When I first moved to Chicago,
my bachelor pad was full of DIY decor and secondhand finds. The space was energetic, purposefully busy and featured a mixture of multiple styles. Over the past couple of years, though, my aesthetic has slowly become more restrained and streamlined. While neither look is better than the other, as of late I admittedly find myself longing to revisit my more playful, thrifty side.
Like me, designer
Danica Andler and her boyfriend love a deal and do-it-yourself decor. And they’ve effectively utilized both of those elements in their unique space in Brooklyn, NY. From the kitchen, which they’ve essentially built out using Craigslist finds, to the living/dining room and its restyled sofa, the rental showcases just how unique a home can be with a little imagination and resourcefulness. Scroll down to see the transformation, and enjoy! — Garrett
Photography by Danica Andler
Image above: To turn her living room into a combination living/dining area, Danica gave her existing West Elm sofa taller legs, effectively turning it into a banquette.
Danica is a thrifter and didn’t start decorating her Brooklyn apartment with a specific aesthetic in mind. Instead she simply shopped around for things she loved and found clever ways to make them work together.
Portrait by Alex Rennie.
The Brooklyn apartment’s floor plan.
“The mirror above my sofa was left to me by my grandmother. It was above her sofa in every single memory I have of her home. We have the same taste for all things gilded gold and Art Nouveau,” Danica says.
Thrifted accessories personalize the rental’s living/dining area.
Imagination is the most important thing to have when house/apartment shopping.
Danica and her boyfriend love cooking, so the kitchen got a lot of attention when it came time to decorate.
The right side of the kitchen originally sat bare, making the space feel lopsided overall. To balance it out, Danica filled the wall with DIY and secondhand elements. “The long blue counter is made from painted wood, plumbers pipe and flange. You can customize the size to maximize the space you have and balance leg height on crooked old floors,” Danica explains.
The patterned backsplash distracts the eye from the rental’s less-than-ideal appliances.
Danica had a piece of wood cut to size and added to the top of this metal hutch she found on Craigslist.
By matching the right wall’s wooden elements – the countertop, the cutting boards and mirror – to one another, Danica has created a cohesive look out of disparate elements.
“This apartment is tucked [into] the back corner of my building, and with just one corner window to the courtyard, this room makes for some of the best sleep in the city.” – Danica Andler
Danica loves redecorating but dislikes the waste it creates. Instead of tossing her belongings when she moves somewhere new, she is always eager to try and tweak them in small ways to make them feel new again. For example, she bought this headboard five years ago and has made it fit into her various apartments by repainting it.
Danica sanded and repainted this secondhand dresser before giving it new hardware. The matching mirror that came with it sits in the kitchen.
Adding a rug and some string lights to the backyard makes the outdoor space feel like an extension of the apartment.
By installing this mirror, Danica has essentially tricked visitors into thinking the backyard is larger than it is.
Wall mural – Anthropologie
Rug – Savafieh
Mirror – Danica’s grandmother’s
Table – World Market
Chairs – Overstock
Chandelier – Lamps Plus
Lamp – Pottery Barn
Wooden tray – antique
Picture frame, flower vase – flea market
Pillows, throw – H&M Home
Pillows, candlesticks, sofa – West Elm
Removable wallpaper – Wayfair
Hutch – Craigslist
Wall shelf, counter – DIY
Wall shelf hardware – Anthropologie
Large wooden mirror, dresser – Re-use Center
Stools – East Village Hi-Fi Bar estate sale
Bar cart – Target
Tri-fold mirror, wooden stool – Brimfield Flea Market
Gold frame – antique
Fruit bowl painting, mask, rug, green vase – flea market
Pendant light – West Elm
Crystal coasters – Danica’s grandmother’s
Live-edge bowl – from Mexico
Headboard, dresser, candlesticks – thrifted
Bedding – Under the Canopy
Velvet pillow, mirror – Target
Poster – Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
Lamps – Lamps Plus
Nightstand – Urban Outfitters
Rug – World Market
Vase – CB2
Table – Lowes
Chairs – Wayfair
Rug – Savafieh
Mirror – AptDeco
Painted wooden tray – thrift store
Planters – Jamali Garden, Smith & Hawkin