AN ECO AFFORDABLE MAKEOVER

Lindsey Runyon re-designs a tiny Seattle condo for a busy couple to live, love and work in  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

BY NORA GENETTI

Andrea and Derek are a young couple living in Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, in this small, 2-bedroom condo which previously had everything wrong with it.

The floors were low-quality laminate. The walls were painted in depression-inducing colors that would make you want to stay in bed all day. The cabinets were constructed of cheap, tacky veneers, and they hung stubbornly from the walls, attesting to the previous owner’s shocking lack of taste.

To add to this general design disaster, Andrea had brought in all the wicker furniture she had collected while living in the South. The lightweight tables and chairs, which had served their purpose so well in a warm, Southern setting, now looked terribly out of place in an urban Seattle condo.

Andrea James – a Seattle PI reporter-turned-stock-analyst – knew she was in over her head with this one. The space could not be revived with just a spot of redecorating and a few licks of paint. It needed to be gutted – aesthetically-speaking – and re-imagined from floor up.

Finally, it was a Bowflex that proved to be the last straw. While she was away on a business trip, her husband had installed the fitness training equipment right in the middle of their living room. 

The extraordinary placement choice pushed Andrea to pick up the phone and call Lindsey Runyon Design immediately for help. Within 10 minutes of speaking to Linsdey herself, Andrea was ready to get the project rolling.

For Lindsey Runyon, it was the kind of makeover assignment that designers dream of. The client was truly ready for change, and didn’t linger over the decision-making process. The project brief was clear too – Lindsey wasn’t just creating a beautiful and functional space for Andrea and Derek; she had to make choices with the earth in mind.

It had to be an aesthetic eco-upgrade to create an inspirational environment for the couple to live in and for Andrea to do her creative work in. In other words, the project was a natural fit with Lindsey’s keen sense of eco-responsible design that integrated so well with the Seattle urban lifestyle.

Lindsey-Runyon-Eco-MakeoverThe job, naturally, started with ripping out the ugly, laminate floors. Lindsey replaced them with FSC-certified red maple – a sustainable choice that immediately warmed the condo with its cinnamony, red-brown tone and scored somewhere around 950 on the Janka durability scale.

(The Janka Scale is a measurement commonly used to determine the hardness of wood. The higher a certain quality of wood rates on the Janka Scale, the harder the wood. That said, this scale should be used as a general guide only when comparing various species of wood flooring.)

For the walls, Lindsey selected zero-VOC Natura paint by Benjamin Moore, which drastically reduced toxic emissions from the paint for years to come.

With the `shell’ of the condo in place and looking fantastic, the next order of business was interior décor. 

Instead of discarding all existing furniture and decoratives for the ease of starting afresh, Lindsey went carefully through the couple’s possessions to find pieces she could mold into the look she had in mind for the condo.

For things that were missing, she hunted down unusual pieces of used items that brought their own histories and stories into the rooms. Andrea and Derek had a lot of art stored away, and it was a simple affair to choose the right pieces, reframe them and then display them strategically and purposefully on the walls. Books and other collected objects were placed in bright red boxes and arranged nicely on shelves and surfaces.

Within a short span of time, a smart new condo had replaced the old, unmanageable one. The rooms now looked bright and high-energy. 

The colors, the re-arrangements and the minimal design direction made the small space appear large and airy with good chi energy flowing freely through. 

The amazing water view from outside seemed to have climbed over the balcony into Andrea and Derek’s home, visually integrating the exteriors and interiors into a relaxed, happy and seamless whole.

It was a dream condo, an elegant space where the couple didn’t have to co-exist in an uncomfortable threesome with a Bowflex trainer anymore. They could now live in comfort, work in peace and entertain in style. Congratulations, all round!

Interview-with-Lindsey-Runyon

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