A 1959 Michigan MCM House Has a Stunning Wall of Shelves & All-Black Kitchen

A 1959 Michigan MCM House Has a Stunning Wall of Shelves & All-Black Kitchen

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Name: Colin Tury and Ellie Ingram
Location: Southfield, Michigan
Size: 1,300 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years, owning

Colin Tury is the co-founder of Midwest Common, an independent Detroit-based design firm. In his words, he lives and breathes furniture, lighting, and interior design. “I have been making and designing things since I can remember. Luckily, I’ve followed my passions and get to do it for a living,” he explains.

This mid-century modern house built in 1959 is the first house for him and his partner, Ellie Ingram, but it didn’t look like the beautiful modern home it is today when they first purchased it five years. The creative couple have put A LOT of work into transforming it into what you see today. “Every square inch of this house has been affected by us and we’re proud of it” he writes. “I know that there will always be things that we ‘need to do,’ but for now it’s turned into a very special place. Also, this house has become a mini gallery for all the wonderful artist and craftspeople we’ve met along the way. All of the artwork in our home is from someone that we personally know and support.” 

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Style: Soulful Contemporary

Inspiration: Isamu Noguchi and Dolly Parton

Favorite Element: There are so many moments we are proud of. I personally feel like the glass doors I built between Ellie’s studio and the living room truly transformed the house the most.  

Biggest Challenge: Doing everything ourselves while living in it.

What Friends Say: It’s been a running joke that our house doesn’t actually exist because we’ve never truly hosted a formal event here due to ongoing renovations. We will let you know after the belated housewarming party…

Biggest Embarrassment: The only embarrassing thing has been my assumption of how long all of the renovations would take. We are pretty proud of everything we’ve affected thus far. 

Proudest DIY: This entire house. It’s hard to believe what it used to look like and the condition it was in versus how it looks/feels now.

Biggest Indulgence: A selfish display of my own furniture and lighting. And dog toys, of course.

Best Advice: Don’t be too critical of your own efforts. Truthfully, you’re the only who really cares. 

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

Diana Paulson

Photographer

Equipped with an eye for photography and an interior design background, Diana has been blending these two passions to create stunning images for Apartment Therapy.

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B&A: A Dated 1889 Victorian Italianate’s Been Respectfully Brought Back to Life

B&A: A Dated 1889 Victorian Italianate’s Been Respectfully Brought Back to Life

Name: Kevin Reid-Morris, Sarah Reid-Morris, and Henry Floyd Reid-Morris, a 4-year-old Bernedoodle
Location: Prince Edward County, Canada
Type of House: 1889 Victorian Italianate house
Size: 3000 square feet (main house), a carriage house (photos not included here) is about 800 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

Our home is an 1889 Victorian Italianate in Prince Edward County, Ontario. It’s a classic example of 1800s architecture in North America at the turn of the century. What’s funny is that when our search originally started, we were looking for a vacant lot in the country where we would build the modern Scandinavian barn of our dreams. The day we came to do a second walk-through of a lot, we drove down a street we hadn’t been on before, saw this house for sale, and Sarah said, “Whoa, that place is cool. We need to see it.” She had a feeling. I was hesitant, but an hour later we were in the house. Ten minutes later, we knew we had found the one. We fell in love with the big porch and veranda out front, the original details, the two staircases, and the fact that it had enough room for both of us to have dedicated workspaces and studios.

We became particularly passionate about researching the history of the house and the families who had lived before. Even in our rentals before this, we’ve loved designing ever place we’ve lived. But this 1880s Victorian was so far from anything we’d imagined, we were almost intimidated by its history and grandeur. We figured that if we had a better idea of what’s happened here over 150 years, we could respect its past but also bring our own signature modern and creative touch.

When our jobs went remote amidst COVID, we had been looking at buying our first home in Toronto, with a dream of ultimately living in Prince Edward County. We thought that was 15 or 20 years away for us, but remote work changed everything. We quickly changed gears to start looking in the County. By May 2020, we were making the trip each weekend to look at properties. By July 2020, we had found this house. And by the end of September, we had made the move. Six weeks later, we got married on our front porch during COVID, with about 10 family members socially distanced on the sidewalk. Neighbors, who we hadn’t even really met yet, came outside with sparklers to watch and celebrate. It was magical!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Our style is one that mixes modern and traditional together — the new and the old — and in every case introduces a sense of fun and whimsy. No space feels right to us until it’s got that mix of elements and we’re still working through that in a lot of the house!

