When interior designer Dona Rosene picked up a call from a number she didn't recognize at 5 p.m. on a Monday, she had no idea how busy her week was about to become. A single guy named Jared Husch from Miami had found her via Houzz. He was moving to Dallas that weekend, and he needed his new apartment completely outfitted by the time he arrived.
Bringing just his clothing, his dog, and a juicer, the 27-year-old Husch asked Rosene to make the place clean and masculine. While she had a lot of freedom in the design, everything she chose had to be readily available and delivered by that Friday, four days away. Husch gave her a $10,000 budget for furniture and accessories. Here's how she did it.
Monday evening: The call. After the initial phone call at 5 p.m., Rosene and Husch emailed back and forth; he sent her pictures of his new empty apartment plus the floor plans and styles he liked. The contemporary apartment had dark wood floors, white walls, and exposed concrete. The apartment enjoys great views from the 20th floor of a building in Dallas' Uptown neighborhood, an artsy enclave.
"I worked on some budget numbers to see if I could even do it," she says. "I wasn’t completely convinced he was serious [at first]."
Tuesday: Rosene hits the ground running. She quickly learned she could find pieces from stores like Z Gallerie, West Elm, and Crate & Barrel if they were in stock or on clearance. She hit local Dallas store Weir's Furniture and found a sofa for $1,299, deciding such an important piece was worth the big dent in her budget. She also found the media cabinet, bar stools, nightstands, bed, and mattress there.
Then she hit up West Elm and Pier 1 Imports and took photos to get an idea of her options and how to pull everything together. She snatched up a striped lumbar pillow at Pier 1, deciding it would give her the bedroom color palette, and put a swivel chair and ottoman on hold. The pillow gave her a cool masculine mix of teals, grays, and browns to work with.
She found the bed at Weir's for $300 and spent $1,000 on a good mattress and box spring, consulting with Husch by phone about his mattress firmness preference.
A late-night trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond scored her the bedding. "The rectangular quilting kept the clean and masculine lines," she says. Bleary-eyed, she made it to the checkout area with seconds to spare before closing time, also picking up sheets, bed pillows, and other necessities.
(She added a few extra pillows for the photo shoot; most men don't want to fuss with so many pillows.)
Wednesday: Rosene does some recon and tags home base. "I did a little shopping online before I went to Jared’s apartment to look at the space in person — to see what else I needed and to confirm I was headed in the right direction," Rosene says. She had scoped out the art that breaks up the long entryway wall at Z Gallerie online before buying it, but the big score was the painting over the sofa; she found it at discount chain Tuesday Morning for under $200. This provided her with the color palette inspiration for the room.
A trip to Target scored her the occasional chair (on sale for $120), accessories, and one of the bedroom lamps. Next she headed over to Robert Lawrence for planters and plants that would stand up to the apartment's high ceilings without blocking the views or passageways.
Last she scooped up towels and accessories at Home Goods and World Market until closing time again. "It's a good thing these stores are open until 9 or 10 at night, or I would never have finished this job," Rosene says.
Thursday: The final push. Needing some key pieces for the main living space, Rosene circled back to West Elm, where she scooped up the coffee table, and to Crate & Barrel, where she found a floor lamp that was in stock.
Finding a rug that would lighten up the dark wood floors was a big challenge. Over at the clearance — that is, in-stock — section, Rosene found a so-so plaid rug rolled up. Plagued with doubts about it, she went to see it hanging on the wall in the showroom area. Luckily for her, she ran into some workers taking down the rug you see here to schlep to the clearance section at that very moment.
She snatched it up before they could make a step towards the clearance area. "This was one of many miracles that happened in putting this place together," she says.
Rosene realized that a king-size bed would overwhelm the bedroom and talked Husch into using a queen.
Rosene returned to Pier 1 for the swivel chair and ottoman, as well as the entry table and an end table in the main living space. She finished off the day before the reveal with a two-cart trip to a different Target store, finding a lamp to match the other bedroom lamp, more accessories, and necessities such as kitchen tools and toilet paper. "The guy helping me get the two carts to my car did not believe I would fit it all into my SUV, but I did, without an inch to spare," says Rosene. She got home with midnight fast approaching, ready to catch a few hours of sleep before the big day.
Friday: Installation and the big reveal. Two assistants with large vehicles and Rosene loaded up the things from her garage, then unloaded everything at the apartment. Then one went to Pier 1 for the bigger items and one went to Target to get items like extension cords, light bulbs, a kitchen trash can, and a silverware caddy as well as some lunch. A third moving man brought all the items from Weir's.
Rosene completely outfitted the bathroom, right down to the toilet paper. A dotted towel from Home Goods continues the bedroom's teal and gray color scheme. She picked up the shower curtain at West Elm and the cart at Cost Plus World Market.
Friday evening: All done. When Husch and Dakota arrived around 5 pm, everything was in place except for a few pieces of art. She showed him around, finished hanging a few last items, and was out the door by 7 pm. "This made for four very long days, but it all worked out," Rosene says.
"When you ask someone to do something most people think is impossible, you don't have very high hopes," Husch says. "I walked in after my long drive with my dog and opened the door into my apartment with my jaw on the floor. I wouldn't have changed one thing about my new apartment in Dallas."
Rosene had such a great time on the project that when we chatted, she was toying with advertising similar services to the rest of the residents in the building. Then she reconsidered. "It was fun, but I don't know if I could work like this all the time," she says. "It was exhausting!"