Designer Phoebe Howard of Mrs. Howard and Max & Company worked her magic on this coastal space -- to rid the condo of light-barring walls and cramped, cheerless spaces. See all of Phoebe's decorating tricks.
The Quick Fix: Infuse life into a small room by combining a variety of textile patterns in similar tones -- like the polka-dot, honeycomb, and geometric fabrics shown here.
Elegant baseboards and heavy casements and trim around the windows and doorways add polish, while other elements, such as louvered shutters and bold light fixtures, create a residence that reads more like a single-family house than a lackluster second-story condo.
The Quick Fix: Add character to sliding porch doors with louvered shutters on rollers that filter out strong morning sunlight.
The designer installed oak floors stained dark to resemble old European hardwoods, then she enlisted help to design a kitchen island and bath vanities to distinguish the condo from the run-of-the-mill builder's special.
The Quick Fix: Craft your own kitchen island using a favorite antique piece as inspiration. This one was made with a wooden shiplap back and bracket feet.
The Quick Fix: Customize a kitchen corner with a tailored piece like this banquette that looks built in and saves space.
For the homeowner's requested palette (Brown, yes; wicker, no), Phoebe took a cue from the faux wood screens and incorporated natural-tone furnishings spanning from bleached driftwood to stained teak. "It's amazing how warm and cool brown can be, " Phoebe says of the anchoring color. "That's perfect for a family who uses a space year-round."
The Quick Fix: Enliven a plain-Jane drywall surface with a textural faux-bois wallcovering. Its vertical lines create the illusion of height within the 8-foot-high space.
"In Condos like these, you have to work a little magic to make the space seem wider and taller. Sort of like when you want to look thinner -- you put on stripes that are going the right way." -Phoebe Howard
Vertical canopies set behind the headboards draw the eye up and give a royal feel. Continue the pleasant symmetry with identical decorative mirrors and matching bed skirts.
Beef up plain drywall with heavy trim, and let a bold geometric print be the starting point for a room's entire color scheme.
Howard notes that woking with a restricted palette also means the sky's the limit when it comes to pattern. "Using one color family makes it easier to mix bold geometrics with classic stripes and feminine florals -- which is good for me because I don't like to choose just one. "