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Finalist 5: Josh's Colorful Basement Apartment in Queens

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Presenting Curbed's Rental Redo, a Renters Week 2013 contest wherein creative, ambitious, and deserving renters are given the chance to score $2,500 to the home furnishings store of their choice simply by outlining what they'd like to do with their lackluster, hodgepodge, or underfunded spaces. Over the next few days, the finalists' entries and testimonials will unfold right here; on Friday, they'll face off in a countrywide poll. We'll crown the winner on Mon., Nov. 25.

Josh has lived in Astoria, Queens, for 12 years; his current building for more than a decade; and his current apartment for almost two years. What he lost in a daily workout when he moved from the walkup's third floor into the basement he gained something far more valuable: a private backyard, which he'd like to improve with "some nicer outdoor furniture" and by "covering the existing fence with something to improve its privacy." In fact, Josh has named the home "The Dorothy Gale" as a reference to "the storm doors that lead out into the backyard, which reminded me of the doors in The Wizard of Oz that Dorothy can't open during the twister."

Josh has plenty of space—the unit is a two-bedroom with a separate dining room—and "lots of ideas for making the space truly spectacular." A street art enthusiast, he's already "color-blocked" the apartment; the living room/guest room is green, the bedroom is yellow, the kitchen is red, and the dining room is blue (with touches of pink).
"My design concept for the apartment is definitely more modern, playful, and colorful; with an effort to infuse each room with modern, contemporary and street art. I have a passion for graffiti and one of my pet projects is photographing doorways that are tagged; you can find it at @doortagz on Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter. I would love to commission graffiti artists to tag a French door that I have in the dining room to integrate that into my interior." What Josh is "most excited about is updating the backyard, which I will gather inspiration from my participation in [Christo and Jean-Claude's] "The Gates Project" in Central Park in 2005," he says, adding, "I really like to entertain and receive overnight house guests; winning this contest would be the perfect opportunity for me to have a second housewarming party." Below, a look at Josh's overall vision:

Josh's "Dorothy Gale" Rental Redo:

And some of Josh's art:

· All Renters Week 2013 posts [Curbed National]
· All Curbed's Rental Redo finalists [Curbed National]
· The Dorothy Gale Rental Redo [Pinterest]