Inspiration: We’re inspired by the huge and growing community of old house lovers out there — a new generation of homeowners making the decision to preserve and enhance old homes that need love. Designer-wise, our biggest inspirations are Nate Berkus, Justina Blakeney, Lauren Nelson, Jean Stoffer, and Leanne Ford.

Favorite Element: It’s got to be the original parlor room in the front of the house. For one, Kevin just loves saying the word “parlor” even though it’s really just a living room! But it has a few things we absolutely love: character-filled moulding, huge windows, a view to the detail on the veranda, sight lines to the original staircase, and lets you look right through to the back of the house through the kitchen. It’s the room we most looked forward to designing and the room we most enjoy unwinding and entertaining in!

Biggest Challenge / Proudest DIY: Our biggest challenge to-date was the fact that the primary bedroom didn’t have a closet, which isn’t uncommon for old homes. For a few months we lived with our clothes in cardboard boxes. We had received quotes for $15K and $20K to build custom wardrobes and just couldn’t stomach that kind of budget given all the other work we’re doing around the house. We decided to DIY a built-in wardrobe and set a budget of $2K to do it. We ended up using IKEA PAX as our base and used matching baseboards, crown, wall moulding, and antique brass hardware to make it look like it had always been here. Assembling a PAX unit is one thing — doing so to make it look original to an 1889 home, sloped floors and all — was a whole other challenge. We came in under budget and, after sharing it on Instagram and Pinterest, the interwebs kind of went crazy over it! So many people were asking us how we did it, so we ended up writing a really detailed how-to.

Biggest Indulgence: We are passionate about second-hand. First, we love the budget opportunities it affords us. Second, we love the sustainability aspects. In fact, in our house about 90 percent of our furniture and decor is from second-hand sources. Kevin is a big fan of a Facebook Marketplace hack — he has lists of keywords he uses, tracks data on prices across brands, and has kept a log of everything we’ve purchased to-date with prices and retail values. We estimate we’ve acquired about $70,000 of furniture and decor for about $6,000!

With that in mind, sometimes second-hand just won’t cut it. That was the case with our parlor sofa. We searched and searched for a second-hand option but couldn’t find that signature mix of classic, modern, fun, and in the right colors. We ultimately splurged — or at least a splurge for us — and bought a brand-new sofa from Crate and Barrel, the curved Josephine sofa. We absolutely love it.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Because we moved here with the intention of both working from home, we’ve found ways to make the space work for that purpose. Sarah’s office sits on the second floor of an addition at the back of the house. It’s tucked away and quiet, meaning work and home life can still be separated at the end of the day. And Kevin has been converting what was a garage/art studio into his own office and studio. It was roughly finished when they bought the property, with no flooring and plywood walls. Each of us having a separate workspace is a game changer in a world of remote work. But meeting in the kitchen for a coffee break or to make lunch isn’t a bad thing either.

What’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? In a world of Pinterest and Instagram, pay attention to what you love and not what the internet loves. What you’ll find over time is that decisions become easier because you know what you value in your home. And that may change from home to home, which is all part of growing as a home designer.

The other piece of advice would be to take calculated risks! We have a tendency to think of everything as “permanent” but hardly anything is, really. Just a few weeks ago, we opted to paint a guest room ceiling gloss black. If we had debated it for weeks and weeks we would have talked ourselves out of it. But we just went for it, knowing we could easily reverse it, and absolutely love how it turned out. We want to do MORE of that!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

B&A: A 1924 Duplex’s Remodel Includes an Unrecognizable Kitchen Refresh

B&A: A 1924 Duplex’s Remodel Includes an Unrecognizable Kitchen Refresh

Name: Kailee, Kyle, and our Frenchie Charlene
Location: Gorham, Maine
Type of Home: 1924 Duplex
Size: 1,378 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

Kailee and her fiancé, Kyle, feel lucky to call this whole 1924 duplex home; they bought it from a family friend and live on one side while renting out the other. “Each side is a little over 1,300 square feet and is a mirror image of each other. We love the character that our home has with the crown molding and oak floors,” Kailee explains. Before this, the couple were renting a small condo that she transformed with a modern farmhouse style. Kailee has so much fun designing, she’s decided to make it her career; she offers painting and design services through her website, Copper and Pine.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic, mid-century, cozy, colorful. I love to mix old and new pieces so my home looks more collected. I enjoy going to yard sales and antique shops and mixing items with new things from stores like Target and Wayfair.

