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How We Live (he said)

Whenever I find a design blog or website that I like, I am always drawn to the house tours of real people’s homes and apartments. There’s something about seeing the way creative, artistic, and design-oriented individuals live and decorate their spaces that’s part inspiring and part voyeuristic. My own style is constantly evolving, so it’s interesting for me to see how others approach decorating and design, and borrow ideas to keep things fresh.

As Clytie and I were first coming up with the concept for this blog, we knew that we wanted to feature images of our own homes. Not only because of our mutual admiration of each other’s design aesthetic, but also to lend a certain credibility to our focus and mission in starting Ampersand Vintage Modern. We sell what we love. Without trying to sound too much like a Ralph Lauren ad, our merchandise evokes not only a vintage, industrial, modern feel, but a lifestyle.

In establishing this “How We Live” section of the blog, we plan to feature our spaces, as well as friends, designers, artists, and creative folk who share a similar and/or unique point-of-view. So, without further ado, this is how we live…

Andrew and I moved into this apartment in Somerville about three and a half years ago. It’s a large space that’s part of a classic, three-family that was built in the early 1900s. We were immediately drawn to the high ceilings, wide pine floors, and period details. It was our first place together, and we got married in the backyard.

When you first step foot into our apartment, you’re in the dining room. Directly opposite the front door is a Danish modern teak chifforobe–the first piece I ever bought at an auction. The “Keep Calm…” poster has become pretty ubiquitous, but we still love it. The orangey-red is very welcoming.

We like to decorate with things that are not only interesting to look at, but also have some meaning or significance to us. We have a lot of friends who are artists and work in the design world. It’s nice to reap the benefits of their amazing creativity. This glow house lamp was made by our friend, Katherine Elliott.

Andrew is a terrific cook, and we like to entertain, so our dining room has seen a lot of action. We chose our table and chairs accordingly. We wanted a table that could seat ten and we wouldn’t be afraid to spill wine on. Likewise, we wanted chairs that you could sit in for hours and still be comfortable. The table is IKEA and the chairs are vintage Eames.

The “hose monster” centerpiece was a window display from a jewelery store in the South End. The rock is from a recent GeoTour in Marblehead.

Two things there isn’t a shortage of in our apartment: books and maps/globes.

The side chairs in our living room were a Craigslist find, probably thanks to Keyse at Crocodile Tears. The new cushions were a wedding gift from my mother-in-law.

Like I said: books and globes! The antique mirror on the mantle belonged to Andrew’s great-grandmother, and the small framed photo is an elementary school photo of my mom. Andrew “borrowed” the oar from the boat house at Silver Bay where he worked a few summers in upstate New York. Joel Green made the awesome bomb lamp.

Our bedroom is the only room where we painted the walls: Benjamin Moore, Lido Green. Our dresser is vintage Russel Wright for Conant Ball, and the framed Vitra poster (it’s a little crooked) depicts the entire Eames collection in silhouettes. You might recognize the Aalto chair that was recently re-covered at upholstery camp.

Off the bedroom, and between the dining room and kitchen, there is a strange, pass through we call the “half room”. It presented us with the greatest decorating challenge, because of it’s strange location and shape. It’s not big enough for a bed, and since there aren’t any windows and it doesn’t get much light, it would be depressing to spend any amount of time in there. So, we decided to use it as closet space. (You can kind of see it in the dining room photo above.) A friend noticed this vintage coat rack at a local thrift store. It’s one of those wooden racks that you’d find in an old school or church hall. It’s on wheels and has hooks on both sides. Since none of the closets came with hanger rods, it’s perfect for hanging our button-down shirts–mine on one side, Andrew’s on the other.

This vintage secretary bookcase is from the same Danish modern auction as the piece in the dining room. I really like the look of open storage in a kitchen, and this does the trick for displaying cookbooks and our colorful collection of vintage Pyrex. It’s a large piece of furniture that you wouldn’t normally find in a kitchen, but it does wonders for warming up an otherwise cold, generic space in a rental.

We totally lucked out finding a place with a huge outdoor living area. Off the kitchen is a large patio where we can grill and entertain. Andrew loves to garden, so there are raised beds off to the side and pots filled with herbs and succulents scattered everywhere. The backyard was an overgrown mess when we moved in, but with a lot of friend-power we were able to clean it up in a weekend.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed the tour of my home and the first edition of “How We Live.” Stay tuned for more, and please feel free to leave some comments!

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. your house looks great– love these photos!!

    October 10, 2011
    • Thanks so much, Shana! Much appreciated!!

      October 10, 2011
  2. Your pictures and descriptions are beautiful. I am so proud of you that you are doing something you are truly passionate about. I am also quite lucky to be able to call your home my “home away from home.” Hope to come home soon. Love you.

    October 10, 2011
    • Thanks, love! You are too kind. I will see you very soon!!

      October 11, 2011

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