Designer Sandie Tsai's Eclectic Apartment in Atlanta

Sandie Proves You Can Make a Rental Your Very Own

Designer Sandie Tsai's Eclectic Apartment in Atlanta | Interior Design by Sandie Tsai | Photography by Morgan Blake Beatton | Modern Sanctuary | Workspace | Office | Modern Workspace | Lighting | Art | Seating
Photo by:
Morgan Blake Beatton
10/26/2016

Where some interior designers look at an empty room and see a blank slate, Sandie Tsai of Sandie Tsai Studios sees a hidden narrative. Hers is an all-encompassing vision that takes into account the character of the place, its environment and the personalities that reside there. She applied this same design philosophy to her first shared apartment with her fiancé in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, GA. Using her keen design eye, Sandie mixes contemporary furnishings with global decor pieces transforming a once rather dull rental into a stylish space that reflects their personalities.

“As a rental apartment, the space has many things we couldn’t change (ugly light fixtures, outdated finishes), so our efforts went into what we could change and how to do it in a way so we can take it all with us when we move”, says Sandie.

“When we first moved in, the space looked depressing – yellow walls, tan carpeting, popcorn ceiling(!!), and outdated ceiling light fixtures. I started by painting all the walls and laying down rugs to cover up the carpet, which made a huge difference. We didn’t bring much furniture with us, however, we both came with lots of artwork and accessories from our travels that we treasure, so I started with those and designed the space around them.”

Sandie’s fiancé is from Marrakech and has an admirable collection of Moroccan rugs and objects. They wanted to include these special treasures without the apartment feeling too theme-y.

“I kept the larger furniture pieces neutral, adding colors, patterns and texture through accessories and textiles—i.e. the vintage Hmong pillows on the sofa, and the goat hair rug from Turkey in the dining area.

“We have a huge living room and a slightly awkward dining nook off of the kitchen. Since I work from home, I turned the dining nook into my office and merged the dining area with the living room.”

A Bohemian Apartment in Buckhead | Interior Design by Sandie Tsai | Photography by Morgan Blake Beatton | Modern Sanctuary | Workspace | Office | Modern Workspace | Lighting
Photo by:
Morgan Blake Beatton

Mayfair Steamer Trunk 3-Drawer Desk: Restoration Hardware | Leather Chair : Stanton Home Furnishings | Clemente Table Lamp: Circa Lighting

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Photo by:
Morgan Blake Beatton

I believe that good design tells a story – of the space, its history and of the people that live there.  Sandie Tsai

Stocksund Sofa: IKEA | Safavieh Leo Accent Table: Wayfair | Artwork: 6 Prints from BorianaM on Etsy | Summer Swirl Stool: Burke Decor | Hourglass Table: Sarah Cyrus Home

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Photo by:
Morgan Blake Beatton

Painting: LolaDonoghue on Etsy  | Dolly Gunmetal Lamp:  Stanton Home Furnishings  Furnishings 

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Photo by:
Morgan Blake Beatton
A Bohemian Apartment in Buckhead | Interior Design by Sandie Tsai | Photography by Morgan Blake Beatton | Modern Sanctuary | Living Room | Bohemian Living Room | Details and Accessories | Art
Photo by:
Morgan Blake Beatton

 Scrolled Back Rattan Chair: Anthropologie

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Photo by:
Morgan Blake Beatton

Sandie loves textures and layering. The three layers of fiber and animal rugs in the living and dining rooms help define the spaces and add great visual interest in an apartment where many basic elements can’t be changed.

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Photo by:
Morgan Blake Beatton

 “The dining area was designed around the painted hide artwork we have on the wall. We bought the hide off of a shop owner’s wall when we were in Fez, Morocco for twelve dollars. Of course, it cost more than ten times that to get it stitched onto a canvas and professionally framed!”

Extendable Table: World Market

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Photo by:
Morgan Blake Beatton

“For our bedroom, I had been rather ambitious, wanting to do a Moroccan patterned paint stencil on the walls and a carved wooded headboard. But after moving in, I felt the room needed something bolder, so we ended up painting the entire room black. I used a satin finish on the black paint so that light would still be able to bounce off the walls, preventing the room from feeling dark. At night, the room is like a cozy cocoon, we both love it! And the added bonus is that everything looks better against that black backdrop, even our Ikea dressers pop out and look so much better.”

Stria Bed: West Elm | Enmore Embroidered Queen Duvet: Anthropologie

A Bohemian Apartment in Buckhead | Interior Design by Sandie Tsai | Photography by Morgan Blake Beatton | Modern Sanctuary | Bedroom | Black Bedroom | Global Bedroom | Art | Lighting
Photo by:
Morgan Blake Beatton
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Photo by:
Morgan Blake Beatton

Antique Stool: Sarah Cyrus Home | Blanket Ladder: Burke Decor

Through careful selection of unique and global items, Sandie proves that you can turn a “cookie-cutter” apartment into a personal and comforting space.

Meet the designer Sandie Tsai of Sandie Tsai Studios
Bio:

After graduating with a major in Architecture from Columbia University as well as a degree in Interior Design from Parsons, Sandie earned her Masters from the Florence Institute of Design International in Florence, Italy. It was there, amongst the rich textiles and architectural landscape that spoke volumes about the country’s history that she gained an appreciation for how design informs the environment and the people who engage with it.

Her experience working for prominent firms such as Christopher Maya Inc broadened her scope as a designer; offering access to a range of projects and a varied take on the traditional home. Her designs take cue from the past while remaining true to the contemporary sensibilities of the client, meshing function and balance with modest embellishments.

Before taking a survey of a space, Sandie engages with clients one on one, knowing that every challenge or budgetary constraint presents an opportunity to work creatively within the boundaries.

What are some design tips you would like to share with our readers?
1) Design should be a reflection of you, not trends.
2) Surround yourself with things that mean something to you.
3) Create a space that calms you- whether it be a cozy reading nook or a nice big kitchen for therapy-baking, everyone has their own “happy space”—create it, splurge on it and use it.
Copy by
Cynthia Baxter
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