Ashley and Jason; new home owners and newly-weds, have an incredibly cozy home. I fell in love with the above photo in their Flickr stream. I kept coming back to it. The rich reds, purple, orange, pale blue, and the copper-colored woods make it seem as if there was a roaring fire in there and you just want to curl up on that sofa. Throughout their home, I love their mix of the old and the new in their choices.
Would you consider yourself an artistic person? Is it something that you use in your career or daily life?
We're both pretty artistic in different ways. I'm a writer (and blogger of Read it Out Loud) and Jason works for the Discovery Channel and makes movies on the side. I also have a 'lil side business, The Ripe Radish, selling crafts on Etsy.
What specific difficulties did you have when decorating your space?
Even though the house is larger, the individual rooms are smaller than what we were used to in our old wide-open apartment. This made furniture maneuvering and laying out more difficult; there are less options.
Also, basically every part of redoing the kitchen was difficult - I never want to work with tile again!
What is your favorite color?
Oh, I think it changes weekly. Right now, yellow.
Do the colors in your clothes closet show up in your home?
Yes! I love incorporating colors into my wardrobe. My closet is arranged by color, and it looks like a rainbow when you step in there. There are some days I want to wear bright pink polka dots and some days I want to wear brown. I dress and decorate according to my current emotional state, which can make for some interesting outfits and corners of the house.
Would someone you know think your space represents who you are? Do you think it does?
The first thing most people say after getting the tour is that the place is "so us" or that we've really made it ours. That's definitely the greatest compliment, because it means we were successful in creating a home that represents us.
How different is your grown-up style from the place in which you grew up?
Very different. My parents are much more modern. I've always thought their house was a little too sterile for me. They have lots of modern art hanging and a few bizarre smaller sculptures. I always knew I would want something more cozy and warm. I love the coziness of our house above everything else.
What was your biggest influence in choosing your current décor?
It's kind of one big lump of inspiration I've gotten from design mags like Domino, design blogs like decor8, websites like apartmenttherapy.com, and various books. I'm inspired by everyday houses too; I can always find something I like in someone's living space.
What has been the most expensive change you have made to your space?
The kitchen. It started out with this faux cobblestone linoleum counters, laminate flowered flooring, and ugly cabinets. We spent about $3,000 updating it - we tiled the counters and the floors; got a new sink, range hood, and backsplash; and painted the cabinets white and got new hardware for them. It's still not quite done (we took all of this on about a month before our wedding, so it's taking a little longer than expected).
What has been the least expensive, yet most influential change you have made to your space?
Jason says it's the dimmer switches he installed, "because now you can get mood lighting." I would have to say it would be painting the wood paneling white - we just didn't have the money or time to rip it down (it's only on one wall in the family room) and now it actually looks intentional.
white paneled wall
Have you done any of the décor yourself (DIY)?
Everything was DIY, except for the the electrical/wiring update that we had done. Refinishing the wood floors was the most DIY we've gotten, and that was mostly Jason. They were in REALLY bad shape - they look great now!
What changes have you made that make you feel the most proud?
I would say both the kitchen and the floors I'm pretty proud of.
If you received $1,000 that you could only spend on your home, what would you do with the money?
There's such a long list! I think the first thing I would do would be to fix up the bathroom. Right now there's a pink toilet and pink sink and laminate flooring. We totally ran with the pink thing and made it this sort of art deco bathroom, but I'd love something a little less... pink.
What do you plan to do next in your space?
I'm trying to decide what color to paint my office. Right now it's the only unpainted room. The basement also needs some work. There's an awesome craftsman bar down there we would love to take advantage of, but we need new flooring.
What do you think was your biggest influence in how you decorated your home?
Color. Is that too general? We just painted each room and then decorated based on the feel and vibe of the room.
How about those legs in the hot pink skirt, what's the story there?
Got the legs from e a few years ago and dressed her in a skirt that actually used to fit me in high school (which is always a good reminder, since she inhabits the dining room.) Various things have adorned her midsection like plants and lamps.
What decorating style are you most attracted to: modern, traditional, country, mid-century, etc?
A little bit of everything, but the house is probably mostly mid-century inspired.
What kind of homes do you most admire or lust after?
We both love the character and charm of older row houses in the city.
Have you seen any homes in movies that you would want to live in?
Jason makes fun of me - I say I want every house I see in almost every movie. The one in particular that comes to mind now is [in] Amelie. And as for other homes from movies that I loved, I also really like Enid's bedroom in Ghost World, Maggie Gyllenhaal's apartment from Stranger than Fiction, and Jennifer Aniston's apartment in Along Came Polly. Also, Amy Sedaris' apartment in real life is basically my DREAM place.
Along Came Polly
Stranger Than Fiction
Amy Sedaris' living room
How comfortable are you in your living space?
We're both extremely comfortable; in fact, we hardly ever want to leave now. We have nothing in our space that makes us unhappy.
On that perfect quote about their living space, SHELTER wishes you...
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
(this is my last post of 2007; have a safe and great holiday and I'll see you in the New Year!)