This Colorful, Eclectic Hoboken Home Will Spark Marie Kondo-Level Joy

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If there is one thing that gives us some serious house envy, it’s a gorgeously decorated home. Luckily, Hoboken is home {pun intended} to some amazing interiors that evoke many #apartmentgoals. One apartment in particular, however, is on Willow Avenue — and it’s quite the unique, eclectic dream. Inhabited by Gonca Esendemir {the owner of well-known Flatbread Grill}, her home is one that is equal parts colorful, bold, and unique — all designed by Gonca herself. We got the chance to sit down with Gonca to learn about where she drew her decorating inspiration from, what some of the key pieces in her home are, and how each carefully-placed item sparks serious Marie Kondo joy.

gonca hoboken home

About the Home

plants gonca

Gonca’s home is a 1,000-square-foot one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment that she has completely redesigned and decorated on her own. She’s been living there for the past two years {with her plants, as she’s a big plant parent}, and told us that the apartment was renovated prior to her moving into it. 

Of course, like many homes in the Mile Square, it is a rental, and like many rental-dwellers, Gonca had to find a way to make a space that isn’t permanently hers feel like home. 

And she definitely did just that.

See More: Inside Antoinette + Michael’s Eclectic Apartment in Midtown Hoboken

 The Inspiration Behind Redecorating

gonca home 1

After moving in with her partner at the time, Gonca wasn’t originally too thrilled to be moving into an otherwise dully colored apartment, as her Willow Avenue home wasn’t as vibrant as it is now when she first moved in. 

“I was really bummed to be moving into an apartment with off-beige walls initially, but my partner and I had decided we would paint and decorate it if I was going to stay there long-term,” she said. 

After she and her partner split up, however, Gonca completely threw herself into redecorating the entire space. 

“At the time, I was going through so many things in my professional and personal life, that I really just threw myself into decorating the new apartment to turn it into something that would cheer me up and keep my mind off some of the chaos in my life,” she explained.

She drew lots of inspiration from a room she lived in {in an apartment with her sisters} at the age of 19, which was a “ lovely purple room with lots of sparkly objects and furniture I had painted [in] bright colors.” She said that the space brought her so much joy to create and reflected her personality. 

gonca couches

So this time around, she wanted to recapture that “care-free feeling of following [her] whims and being as creative as possible” that she had a 19 and translate it into this new home of hers. 

“I knew I was going to be spending a great deal of time there by myself — creating, writing, and relaxing as I entered a new phase of my life. I let the artist in me out and followed my creative instincts,” she explained. “I love bright, bold colors and things that sparkle, wild prints, and I wanted to come home to something that felt like the part of my personality I can’t let out in my professional life. There are lots of layers and textures overlapping and somewhat clashing, but it makes sense to my brain and the way I see the world. I am inspired by chaos.” 

Of course, as we said before, this is a rental, so Gonca made sure to follow one important rule in her design journey — no holes in the walls. 

“Taking down the wallpaper and repainting back to white is easy,” Gonca said. “I didn’t want to fix holes when I move out. Everything is removable, including the wallpaper, and all the artwork is hung with removable adhesive.”

gonca lamp

As for the pieces she picked to make her space truly unique, she picked them by going with her gut. 

“I went on my own instinct,” she said. “I made a list of things I wanted like a pink couch, purple chair, tassels, plants, and a peacock chair. I was looking to create a little urban jungle with lots of color and sparkle. At the time I picked out my paint colors in Home Depot, I was so deep in the throes of depression that I just gravitated to the brightest colors to keep my mind off the anxiety.

Her Home Today

gonca home 2

After dedicating tons of hours and creative juices to redecorating her home, the space that Gonca created is something that truly brings her joy.

“After I was finished painting it and moved all my new furniture in, I really felt such a sense of joy coming home — like I was excited to walk in through the front door. And given that my professional life is hectic, it’s so nice to come home to a quiet, bright environment that is a reflection of my creative, eccentric side. It calms my anxiety, she said. “Even though some people are turned off by bright colors and wild prints that clash, the chaos invigorates me. There is an order in it, even if it seems a little too wacky for other people.” 

