By Anna Kocharian

Published on January 22, 2016

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Photography by BETHANY NAUERT

produced by   ANNA KOCHARIAN
photography by   BETHANY NAUERT

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Photography by BETHANY NAUERT

When it comes to turning a house into a home, things can get tricky, especially if you’re a renter. So when interior designer Merisa Libbey moved into a two-bedroom apartment with photographer boyfriend, Brian Overend, she knew a few changes were in order. Located in the heart of Silver Lake, CA, Libbey completed transformed her rental with vintage treasures, custom upholstery, and a few stunning, personal touches. See for yourself!

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PILLOWS Mud Cloth loomgoods.combarringtonblue.com

PRINT Capricorn Press’s Agate etsy.com

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WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE DESIGN?

I am drawn to collected homes that still feel fresh. I don’t shy away from bold color or patterns. I like bringing the feeling of the outside in. We live in Southern California and I think that definitely plays a part in what influences me.

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HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE OVERALL AESTHETIC OF THE HOME?

Bold, eclectic, edgy, and fresh.

PILLOWS Shibori youreupstate.com

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CLOSET PULLS The Fremont etsy.com RUG Vintage Dekorla.com

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WHAT IS ONE THING YOU SCRIMPED ON WHEN IT CAME TO THE DECOR?

I spent a lot of time at flea markets and thrift stores looking for special accessories and art. When traveling, I would locate local thrift stores and it would become a fun treasure hunt. In addition to that, we did a lot of DIY projects such as; staining the closet doors in our office ebony, faux tiling the fireplace, and making our headboard from a Pendleton blanket I found on Craigslist.

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LAMP Clint westelm.com

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SPLURGED?

Rugs, original art, custom upholstery, and framing! I opted for mostly vintage rugs for the house. I had a mid-century chair reupholstered in Dwell Studio fabric, for our office and I found an ikat fabric I really liked, for the tulip chair seats in the dining room.

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I invested in two paintings from a talented local artist, Nick Mcphail, which are in the dining room. Each of these elements really made an impact within the design of the home.

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HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO SEAMLESSLY INTEGRATE BOTH YOUR AND YOUR BOYFRIEND’S STYLE INTO ONE AESTHETIC?

When we moved in together, we essentially started from scratch. We were able to slowly collect items along the way. Brian is drawn to more edgy and rustic pieces, whereas I prefer glam with metallics such as brass or copper, plus the freshness that comes with the addition of modern elements.

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We both like to hunt for special vintage items together. We also both love mid-century modern furniture.

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PAINTINGS by Nick Mcphail nickmcphail.com

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WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE DESIGN?

Brian is an amazing photographer. His work inspires me and I wanted to incorporate it into the design. One of his larger prints is in our dining room.

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I worked with an artist friend who mounted it on a piece of birch and I am in love with it! It reminds me of one of our many road trips to the desert.

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In addition to that, our coffee table is the one from my childhood home. Talk about a hand-me-down score! I love having a bit of my childhood home with me.

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TRAY Woven Rattan westelm.com   PITCHER Legend crateandbarrel.com

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JEWELRY STAND Radial anthropologie.com
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WHAT’S ONE THING YOU LEARNED FROM THIS PROJECT?

When we were looking to move in together, there was not a lot to choose from in the high demand area we wanted to live in. We found this duplex that had great architectural elements but awful green vinyl flooring, cheap light fixtures and other dated elements. We communicated our want to improve a few things with our landlord and they kindly allowed us to make some improvements. The improvements made a huge difference and didn’t break the bank!

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We changed the hardware and light fixtures. We laid luxury vinyl tile over the existing flooring in the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom. We also used removable wallpaper by Kate Zaremba in the bathroom, added new window coverings, and stained the closet doors in the office. So the biggest thing I learned from tweaking this rental was: If I plan on living in a rental for a while, I don’t mind investing a little into making it feel like home.