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A “White Box” Rental That Was Turned Into A Stunning Eclectic Home Via Very Budget-Friendly Buys (Like A $7 Dresser)

OH BOY, BUCKLE UP. Today’s post is one for the books. We have a renter-friendly design! We have $7 pieces of vintage furniture! We have pieces pulled straight from the neighbor’s trash pile! We have Facebook Marketplace scores! We have DIYs (all worthwhile, albeit some more carpal tunnel-inducing than others)! And more importantly, we have a TON of knowledge from a gal who combined ALL these things to make her home look like a million bucks.

Here’s the deal: longtime reader Liberty Riggs spent a decade working as a creative director in advertising before taking the leap and partnering with her husband to open her eponymous interior design firm, Studio Riggs, during the pandemic. “My husband used to work in construction as a CFO/project manager, and we really loved the idea of creating a family business that we can build together and (hopefully!) bring our kids into one day,” Liberty said. (If that wasn’t cute enough, do you see how sweet that website is??? You can tell that she was a branding pro, right?)

ANYWAY. Liberty sent me an email earlier this month while we were on our team retreat with a few teaser shots and EHD collectively lost our minds (in the positive way) – we were so excited to see someone who could make fun, eclectic style work in a bright, fresh, and affordable way (AND in a rental, no less!). I ended up sending her ~1 million questions about her thought process and can’t wait to share her wisdom with y’all, so let’s take a peek inside Liberty’s house while we get to know her a little bit better, yeah?

Footed Bowl (similar) | Basket

It only makes sense to kick it off with the entryway, you know? We’ll go from the ground up. Yes, that is stone inlaid with hardwood – “honestly, the only little bit of character this house had when we moved in,” Liberty told me – but MY OH MY, I lost my mind over this vintage chest paired with the bust, modern art, and graphic bowl.

The kicker? “I made the art in the entryway with some extra Farrow & Ball sample tins I had sitting around. The bust and dresser were both thrift finds. I literally paid $7 for the dresser in college and have moved it with me to three different states!” She’s talented AND a gifted vintage shopper, guys. We’re going to keep it moving by touring her daughter’s room next…

Small Bin | Large Bin | Unicorn

I teased the canopy a little bit with that opener photo above, but we’re starting this room off by taking a peek at Liberty’s jumping-off point: this awesome wall art. “I made the tiger painting in my daughter’s room for her very first nursery and it gave me carpal tunnel so now she has to live with it forever, so I based the color scheme off of that. Originally I just painted the walls but it felt unfinished. A lot of historic homes that I looked at had contrast trim, so I just went with it.

I love the scale of this bench between the two doors, but I also love that this is such a lovely and bright and happy room for a 3-year-old that doesn’t necessarily scream “a toddler lives here!!” Liberty’s done such a good job of making a space that her daughter can grow into, you know?

Y’all know how I feel about a canopy (spoiler: I love them), so I was so taken by the combo of the patina on this gorgeous bed combined with the sweet and happy scalloped half-tester. “The canopy is a DIY. I screwed the corners in the ceiling and literally staple-gunned the sides up. When we take it down I’ll just have to spackle the little staple holes.” Phew. She makes it sound so easy!

I also had to ask Liberty if she had any tips about layering rugs over carpeting, and she came through. “These rug pads for carpet are MAGIC!” Thanks for sharing, pal 🙂

Sconce (sans cute fabric)

Next up, I adored how she carried the scallop motif over to the skirted bedside table. When I asked her about the choice to go with a table instead of a more traditional nightstand, she said “Since she’s only 3 she doesn’t have a lot of needs in terms of nightstand storage, so a skirted table made sense.

I had also assumed the sconces were vintage and was SHOCKED to find out that they were a DIY – “The sconces are actually IKEA! But I got on a bit of a lampshade-making kick recently and made the pleated shades for them.” (Please leave a note if you also think we should have Liberty back for an instructional lampshade post. They look so high-end and totally transform the sconce, right?)

Bolster | Striped Pillowcases

Swoon – a pattern mixer-and-matcher after my own heart. I recognized that Target x Jungalow bolster right away, but begged for the sources of everything and was SO JAZZED to learn that they were also more affordable options. “The lumbar and striped pillowcases are from Target, and the rest of the bedding I just picked up at Tuesday Morning.

