Originally created 06/18/02

Second-hand design



Forget diamonds - the Salvation Army is a girl's best friend.

At least, that's what Moniqua Acosta and Regina Edry found while decorating on a budget.

The two women - Ms. Acosta, 21, is a student at Augusta State University, while Ms. Edry, 23, is a recent graduate - found most of their furniture second-hand and stamped their personalities into the interior decoration of the small two-bedroom, one bathroom apartment they share on the bottom floor of a Summerville home.

They're trying to impose a moratorium on Salvation Army purchases because they're running out of room in the Central Avenue apartment. And it's not just furniture - by thinking creatively, they've decorated the apartment using bargains such as: patterned material from a thrift-shop skirt, stretched, mounted and framed, became artwork; cast-off fabric became privacy curtains in Ms. Acosta's bedroom, where French doors look out on the living room.

"We go to the Salvation Army all the time," Ms. Edry said with a laugh. "I'll go out there, and when I come back, Moniqua will say 'What have you brought home this time?"'

They've also used furniture from friends and family - some with sentimental value. Their kitchen table was a sewing table Ms. Edry's grandmother used - they painted it black and topped it with a glass tabletop.

Original artwork decorates the walls - Ms. Acosta and Ms. Edry created an Andy Warhol-style print of Billy Holiday that hangs over the living room sofa, and works from friends and family appear throughout the apartment.

"I really feel like our whole house is a tribute to the people we love," Ms. Edry said.

Their many whimsical touches, include an old ladder strung with lights set across the ceiling in their small hallway, where you have to walk under it to go from room to room. A James Brown "shrine" sits atop their linen cabinet, complete with a dancing, singing James Brown figure surrounded by candles and flowers, and an unobtrusive miniature disco ball hangs from the ceiling.

The keys to making cosmetic changes in the apartment were, first, checking with the landlord to ensure it was OK and then, making sure the changes were temporary measures or those that could be quickly covered up when the pair move out of the house. They've painted almost every room, but it won't take much time - particularly in a small apartment - for Ms. Acosta and Ms. Edry to repaint in neutral colors when they move out.

Meanwhile, the cabinets in the kitchen have been painted in red and white designs; a poem has been lettered in white paint on the wall of "the nook," a recessed area of the living room; one wall of Ms. Edry's room has a deep blue wash over it - she plans to put a classical celestial scene on it. Their laundry room is a brilliant chartreuse, and the sunny yellow bathroom has a mural reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night on one wall. Ms. Acosta also used glossy black paint on the white tile floor to create a checkerboard pattern.

Because they've tried to be tasteful with the interior decorating, their landlord hasn't had problems with their ideas and isn't worried about getting rid of much of it when they decide to move, they said. Decorating didn't stop at the front door. Ms. Acosta extended her designing abilities to the porch, where she painted a sunburst on the gray wood floor in place of a rug.

Another painted "rug" appears on the living room floor.

"We take the house as a whole when it comes to decorating," Ms. Acosta said. "When you look at it all together, a wall is no different from a floor, and a floor is no different from a wall. It's all the same."

Reach Alisa DeMao at (706) 823-3223 or ademao@augustachronicle.com.