Interiorssneak peeks

For Two Creatives, Making a Rental Their Own in Ohio

by Shannon Grant

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Danielle and Jarrod Evans live in the tiny Discovery District of downtown Columbus, Ohio. The area is home to many historically registered residences, from sprawling mansions to smaller, more affordable apartments like theirs. While they love the historic aspects of their apartment, what they really wanted was a modern space for work and play. They quickly realized the best way to make the space work was by embracing the unchangeable aspects of their rental and even highlighting them, by doing things like designing and layering a vinyl decal over the red backsplash in their kitchen. They also minimized their possessions in order to convey a more spacious and inviting vibe. The result of these efforts is a home that reflects the bold and illustrative styles unique to these two creative minds. Danielle is a freelance designer and letterer, known for her dimensional type and her side project, Food Typography. Thank you, Danielle and Jarrod! Shannon

Image above: The bedroom was originally painted olive and wasn’t benefiting the size of the room or our aesthetic. To sleep better and make the room feel more spacious, we repainted with a dark teal. Our furniture looks richer and our bedding looks crisp and bright. To keep the bed wall open and minimal, we installed Umbra’s floating bookshelves to function as nightstands.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: We looked at so many units in our building that I forgot which kitchen we chose and was promptly horrified by the original red countertops. We luckily had a can of red paint on hand from another project that exactly matched the backsplash, so we painted the wall above the cabinet to even out the ratio of red to white. We designed and cut a vinyl decal backsplash to break up the heavy red block and accented with pops of teal.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek

See more of this Ohio home after the jump…

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: The kitchen area has an awkward breakfast nook area that wasn’t appropriately sized for a table, complete with an ironing board. My stepfather kindly made up a little folding table to give us additional counter space and seating. The adjustable stools double as seating space and as stabilizers for my work surfaces, and with the fold-and-store capacities of the counter, I have the option of working in the kitchen or dining room.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: I keep my well used kitchen utensils in my old milk steaming pitcher from my days as a barista. The backsplash was sloppily spray painted white, so I decided to design and apply a two color vinyl decal pattern to make the recess pop. The back board is luckily magnetic and used to display ever-rotating birthday cards and photos. My brother, Jonathan, is also an artist and digitally rendered a thank you card of him and his wife from their wedding – it’s so beautiful I don’t have the heart to take it down.

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Image above: I love to bake, and with my new line of work, I can’t help but amass new cookbooks. My favorites include Baked, the most beautifully designed cookbook I’ve ever seen, and my grandmother’s Betty Crocker cookbook from the fifties. I display them prominently in the corner of the kitchen, my favorites propped under the antique silver teapot, a favor from my bridal shower.

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Image above: The kitchen’s breakfast nook is slightly too small for a table, so we opted for two armchairs and a side table. For our open wall in the kitchen, I chose a series of pictures with orangey red hues. The bird is from Virginia Poltrack, the fox is by Fly Okay Illustration, and the Ohio map is by mapmakers These Are Things. The squirrel painting is the first gift my husband gave me when we began dating.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: Our house is littered with artwork by talented artists and friends, such as this beautiful, brooding watercolor by Heidi Ahmed. We wanted an astrological painting of some sort, and Heidi chose to make a puma, the Mayan version of Leo, spread across a starry sky. The hand painted vintage teacup in the corner is a gift from the artist.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: The branches with paper pieces are our wedding guestbook and inspired by Japanese wishing trees. The photograph is my first piece of purchased art from a friend in college, a beautiful scale study of the Great Wall of China that reminded me of a Rothko. I designed and finished a pattern off of a scrap of vintage mod wallpaper and applied the pattern as a white decal on our wall to add some height and visiual interest to the entryway. The hutch is a thrift find from Mary Catherine’s.