I’ve been such a huge fan of the purple and mustard combo since seeing how Julie pulled it off in her bathroom last year, but it’s just so masterful and restful in this space. Big color, big pattern, still calm. 10/10! When I asked about her inspiration, Liberty said, “I’m so inspired by a lot of the English designers right now – Studio Ashby, Louise Roe, Beata Heuman. But I’m also a former art history major, so that’s a big influence as well.” I don’t know about y’all, but I think we can all tell that she probably aced color theory 🙂

Ceiling Medallion (similar)

I couldn’t leave this room without calling out the lighting update. “In every room we’ve been adding ceiling medallions as we swap out light fixtures. It’s just a really cheap, easy way to make the house feel less like an early 2000s box.” And for anyone who was curious – I obviously was – Liberty got the blessing from her landlord before making changes. “We asked permission to paint – everything else I just plan on reversing before we move out. I don’t mind the expense because we plan to be here for a while.

Next up, we’re moving into the office…

OH MY. The built-ins (that are not actually built-ins)! And THAT DESK (that I soon learned wasn’t a desk!) “The desk is a vintage console made by the Mt. Airy Chair Company that I had a stone top cut for,” she told me. I love how Liberty took a vintage piece and made it work for the space and function she needed – it’s a great lesson in sustainable shopping, too. She gets a one-of-a-kind show-stopping piece and we get to ogle it on the internet. Everyone wins!

We snagged some vintage bookcases off Facebook Marketplace, trimmed them out a bit, and painted them the same color as the walls. The office is the one space I don’t have to share with anyone else in the family, so I hoarded all of my favorite things to fill these shelves.” And what a lovely payoff, right? There’s such a nice color scheme here and it’s the perfect amount of “collected” without feeling “cluttered.” ::chef’s kiss::

Just wanted to include the pulled-back shot for full effect. WHY ISN’T THIS MY ZOOM BACKGROUND? I wish I worked here. (PS. You can see a glimpse of another handmade lampshade on the left – we gotta get a tutorial, right?!)

Last but not least, I just love the mix of styles here – the cabriole legs, the stone top, the animal print seat (truly, Liberty’s a girl after my own heart). If there was any doubt, when I asked about the chair, she said this: “I embarrassed my mother by pulling the cesca chair off her neighbor’s curb on bulky trash day!” We love a furniture-saving hero!!!

We’re going to move into the family room now but before I show you the after on this fireplace, let me give you some context: “We started looking for a rental in January, and it was insanity! I think so many people sold their houses and were having a hard time finding a new one that the market was much more competitive than it had been previously. This house was actually the 5th house we had applied for, and definitely not our first pick (it was very boxy and beige when we toured it). But as a designer, I love a creative challenge and knew I could make some lemonade out of this lemon.

And get this – “We actually just moved in this April! I still have about half the house left to finish, but we are taking a gradual approach to make my husband happy (he’s an accountant – lol). Eventually, we want to build our dream home, but as big believers in the concept of a ‘forever house’, we made the decision to wait until the housing market calms down a little and we have the resources to really do it right.” In the interim, though, some paint and a touch of thoughtful styling made a HUGE difference in the way this room looks and feels…

My first thought when tackling the living room was ‘what the hell do I do with this bizarre fireplace?!’ Painting the walls a soft white really minimized the visual impact of the mantle.” AGREED. It truly looks like a different home, and you can definitely see Liberty’s modern-traditional style elevating this formerly-beige space.

Had to come in hot with a little zoom on those mantle details. The art is so good, but how special are those uber-modern striped candles paired with those classic crystal holders?

But this sofa is what really took my breath away, and Liberty stunned me with the source – “I had the sofa made without the fringe by Monarch Sofas back in 2016. It was still in great shape when we moved into this house but it felt a little too MCM for what I was doing. The bullion fringe came from eBay and I applied it myself! Now I’m in love with this sofa all over again.

Can you believe??? That fringe totally transformed the shape – it’s such a classic style now and I never would have thought that it had lived a prior life as a mid-century-inspired piece. (BRB, running around my house and seeing if I can switch up any pieces by adding some thoughtful trim, see you in a second!)

