YOU GUYS! IT’S ME! ORLANDO! WE MADE IT!
In case you are wondering ‘who the hell is this dude Orlando,’ here goes: Orlando was my assistant/sidekick on Secrets From a Stylist (RIP) and then became an associate designer that worked with me on design projects for close to 4 wonderful years but then HE LEFT ME to become the West Coast Creative Director of Homepolish, which makes design more accessible, streamlined, and enjoyable to clients all over the United States. Take it away, Landy.
After blabbing about my condo makeover to you for the past year I’m stoked to be able to FINALLY share the results of the funnest interior design project OF MY LIFE. I know that sounds terrible and selfish. Yes, it’s fun doing design projects for other people. But I’m sorry, doing it for yourself is just more fun. Basically because you get to do whatever you want and you don’t have to deal with the aesthetic constraints of other people’s needs. Because, let’s be honest. THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN OTHER PEOPLES’ NEEDS. JK. I have the funnest clients and I love them. But my favorite client is MYSELF.
But enough about me. Let’s talk transformation. I have to say I’m very pleased with the results. When we started, the condo was a depressing, out-of-date, relic of its 1984 birth. There was so much shiny parquet flooring, horrible dark industrial carpet, orange peel textured wall everywhere. As a little refresher, here’s what the living room looked like before I came over and waggled my Homepolish magic wand all over the place:
I know, gross. I’m actually a big fan of 80s design, but this place needed some help. First thing to go were the orange peel walls. I think texture has a time and a place, and I’m not here to shame you if you have textured walls. But the minimalist look I was going for meant the texture seemed out of place. Skim-coating the walls wasn’t cheap. It cost about $12,000. But it was worth it because it completely changed the look of the condo and quieted my desire that EVERYTHING BE PERFECT AND SMOOTH.
One of my favorite transformations is the spiral staircase. We had the whole thing painted matte black and had new solid wood stairs cut (it was previously plywood covered with carpet) and stained black. The effect truly transformed the stairs from DATED to DARLING. In case you’re curious, here’s what they looked like before:
I’ve always loved going to museums and art galleries and had secret fantasies about living inside one. Thus, I wanted to create a neutral, monochromatic palette in the living room that would allow art and accessories to be the true stars. The chairs I originally planned on using did not end up working out. Basically, my boyfriend Edouard had some cool-yet-gross-green-brown mid-century chairs that he loved and really wanted to use. So I had them reupholstered in grey linen and all was fine. Until the sofa arrived and was grey (not white like I had originally thought it was from viewing it online). My living room seemed to transform into a sea of grey, despair, and nothingness. Here are some pics of what the chairs looked like before:
We actually had the chairs facing the fireplace for a while. We rearranged the living room five times before we got it right. Turns out figuring out the layout for a triangular living room can stump even an interior designer. The solution to the too-grey situation was to sell my chairs to a designer friend who needed them for his new Palm Springs house and to get new ones. We chose these woven cutiez from AllModern because they stayed in neutral territory while also bringing in some desperately-needed warmth and texture.
You’ll notice that the flooring is diagonally-oriented in the living room. This is because we decided to keep the direction consistent throughout the condo and the living room is the only space that diverts from the orientation of the rest of the home. So in the bedrooms the flooring runs parallel to the walls but in the living room it’s diagonal. I was originally kind of opposed to this but now that it’s installed I like the movement.
Before we can get on with our lives I think we all need to take a seat and chat about this chandelier. It was designed by the amazing Park Studio and I love it more than I love drinking margaritas while floating in a swimming pool, laughing with my friends, thinking about the future. This LA-based company has a huge collection of beautiful ready-made pieces AND does custom pieces as well (I custom designed this one with them). As far as high-end custom chandeliers go, their prices are pretty great. If I were to marry any light fixture, it would be one designed by Park Studio. Oh, PS, here’s the lighting that was in here before:
It was super cool and mega 80s but it made me feel like there should be birds up there perching on it, judging us for having such outdated, crazy lighting. Also, I had a secret fear that the wires would somehow fall down and electrocute me.
The sentence I’m about to write is going to make you want to wrap me in rancid garbage and throw me down the world’s longest staircase, but I have to write it because it’s something that actually happened in real life. I found this Cleon Peterson print with my boyfriend whilst attending Art Basel in Miami and had it framed in a simple white frame by my go-to cheap framer. I know, this is terribly unrelatable and obnoxious, but it’s what happened and we all need to come to terms with it. The dresser is from Blu Dot and I love it. Mostly because I love putting dressers in non-bedrooms. BECAUSE WHY SHOULD BEDROOMS GET TO HAVE ALL THE STORAGE AND PRACTICALITY?
