Produced, directed, styled and written by Brian Patrick Flynn with photography by Sarah Dorio
“Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little” – Gore Vidal. While I find writers quoting other writers highly irritating, I find designers competing with other designers to be ten times worse. Sure, this makes for great reality-competition-television which I LOVE, but in real life, can’t we all just get along?
Luckily, the competitive gene skipped over me completely, getting tangled up somewhere in my over-achieving little sister’s DNA instead. But on the other hand, me, myself and I are one-upping each other all day long inside my gargantuan, goes-from-zero-to-sixty-in-less-than-a-second brain. For example: Each time I complete a design project, all I seem to focus on is what I could have done differently. Perhaps, in some ways, this method of thinking is super healthy. But as far as confidence and peace-of-mind are concerned, it kinda blows.
What the hell does all this psycho babble have to do with the image of the pretty girl above, you ask? Well, lots. A few months back, I became acquainted with Claire Watkins, a fellow young, Atlanta-based designer with a blog called High Gloss Blue. She had no ego, absolutely no competitive streak and was as kind as can be. Her constant, upbeat, positive comments here on Decor Demon and on other blogs are continually optimistic, heartfelt and genuine. After reaching out to the ASID-riffic twentysomething to say “‘Sup?”, it turned out she had a colorful, DIY-packed, high/low project ready for us to shoot, her own teency-weency, flea-market-happy apartment—the same one she’d be MOVING OUT OF in just a few days. With all that being said, it was pretty much a done deal. She had me at flea market.
Overall, The [former] Watkins Residence could be best described as pretty and fun. To add instant [not to mention, well-branded] energy of the pigmented kind, Ms. Thang slapped “Spring Rain”  from Benjamin Moore up on the living room walls. Her not-so-new apartment sported a hideous window A/C unit right smack in the center of the wall to the right of the window. You’d never have known it—thanks to a little drapery trick. The designer created panels using embroidered “Wilmington: Multi” linen-blend from Covington [$15 per yard]; the panels could slide away from the unit when in use or directly over it when turned off. To conceal the not-so-purdy hardware, Claire upholstered a piece of plywood herself, creating a custom valence. Splurges in the space included the “Bantam Sofa” and a pair of Eames Lounge Chairs from Design Within Reach. Underfoot you’d find the 9X11′ jute “Coventry” rug picked up from Ballard Designs for a cool $239. IKEA’s “DOCKSTA” table was a major cost-saver as was the pair of space-age-ish, leftover-from-college, wicker chairs spraypainted a shocking chartreuse. As far as key accessories went, Watkins placed utmost importance on her framed photos, old sketches and a prickly, blue glass water pitcher–-a keepsake passed down to her from her Great Grandfather. All of these elements resulted in a sophisticated, happy place where Claire and Co. could relax, sit back and talk about Decor Demon [hopefully].
Room for dessert
Although the apartment was square-footage-challenged, it had two separate glorified closets…I mean, bedrooms. Ensuring she could work from home as needed, our featured designer outfitted one of the spaces as a design studio. For starters, Claire painted the walls with “Peridot”  from Benjamin Moore. Did it drive me crazy that she didn’t paint the ceiling the same color? Kinda. Because I’m competitive? No. Because white ceilings drive me friggin’ bananas regardless of whose space they’re in? Yep! An assortment of pieces from flea markets and big box stores completed the studio look; the windows were flanked with IKEA “RITVA” panels customized with green pom-pom trim. The same tiny, round shape is repeated atop the window sill in the form of poppies sitting in beer bottles purchased from “the questionable liquor stores on Moreland Avenue”. Claire stripped the beer logos off with sandpaper, then combined them with non-adult, non-sketchy bottles of grape soda. Most importantly, there was just enough floor space for The High Priestess of High Gloss Blue’s one-eyed-wonder rescue dog, Annabelle.
Ms. Watkins’ bedroom was so extremely short-on-space, the only decent shot we could get, compositionally speaking, was this dresser-top vignette. So what, who cares? Space ain’t nothing but a number, y’all.
Go to your happy place: Mouse-click your way on over to High Gloss Blue for a peek inside Claire’s cyberworld.
Lastly, this is the part where you take 45 seconds out of your busy schedule to [a] become a fan of Decor Demon on Facebook [b] start tweet-following us over at the Twitters. Do it or a baby owl will [temporarily] get stuck in a drain pipe. Thank you.