Before & After: The Cozy Cactus Gets a Facelift

If you didn't know, I have a little condo here in Phoenix that serves as a vacation rental on Airbnb. This condo got a renovation late last year when I bought it and has had two tweaks since. For some reason it just wasn't showing well in the photos. Nothing to do with the photos either. Those were as good as they could get. The problem was I tend to have a mental block when designing my "own" spaces so in the end it just felt like a hodge podge of things. Just like my own home. Blah. 

So, I decided to do what I always do when I get in the way. I pretend I'm not me. I treat my own project as if it is not. I pretend I'm working for a client home or one of my flip homes (Those don't seem like mine for some reason. Maybe because I know they are mine only temporarily). Instead of thinking about what I want, which is everything, I think about how I could make it look great for a magazine or for a client. I narrowed the plan and stayed on track rather than just saying hey I love this turquoise sofa let's put it in here.

First task was to tackle the biggest issue, the coloring. The condo has Saltillo tiles and a brick wall, so the room is saturated in an orange-y pink. The brick wall I like, the floors, eh. Phoenicians are so over Saltillo, but those from outside the area like it. It feels authentic I guess. I don't have the money or time to take out the tile so I did what I could to soften it up with ALL the rugs. Rugs everywhere! So much cozier.

Next I decided to up how many this condo can sleep by adding a sleeper sofa. Before it slept 4 but now it sleeps 6. I decided to go with a gray IKEA sofa to cool down the warm tones and lighten things up a bit. I think it worked. I also removed the brown coffee table and side tables to eliminate that brown/orange-y tone. I added a Jenny Komenda print to bring in some cooler colors while sticking to the cactus - desert vibe. I'd like to add some white curtains to this room as soon as I figure out how to hang them. The ceiling and the windows meet at an awkward angle right next to a ceiling beam so some creativity is needed. I'd also like to add more desert feeling pillows and more greenery, but I need to pace myself with the spending. There's time. Below are the before photo when I bought the condo, two versions of the living room and then followed by the current version. I think I'm finally getting it right.

Another change to the space was in the kitchen. Not a major overhaul, but adding that shelf really helped balance the room. I already completely renovated this room and added plenty of cabinetry back in the fall, so the shelf really wasn't needed. However, without it the room just felt really unbalanced with all the storage on one side. The crazy cactus wallpaper still shines through behind the shelves. I'd love to do some window treatments to spruce up that area but for now this will do. BABY STEPS! Below is the kitchen before i renovated it, then the first version of it after renovation and then now. And yes now there is a rug in there, too!

Next was the master bedroom. This is such a cozy bed and room but again the Saltillo tile and brick wall made it very orange-y pink and cold feeling. Black curtains weren't helping. What was I thinking? They're great curtains, just not for this room. So, I softened up the room by swapping them out for gray versions, throwing not one but two rugs under the bed, adding vibrant throw pillows and another lovely Jenny Komenda print. Below is the space when I bought it, then version one and then the current deal-io. Funny how pillows, curtains, rugs and art can completely change a space.

Speaking of, I did the same thing in the second bedroom. Despite this room being all white walls with just the tile to deal with, it still felt dark and heavy. What is wrong with me? I quickly got to work changing out the rug, curtains and throw pillows. I also removed the basket (hello another dark thing) and hung a FringeFortyFour tapestry

Cozy Cactus Second bedroom before facelift with basket on wall and dark accents

Finally, out on the back patio I added a little more of what I wanted this Cozy Cactus Retreat to feel like...a relaxing place to unwind after hiking, working or spending the day at a Spring Training game. I found THE CUTEST hammock chair on the entire planet. And guys no joke it was only $62. I swear. Will people drink their coffee in it while reading in the morning or pass out in it after hitting the Scottsdale clubs? Don't know. Don't care. Just don't fall out. The thing was finding this Husky velcro strap that easily hangs the chair from the tree. The strap goes on so easily, being that it's velcro, and doesn't damage the tree.  It even holds up to 300 lbs. If you want to get a hanging chair of your own, you can throw it up on a tree while you're camping and easily remove it to take it home. Cool, right?

So there, now I have a much cozier Cozy Cactus Condo for guests to relax in. If you'd like to book a stay while you're in Phoenix, click the button below to check availability! We hope you'll enjoy your stay!