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When designer Michelle Gage imagined the type of client she would work with to create a project to submit to the One Room Challenge, her thoughts kept coming back to one person. “I’d been following Natalie on Instagram for a while and just fell in love with her personal style,” says the Philadelphia-area-based designer of Natalie Jacob, a beverage and creative consultant. “We both have a mutual affection for color and our styles just blend so well together.”


It wasn’t long before Jacob and Gage along with Philadelphia-based photographer/stylist Kyle Smith Born teamed up to design and style Jacob’s living room in her Jersey City, NJ, apartment where she lives with her boyfriend. “Our styles jive so well that when I mentioned a Palm Springs-inspired look, Natalie was all about it,” says Gage. “She just embodies that playful, colorful Palm Springs vibe.”


With that as her inspiration, Gage set her design plans in motion creating a virtual design board as well as Pinterest board where she and Jacobs could pin various accessories and furnishings they wanted in the space. “A lot of the time we ended up pinning some of the same items,” says Gage. “I loved that because it meant what we both envisioned for the room was totally aligned with one another.”


Though the entire project was a virtual collaboration—Gage never stepped foot in the apartment—the six-week process was seamless. She drew up the designs using floorplans and measurements Jacobs had taken for her; Jacobs did the ordering and receiving of furnishings plus installed the design; and Born pulled it all together with her styling for the photographs.


Working with a limited budget of $3,500, Gage splurged on a few key impact items: the wallpaper by Wall Flora Shop on Etsy (“The pattern isn’t too bold but just enough to give that Palm Springs vibe,” says Gage); a rose quartz pink sofa from Article (“That was one thing Natalie had to have.”); and a lucite and metal bar cart from anthropologie, a nod to Jacob’s cocktail design and writing business. She filled in the rest by layering with inexpensive pieces like the fringe throw pillows, area rug, and table lamps from places like Target, CB2, IKEA, and World Market.


The project was truly a match made in design heaven for Gage. “Rarely do you get to work with a client whose style is so aligned with your own,” she says. “Natalie and I both had the same vision for this room: colorful, comfortable, and playful.”