You could say that Miriam Rieder has always been a go-getter. A self-taught baker, Miriam opened her first shop when she was 20 and now owns two bakeries in Connecticut’s Avon and South Windsor. But with a high cost of living in Connecticut and the operating costs typical of a small business owner, Miriam chose to live at home with her parents until she was 24 so she could save on rent. Two years ago Miriam was ready to branch out on her own and hopefully land in the West Hartford area — ideally located between her two shops. She joined forces with her sister, Angel, who works as a shop manager for Miriam, and the hunt was on.
“I stumbled upon my apartment via Craigslist,” Miriam shares. “While the price was in my budget, it was quite outdated with stained carpet, old linoleum and bad paint. I knew I would not be able to find anything else in that range and also a space that big, so my sister and I went for it.”
With a very tight budget, Miriam updated the dingy apartment over the span of 18 months, planning one project for each paycheck. She leaned heavily on the power of paint to both transform each room in the 1920s apartment and put a fresh spin on thrifty secondhand finds. “I absolutely love flipping furniture and turning trash into treasure. All of the furniture, decor and lighting except for the dining room sofa and chairs [were] all found on Craigslist, Goodwill or secondhand shops. The thrill of the hunt and being able to transform pieces was definitely my favorite part of it all.”
After gauging the laid-back nature of her landlord — and considering the value renovations would add to the apartment — Miriam made bigger moves like ripping up carpet to reveal hardwood floors underneath and painting over the dated brick fireplace. “I’m thankful to be able to come home to a place that is true to my personality and taste. Being a small business owner and having [my] first apartment be the space of [my] dreams makes me happy,” Miriam shares. The best reward, Miriam laughs, is probably getting to continue to live amongst her hard work. “I’m also thankful that when the landlord found out I renovated the whole place, he didn’t throw me out.” —Kelli
Image above: Over the course of 18 months, Miriam combined bold paint colors, secondhand finds and DIY renovation tricks to rehab her dark and dated rental apartment. In the living room, Behr’s “Fresh Water” serves as both an accent to bold pops of pink and a neutral to scores of collected ephemera.