A YOUNG COUPLE CONVERTS AN OLD CONDO INTO A BRAND-NEW HOME INSPIRED BY FOUND OBJECTS
An old condo unit gets “flipped” by a young couple, who turn it into a contemporary-vintage home filled with steampunk references.
most newlyweds look forward to moving into their starter homes bright-eyed and eager. Lawyer Suzy Ojeda Pronstroller and her husband Jay, however, started off on the opposite end of the spectrum. The couple wasn’t too keen on the 54-sqm space that Jay had invested in, so they considered a more practical approach:renovation.
The project became a team effort for the couple. Suzy, who confesses to having “zero creative juices,” became her husband’s right hand in all his artistic endeavors. A professor of Corporate Social Responsibility, Jay always managed to find an outlet for creativity since his formative years, whether that meant constantly shuffling around the furniture in his parents’ home or taking to the canvas and coming up with original artwork.
“What I really wanted was an industrial and rustic look,” Jay explains.
“I wanted a countryside home—think floral couches and everything girly,” laughs Suzy. “All I could think of when Jay said ‘industrial’ was that the place would turn out to be too manly… more a bachelor pad than a home for a married couple.”
“I had to hear her out,” he answers. “It was a challenge on my end!”
The compromise came in the first phase of the redesign. Research involved gathering pegs from Pinterest as well as Real Living’s print and digital channels. The idea was to soften the industrial look with textures and colors that evoke lightness and breeziness. The marriage of seemingly opposing elements became the backbone for their starter home’s design, inspiring not only décor, DIY furniture, and knickknacks, but also the more technical parts of the home such as lighting and space planning.
The living room greets guests with its blend of hardedged steel and natural wood. Jay’s portraits in soft, somber gray tones are a perfect contrast to the old, white couch (from Suzy’s parents) and the soft rug the couple picked up from H&M Home. Just beside it is a coffee table and wine storage unit fashioned out of an old dog cage, topped with tchotchkes, including a rose preserved from Suzy’s wedding bouquet, which Jay worked on all on his own.
One of the major challenges of the space was its lack of windows, which the couple countered with as much artificial light as possible. While most of the lamps were sourced from Wilcon, A&S Lamps, and CW Home Depot, the lighting fixtures above the dining table were designed by Jay himself.
Suzy and Jay’s bedroom didn’t allow for too much furniture because of space restrictions, but the couple was able to make a compromise with their storage situation. Suzy relegated her wardrobe to the master bedroom’s locally sourced IKEA closets, while the maid’s room was converted into Jay’s walk-in closet.
Little touches, such as the repurposed window railing turned into a wall hanger for the master bedroom, the antique steel fan in the living room, and an old Singer sewing machine turned into an additional counter space for the kitchen, keep Jay’s vision of an industrial rustic home alive. Personal effects such as photos, ivory, bone, and jade antiques from their families’ collections are scattered throughout the space. These, plus old wooden pieces, allow Suzy’s own preference for a country home to shine through.
"As with anything, renovating our home was all about reconciling—our ideas, our budget, and our expectations,” Jay says. The Pronstroller home is, indeed, a testament to the intricate art of compromise and the fascinating results that can come out of it.
Suzy and Jay found a design compromise to fit their budget in the kitchen area by finding Just the right laminate to Wrap around the built-in shelving. Stripped and salvaged Wood may have been the ideal, but laminates Work Just as effectively.