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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE ~ The City Condo ~ Week 6

{Originally Published November 11, 2015}

Party Time!  It’s finale day of the One Room Challenge and the condo is done.

The condo is actually DONE

You have NO idea the feelings that come up when I say that.  Giddy exhausted disbelief.  I don’t think I can properly convey just how hard George and I have worked, or how much stress I have felt over this renovation.  I have poured my heart, soul and sanity into this project.  Despite my many doubts, we survived and our reward is a gorgeous, updated, furnished apartment.

Instead of the One Room Challenge, I took on the One Condo Challenge.  I know I “broke the rules” a bit here, but I had an empty, half-renovated apartment that needed to be finished, and QUICK.  I’m so grateful to the Linda  for inviting me to this ORC and giving me this amazing opportunity.  Without the 6-week structure, the audience and the sponsorships there is no way we could have taken on a project of this magnitude. We saw a chance, we had a dream, and we went for it.  I said in week one, if I decorate it, They will come.  Who is THEY?  We hope it’s YOU.

More on that below, but let’s get to the reason why you are here…. the pictures!


Welcome to our pied-à-terre.

This is the living room, but perhaps the proper way to give the tour is to start when you walk in the door…

Hello and welcome to Philadelphia!  Our guests are greeted with this gold foil map of our fine city.

Out went the green tile floor (yay!) and damaged wallpaper (sads.)   In went a whole lotta awesome.

The walls of the teeny entry are swathed in a gray grasscloth.  After an initial shock, I’ve embraced the grasscloth and can now say it’s one of my favorite elements in the unit.  Yes, I’m just going to confirm right now that I am my craziest, most difficult client.

Being a city apartment, space needed to be maximized, so we set up our entry to be both pretty and functional.  The mirror is a place to check yourself before heading out the door, the live-edge walnut shelf (made by Georgie) is the perfect key-drop spot, and coats and bags can tuck inconspicuously below.

The apartment is open concept and once you pass through the little entry you enter a bright living/dining area that is also open to the kitchen.  An open space is a blessing and a challenge.  When I first moved in 8 years ago, I filled it with bulky, too-large pieces that made the apartment feel small.  Ugg, I’m grossed out by the image above.  Except Bailey.  Love you, puggy.

After our most recent tenant moved out, we re-evaluated the space and selected finishes and furnishings that would really make the space pop.  This is just a basic apartment- no high ceilings, no beautiful millwork, so we needed other elements to make our place feel special.  Dark floors were really key here.  They make the space feel cozy and modern at the same time.

If you have followed along, you know I ran into a few challenges furnishing this space- most notably my sofa not fitting through the front door.  My last minute replacement- the white tufted Ikea sofa- actually works pretty well in here. It’s clean and modern and let’s other elements be the star.

I had initially planned a much simpler art arrangement above the sofa, but when my main piece arrived smaller than I anticipated, suddenly the scale felt all wrong and I was scrambling to fill in the blanks.  I really wanted a CLEAN yet collected look and that can be hard to pull off!  Especially when you have about 8 hours to pull it together.

With the art wall being more eclectic than anticipated, it solidified my decision to keep the pillows pretty neutral.  Confession- I purchased about a dozen pillows to test out in the space.  I love a pop of color, but every time I added one in, it felt like too much.  Instead, I prefer the mix of textures, pops of green (a neutral in my book) and a fun colorful pillow on our lounge chair.

We swapped out our auction-find chair for George’s lounge chair.  Thank goodness we hoard chairs because reupholstering the first guy would have broke the bank.

Wanting to maintain a clean, modern feel wherever I could, I opted to leave the TV wall very simple.  No art above the rosewood credenza, just the grasscloth and a few favorites.  While I never been a minimalist, it’s been fun to push myself a little.  Besides, the grasscloth provides so much warmth and depth, I didn’t want to taint it.

My dining room feels complete now that I have my statement chandelier.  I love seeing it reflected in our glamorous new mirror.  And the new dining chairs?  So comfy!  My requirement for dining chairs is that I am able to sit indian-style in them.  These pass the test.


Our kitchen has seen major improvements in the past week.  We finished painting the island cabinets and George came up with a great solution to my island countertop dilemma.  He built me a hot-rolled steel sleeve that fit right over the green granite.  The stone top is completely protected, but in the meanwhile I get a cleaner, more contemporary look.

He used natural hot rolled steel and welded the edges to look thicker than a standard granite counter.  It will patina over time and I think it will keep looking better and better.

You may have also noticed I swapped out my kitchen light.  I know its like musical chairs with lighting in this place.  I have always wanted this gorgeous Crystorama flush mount fixture but didn’t think my budget would allow it.  Thankfully, Crystorama came on as a sponsor and I decided to upgrade at the last minute.  It makes me giddy every time I see it.  It puts out surprisingly good light as well.


Marble, wallpaper, subway tile, art, graphic shower curtain.  Neutral, but certainly not boring.