SOOOO, It’s been 11 days since I met with my client, Elvira on the evening she moved to Arizona and her one bedroom apartment in Tempe is now completed. We met all of our deadlines within the space and she cannot be happier with the results. Here’s how it all went down.

Monday, May 28th– Met my new client for the first time and signed our design contract to begin the “design” portion of her project. This did not include items for her space that I had not yet planned. (Separate contract)

Wednesday, May 30th– Met with Elvira for the second time to review her design for her space. (This is the fastest design plan I have ever created for a client EVER, but I was able to do so because the space was SO small, required a minimal amount of stock furnishings that were easy to shop for and researched mostly online. We signed contract to make purchases.

Thursday, May 31st– Purchases and work began in her apartment. We painted the apple green box where her click clack sofa would sit and furnishings were assembled. The shelf liner I found (an unexpected touch) was installed on the wall with just an additional reinforcement of wallpaper paste along the edges.

Friday, June 1st– All items for the apartment were completed, minus one bookcase that I ordered and had not yet shipped.

Thursday, June 7th– Bookcase delivered and set up with the remaining accessories, leaving a few small areas for her to incorporate her own pieces over time. This is an important part of what I do with my clients. Yes, I create a complete space but I also allow for your own personalization as time goes on. Through educating my clients throughout my entire process, they get to learn their style and the right pieces to add to their space, should they ever find one that fits their fancy. This makes it your own home, rather than a home that “Michelle designed”. That means a lot to me.


Here is the dining area of the apartment. Her unit wasn’t available to measure, so I took pics of the adjacent unit (a reverse of her floorplan). Based on this pic, the room appears narrow, small and dark.

Mid- remodel and the space is much larger looking now. A shelf liner in a great aqua print adds the perfect touch of temporary color to this apartment. SCALE IS EVERYTHING in design. (I cannot stress this enough). One of the largest mistakes I see when I meet homeowners is furniture that is either too large or too small for a room. This dining area was only 8′ wide. I found the perfect table, narrower than the average, at just 38″ wide. It’s just enough for a place setting and perfect for 4 to sit comfortably and dine. Simple, pretty canvas prints with our color scheme of aqua, teal and apple green are a great fit for this tall wall.

The room is light and airy now. Elvira, my client, would like to fill the hurricane jars herself. (This was prior to ironing the linens, lol)

Elvira wanted happy colors. She was initially unsure of her style, which we got to learn was ‘Modern’. This space proves modern, clean lines can also be comfortable. She wanted a futon suitable for a guest on the rare occasion that one will come and stay with her. I opted for a click clack sofa, which has more of a true sofa feel. This one boasts a sexy opening in the back, which was perfect to highlight the one box we painted behind it.

The apartment community that she moved into allows her to paint her walls, but most renters don’t have this luxury. I minimized the expense of painting a full wall and added a great way to highlight a piece of art, by painting one square behind her sofa, large enough to “frame” the art above it. The fun peek-a-boo effect it gives in the open back of the sofa is an added stylish, bonus.

Although I used neutrals for all of the base furnishings, I love to add accent furnishings in a great print or bold color. Here I brought in the apple green in ottomans with tops that flip over to become trays. Be a more daring than just using pops of color in throw pillows! Accent furniture is cheap enough to have fun with and then ditch in the future if your color preferences change.

Speaking of pillows… check out the fantastic ones I picked up at Pier 1 between $19.95 and $35.95. The aqua pillow at the end is down filled.

The massive canvas pic of The Flat Iron Building in NY is my favorite thing in the room. It was purchased by my client the day she moved here and could not have been more perfect for this wall! Nesting tables provide additional space for family photos in small frames.

The final piece and well worth the wait… this funky bookcase has multiple box shelves at different heights and areas, preventing it from ever being a bore!

Sometimes the most rewarding projects are the smallest ones. I don’t often get to do apartments or condos, but it was a refreshing depart from my design norm. My team laughed and joked about how the mad rush to complete this space felt like an episode of an HGTV show. We had fun and seeing the look on Elvira’s face as she came home to her new apartment for the first time was priceless. It’s my natural high to please my clients with their dream home, big or small. I got to do it again!


2 Weeks in the Life of a SMALL Interior Design Job (Part 5)

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