Decor: DIY art & design

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When Justine Arreche unexpectedly found herself in need of a roommate last year, she briefly searched for someplace with lower rent than her German Village apartment.

But the CCAD senior knew she couldn't bear to live in a soulless white-walled complex with a stringent landlord that forbids painting the walls. And there was no way she could abandon all the hard work she'd put into this place - including painting nearly every single wall in the house.

"I can't stand living in places without character," Arreche said. "I have the best landlord. He lets me paint and create."

So instead she found a roommate, Molly Savage, a fellow CCAD student whose love for interior design matches her own. And together they've created a beautiful and colorful space filled with their own creations, collections and artwork by friends.

"I exchange graphic design for fine art," Arreche explained.

Lucky her.

Another plus for Arreche's GV apartment: Dogs, including 85-pounders like her black lab/Newfoundland mix Roscoe, are allowed.

Roscoe loves curling up in the living room in the blue wingback chairs, $5 yard sale scores. The living room futon, a $200 Value City purchase, is the most expensive furniture item in the house. The distinctive lamp was found at Ikea, and the birds - originally black and painted white - came from Target.

Arreche painted her kitchen backsplash with black chalkboard paint, an idea she dreamed up when she found out she couldn't install a tile backsplash.

The color ties in perfectly with the black cabinets, and the erasable nature of chalkboard paint allows Arreche to create her own patterns and textures with chalk - and switch things up as often as she wants.

This sugar pot combines Arreche's two biggest passions - elephants and white ceramics. "I have 300 elephants in my possession, but I've really toned down on how many are on display," Arreche said.

Arreche hand-labeled various kitchen storage containers from Ikea. She doesn't cook a whole lot but has mastered a few complicated, spicy recipes, including her specialty, chana masala.

Arreche bought two mismatched chairs at yard sales for $4 and $8 each, painted them in matching light blue and repurposed them as end tables for her bedroom. The rest of her bedroom furniture (bed, armoire, chest) was purchased at Ikea, and a yellow-and-gray patterned bedspread is part of the DwellStudio for Target line.

Arreche carried the chalkboard paint into her bedroom, where an elephant hook serves as part of a coat rack.

A "not-so-sunny" sunroom boasts the exposed brick walls that are iconic in German Village architecture. Arreche transformed one into a brick-lined photo gallery.

Savage spotted a similar Mason jar lamp in a high-end store and made her own version with a do-it-yourself lamp kit. The light hangs in her upstairs bedroom.

Name: Justine Arreche

Age: 22

Occupation: Visual design major at Columbus College of Art & Design

Neighborhood: German Village

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