And of course, I have to show y’all Liberty’s coffee table – how good is that tray? Her styling advice: “Just go big with your accessories and books. Like absurdly big. I would rather have one giant, gorgeous thing on a coffee table than a bunch of tiny things. And for me, it’s just more practical with two small kids (less stuff they can walk off with). For any vignette it’s always good to add something crystal or metallic to bounce the light around.

WOW. Can you believe how productive she’s been in four months? I’ve been in my apartment for two years and am almost finally ready to show off some tiny spaces – I so admire her decisiveness and her innate style.

More than anything, though, I love how cohesive this home feels despite not being too matchy-matchy – when I asked for advice (very selfishly, TBH), Liberty said, “I made a moodboard for the whole house before we moved in and just try to keep that as my ‘North Star.’ I also decided that the palette was going to be all garden-inspired hues, which gives a lot of flexibility while still feeling related.” It definitely paid off, right?

That’s all for today, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU to Liberty for taking the leap and sharing with all of us and THANK YOU to you, the readers, for joining us on this little tour of her house. If you’d like to stay up-to-date with her future projects (and you should – if the renderings on her website are any indication, they’re going to be SO GOOD), you can follow her on Instagram right here at @studioriggs.

Let’s all leave her some well-earned props in the comments, yeah? Hope this got your weekend off to a great (and inspired!) start – we’ll chat more with you down there. xx

*Design and Photos by Liberty Riggs

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Karen
22 days ago

SWOON-worthy! Love all the details and the colors, a lovely mix of rich and neutral tones. Bravo!

Kelly
22 days ago

So impressive and so good to see a design that feels elevated yet achievable. Thank you for sharing with us, Riggs family! Can’t wait to see how your business grows.

beth
22 days ago

Love everything about this post.

Jess
22 days ago

This is so gorgeous!

Erin Dae
22 days ago

Love! Yes, we NEED the lampshade tutorial…and more content from this talented woman and her family.

Alex
19 days ago
Reply to  Erin Dae

PLEASE do the tutorial! I’ve also been trying to do my own lampshades and, uh, mine do not look like this.

Kelly
22 days ago

Soooo hoping that Studio Riggs flourishes and becomes a huge success! I appreciate this approach very much as I’ve always had a Budget that has forced me to be very creative in my spaces. And yes, let’s see a tutorial on lampshade making!

Brooke
21 days ago

I think the space in general turned out really lovely, for the limited budget and not being able to do anything too permanent.

My only thought is on the fabric covered table in the toddler’s room. When I was that age I pulled a lamp down (onto carpet) that was on similar fabric and then stepped in the broken glass, needing quite a lot of stitches (I don’t remember but my Mom has told me). I’d be worried about the heavy glass top being pulled over on to her or the vase shattering if pulled down.

Joy
18 days ago
Reply to  Brooke

I have a few table runners (so not full table coverings, but I assume you could do it with full size too) that I have put down with very strong double sided velcro tape. You cannot see it, and it keeps my children and cats safe. The coverings can still be removed for washing and cleaning the table. Worsed case scenario the tape come of and then I stick some new on :P.

Saeag
21 days ago

This is amazing!
could you delink the rug over carpet pad? It’s not working and is love to try it.

Lisa
21 days ago
Reply to  Saeag

Me too! I’d love the link. Thanks!

Kj
21 days ago

Great work. I do wish more of the shots were pulled back, to show the whole room in context versus just zoomed-in vignettes.

Cris S.
21 days ago

Yes, please on the lampshade tutorial!!!! I have some really nice sconces and lamps, but the shades are boring and I really want to do them up in pleated patterns (and do it myself – I’m sure it’s justified, but I can’t spend almost $200 a lampshade).

Allison
21 days ago

Yes, please give us a lampshade tutorial!!

alexa
21 days ago

So good! But we need wider angle shots to really appreciate it.

21 days ago

This house is art! What an amazing way to live!

Peggy Heath
21 days ago

I wish we could see the family room from the same angle as the “Before” shot. It’s interesting to see the details but you don’t really see what the room looks like as a whole.

Rusty
21 days ago

Oooh, I love a good DIY!! So much more fun and realistic for my new very small, budget.
I really like her mixing of pattern and texture, it’s quietly fun, without being all up in your face.

I wish the shots were of the rooms jnstead of close-ups.