Even following her aforementioned break up, this decorating deep dive also served as a healing process of sorts for Gonca. “There was a deep healing with knowing I was building a new life for myself and it was one that was true to my nature,” she explained.

Today, Gonca’s home is eye-catching, vibrant, and so unique that calling it so would be an understatement. 

Room by Room

We got the chance to sit down with Gonca and get to know her home and what inspired the design behind each room. She shared her inspiration with us in her own words. {Fun fact: Gonca painted everything herself and handmade most of the pieces!}

 In the Living Room

Pink Velvet Couch

velvet couch gonca

Gonca says: I knew I wanted a velvet couch and was torn between purple or pink. When I saw this one on Wayfair, I knew it was the one. It was a perfect size, plus it opens into a bed! I added a sparkly, sequin shawl my little sister passed onto me.

living room before

^ Gonca’s living room before!

Peacock Chair

peacock chair

Gonca says: I knew I wanted a colorful peacock chair and when I saw the pink one online on Pier 1 Imports’ website —I knew it was meant to be! I looked high and low to find one that was perfect. I obsessed over it for a few months and finally, my big sis got it for me as a gift. I moved it around quite a bit until I found the perfect spot for it and it fits so well into the corner of my living room, that I designed everything else around it, including the gallery wall. When the weather is warm, I use that as my writing corner, but even in the winter —I just love the way the sun shifts through it and around it. I added the tassel throw pillow and animal print throw over a pink throw to add some texture. I also had the animal print throw from my college dorm — I really couldn’t part with it, so there it is! P.S. 

Wallpaper

wallpaper hobokenGonca says: I browsed through so many different patterns of removable wallpapers online before I found the pink one I have on Anthropologie’s website. I fell in love immediately, even more when I accidentally found the perfect pink paint color to compliment it! It was pricey as far as wallpaper goes, but it was so worth every penny. I was originally going to use it in my bedroom but it wasn’t the right size. When I discovered it fit perfectly on the big wall in my living room, I gave it a go. It just adds this wonderful sense of adventure and whimsy. It wasn’t a peel and stick. It was the kind you have to wet to activate the stickiness. One of my employees put it up for me. Anthropologie has a beautiful selection of high-quality wallpaper, hands down.

Velvet Chaise Lounge Chair

velvet chair gonca

Gonca says: I really wanted a piece of furniture that reclines, so I could read in it and write, or just take a quick nap, but I didn’t want a regular armchair. When I saw the teal chaise lounge on Wayfair. I fell in love immediately. It was the perfect color to compliment the pink in the room and looked great against the wallpaper. After I had it in place, I was able to figure out what kind of throw pillows to get and then I found the bird shelf online, I was like wow — this is going to look great right next to it {and I was right}. It’s unexpected because not too many people throw a chaise lounge chair into their urban apartments!

Bird Cage

Gonca says: I wanted a birdcage because in the spring, I am getting another fern-type plant and I thought it would look nice in the cage. For now, I have one on the floor of my living room and another one on my bedroom dresser drawer. I’m going to leave them there and get the plants in the spring.

Side Table

table

Gonca says: Again, I knew I wanted a pink side table next to my pink couch and that’s exactly what I searched for online. I added the tassels and pom palms to break up the pink.

Colorful Rug + Windswept Art

Gonca says: This rug is by far my favorite because it’s bright, fun, and colorful. 

And I think this art print sums up my brain when I’m creating. 

Bookshelves + Throw Pillows

bookshelf gonca

Gonca says: I adore my bookshelves in all their wild craziness. I added the tassels myself. Originally, I really wanted a round bookshelf, but I could not find one anywhere, so I finally settled on these and added all these different decorative items that I hand-painted myself. And they were both so easy to assemble! I love the way it looks against the brick.  I got most of the pillows through Wayfair. I mixed up the designs.

throw pillows

Wood Dining Chairs

bookshelves gonca

Gonca says: These were old chairs from one of my restaurants. I painted them a bit to add color.

