When Dr. Carolyn Bannister initially purchased an investment property, the living room was cramped and impractical. Due to modest condo dimensions, the prior owner was unable to figure out proper furniture placement. From the start Carolyn was intent on replacing the dated wall-to-wall carpet with engineered hardwoods and adding architectural interest to the fireplace wall.
After: Cozy and Inviting
Carolyn turned the cozy living room into a warm, relaxing space for tenants to snuggle up by the fireplace, watch TV or simply enjoy conversation with guests. To best utilize the space, a pair of gray flannel two-seater sofas were floated in front of the fireplace, balanced with a generously sized walnut coffee table and grounded with a transitional iron pendant. Previously lacking a focal point, the fireplace wall is now packed with architectural interest, the result of being clad with 1x10 pine plank, which was updated with a whitewash finish.
A transitional-style iron pendant was centered in the living room over the coffee table to keep the space well-lit and add ambiance. To keep the view of the new flat-panel TV unobstructed, the bottom of the pendant was placed 44 inches above the top of the table.
Bamboo Window Shades
Keeping the space warm was one of Carolyn's major concerns with the redesign of her rental property. To add privacy and warmth to the windows, they were dressed with dark bamboo shades, which add organic texture. In order to draw the eye up and give the illusion of taller windows, Carolyn had custom draperies made from $7-per-yard toile.
In order to keep the bold, warm orange wall color cohesive with the entire room, Carolyn added custom throw pillows to the gray flannel sofa in different shades of orange along with blues, greens and white.
Since the property will get a lot of wear and tear from renters, Carolyn splurged on a heavy-duty coffee table with sturdy legs. The five-foot-long by 30-inch-wide table is made of walnut with a matte finish.
Dedicated to giving the rental property a homey feel and encouraging tenants to relax in the updated living room area, the walnut coffee table is fully stocked with books in an array of subjects including history, medicine, pop culture, architecture and interior design.
Art On Display
To add budget-friendly, one-of-a-kind art, Carolyn shopped at vintage stores. After a quick trip to a local Atlanta midcentury-modern boutique, a pair of 1970s graphic pieces were picked up for $225. This initial pair resulted in an ongoing motif of midcentury-modern art used throughout the property. By hanging the art behind and above one of the two gray flannel living room sofas, it's in direct view from the opposite sofa and dining room.
The living room lacks integrated, built-in storage. To instantly add storage space for everyday items, an eight-foot-wide traditional-style buffet was bought off of Craigslist for $125, then updated with steel-blue lacquer.
To keep an overall traditional vibe flowing throughout the property, the existing hardware of the console was left untouched. The juxtaposition between the glossy steel-blue finish and the traditional brass tassel hardware creates an overall transitional style.
Prior to the remodel Carolyn's dining area was overpowered by a dated 1980s full-wall mirror, cheap contractor-grade lighting, drab beige carpet and messy vertical blinds. In its new state Carolyn's dining room is unrecognizable. The contractor-grade fixture was swapped with a vintage church pendant which keeps the area well illuminated. Although the same table that was originally in the space is still the main piece of furniture, it appears brand-new thanks to different chairs.
'80s Mirror Update
In order to turn the 1980s wall of mirror from an eyesore into an eye-catching showstopper, Carolyn's contractor attached 1x3 MDF directly to it, creating 24x24 squares, which give off the illusion of being one large multipane window. In order to do this, each piece was cut to size with a table saw, attached with liquid bonding adhesive, then held in place with painter's tape until dry.
Custom Window Treatments
To add pattern to the dining room and give the updated mirror wall more of a window-like look, Carolyn had a custom valance and draperies made with the same toile used in the living room. While fabrication was costly, Carolyn's budget was kept in check with fabric bought off a clearance rack.
Flea Market Finds
Before the remodel the dining set in Carolyn's dining room looked more like college apartment furniture than something befitting of hard-working medical professionals. To give the table a designer touch, traditional-style dining chairs were picked up at a flea market for $30, then updated with glossy powder-blue paint, and new cushions were made then upholstered with pumpkin-toned Belgian linen adorned with Greek-key trim tape.
One of the most drastic changes in Carolyn's rental property is her flooring. Before the remodel all rooms were covered in beige, dated wall-to-wall carpet. After ripping the carpet out, her contractor installed dark, floating engineered wood floors, adding a glamorous touch.
Easy Wallpaper Refresh
For storage in the dining room, a retro 1950s sideboard was picked up at a local flea market for $125, then updated with graphic wallpaper added to the back panel.