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Renter’s Name: Grace Atwood and Tyrion Lannister Cream Puff, her Persian cat
Designer’s Name: Erin Gates
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Size: 1,233 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years Lived In: 1year, renting
In the winter of 2020, Grace Atwood opted to spend six weeks living near her family in Charleston, just to try the city out temporarily. But by the end of her time there, Atwood found herself enamored with the Holy City — so much so that she felt ready to leave New York after many years. “I knew I wanted to make Charleston a more permanent home,” the blogger behind The Stripe reflects. “I had been visiting for years and was sold on the magic of the city and its proximity to the beach.”
But there were a few hurdles to overcome first. “During my last week, my mom and I toured a bunch of apartments, and I fell in love with this one building in particular,” Atwood shares. “Of course, there weren’t any vacancies.” But everything changed on New Year’s Eve, when building management emailed Atwood to alert her of a vacancy. “It was just what I was looking for: high ceilings, two bedrooms, a little outdoor space,” she shares. “I applied on the spot and was approved!” It doesn’t hurt that the apartment is full of little luxuries that Atwood greatly missed while living in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She notes, “Having in-unit laundry, a garbage disposal, and a dishwasher is HEAVEN!”
Atwood worked with designer and Elements of Style blogger Erin Gates as she set out to furnish and decorate her new place. “Erin and I have followed each other on Instagram for years,” Atwood shares. “We were messaging about something else — I think it may have been the lack of right angles in Charleston homes — and we decided to work together.” However, the two women didn’t connect face-to-face during the design process. “We did the whole thing remotely,” Atwood explains. “We had a kickoff call, and I answered a bunch of questions about what I liked and didn’t like.” Atwood then sent over floor plans of her new space, as well as measurements of all of the items she planned to take with her from New York. “It paid off — she sent me layouts and then item suggestions, and it all magically just went together,” Atwood says. “I loved working with her — I admire how polished and elegant the homes she designs are.”
Atwood is thrilled with her new home. “I love this apartment,” she says. “I work from home, so having a space that feels comfortable and relaxing is really important to me. I am usually working in the office or at the kitchen island, and I love having family and friends over — the open layout plan is a dream for hosting gatherings!” And Tyrion, Atwood’s Persian cat (who often makes appearances on Instagram) is pretty happy with his new pad, too. “Tyrion loves the big windows in the living room. He’s usually perched in the window, watching birds or the neighborhood dogs. Everyone in my building seems to have a dog, and they all love coming to say hello to Tyrion!
My Style: Colorful and bright. I tend to favor mid-century modern furniture, with bold pops of color.
Inspiration: I take a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and social media, but also just being out in the world.
Favorite Element: My art collection. I would consider myself a budding art collector and am really proud of the collection I have built. My favorites are probably the pieces from Hunt Slonem, Catherine Howe, and Michelle Areas.
Biggest Challenge: I am a color lover and need to be reigned in. I loved my old apartment in Brooklyn (also featured on Apartment Therapy), but when we got locked down at the start of the pandemic, I found it to be TOO MUCH. I wanted to mix in more neutrals and have a more calming vibe to the space. I enlisted the help of my friend Erin Gates, and she was amazing to work with. I joked that besides being my interior designer she was also my chaperone, keeping me from adding too much color!
Proudest DIY: I am a little disappointed to tell you that I have done absolutely zero DIYs in this space. With these bigger apartment buildings. they are less flexible with what you can do (my old landlord did not care, and I changed pretty much everything!).
Biggest Indulgence: My bed. It came from Design Within Reach and it’s just perfect. I love to sleep and read, and so I spend a lot of my time in bed. I love the sleek profile and the cane headboard.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why?
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: This may sound silly, but in old apartments I had never really cared about or invested in lighting or great lamps. The lamps in both the primary bedroom and the living room really help anchor the space. It’s also nice to take a break from overhead lighting.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t be afraid to experiment! I feel like the standard for homes and apartments has become this (boring, in my opinion) neutral blogger home. Your home should reflect who you are — I want someone to come to see my apartment and think, “Oh, someone fun lives here!” Also, don’t try to do everything at once. I know it can be tempting, but it’s better to wait for the perfect score than settle for mediocre.
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.