 Fringe Shade Lamp

lamp

Gonca says: Since I am writing away from the windows now that it’s winter, I really needed some extra light. I don’t like to turn on my skylights because then it’s way too bright. But again, I wanted something interesting and pretty and colorful. When this fridge floor lamp with gold detail popped up on a Facebook sponsored post, I knew it was a sign.

Fuzzy Purple Chair

purple chair

Gonca says: I love having a soft, fun chair to write in at the moment. I normally write by the window and have a different chair there, but there’s a draft at the moment.

Pillar Candle Holders

candle

Gonca says: I got one from Anthropologie and then added the tassels. It was on clearance and there was one left. The other one is available on both Wayfair and Overstock.

Dining Room Table

Gonca says: I painted it myself and then threw a scarf one of my father’s cousins had given me as a gift when I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey.

Magenta Mosaic Lamp

mosaic lamp

Gonca says: I love this lamp. It’s colorful and sparkly— two of my favorite things together!

Read More:  10 Easy Upgrades to Make Your Hoboken Rental Feel Like Home

In the Bedroom 

Platform Bed

gonca bed

Gonca says: So I really wanted a pink bed frame, but it was sold out. I actually ended up liking the dusty blue one and I liked that it wasn’t so loud because I needed the bedroom to be a bit more subdued than the living room.

Sequin Chair

sequin chair gonca

Gonca says: I wanted an over the top chair that sparkled and the sequin chair was perfect. I love that I have something so unexpected and different in my space. It’s not only big enough to hold the clothes during the week when I’m too tired to put them into my closet, but it’s also comfy for when I want to sit in it and read a book or put on my socks. At first, I thought it might look awkward against the painted wall, but then it was a nice contrast, so I kept it there.

bedroom before

^ Gonca’s bedroom before!

Mosaic Table Lamp

lamp 2

Gonca says: I fell in love with these mosaic table lamps I saw online. I saw a magenta one on Wayfair {which I ended up buying for the living room} and then I saw a blue one on Overstock I was conflicted about buying two, but it was something I really, really wanted to have. I didn’t like the plain, more modern lamps. I love that it looks so luxurious and decadent. And it adds so much sparkle when the sun is shining. The blue compliments the pale purple paint in my bedroom and is a nice cool touch. It also adds a bit of glamour.

Animal Print Rug

Gonca says: I’ve never had a big rug in my bedroom before and I hate waking up to a cold floor. I wanted my bedroom to be a little bit more toned down than the living room and I knew I didn’t want a very loud, bright rug. When I saw the white animal print rug with a subtle hint of wildness — I knew it was the one. It allowed me to add brighter decor by keeping the floor a little bit mild, but still has some personality. 

Maya Angelou Quote

Gonca says: Originally I was going to leave this wall alone, but then I found this quote by Maya Angelou online and I changed my mind. I put up a tapestry that I designed using old pieces of clothing and made a couple of different wall art pieces on canvas. One is glitter and old sequins I had. The other one I painted into an ombre rainbow with acrylic gems.

Mural + Nightstand

Gonca says: I fell in love with this removable mural when I saw it on Wayfair’s site. It was subtle but still had enough color in it to make my bedroom pop. I also wanted a gold nightstand. I’m not sure why, but I did.

nightstand gonca

Colorful Ottoman

Gonca says: This is another one of those things I knew I wanted for the largest plant I have and it exists! I literally searched for “colorful ottoman”’ and it popped up. It can be flipped around and used as a storage basket as well.

Bird Shelf

shelf

Gonca says: I love this shelf. It’s perfect for my plants and the height was aesthetically pleasing. It really compliments the chaise lounge chair.

 Tall Dresser Drawer

dresser gonca

Gonca says: I wanted a natural dresser drawer because I was undecided if I was going to paint it or put removable wallpaper over it. I ended up doing both. It was relatively easy to install the wallpaper on it. The only downside is now that my bedroom is so hot with the heat on, there are air pockets to deal with that kind of ruins the design.

