Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Project, and its Tablescapes

Many of you know that I work for a regional developer in the area who has management and ownership interest in several multi-family apartment complexes throughout the area. One of those communities happens to be in a very nice area of the collection of Buffalo suburbs, and is within walking distance to downtown amenities, and one of Buffalo's most highly regarded private Universities. The model apartment for this complex was decorated about 10-years ago, and was catering to a style and taste that wasn't attracting the young, urban professional that the leasing staff was showing apartments to. One sure fire way to attract renters or buyers to a property is to have them enter and leave thinking, "Wow, I could see myself here!" With that said, can you see yourself here?

As you can see, it was a taste specific decor that was leaving a sour taste with many of the prospective dwellers. So, a co-worker who saw the article on our home in the Buffalo News suggested that I be in charge of re-vamping the space. Catering to a 24 - 34 year old urban professional man or woman. The task seemed easy enough, until we talked budget. Now, the bottom line, in any project, is the most important when you are talking dollars and cents, and the lower the better in this case. I constructed a budget, (a TIGHT budget) and brought it in at just around $3200. With cash in fingers crossed hands I set out to find furniture that would work well in the space, for very little money. Enter the chair I teased about last week. And enter the beginning of our before and afters, and the collection of tablescapes I did for the space. You can see more beautiful tablescapes by linking over to Susan's blog here. (Please excuse the lighting issues in these photos.)

The living room after. (Taken at night.) The chairs flank a modern table made to mimic the lines of brick layer tables. The sofa, a contemporary classic is covered in a mushroom brown colored velveteen cotton and stools serve as additional seating, or as convenient side tables. The collection is meant to be fresh and sophisticated, urban but eclectic, and gender neutral.

I opted for warmer colored fabrics and softer more textural fabrics in this space to give a warm and welcoming, "Cozy" feeling to this space. With more than 6-months a year lost to snow and ice, coming into a warm and cozy living space is what we all long for.

The dining room area before:
And after:

The dining room after. The table before (which will make a re-vamped debut soon) was much too big for this space. I opted for this bistro size table and chairs (BigLots, $187.) and this bookcase/buffet (Christmas Tree Shop $129.99) to give this space a larger feeling while still having all the function.

I replaced this:

With this:

My favorite vignette/tablescape, taken in the daylight. The wooden bowl atop the black cabinet relates back to the warm wood tones of the living room tables, while the cream accents and green-stained picture frames bring in color tones of the accessories found throughout the space.

The kitchen after. Another "tablescape" I worked with very little money to create. A new lamp shade from Hobby Lobby (14.99) on an existing lamp, and 4 bottles of Pellagrino behind a bamboo cutting board ($6.99 - Christmas Tree Shop) was all it took to create a stylish, high end display.

The master bedroom (largest bedroom) before. (Above.)

The vignette/tablescape atop the master bedroom dresser. Existing artwork was layered along with black felt boxes to create depth and interest. The palette was soft and neutral with a pop of ...

Peacock blue! Oh, how I love thee! White pintuck duvet layered with a peacock blue throw, 2 dupioni silk toss pillows and we had a soft but equally masculine feeling space - don't you think?

And to minimize my art costs, I extended the rods 3' to either side of the window and hung peacock blue drapes I found at Pier 1 for $39.99 per panel. Sheer voile panels in between make best use of all the light the room gets throughout the day.
The guest (smaller bedroom) before:

And it's new "Green" makeover:

The second bedroom after. Ikat in navy and white pair up nicely with kelly green trellis duvet and art that is an Artie original. To bring the color of that green around the room, I simply stopped at Hobby Lobby and picked up this 24x36" canvas, and then color matched the green of the sheets to Lowes "Globe Artichoke" by Olympic Paints. A small tester size paint can for $2.94 was all I needed.

