When Francesca found her new apartment, it lacked personality, so she decided to give it a makeover to add some life back into it. See how she transformed her space in this project tour.
Designer Name: Francesca Conde
Instagram Handle: @francesca.conde
Project Name: Francesca’s Apartment
Type of Project: Residential
Project Location: Brooklyn, NY
Hi, I’m Francesca. I got into interior design during the early days of the pandemic when I moved into a railroad-style apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Jackie Cantwell (whose Apartment Therapy feature you should check out if you haven’t already) lived above me and was kind enough to show me her incredible space. I was inspired by how she made her apartment feel so unique and personal—and after we met, I set out to try to make my space feel more like me, too. I started by painting my kitchen cabinets a light baby blue (which was kind of a disaster, but that’s another story)—but from that point onwards, I felt like I had a new hobby.
After a year in Bushwick, I moved to a new space in Bed-Stuy. The rental market was pretty dismal when I was apartment hunting, so I ended up signing a lease for a spot that didn’t have the best bones. There wasn’t anything wrong with the place, but it lacked character, so when decorating, I wanted to focus on adding personality through design.
My main goal was to make my apartment cozy and give it some personality. But aside from that, I have always wanted to live in a brownstone (cliche, I know). Because that was a distant dream, I wanted to try to add some of the historical detail I love about old New York apartments into my own, particularly through installing wall molding.
It’s hard to say how long the project took since I feel like I’ll never be done. I’m constantly thinking of new things I’d like to try, whether through paint colors or design accents. Since moving in last November, I think I’ve already painted and repainted more than one room.
I’ve spent about $200 on paint, $300 on supplies to install picture frame molding, and then probably $2500 on furniture. My biggest challenge was probably patience and not letting comparison be the thief of joy. It’s easy (at least for me) to see beautiful apartments on Instagram or Pinterest and feel frustrated about how my space doesn’t look like that—but decorating and furnishing an apartment (especially when you’re trying to stick to a budget) takes time and that is more than okay.
I feel bad saying this, but the space before was a little bland. Humble is probably a better word.
The photos do a good job of capturing some aspects of my personality. I’m a pretty sentimental person, and I like the objects and art in my apartment to hold meaning wherever possible. I hope that comes through in the “after” photos.
I love Spoak’s online design tool, Viz, which allows you to create user-friendly mock-ups of a room. I use it to get a sense of how the furniture I’m thinking of purchasing will look in my current space. I created Vizis of the bedroom and the living room when initially decorating (and recently when I made some small design adjustments). I also used Spoak’s color palette tool when planning the bedroom mural.
I love learning new things, so I particularly enjoyed installing the wall molding because it was something I had never done before.
Use Spoak (not sponsored). Aside from that, if you plan to do any DIY—even if it’s just painting your walls—don’t try to take shortcuts. Every time I’ve thought I was being smart by skipping a step, I’ve deeply regretted it.
I need to find a way to do something renter-friendly with my kitchen. My kitchen cabinets are made of laminate, and they really don’t spark joy.
We are an online interior design studio for enthusiasts and professionals. Get a real-world design education, easy-to-use tools, job opportunities, and a tight-knit community. All levels welcome.Join now