While meandering through the light-filled rooms in the Sausalito, California, home of lifestyle blogger and designer, Chrissy McDonald, we couldn’t help but think that she makes homemaking look effortless. Yet, in speaking with the young up-and-coming creative, we learned that designing an intentional and picture-perfect home isn’t all that simple—or, for that matter, quick. “I think realizing not everything can be done at once is huge,” Chrissy explained. “When you move into a new space, it is understandable that you want friends and family to come over as soon as possible, but designing a home is such a process and it’s nearly impossible to get everything done at once.”
By taking her time and prioritizing compromise in the process of selecting details for the home she shares with her longtime boyfriend, Daniel, Chrissy has been able to design a space she can be proud to add to her growing portfolio. Without further ado, you’re invited to step inside Chrissy’s pretty and pristine apartment below!
What was your first impression upon stepping foot inside your current home? Was it love athirst sight?
I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but the truth is, I instantly realized that moving into this space would be a lot of work. My boyfriend Daniel and I really wanted to live in Sausalito, but there weren’t a lot of rental options in our price range, so we knew whatever we found would need some TLC.
The apartment was built in 1941 and originally housed local ship builders during the war. What it lacks in size it makes up for in character—like dreamy built-ins in the living room and kitchen! We both realized the potential of the space with hardwood floors, a huge bay window, detailed ceilings and a large living room. That, combined with the location, was too good to pass up!
Tell us about a few of the small-space solutions you've had to employ in your 500-square-foot home to make it both comfortable and stylish.
Throughout college, I lived in some pretty tiny spaces, so I got good at utilizing every inch of a room without making it look cluttered. What it really comes down to is choosing smaller-scale furniture and selecting a fairly neutral color palette to work with.
One of the biggest tasks upon moving in was painting all of the walls, ceilings, built-ins and trim. To make the space look really fresh and bright, we chose Dunn-Edwards Droplets for the walls and Dunn-Edwards White for the trim. Painting every room one bright color really makes the space seem bigger and cohesive.
For furniture, we have a queen-size bed, so we had to get tiny nightstands and a fairly small dresser. We chose the IKEA Hemnes nightstands and updated them with a fun brass knob and the dresser is a great inexpensive piece from Target. Daniel is tall, so he really wanted a sectional sofa. I knew this would take up a lot of space in the living room, so we found the Shelter Sofa from West Elm. This is a chaise sectional and has really clean lines so it doesn’t look too bulky. We also only have one side table and left the other side open to give the appearance of more space.
What inspired you to start your blog, Harlowe James?
When I graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design, I had a really hard time finding a job and had to move back in with my parents. For someone who worked extremely hard all throughout college, I couldn’t understand why it was taking so long to get into the working world. It was frustrating and made me want to leave design altogether.
Once I finally got a job (about five months after graduation), it wasn’t really what I expected. I didn’t feel like my creativity was being put to use and I felt myself longing for the days of design school when I created something new in some capacity every day.
I have always had so many interests outside of interior design and toyed with the idea of having a blog for a long time, but always pushed it to the side. It wasn’t until I quit my job after just one year that I realized I needed some sort of creative outlet and started putting the gears in motion. I wanted a space to share everything I have learned—from recipes to dealing with societal pressures—and a lifestyle blog seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that.
Favourite toast-worthy moment of your career so far?
I feel so fortunate to have had a lot of great things happen in a short amount of time, but I think pulling off my first big entertaining photo shoot with Torrey Fox (the photographer who photographed our apartment) and having it published was really rewarding. I felt so insanely proud of the outcome, and it was in that moment I realized all of the late nights and stress are worth it. It can be overwhelming at times, but it’s so important to take a step back to look at what you created.
How does your style differ from your boyfriends style?
Daniel is very much a minimalist and he doesn’t have an overbearing aesthetic. He is pretty open to what I suggest, but overall likes a more neutral palette. My style has evolved a lot since we moved in together, and although I still love some pops of pink here and there, I have adopted his more neutral outlook. I prefer textures over loud colors and always want our space to feel warm and inviting. It was important that nothing be too precious and that everything was durable and comfortable.
Original article published by The Glitter Guide