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B&A: This 202-Square-Foot Studio's Chic Redo Was Inspired by an Unlikely Source

by Contributing Author

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What’s so great about the boring brown and beige boxes in your apartment? So when it comes to renovations, you can use your imagination. That’s what attracted me and my his BFF and business partner, Mike, to his 202-square-foot studio apartment in this converted Victorian-era home in Louisville, Kentucky. is part of

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Coming from a background as an Airbnb superhost, during the pandemic I was switching to renting furnished spaces monthly to digital nomads and traveling medical professionals, but there weren’t enough vacancies. bottom. Mike and I were already in the business of “turning over” a dilapidated Victorian building, a five-minute walk between two homes, which is a medium-term rental niche (weeks to months). was perfect for The well-maintained apartment needed an exterior upgrade to appeal to those staying for more than a few days.

I recalled some of my journeys to reimagine this studio that started as a brown space. This ground-floor apartment of his was blessed with nine-foot ceilings and tall windows, so there was plenty of breathing room to incorporate some of my favorite elements of Paris’ gorgeous “cabinet of curiosities” shops. I felt like there was Delor.

Mike wasn’t all that thrilled when he pitched it to him as inspiration for his two-century-old taxidermy-meets-museum design, but Deyrolle is so compelling that it’s become a cult favorite among design enthusiasts. gained popularity. Cocktail scenes of his party were also filmed. At the “Midnight in Paris” shop. Once Mike understood that I wasn’t really going to import stuffed ostriches or wall-mounted elk, we got to work.

Since the space is so small, I wanted to break the mold and use flashy patterns and oversized art. I trimmed the graded oak cabinets all the same color. I chose the closest color match to what’s inside the Deyrolle: Farrow & Ball’s Card Room Green. , I increased the luster of the woodwork to make it pop while maintaining a monochrome look. And when I say monochrome, I mean it—the kitchen cabinets, the trim, the doors, and most of the walls are all in this muted grey-green color.

When somehow the blue carpet appeared, we discovered a wonderful surprise: the original hardwood was hidden! “stop!” Shoutout to the team getting ready to install the new flooring. Instead of covering that nice piece of wood, I switched gears and refinished it.

I found a giant canvas print of a zebra while thrifting at my favorite vintage flea market, which inspired me to opt for a fun zebra print removable wallpaper for my feature wall. I added it between two tall windows (dressed in heavy velvet curtains for a touch of glamor). Added zebra stripes to stick on.

The rest came together pretty much spontaneously as we scoured for whimsical accents inspired by nature. A book featuring history and collections.

When the first guest came to take a peek in person before moving in, her excitement told me I was right to persuade my friend that I had to pass on this quirky impression. If you find yourself drawn to quirky spaces such as shops, this is a sign to guide your design. You will be completely unique and full of personality.

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