Sparkly Purple Curtains

Gonca says: I don’t like the white blinds in any one of my windows, but I’m not sure it’s worth installing new ones. I threw the purple fringe curtains up and tied it back with purple tulle and that added a little bit of much-needed color.

 Betsy Johnson Throw Pillows + Comforter

Gonca says: I love anything Betsy Johnson. She has the boldest, brightest, and most fun designs. When I saw the comforter and throw pillows, I knew it had my name written all over it.

 Dresser Drawer

dresser 2 gonca

Gonca says: I didn’t want a white dresser drawer, per se, I was searching for something I could repaint but it was so difficult to find the right size for the wall space I had. This was the last piece of furniture I ordered and I painted it and then glazed it with a glitter overlay. I am going to repaint it in the spring. 

Tribal Rug

Gonca says: I think rugs add texture and they are important to any space. I would buy a bunch more of these if I had a place to lay them.

Take Chances… Piano Wall

wall

Gonca says: I found an interesting shaped piece of driftwood while out for a walk along the waterfront one day. I had some old artificial pink roses lying around and then I ordered some artificial wisteria from Walmart. I painted the branch purple, glued the flowers on it, then hung it up. When I originally painted this wall, I wasn’t sure yet what to do with it, but I knew I was going to play my electric piano against it. I found the quote piece online and then I added the mirror. I love seeing it every morning when I wake up and every evening before bed. The quote was really easy to install. Both the mirror and quote was from Wayfair.

In the Hallway

Lips Graphic Art Print

gonca hallway

Gonca says: I tried to keep the walls in my hallway minimal because they were already so brightly painted. I loved the print I chose for the hallway. It’s one small piece of art but it has such a big, visual impact 

Bamboo Cork Boards With Butterfly Pins

cork

Gonca says: I picked up the corkboard from The Paper Source on Washington Street and the butterfly push pins I got off of Amazon.

In the Bathroom

Start Each Day With A Grateful Heart Sign

gonca sign

Gonca says: A friend of mine picked up this sign from Walmart and gifted it to me as a housewarming gift. I painted it and added a few acrylic gemstones. I put it on a side table another friend gave me that he was going to throw out. I love to take baths and always pick up different bath bombs. I had an old star-shaped metal basket that I placed all my bath bombs in, and placed all the candles I normally line up around the bath, which I painted and bedazzled myself, onto the table. 

Here’s a cool hack for cheap art prints — go online or in this case, I went to the Paper Source on Washington Street, buy a piece of pretty wrapping paper and frame it. Even wallpaper samples will work. I painted the frame to match. 

Rug

gonca rug

Gonca says: I love the rug I have in the bathroom! It’s super soft and so pretty. It brightens up the whole space and it saves my feet from freezing on the tiles.

 In the Kitchen

Rugs

gonca kitchen

Gonca says: I do a lot of my painting on the kitchen counters {laying down a protective covering of course!} and I hate the floor being cold under my feet. Also, the kitchen is a little bit dreary with the dark cabinets, so I wanted to brighten up the space.

I also recycle glass bottles in all shapes and sizes so I can make drip art with them.

Electric Waterfall

electric water fall

Gonca says: I really wanted a large waterfall, but alas, I live in an urban dwelling, so I settled. 

Safe to say this is one of the most amazingly unique apartments we’ve featured yet. Gonca, thank you for sharing your space with us — it’s a colorful dream.

Have a fun + uniquely decorated home you want to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Written by:

Arielle is a born-and-bred Jersey girl and like a true NJ native, half her diet consists of bagels and the other half pizza. As a graduate of both American University and City, University of London, she’s been a passionate writer ever since she wrote her first “book” in the first grade. When she’s not furiously typing away at her keyboard, she spends her time ticking places off of her “to travel to” list, trying any and all new foods, and trying to stop herself from spending too much money at Zara.