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When you are faced with renovating an apartment on a tight budget and only have about a week to do it, you ask your family for help, especially when they’re a designer! Musician Panda Elliot’s apartment was pretty bland before Natasha Elliot, an interior designer and the owner of Sentido José Ignacio, led the renovation. Since Panda didn’t have a ton of money left after purchasing the apartment, she was on a tight budget, and the refresh needed to go quickly: Natasha says they only had about one week to get it done!

“I was looking for a place in Palermo, an area in Buenos Aires with loads of restaurants, bars, near beautiful parks… I wanted to live in a neighborhood with a lively atmosphere where I had shops, supermarkets and friends and family at a walking distance,” Panda explains. “My older sister with her family live in a building in that area and suddenly the first floor was available for sale and I took the opportunity. Although it is a first floor, it has lots of light and the leaves of a beautiful tree right in front of my window. On the opposite side of the block I get to enjoy the beautiful view of a garden designed by famous Burle Marx. Having my nieces and nephews around sounded like a great idea, too!”

The kitchen got a huge face lift thanks to a lovely pink paint color splashed on the cabinets. Instead of a door closing off the space, a funky beaded curtain adds fun and a more airy look between the kitchen and living room. Panda says the new open kitchen makes cooking with friend even more enjoyable. A built-in shelf makeover in the living room gives the whole space a vibrant modern vibe thanks to green paint. While plenty of elements give the space a mature elegance, this is definitely the home of someone who doesn’t take design too seriously: A combination ping pong/pool tables used as a dining table transforms the living space into a playroom.

“I was also looking for a place I could call home,” Panda says. “That is why I was part of the renovating process and I kept things I treasure, like the two paintings on the living room wall, which belonged to my grandma.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Natasha – If we could chose only one word to define our style it would be eclectic. But certainly our style is based on the client. What is their own dream, how they want to live, their favorite colors, what inspires them. When artist Panda Elliot told us she had only a week to renovate her place, we knew it was tight, but we could make it. She came to us with a very tight budget so we spent most of the money on paint. She certainly wanted color, but wasn’t so convinced of the pink kitchen at first, however it ended up being her favorite room.

Inspiration: Panda – I am always inspired by art in all its forms and that influences my music, my style, my home, and my life.

Natasha – I am inspired by nature, by artists, by many travels around the world and their cultures, by books.

Favorite Home Element: Panda – The dining/pool/ping-pong table. It is fun, practical, and it also looks good in the apartment!

Biggest Challenge: Natasha – In this project time was a big challenge. We usually take more time to plan our home designs, but in this case, everything happened in a week.

Proudest DIY: Panda – The two glass coffee tables in the living room are certainly one of my fave DIYs. I took a picture of my eyes, I printed them and stuck them to the table glass. As a final touch I added LED lights underneath so at night when I invite friends over they look really cool.

Biggest Indulgence: Panda – My glass set for my daily whisky.

What’s your best home secret or advice? Natasha – My routine works when I split the house in different areas and clean each on a different day. My secret is vinegar: a great cleaner! And I am recently working on a homemade lavender antibacterial spray, which is great for surfaces and also all kinds of cloths: curtains, sofas, etc.

I think homes are made to be enjoyed. if a house looks too perfect sometimes it feels like it is missing life. I always use hangers inside kitchen cabinets to hang tea cups; it is a great way to organize and make the most of space. When shopping for tableware and utensils make sure they are pretty because they look great in open cabinets! Always have flowers and plants in your kitchen, candles in every room, blankets to relax on a sofa. Make every corner of the house an invitation to relax, play, laugh. A home has to be enjoyed with all of our senses.

What to people most get wrong about using color in their home? Natasha – In Argentina many people are afraid of using color, of mixing, and going for the unexpected. They prefer to stick to a white palette, which is great, but not for every space. Sometimes people think that adding a dark color might make spaces darker but in many cases it is the opposite. Color is life, it is vibration, it is personality.

What are the biggest tricks/secrets to using color in decor? Natasha – I think we chose colors because they represent images that make us feel good. Personally I love blue because it reminds me of the sea in Venezuela where I grew up. It brings to my mind beautiful skies. And I think there are no rules in matching as long as the combination looks good. Sometimes it is important to think what the focal point in a room is going to be… and, of course, there are patterns and textures that cannot be separated from color. You might choose only one color for a room but including several textures might make the room look very colorful instead of looking dull.

Favorite wall paint color of all time: Natasha – Wow, this is a hard question. I am used to mixing paintings myself and making my own colors. It totally depends on the house and its location, how much natural light every room has, I could go on. But if I get to choose only one, it would be “Hague Blue” from Farrow and Ball.

Thanks Panda and Natasha!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she’s called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.

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