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When your client is a professional homebuilder, you know the custom design bar is somewhat raised—even in a rental property. Interior designer Jesse Vickers of JLV Creative was excited to take on upgrading this three-bedroom, two-story, 2,164-square-foot rental in Charleston, SC, for her client and his three little boys—who range in age from 4 to 10 years old.

“My client is in transition between homes—this rental and the one he’s building. But either way, he wanted to create a cozy, cool, customized environment for his young family, however temporary. So, we did a good amount of remodeling in the space,” she says.

The two-story house is on an open floor plan on the main level, with downstairs living, dining, and kitchen areas, as well as two bedrooms for the kids. The upstairs includes the master suite and a home office.

Before her client moved in, Vickers and her team swept through the rental, adding wood tile for spatial definition to the living room’s ceiling, along with

temporary wallpaper

(a contemporary patterned one runs up the stairwell wall) and wood-trim features throughout the home for interest.

Although the kitchen—with its natural wood cabinets and concrete countertops—was in great shape with a cool, slatted wood ceiling feature (which repeats in the master bedroom), there was plenty of room for creativity when it came to adding built-ins.

“Our biggest custom feat is the combo built-in bar and bench beneath the staircase,” says Vickers. “It’s located in the center of the home, and has become its heart. One side is a beverage bar for adults, while the other side is a reading nook for kids—with plenty of cabinets for toy storage. The kids can play there, and dad can kick back. It’s a truly communal area, where grownups and children can come together.”

Other custom built-ins include the ones added to the home office, tucked beneath the eaves on the second floor.

By working with richer, more masculine colors—like charcoal blacks, grey-blues and hunter greens—Vickers still managed to keep things playful, light, and vibrant. In the master bedroom, a tufted leather bed from Anthropologie is sandwiched between Restoration Hardware night chests. The rug is from West Elm, and the chevron shiplap feature wall was custom-designed for the space.

Vickers played with “feature wall” treatments, like a recycled sports-floor wall in one of the kids’ rooms, and a vibrant, blue and white, large scale patterned temporary wallpaper in the other kids’ room. These twin beds are from the Land of Nod, while the desk and filing cabinets are CB2.

The fun, temporary wallpaper in a large herringbone pattern from Livettes adds a cool touch, as do the bunk beds by Pottery Barn Kids and accent chair by Noir.

Light fixtures, which can easily be dismantled when the family moves, are airy, industrial chic, and whimsical.

“But everything we did had to be renter friendly,” Vickers adds. “Other than the built-ins, which add instant value, everything else can be easily removed or eliminated if desired.”

By contrast, the furniture—which is a contemporary, user-friendly take on mid-century modern—was purchased with a view to the family’s next home, where it will ultimately end up. Furnishings are of leather, wood, and metal, which are resilient and easy to maintain, as well as comfortable, upholstered pieces in durable, family friendly fabrics.

The look is urban, industrial chic, and warm. They know the rental won’t last forever, but meanwhile, dad and kids are enjoying a transitional space that very much feels like home.

See more customized home tours:

This Colorful, Eclectic Home Used to Be a Factory A Traditional Lakeside Cabin Gets a Modern Facelift Why One Designer Chose to Build a House From Scratch

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