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!


Reader Design: Sarah's Urban Reno

This weekend, I'm in New York City for a friend's wedding... and that just so happens to also be the site of today's feature! Now, for many, owning your own place in New York City is an elusive pipe dream. But Sarah found a fixer upper with the right bones and embarked on a gut-job renovation to make her urban apartment a perfect fit. 

Let's take a look!

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From Sarah:

When I first started gathering inspiration photos for my renovation, I found myself bookmarking a mix of simpler, cleaner, more neutral spaces and ones with a bit more eclectic oomph and color to them. See, I want to be a minimalistic, neutral, Marie Kondo-esque type, but in reality, I’m much closer to a bohemian cat lady with a penchant for ALL the tchotchkes.

I balanced those two sides by keeping the bigger parts of my design (wall colors, tile, big furniture pieces) quiet so that my finishing touches (textiles, wallpaper, décor) could get loud. Cue the J. Lo and insert the dancing girl emoji here. That means my walls are a light grey, and my bathroom is all white—but I’ve got more vintage mirrors than anyone could possibly need, an antique Persian runner in my entryway, and gold Hygge & West wallpaper on the wall opposite my kitchen.
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The great thing about doing a gut renovation? You’re literally starting from scratch, which means your home (and your design!) can be anything you want it to be. The world is your oyster (within reason and budget, of course)! The terrible thing about doing a gut renovation? You’re spending a lot on your choices—so you better hope they’re good ones. I’m happy to say that while there are a few small things I’d do differently if I were to do it again, I’m mostly quite happy with how my little home turned out.
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Comfort and ease were two huge considerations as Sarah was designing this space. After all, it's smack dab in the middle of the city that never sleeps, and it needs to operate accordingly!

Above all, I want my home to feel comfortable. Yes, I have nice things, but I don’t ever want anyone to feel like they can’t drink red wine on my white couch (that’s why god made eco-friendly bleach!) or like they can’t make a mess in my kitchen (lord knows I do). Homes are meant to be lived in, and I hope to evoke that sense of warmth and comfort in every aspect of my design.

The exposed brick wall, which was a happy accident during construction, goes a long way in bringing those homey vibes to the space!

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In the kitchen, Sarah maximized every inch she could by adding this extra counter space with the breakfast bar and keeping things light and airy with exposed shelving and natural light. Despite how practical the design was, there is certainly no shortage of personality!

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Cement tile is big right now (and has been for the past few years), and I put it in my kitchen. When I showed my contractor (who advised me a bit—even when I didn’t ask for it!—throughout the renovation process) the tiles I was planning on purchasing, he shook his head. “You should go for something simpler,” he said. “Something with resale value. This tile—it’s too trendy. It’ll be out in a few years.” And honestly, he may be right. In five years, I may look down at my cement tile and wish I’d done something simpler. Trends come and go, right? But since I renovated for me more than for resale value (my apartment isn’t a flip), I took a risk—and I’m glad I did. My floors make me happy every time I see them, and that feels worth it.
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My bedroom is the one space where I’m not quite sure I’ve nailed it (at least, not yet)—but one piece I know I love is my dresser. I found it in the basement of my rental building about a month before I started renovations and lugged it into the elevator and up to the 10th floor one Monday night. The streets (and basements!) of New York City are a veritable treasure trove. If you keep your eyes peeled, you never know what you’ll find—for free!
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This whole home feels completely personalized - Sarah, we think you nailed the renovation game! Thank you for showing us around. Follow Sarah along on Instagram at @_thegrandapt for more photos and before and after details! 

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Boston's 'D Street' Reveal!

Hello again! My last post was ridiculously text heavy so I won't waste time with too many words here, but I just want to say thank you for all of your incredibly kind words of encouragement for Cate and me as we pursue new and exciting challenges with our work here at StyleMutt Home. Your words lift our hearts so.

I'm really excited to dive right into sharing some of the units I've been working on with Sonder, (see this post for details on my new freelance position)! I've completed 7 units since mid-July and am looking forward to seeing more of them photographed and listed! The work is completely digital - they send me a floorplan with measurements of the space, and sometimes, if I'm lucky, pictures of the space as well! A lot of times there are still renters in the units so I don't get listing pictures, but with this unit I did!

I won't even try to hide how much of a nerd I am for factory windows - factory windows, interior brick, and unfinished warehouse ceilings are probably my top three favorite architectural elements in a home, so getting to work on urban condos and apartments is an awesome fit. And doing this unit in my favorite city of Boston was another big perk! I lived there for 6 years and it's one of my favorite places in the world. Go Sox!

So after Sonder sends me the floorplan and any pictures or video tours they may have of the unit, I start a Pinterest board, (just like we do with our clients)! Unlike client boards, however, I keep my Sonder boards public. So if there's anything you see that you're interested in, you can find it all here on my Pinterest! I create a different Pinterest board for each unit and use that to save inspiration and pieces. Sonder always gives me a very strict budget, (right to the cent), a 'turn-in' date of when they need the design completed, (usually around 2 days), and a 'need by' date of when they need every last item to ship by, so I need to make sure every piece can be delivered on time! Below is a sample of the board I used for today's apartment!


After pinning the main furniture pieces I want to use I then create a floorplan based on the measurements Sonder sent. When doing eDesign it's absolutely imperative that you understand the space you are working with, right down to the inch. I'm getting MUCH better with my floorplans, but have definitely been in a position of asking whoever is on the installation end, (clients, or Sonder operations), to squeeze this way or that or try to explain a new layout. Not fun and totally embarrassing. Floorplans are priority!


And finally I create the design boards! I typically make one design board per room in the apartment, (unless the layout is wonky and I need to show some super specific styling or layout details). Below is the design board for the living room, and following is the living room in completion!


For some reason they did not use the gorgeous Rose Swiss Cross engineer print I had sourced from our dear friend Vol25, and yes, I am taking it personally. Hah! I had chosen that for my closeted infatuation with red and pink, as well as the lovely contrast between the dusty pink and the cow print. Oh well. I don't love the feathers but I can move past. Shall we?


Other than that Rose Swiss Cross print, it's crazy fun seeing every other last detail implemented exactly as I had presented in the design, (even the books). So cool!


Bedroom 1: We've had the opportunity to work with two clients this year who wanted sage green walls in their home. While the specific direction with style and color scheme was unique to our clients, I had a little fun of my own in this room with sage green. Here is the design board followed by the real deal:

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No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you, they switched out the black mudcloth pillows for these dusty blue ones....but I'm not sad about it. They picked a really earthy, dusty blue, which I think goes well. Otherwise, the room represents the design to a 'T'!


Bedroom 2: Same feel, different route to get there. Design board followed by the completed space.

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One thing I forgot to mention! All beds get dressed in 'hotel white' bedding, so I don't ever do comforters, duvets or sheets. So I try to pick beds, pillows and throws, (as well as overall room colors), that will go with crisp white.


A huge thank you to the folks I will never meet who worked on installing this space for Sonder! It turned out just as I had imagined. Except for the Rose Swiss Cross. :)

Til' next time! Thank you all so much for coming by today!