This Apartment’s $5 DIY Backsplash Idea Completely Transformed the Kitchen

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Name: Anne and Matt Thomas and their handsome Scottie, Wallace
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Size: 1200 square feet
Years Lived In: 1 year, renting

Not only did Anne and her husband Matt downsize when they moved from Philadelphia to Knoxville (from 3100 square feet to 1200 square feet), they also changed architecture styles! The home they owned in Philly had great bones, and they did a beautiful job of revealing them through their renovations, eventually landing on a large and lovely array of “retro eclectic” furnishings laid out wisely. Their new rental space in Knoxville doesn’t have the same square footage, but it does have stunning industrial style elements, including huge windows that let lots of light pour in.

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“As soon as we opened the door to tour this apartment, I knew it was the one. The two first things that popped into my head were: my plants are going to LOVE soaking in all this sunlight and my dog is going to LOVE lying on the cool concrete floors. Sold!” wrote Anne.

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Anne has filled this new place with another eclectic array of furniture and decor. But the scene stealer is an incredibly rich, bold blue accent wall in the living room that adds energy to the whole apartment.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Vintage heirloom meets mid-century modern.

Inspiration: I grew up in a home built in the 1850s that my parents kept very true to its era in a lot of ways. The house was filled with a lot of family heirlooms and antiques handed down from one generation to the next. My dad is an architect and my mom is a museum curator and I think their approach to home decorating and appreciating the value of old things made a big impact on how I choose to decorate my home now…except mine has some mid-century modern flair.

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Favorite Element: The windows!

Biggest Challenge: Cement walls. So. Hard. To hang. Artwork.

Proudest DIY: The “backsplash” of our open shelving. I bought a sample piece of wallpaper from SpoonFlower for around $5 and it transformed that small sliver of the kitchen in a big way.

Biggest Indulgence: Our West Elm Andes sofa… worth it.

Best Advice: When you move into a new place and you want to make some changes to it, do it right away. If you wait too long you’ll get used to the space the way it is and you won’t have the motivation to change it later… actually, this may just be me giving myself a pep talk. 

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

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