And how about a wall decal that is oh so easy to install. "Green is the new Black" is a fresh, modern, hip sorta saying don't you think? And with a woven jute mirror, large handblown glass jugs and enormous shell on top of gorgeous kelly green leather boxes ... I think we might have fooled them from thinking this room was actually smaller than the other one completely!
I hope you enjoyed your tour, I certainly enjoyed putting these rooms together. I never thought I'd get to actually hear the remarks of 24-34 year old men and women who might be interested in renting in the community, but it just so happens that I was showing my boss the unit when the manager of the complex brought over 3 couples, all between the ages of 20 - 35 to view the newly finished model.
The remarks:
"Oh, this is nice!"
"It's so beautiful!"
"Does it come furnished?"
"They do have it furnished beautifully."
So, it wasn't all in vain. The came, they saw, and they approved. I hope you do too! Be sure to let me know what you think!


  1. Artie, that is amazing. YOU are amazing. I love what you did, and I would have to think that you hit the target perfectly. Bullseye.
    Now.. don't know if you ever go to Pioneer Woman's site, but she needs you. Desperately. Go read this post and tell me that she doesn't: http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeandgarden/2009/08/help/
    You're da man... I can feel it in my bones....

  2. Great Job!! How nice to have your talent recognized and put to good use! That black cabinet in the dining area would be perfect in my daughter's house--was it a purchase of yours?

  3. Hello, Artie. You achieved a very impressive, high-end look at an amazingly low cost! Fantastic transformation of the space ... congratulations!

    I'm glad to have found your blog. I'll be back!

    Bill @ Affordable Accoutrements

  4. Artie -- it is perfect -- it is amazing what you did on that budget! The condo is what you wanted it to be --

    You'll do fine with you beef bourgignon -- it really isn't hard and it makes for an elegant dinner.
    Let me know how it turns out.

  5. You nailed it!

    Up to date with modern pieces, colors and textures.

  6. Great transformations, love the second bedroom. Looks like a totally different house!

  7. Wow Artie what a great transformation...I loved seeing the painted canvas in the 2nd room, I just moved my daughter into a new apt. and was thinking of doing something similar there. I hope they will ask you to do more models just so we can see more great pictures full of fabulous ideas!

  8. Artie! Wonderful transformation. The spaces are warm and inviting. The furnishings are much more today and the space feels bigger!
    I think you did great!

  9. Artie!!! wow... great great before and afters!

    You did a brilliant job.

    I wasnt able to get my table up and running this week.. but stop on by and say hi if you have a moment ;)

    TTFN~~ Claudia ♥ ♥

  10. Where is the ikat duvet from? Or is it custom made? Love it.

  11. Hey Artie!

    Great job on the transformations! I love your little kitchen tablescape...the Pellegrino is a great way to add international flavor! Bravo.


  12. Artie, What a fun project! I would have loved to have that Baby dumped in my lap. You did an amazing job with each of the living spaces. You made it so appealing that I'm sure there will be plenty of leases signed in record time! ~ Robyn

  13. Bravo, Artie!! You are a master at putting together a beautiful space and I'm always amazed at your bargains!! It looks fantastic - You weave a gorgeous and magical tapestry! I hope they let you do ALL the properties!
    xo Isa

  14. Artie! Wow! This is absolutely wonderful.
    You did a great job and I love how you photographed and presented this project, here at Color Outside the Lines!


  15. High end look + low cost = good job!

  16. Artie, I love, love what you've done in this space. It looks fantastic, what a difference. Love your vignettes too, great job on those.

  17. Artie, glad you are back in business, great job here!

  18. It certainly needed an update, and you did a great job in bringing it into 2009. Your placement of the pictures, art and accessories steal the show. Wonderful! Sally

  19. Beautiful makeover. Appropriate for so many more people than the 'granny-style' before rooms! Love your use of three same art pieces behind the dining table. Smart. The kitchen staging is perfect. The whole place looks like someone actually lives there and how nice for you that you got to hear the positive comments from potential occupants!

  20. Amazing! I love the changes you made...so much richer and elegant looking!
    I see you like Design Star....me too! Haven't made a final decision yet.

  21. ARTIE! Like the difference between night and day! Bravo!

  22. Wow Artie- you are certainly talented! The transformation is beautiful. I love how you mixed the blue ikat with the green. Very impressive.