I’ve literally never opened that Vanity Fair book. I bought it because it’s large and you can stack another book on top of it and put a piece of art upon that book. The interlocking rings sculpture is from MQuan Studio and I love it because it reminds me of the desperate, codependent relationships I have with everyone I know.
I love pretty much anything ceramic, so this tray by Richard Carter thrills and delights me on a daily basis. Usually, I use it to store my ephemera, such as postcards and love letters from my boyfriend. The two poufs were Edouard’s. I had them recovered in more neutral fabric and added an extroverted welt to give them a little more character. Here’s what they looked like before:
If you look closely at that pic you can see Emily’s book on my coffee table, under that mercury glass candle. I read it to Edouard every night before we go to bed. He LOVES the surprise ending!
Okay, now I’m going to show you something totally fun and satisfying. Look at this pic:
Then look at this pic:
Notice any difference? LOOK AGAIN! The stools in the first pic are totally a different height than the ones in the second pic! HOW FUN IS THAT? Well, not really. I’m an idiot. I completely messed up and ordered the wrong size. Luckily, the right size was in stock and I ordered those and everything was back to better! The stools are by Noir and I love that they’re both modern and accommodating. LIKE ME.
Do you hear that sofa calling your name? It’s all “HAY BOI, COME LOVE ME.” And I’m “YES GIRL.” It’s the perfect combo of chiseled and comfy.
Like many of you, I’m very fond of succulents and try to have them around me at all times. The most important thing to remember about succulents is that they hate living inside (except maybe for some extreme cases where you have the brightest room in the world that gets TONS of direct sunlight). So I like to rotate mine inside for a week then back outside to come back alive. Are you glad you came here today so I could give you succulent advice you totally didn’t ask for? You’re welcome.
See? More succulents. Right after this photo was taken, Succulent was all “LET ME GO OUTSIDE.”
1. MIXT Union End Table 2. Atwood Sofa by Gus Modern 3. Silky Road ‘Vintage’ Trellis Rug 4. Rustic Ceramic Extra Large Vase by West Elm 5. Vintage Chrome Waterfall Coffee Table from Paddle 8 6. Throw Pillows by Loloi 7. Richard Carter Ceramic Butler Tray from Nickey Kehoe 8. Cleon Peterson Artwork 9. Noir Saddle Bar Stools 10. Custom Chandelier by Park Studio 11. Lucerne Mirror 12. Shale 4 Drawer Dresser by Blu Dot 13. The Sungar Arm Chair 14. MIXT Ashley End Table
YOU GUYS I’M NOT FINISHED! We still have to talk about the dining room. You might remember from previous posts what a disaster this space was:
In all fairness, this pic was taken after Edouard had already moved into my place and we have put a lot of his furniture into storage. He gets mad at me when I show these pics to people because it makes it seem like he just lived like a caveman with random chairs just sitting in the middle of the room for no reason. In all honestly though, he’s so lucky I saved him from what this place used to look like. I mean, CHECK OUT THOSE MINI BLINDS!
One of the biggest improvements was the window treatments from Decorview. We did simple white Designer Roller Shades in the living and dining rooms and they look amazing and kind of just disappear when they’re open, which is exactly what I wanted. Also, they’re all mechanized so they open and close with a remote which makes me feel like I’m a robot who lives in the future.
I wanted a place where I could invite people over for dinner, because having friends over to eat it is one of my favorite things on earth. I love dining and drinking and friends, but I hate restaurants because they’re so loud and restauranty. I’m basically a cranky 95-year-old man who hates going outside. I wanted a great space for entertaining where I could fit 6-8 of my friends around a table so we could talk about guys, shopping, and the mall. Edouard wanted a place to store all his books. So I designed this super swell built-in cabinet with tons of storage for our books and objects. I even designed it so we could store ugly stuff in the cabinets below and we’d never have to look at it!
Many people are terrified of putting a rug under their dining table. For me, it’s like you can’t live your life in fear, you know? You have to be free to have a cozy place to put your feet while you dine. So I selected a relatively sturdy sisal to go under the dining table. It’s the kind of rug where if my friend drunkenly drops a meatball covered in marinara on it I won’t be like “GET YOUR GARBAGEFINGERS OFF MY $80,000 PERSIAN RUG!!!”
1. Mary McDonald Pythagoras Brass Pendant Light 2. LAXseries Edge Dining Table by Mash Studios 3. Maui Jute Wavy Chevron With Tassel Rug 4. Custom Roller Shades by Decorview 5. Crate & Barrel Lorne Wall Clock 6. The Wishbone Arm Chair 7. Dishware by Snowe Home 8. Crate & Barrel Beckett Natural Linen Table Runner 9. Wine Glasses by Snowe Home 10. French Kitchen Marble Wine Cooler by Crate and Barrel 11. Intersecting Pyramids by Z Gallerie