Influencer, blogger, fashionista – Hayet Rida inspires many with her exuberant and unapologetic personality. After going on diets and pushing herself to live up to her perceived notions of perfection, she soon realized that she already achieved what she wanted: the body, the job… Hayet encourages her audience to follow suit – embrace the now, because who knows what tomorrow brings.

Having recently signed the lease on a two-bedroom, two-bathroom open-concept apartment in Chicago, she turned to Arhaus In-Home Specialist Kim Domanski to help her achieve a cohesive and luxurious space. “I have always had a desire for my home to feel like a sanctuary (even before the pandemic),” Hayet told us. “You always want that feeling you get when you walk into a 5-star hotel…that feeling of calm.” Kim’s task was to create a space that felt personalized and relaxing for the influencer in spite of it being a rental.

“The apartment was a blank canvas, so it was an exciting challenge to tackle,” Kim shared. “Even though it was a rental, we added several upgrades to make the space more her personal oasis. We upgraded lighting, installed peel and stick wallpaper from Mitchell Black, as well as new cabinet hardware from CB2.” The original knobs in the kitchen were lackluster and were changed out with a brass and bone option that complimented the espresso wood veneer. The track lighting over the island felt too generic and was replaced with pendants from Shades of Light.

When it came to the decor and furniture choices, Hayet wanted the design of her space to reflect her background and interests. “It was important to Hayet that we infused her heritage and culture growing up in Ghana and balanced that with her love of travel, especially Bali and Morocco,” Kim said. “Her bedroom is a celebration of Africa, while her living space is a calm, zen experience inspired by her travels to these designations.” A cow skin area rug in the bedroom breaks up the angularity of the other furniture pieces. Kim included an assortment of throw pillows including one with a zebra print that paired perfectly with Arhaus’ Andes Bed in rich caramel.

In the living room, things were kept a bit more neutral and clean as well as low maintenance. “We used our incredible Crypton fabric in white for her Kipton Sectional,” the designer explained. “Crypton has built-in nano-technology in the fibers, so has great resistance to stains, odor, moisture.  Easy cleaning capability with a simple soap and water solution.” She also suggested layering rugs, which at first, took a little convincing to do. However, when the faux fur rug was layered on top of the neutral area rug in situ, Hayet loved the result and how it invites her guests to get comfortable in her living area.

The last finishing touches were anything but secondary. The artwork in particular was a crucial element to completing the design. “I wanted key moments in my home, especially artwork, to feel like conversation pieces,” Hayet said. “I grew up in a home that felt like an art gallery and I wanted to make sure my home felt like a testament to that!” The Omo Youth Framed Print over the Kai Slatted Chest is a particularly standout piece that brings a powerful graphic moment to the blogger’s apartment.

With custom-selections, a little ingenuity in the form of rental updates, and a personalized touch with the artwork and accessories, Hayet was able to fully move into her newly designed space in June 2020. “She immediately felt at home and couldn’t believe the final outcome,” Kim shared. “During the photo shoot, she was beaming from ear to ear and it made me feel so honored and blessed to be part of her design journey.”