  23. Really enjoyed your room by room makeover. I especially like the darker, warm tones used in your new pieces.

  24. Hi Artie,
    What and outstanding makeover...you nailed it my man. I enjoyed each room and the presentation with the before and after made such a dramatic contrast. Your style definitely shines through. You are a truly talented young man. Congrats and thanks for sharing.

  25. You want to hear what we think? Absolutely stunning! You did an incredible job and I can rest about the chair tease now! I loved everything but the second bedroom is what especially caught my eye and the wire basket under the coffee table. Great layering and this is what gives it the live-in look that connects with others instead of just a cold model apartment. Great warmth, color and style throughout. You also have something great to put on your resume now! Design Star, are you hearing me??
    G in CT

  26. I love "green is the new black!" Green has always been black for me, as I'm just not that fancy a girl. You are so GOOD at this decorating stuff, Artie. Oh yes, I can see myself there!

  27. Artie- what a fabulous job you did!! seriously, this is wonderful and on that budget???? wow! I love it. what fun this must have been - no complaining clients. love the 2nd bedroom so much - the green and blue, love that!!! this is just wonderful! I'm so proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Doesn't it give you such a great feeling inside???? It should - you did a great job, I can't say that enough. love you!!!

  28. Simply amazing! I'll bet they were knocking each other over to get a chance on this apartment!

  29. You did an excellent job on such a tight budget! The apartment looks totally updated and inviting! Congrats!

  30. Wow you did an amazing job on such a tight budget! Totally impressed. I hope your employer has a full appreciation for the difference this will make in the ability to sell these condos....do I see a 'bonus' in your future?


  31. Love it!

    I SO want your job!!! That would be oh, so much fun!

    I am so glad you used the chair as we met it. It is cute!

    Becky K.

  32. I'm awe struck! Great transformation!
    I know you were targeting a much younger crowd (I'm 55) but I want to be there! Who wouldn't want to surround themselves with such beauty and elegance?
    I can't believe you did it all on such a tight budget! Kudos!
    All the best,

  33. Hi Artie - thanks for visiting my "eye candy" post - it was so good to see you!

    OK - my mom wouldn't even live in this place - it is awful!! You did an amazing job with what you had to work with - love it!!

    Sorry about your blogger troubles - never seen that one before!

    Don't be a stranger and Happy Friday!

  34. Love everything about this apartment. Not my personal style but perfect for the age group. I really enjoy your Design Star posts. Jean

  35. Wow, what transformations! I love what you've done with each space. I can hardly believe that they were showing the place "as is"!

    I also appreciate the fact that you were able to change everything for such a minimal amount. You are inspirational!

  36. This is an amazing transformation. It looks very fresh and modern, and it certainly looks like it cost alot more than your 3200.00 budget. I'm getting some great ideas here, the sofa is very similar to our new sofa (which I love). And I LOVE those green blown glass jars in the bedroom. Very, very nicely done. Kathy

  37. all the spaces looked very welcoming now! love that "green is the new black" decal. You're very talented!

  38. Wow, Artie, you did a great job! I can't believe you did all that for such a small budget. It really made a huge difference in the whole vibe of the place.

  39. I LOVE IT! I'm not much of a contemp. person - my love lies in Victorian/Arts and Crafts. It is so comfy looking! You've given it the clean lines w/o the cold feel of metal and glass. Kudos to you!!Can't wait to hear your take on Design Star this week!...Jo

  40. Dear Artie--When are you going to get a better camera to highlight your wonderful decorating results? P-l-e-a-s-e no more apologies for "bad lighting." Remember that dinner party tablesetting from RMS? (Smiles.) That out of the way, what a wonderful transformation you did in each of those room. Just seeing that sofa made me tired! Good point about the drabness of the weather requiring coziness and welcoming cheer--that applies here in the rainy Pacific Northwest, too. I'm shopping for fabric to get our 1980's gently-used sofa reupholstered and I was so amused to see that it's almost identical to ours. I'm inspired by your vision and purpose. Thanks for sharing! Pam

  41. Much better! You did a great job with no $$$$$$.

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  43. WOW!!! WHAT a transformation! LOVE it and all the beautiful vignettes!!

    :D Lynda