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Image above: We weren’t couch shopping until we found this IKEA sleeper with storage chaise. I had been experimenting with segmenting the living room, as both of us have our studio spaces in either corner, and the L shape gave us the ability to forget work despite its ever-present nature. My husband gave me the porcelain octopus for Christmas, an online find. The bookshelf was organized by color in a moment of procrastination but necessary for visual harmony since the shelves are so full.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: We populated our bookshelf nightstands with our favorite titles and interests in a his/hers fashion. On my side I keep a jar of dried lavender to promote sweet dreams, a repurposed Christmas ornament, and a porcelain lucky cat teapot from my stepmother.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: This poster is from the talented Alonzo Felix and was the first piece of art that wandered into our shared home. The hanging mobiles are repurposed books from my late grandfather. I love their resemblance to jellyfish and the new story they tell. We added a lamp from IKEA and a planet-like orb for visual contrast and balance.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: My work desk is graced with an assortment of supplies, books, journals and reference materials, bookended by two heavy, wood burned awards I received from a local design competition. The large letter poster is the work of my pen pal and good friend, Claire Coullon. This is the only replica; the original resides over her desk in Prague.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: When a friend moving to Europe offered us a plush, mid-century inspired swivel chair, my husband Jarrod jumped at the opportunity to paint while sitting. The chair is the perfect size for his studio space and offers additional seating when we have guests. Both of us use the space behind his easel for work storage, and the overlap created is a beautiful mess of texture and color. The orange afghan was knitted by my grandmother and adds a touch of warmth to his space.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek
Image above: We thrifted both of these round-back wicker cane chairs on Craigslist from two separate people and loved how similar they were in size and style. Jarrod prefers the orange while I opt for the black most meals. I collect teapots and love using them to display fresh cut flowers. This specific teapot found a new purpose after I broke the lid – it’s even been used as a terrarium and pot. I made the curtains myself and applied a translucent decal to the window for subtle texture and privacy.

Design*Sponge Sneak Peek

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  • Boy, that blue sure does get around; I just painted my living room wall that exact same color. Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  • WOW! What an awesome inspiration apartment. I feel that so many renters feel stymied by their leases that they struggle to think creatively about how to make their space into a “home.” You guys have really hit the nail on the head with this place.. so cute! Such style! And, I absolutely adore the “Up” style matching-but-not-matching arm chairs.

    Love the vinyl decal on the backsplash most of all though.. very security deposit friendly and clever. Probably cost and time effective too!



  • What a beautiful space! Danielle is such an inspiring artist and designer, I love how this space really reflects her creativity and sense of aesthetic :) Love the drama of that dark navy too!

  • I love your apartment! I love the mixes of vintage, your color choices, really very nice and inviting! I am intrigued and so impressed by the fact that you made the decal work in your kitchen. I am also in love with the floral design you made as a decal. I really, really love that! I wanted to know how you did that as a decal? Sorry for my ignorance, a stencil I could possibly pull off though not at that level of quality! I would love to do something like that as opposed to stock wall paper!

  • Wonderful to see a lovely Columbus Ohio space. You home tells wonderful stories. Mary Catherine’s is a treasure.

  • I love the upholstered wicker chairs, they are charming and really lift the space. I love that they don’t totally match in style, yet the colours allow them to work in the space – great style.

  • Follow her on on instagram, and that lady is a talented force to be reckoned with. Not at all surprised that her home is absolutely beautiful and full of charm! Love this tour.

  • Thank you all for your amazing compliments! I was a little intimidated by the sprawling houses on here when approached to contribute, but you’ve reminded me that small space are just as fascinating. Abundant thanks! To your questions:

    Rachel and Alyssa- The bedroom blue is Valspar’s Vintage Teal, which looks slightly greener when the warm evening light hits. It’s a beautiful color, and exactly the right choice for us!

    Kate- I did make the mobiles, which were taken from the book ‘The Repurposed Library’ by Lisa Occhipinti. I just needed a little patience and some hot glue. I hope you give it a try yourself!

    Julie- I would be happy to expound on the process of decal making through my email on my site. It’s pretty involved and required some assistance. I’d be happy to send you the template I made. Hope to hear from you soon!

  • I’d love to know if the coffee lettering picture would be available as a print? Love it!

  • I love the reinvented fold-down ironing board become work counter. I grew up with one of those ironing boards. The work counter seems more suited to the modern world.

  • Great talent with the lettering!! Wow! I left a comment yesterday but it didn’t go through!! :( We have the same couch but in pink! It’s quite fun for the whole family and the extra storage is so appreciated but we have a small area for a coffee table which is a pouf for now. I’m looking for the same kind of wooden table as the ones displayed in your living room and would love to know were it’s from. I’m looking for something like the lowest one. Just curious!

    And your backsplash is amazing! Great job!

    • Hi Cal

      Which ads? I’m happy to help if there’s a problem with the ad viewing- nothing should ever be popping up or interrupting your viewing experience.


  • Thanks again for your comments, kind friends and visitors. To questions:

    Cheryl, I am beginning to offer prints and am asking anyone interested to click on the shop link on my website and submit an email address where they may be contacted once it has gone to print. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Bérangère- The tables were a gift from a dear friend who cannot remember where they were from. I’m sorry not to have a better idea of where those came from.