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  • Writer's pictureMia Hable

Mia in Miami: Redesigning a Rental

Last week, I had the pleasure of redesigning a rental house for a couple that lives in Miami, Florida. This was an exciting project for me, it allowed me to blend the individual styles of the couple together. Kate and Carlos had their own distinct style and furniture that they brought with them (which can be hard enough to blend together); but add in some furniture that is already in the home and can not be removed or painted, suddenly combining two styles becomes combining three, and a whole lot more challenging.

Kate and Carlos were struggling to create an adult space that feels cohesive and complements their life style. They have demanding jobs and when they come home, they want to relax in their own space and enjoy their surroundings. As this home is rented no permanent measures could be taken and they didn’t wish to sink a lot of money in to a property that was not their own, so a budget of $600 was set.

Relaxation and outdoor living were high on their priority list. The first step was to tackle their outdoor space. They have an adorable yard perfect for intimate gatherings; there is a paved patio with enough space for a dining table and fire pit lounge area. A covered pergola makes up the remaining area outside and is the perfect spot for their grilling station. In order to transform the back yard for Kate and Carlos I suggested things that would add the most impact: mulch, lighting and a dining area. White string lights were wrapped around palm trees and through the pergola creating an intimate glow in the evenings. Mulch was spread throughout the garden area, keeping it clean and tidy looking while hiding the outdoor extension cords. Lastly, we created a dining space for weekend gatherings. Kate and Carlos already had a beautiful wrought iron dining set, however the tabletop was damaged in a hurricane; a little DIY (and several trips to Home Depot) to the rescue. Working together we set out to build a new tabletop. We stained a piece of pine for the center of the table and chalk painted some 6 inch wide fencing a festive turquoise. If you don't own a saw no worries, Home Depot will cut the wood for you. After we had our cross supports cut we nailed everything together to create a beautiful and cost efficient tabletop. Once we treated the tabletop with a coat of polyurethane it was ready for outdoor use. Just off of the back yard is a screened in patio, which is the perfect space for a relaxing snooze in their hammock and a nice place to escape the giant mosquitoes that plague Miami. I set up a more intimate table for two, a garden section for all of Kate’s outdoor tools and potted plants, and of course the perfect spot for their beloved hammock. I have a feeling this room will quickly become a favorite.

Moving inside to the main portion of the house I was asked to tackle the dining room, living room and bedroom. The dining room sits off the screened in porch and the living room. While not strictly open concept there are beautiful French doors separating these areas that allow lots of natural light and sight lines into each of these rooms, so it was important to Kate and Carlos to have good flow from one room to the next.

In the dining room I covered a large armoire with removable chalkboard contact paper. This allowed an instant update to a large piece with out harming the furniture. I pulled some air plants off of a tree in their yard and attached them to the chalkboard for a fun look. Now the couple can leave each other notes and Kate has an area for indoor plants that requires little attendance. Kate has a love of travel and has spent time in some very unique places. She has picked up some amazing trinkets along the way and she wanted to display them properly, so we created a piece of art out of a large woven mat and hung it on the wall to emphasize the height of the ceiling. After streamlining their corner shelf to properly display their beach treasures, the costal inspired dining room was complete.

In the living room, I created a space with two different functions. By removing excess furniture and centering the two couches on either side of the fireplace and built-ins I created a perfect space for adult conversation during a party and for watching movies on a lazy Sunday. Carlos has a projector and snuggling up and watching movies together is something the couple is passionate about. I wanted to provide them with a distinct area where everyone can enjoy the movie. By relocating a console table from the dining room into the living room and placing it underneath the projected image on the wall allowed this to become a focal point. Using weathered beach wood contact paper I turned the console table and a bookshelf into unique and interesting accent pieces that deserve attention, inviting guests to check out the artifacts they have gathered from their travels. A few tropical plant throw pillows and navy slipcover gave the seating area an instant unified facelift. The ottoman was a special DIY project for Kate. We could not recover the ottoman, so instead we safety pinned fabric to it and then hot glued two toned sisal rope to the ottoman. Kate even included a silver coin from her travels into the top of the ottoman as a special reminder of her time in Australia.

The bedroom only required a few accessory details and some minor rearranging. We moved two matching wicker tables on either side of the bed as night stands. Moved the small dresser to the side to allow for better traffic flow and added a yucca plant and stand in the corner to bring some of the outdoors inside. All that was left was to arrange a few pillows on the bed and their mismatched bedroom became a cohesive space they could both enjoy.

Working along side Kate and Carlos, creating a home for them to grow into was incredibly satisfying. Watching this couple create a home for each other, dedicating their time to make sure that the other felt comfortable and content in their new space was wonderful to experience. Redesigning a home is not just about making it look pretty, but about creating a space that speaks to everyone who lives there, and bringing them together. Being stylish and affordable in a rental can be done, and this couple helped me prove it! Thank you to Kate and Carlos for having me down to Miami, I hope you enjoy your new home!!

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