It pains me to lead with such an ugly before picture, but I thought I’d share one more space you didn’t get a chance to see in the tour earlier this week: our stairwell. This space has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging to decorate because the walls are so high.

This is how the space looked when we first moved in. Cream walls and track lighting. It stayed that way for honestly about six months–art stacked and everything–while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do.

The Pursuit of Style | Stairwell Before

The game changer was finding this palm leaf chandelier in Key Largo. Don’t hate me, but I think I paid $100 for it at a kitschy roadside consignment store–best find ever! That was the solution to the horrible track lighting that had slowly been killing my soul.

We rent, and normally I would just grin and bear a landlord’s questionable lighting choices, but once I found this beauty the only thing going through my head was: “It’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.” How could I not switch out that track lighting??

The Pursuit of Style | Palm Leaf Chandelier

Once the chandelier was installed, my wheels started spinning. The walls were painted Benjamin Moore’s Seafoam Green, my vintage nautical charts were hung, and a gallery wall was created on the wall leading up the stairs. You can read more about that transformation here.

The Pursuit of Style

The thing is, I never really loved it. The stairwell is open to our living room, which is white, and the contrast between the Seafoam Green and white walls wasn’t sitting well with me. Also, as much as I wish it weren’t true, my gallery wall skills will never rival a kate spade boutique. Lastly, the chandelier/vertical artwork combo doing nothing for the space except make the walls seem even higher.

A few weeks before I was scheduled to have a some photoshoots at the house, I rather impulsively decided to overhaul the entire space. The Seafoam Green walls were re-painted white to match the living room, the gallery wall came down, and I finally accepted my beloved nautical charts just weren’t meant to be in this apartment and put them in storage (aka the laundry room).

This is what I’m working with now… a grid of 12 French constellation charts.

The Pursuit of Style

You can read more about my inspiration for the layout here, but basically I knew I needed something that would take up a little more horizontal real estate to balance out the crazy 13′ ceilings.

A close up of one of the constellation charts…

The Pursuit of Style | Constellation Chart

Overall, I’m so much happier with the space! The clean lines feel a bit more sophisticated than the gallery wall we had previously, and the monochromatic artwork makes a visual impact but still flows well with the living room below. The one change I would like to make is adding some black, or hot pink shades to the chandelier so it doesn’t get quite as lost in all the white.

P.S I swear those photos are straight in real life, it’s just next to impossible to photograph!


  1. *sigh* We have a space nearly just like that….except it is our living room! Imagine this: 14′ ceilings, one wall that spans the entire side of the house and has zero windows or architectural interest. I’ve been trying to figure out how to work with it for three years with no solution in sight.
    Love what you did with the constellation charts – I think they’re more fitting for that space; they break up the wall well.

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