We talked about her school debts and how her particular focus in medicine wasn't terribly lucrative (she's in it to help people, not make money) and I cut her a deal. I'd try to do as much as I could with my lowest level of services and give her homework--she'd have to handle the purchases herself. In the past, she had acquired most of her domestic pieces online through Google Shopping, which had left place looking a little...clinical. When I suggested that her black metal tubular TV stand be replaced, she asked, "Why? I just bought that and I love it."
I had to use a little tough love and explain to Monica that her apartment looked a little like an '80s bachelor pad: teal sofa, black metal TV stand, bookcases from Staples...She asked if there was a way to work with what she already had.
"Sure," I said. "I can get you some Nagel posters and we can call it a day."
When my Duran Duran "Hungry Like The Wolf"/"Rio" reference clicked, she laughed, so I was relieved she could see the humor in my critique. She had never thought about design before (hello, medical school!), so it was going to take some time to figure out her tastes--what she loved and felt strongly about. Over several weeks we talked and e-mailed about things she liked and didn't like. Being the daughter of Indian immigrants, she felt a link to many organic and hand-crafted items that reminded her of certain family members. And being super budget-minded, she scoured Craigslist endlessly during the days and sent me links to treasures she found (ah the perks of working from home--I really miss it!)
We found a great mix of old and new pieces. Check it out.
Bedroom before and after:
Living Room before and after:
Another area of the Living Room before and after:
Office nook before and after:
Hall/Dining Room before and after:
Another Dining Room before and after:
We kept the sofa, dining table, bedroom furniture and some side tables. I also loved how she had taken almost all of the photographs in the apartment herself. We added new dining chairs, accent chairs, bed linens, lighting, rugs, art, curtains, and bookshelves. There were a lot of cheap vintage finds as well some well-placed Ikea hacks (like the bulletin board I made for her kitchen.) It was quite a transformation from the clinical severity before. In fact, Monica told me last week, "I've learned two very important things during this process--I'm not some frat boy bachelor; I'm Indian, and I'm a girl."
Rad. My work is done.
Next stop: New York, where I kill two birds with one stone!