Calm, Earthy Attic Apartment

A professional designer turns a modest, uninhabited upstairs space into a studio apartment inspired by serenity and textures.

Clean snd Serene

After moving in, interior designer Alexandra Hernandez painted the steps, walls and landing white to keep the entire space feeling clean and serene. "I love how the light completely changes the hue of the white stairwell," Alexandra says. "In the early morning it's pure white but just an hour or two later it takes on a slightly orange appearance. It's kind of dreamy."

Hidden Potential

When initially introduced to the attic, it was simply a bare space with no architectural detail, but Alexandra saw potential to make it a home. Its abundance of natural light made it ideal for a calm, serene, white and beige color scheme.

Adding Texture

To add both architectural interest and texture, Alexandra created a wall-mounted headboard made by wrapping plywood with inexpensive batting and burlap, stapling, then attaching to the wall with a nail gun.

Creative Storage

The living space is packed with excellent storage. The 36X36 woven resin ottoman holds all of Alexandra's craft supplies, essential to do-it-yourself projects and prop styling jobs.

Earthy Art

Do-it-yourself projects from burlap drapery panels to graphic art can be found throughout Alexandra's attic apartment. By cutting plywood and trim with a table saw, Alexandra created an art box which she traced bird silhouettes, then painted the negative space with a high-gloss white.

Second-Hand Savings

Alexandra saved on accent pieces such as side tables and mirrors by purchasing them second hand from flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales. For an updated look, the wooden furniture pieces were painted in a high-gloss, muddy, neutral tone.

Instant Architexture

An avid do-it-yourself professional, Alexandra created a custom headboard made up of individual, burlap-upholstered plywood cubes installed directly to the wall with a nail gun. "What I love most about this project is the linear effect the lines of each cube create; I consider it instant architecture," Alexandra says.

Deceptively High-End

In order to create a warm, comfy living area with very little money, Alexandra started with a cream, 1970s hand-me-down sectional that was dressed-up with new throw pillows and accents of orange. She updated the previously black fireplace with copper spray paint. "Altogether, I think I spent about $250 on the area," Alexandra says. "It looks deceptively high-end."

Open Storage

An inexpensive cubby system stores Alexandra's everyday wardrobe pieces such as T-shirts and socks as well as tools and crafting supplies, and it works as a room divider between the living and sleeping spaces.

Light and Mirrors

Abundant natural light drew the designer to the attic from the get-go. Mirrors from flea markets help reflect light throughout the space. After a few mirrors cracked during transportation, Alexandra decided to keep the frames and put them to use as textural vignettes.

Organic Layering

Woven pendants plug into the wall and hang from the ceiling on swag hooks. These round pendants add organic texture that breaks up the rigid, perfect lines of the headboard. The fixtures are excellent for rental spaces since they can be taken with homeowners once they move.

Tucked Away

To keep her clothes concealed, Alexandra draped a small aclove opening with burlap that is held slightly open with cotton tie-backs.