Winner: Kerrie Reid, Elite Interior Design &
About this project: This 3rd floor two-bedroom, loft condominium is in a converted 1900’s schoolhouse in a historic neighborhood, which hadn’t been updated since the 1980’s. The goal was to transform it into an upscale and inviting New York City stylized loft vacation rental.
The original decor included everything from dark carpeting, multicolored room paint, dated honey oak cabinetry, dark veneered doors and wall trim. The “bones” and the openness of the space were there; it was just a matter of seeing through the mismatched rooms of the 80’s and creating an open floor plan and cohesive space to make it feel much larger than 1350 SF. The high ceilings and exposed brick were clearly important to accentuate, as was the warm natural light from the west facing windows and afternoon sun.
To capitalize on the natural light and open the space even more, I chose to paint all the walls a satin white and utilized a light-ash-grey flooring in all the rooms to create a calming neutral palate. The goal was to draw the eye toward the furnishings, hardware, fixtures and textures, making them the focal point of each room, uniquely interesting, while maintaining cohesiveness throughout.
I chose plush furnishings for the living room with the backdrop of the original wall of exposed brick from 1900. The kitchen’s bold blue cabinetry and stainless-steel accents that contrasted the white walls and gray floor exceeded my expectations. In the bedroom, I chose to further accentuate the high ceilings by installing a floor to ceiling backboard of reclaimed wood and hung paper mache’ pendant lighting over the bed side tables. This mache and plush bedding softened the space while the pendant lighting highlighted the textures of the reclaimed wood. The result in its entirety was a space that was balanced and neither too feminine or masculine.
Through many years of traveling through hotels, both large chains and independent boutiques, and more recently, private vacation rentals, I’ve always gravitated towards fresh modern spaces, but also spaces that were warm and comfortable that made it a breeze to unwind after a full day of exploring. The juxtaposition of modern style with comfort always offers its own design challenges with varied success, and with so many private properties to choose from, rarely, have I found a space that was anything more than “serviceable”. With most vacation property owners keeping start-up overhead costs low, with an ultra-competitive market, and increasing volumes, I knew that this property needed to stand out, so I set the bar high for myself and for the rest of the competition in creating an upscale space that appeals to a broad audience.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and I did not want to leave anything to the imagination of prospective guests scrolling on-line through countless properties for rent. It was going to be immensely important to choose the proper furnishings, materials, and decor to create an inviting on-screen profile so that when guests checked in, the space they absolutely loved in 2D, became an affair in 3D, and ultimately a 5-star review.