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Before and after: A bland South End condo transforms into a traveler’s sanctuary

Home Improvement South End

Boston-based interior designer Barbara Vail works with Homepolish, a service where clients can buy professional design time by the hour for simple furniture rearranging to full-scale renovations—to transform the city’s notoriously small apartments into custom retreats. Here, Vail shares the details of a recent design project.

Home type: Condo in a brownstone

Neighborhood: South End

Size: Two-bedroom

Price tag: $10,000

Time: 5 months

living room
Living room

When Vail began work on the project, the condo was empty, with gorgeous hardwood floors and original, early-1900s moldings throughout. Vail was able to maximize the living room’s charm by using pieces from her client’s travels to make the space feel modern and airy.

Bedroom
Bedroom
Dresser
Dresser

In the master, Vail made the most of the ceiling height by using an iron canopy bed flanked by two mirrored nightstands. Across the room, a hand-embossed dresser maintains the space’s elegant look.

Dining
Dining

The dining room has two large windows, so Vail wanted to use the light to her advantage by installing a small “garden corner” with a terrarium and hanging brass planters. Her client also wanted a gallery wall to display meaningful items.

Office
Office

Just behind the living room, there’s a small nook that Vail transformed into an office space. Tall, modern bookcases show off the ceiling height, while a contrasting vintage-looking chair and desk match the home’s decorative moldings.

Second bedroom
Second bedroom

In the second bedroom, Vail kept is casual and youthful, using a wooden crate as a nightstand and unique lighting fixtures over the bed. The client wanted a bohemian vibe for this room, so Vail added a sheepskin rug and a locally made platform bed.