, cuddled on the couch? Raise your hands. If you can't see it, mine is touching the sky. 

The kitchen was largely renovated, but Ashley strategically decided to leave one thing as-is: the butcher block island. For someone who doesn't tend to follow trends, Ashely saw this as a way to incorporate trends on a whim. The island isn't always green; Ashley treats it as an accent piece and paints it all the time!  


There is one thing trends are really good for, though, and that's exposing us (or rather, inundating us, as it may feels sometimes) with new ideas. Trends make it easy to identify what we like and what we don't like. Of course, the flip side of the coin is that once we find something we love that way, it may ultimately fall out of favor. 

For Ashley, the trend she fell in love with was the gallery wall concept. We've seen a lot but Ashley's is particularly because of what it centers around: her family. 

I love my gallery walls. Especially the one of the family. It brings me joy seeing the kids faces up in our family room. It was such a pain to hang, since it was the first one I ever did, and I made a lot of mistakes. But those suckers are in and not moving; in fact, I used earthquake glue to keep them in place!

Best of luck to the new owners on getting those earthquake glue marks off the walls!! I jest. But seriously, Ashley, you will most definitely have to call us in the future to check out your new home. Congratulations!

Follow Ashley along on Instagram @arrowsandbow for more!
And be sure to follow along with Cate, Chelsea, and I through our design busy season - we're just getting started!