Liberty…you’ve inspired me to keep plugging away at my ol’ girl revamp 9n a shoestring budget.
Thanks 🤗

Karyn Meadows
21 days ago

As much as I’d like a sconce tutorial, I REALLY want a bookcase tutorial!! She took some old and tired things and made them absolutely gorgeous with a ton of personality!! Loved this post. Liberty is uber-talented!!

this was a sweet and relatable home. love the reuse of found furniture instead of buying everything new.

tnm333
21 days ago

Wow, the most persuasive evidence of the power of paint (like ever), is how a bit of cream paint salvaged (and transformed) that mantlepiece! I would love the DIYs for all the projects here. Also love how airy and minimalist they’ve managed to design a house with “v. small people” in it!

HP
21 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous! I am completely taken by her use of color and pattern, new and old. It is such a refreshing change from the popular black, white and neutral trends I am growing weary of. The budget friendly and DIY approach is also inspiring. Great work. Please keep it coming!

Cici Haus
21 days ago

So, so good! And i’m definitely here for the lampshade tutorial…

Nancy
21 days ago

I love this : We snagged some vintage bookcases off Facebook Marketplace, trimmed them out a bit, ….” Trimmed them out a bit!! Hahaha! That’s so awesome, it’s killing me.

Yes for lampshade tutorial, it’s like selecting men’s ties. Such a mystery to me and I would to put my own fabric on them.

Ashley
21 days ago

Yes!! More of this please!

C C
21 days ago

Good gracious, this is amazing! Absolutely love this space – really has that magic combination of accessible and elevated. Huge fan!

Kelly P
21 days ago

This is a gorgeous home! Well done, Liberty. I adore your use of color. Your home feels warm, happy, and very chic all at the same time. And yes, PLEASE can we have a lampshade tutorial?!?

kk
20 days ago

So much of this is lovely! The color scheme is impeccable. I am extremely visually sensitive (as you will see) so I have a few points:: 1. I don’t love the exposed light bulb on the child’s room ceiling. Does any child really want to look at an exposed ceiling lightbulb? Does any one? 2. For me, the scuffed paint in the child’s room and heavily peeling veneer on the entryway dresser crosses a line from patina into battered. I was around in the era of lead paint hazards so I don’t love peeling/ scratched paint for children. I would color in that chip of pale wood on the dresser so it blends in with the overall color of the piece. I know I sound picky as hell but it would make an exponential difference IMHOP. It is striking to me that the two most ‘uncomfortable’ retro features evoking the 1900’s -scratched paint and bare light bulb – are in the child’s room. They make the room feel colder and less comfortable IMHOP. The glass on the bedside table adds to the feeling of coldness. Again as a sensitive person these things would really irk me me to live with… Read more »

20 days ago
Reply to  kk

Everyone’s taste is different. I appreciate that your opinion is different from mine. Just wanted to say about the bed in my daughter’s room – it’s been in the family for over 100 years. It was my great grandmother’s, grandmother’s, mom’s, mine and now my daughter’s. The tradition is that it goes to the oldest girl in the family when they transition out of a crib 🙂 So, the patina might not be for everyone, but for me it tells the story of our family and I love that!

Beth
20 days ago

The link to the carpet pad doesn’t seem to be working- would really love to check it out (I have a rug on top of carpet in my living room and have been having some trouble with it bunching up lately).

Katie
20 days ago

What a fun place! I’m loving that purple door in the last photo. Any chance you’re willing to share the color? Thanks so much!

19 days ago
Reply to  Katie

Hey Katie! It’s Benjamin Moore “Dark Basalt”!

Rheney
19 days ago

Please please have her back on to give a lamp tutorial.

Elaine
18 days ago

Love the vintage pieces, the reuse, the variation… So inspiring!

Joy
18 days ago

I LOVE this home! I am a minimalist with a small budget which can be hard to do. My best rooms are my more maximalist rooms (aka my children’s rooms). Totaly unrelated to this space but don’t you love what children can do for your asthetic?!

Joy
18 days ago
Reply to  Joy

The room I was talking about was the office, but really I love the whole house.

Margaret
17 days ago

So, the trend is to get a bunch of junk and call it vintage? If that’s the case I am an EXPERT designer!
However, you can pretend to do things on the cheap, but when you are getting a custom cut stone top for a $5 table you are not doing things on a budget and anything can be made to look good with expensive add-ons and high quality paint. Just saying…

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