Inspiration: I get my inspiration from paintings, nature, magazines, and I love Pinterest. We found the painting above our bed at an antique store and fell in love with it. I designed our room around that painting and used it to create the color palette. I’m constantly designing rooms in my head and will often come up with my favorite ideas in bed before I fall asleep.

Favorite Element: My favorite thing about our home is our living room. I love how bright it is with the windows and the French doors leading into the sunroom. Kyle has his dad’s old record player and a large collection of records. We display them as art and it’s really fun to change them out and create new groupings. Although, I always like Kyle’s display better than mine so it’s his job now. I love the colors and how cozy the room is. It’s also Charlene’s favorite room.  She likes to sit on the top of the couch and look out the windows.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was our kitchen. We gutted it and did everything ourselves, with the help of family! The kitchen has very low ceilings, which was a big design challenge. I decided not to do any upper cabinets to make the room feel more open, which really helped!

Proudest DIY: Definitely the kitchen. The cabinets are stock cabinets from Lowes and my mom and brother installed them all. I painted them and added all of the shiplap, trim, and open shelving on my own. I have never done anything like that before but I just went for it and learned as I went. It’s really cool to see the before and after pictures knowing that we created it together.

Biggest Indulgence: The hutch in our kitchen is one of the most expensive items in our home. It couldn’t be more perfect for the space and it fits like it was custom made. It was absolutely worth the money and it’s a really fun piece to style and change out for seasonal decor. 

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I love our dishes from Our Place on our kitchen shelves. I also love the coconut and honey wood wick candle from Target. It smells soooo good and the crackle from the wood wick is so cozy.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: We love our ottoman in our living room; both sides open for extra storage!

What’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice?

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she’s called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.

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B&A: An Old Barn Was Transformed into a Gorgeous Studio Apartment & Art Studio

B&A: An Old Barn Was Transformed into a Gorgeous Studio Apartment & Art Studio

September is Transformation Month at Apartment Therapy! That means we’re sharing stories about home transformations — from big renovations to tiny tweaks — all month. Head over here to see them all!

Name: Lizzie Gill and Tom Pillar
Location: Sharon, Connecticut
Size: 1,400 square feet
Type of Home: A live/work accessory dwelling unit. It’s a studio apartment above an art studio.
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

Mixed media artist Lizzie Gill and her husband, Tom Pillar, were initially just on the hunt for a country getaway. “Like any New Yorker, we initially drew a two hour radius around the city to find our perfect weekend escape,” she writes. “Our journey led us to the town of Sharon, in Northwest Connecticut. With rolling farmland hills and bucolic vistas it was also conveniently ten minutes from Wassaic, the last stop on the Metro North Train line.”

What the couple found on their home hunt was a bank-owned lot with gorgeous natural settings, a derelict 1860s-era farmhouse, and 1990s-era run-down barn. The farmhouse on the property would need A LOT of work… so the couple decided to tackle the 1990s barn and transform it into a live/work space now, while the farmhouse would be a long-term remodeling project. And what was supposed to be a just an occasional country retreat for the couple? It became their full-time home with the completion of the barn remodel.

The old red barn is now a modern black structure with a light-filled art studio and office on the ground floor, and an open-plan studio apartment on the second floor. Cathedral ceilings make the upper floor’s studio apartment feel much larger than it is. The built-in shelves act as a room divider for the bedroom as well as a display for the couple’s collections, without blocking light or feeling visually heavy. Since the space had no closets, Lizzie incorporated floating cabinets to span the wall along the living room and bedroom, adding storage and a touch of color. To save money, they ripped out the old kitchen to update it but kept the same footprint. And a compact fireplace makes the the living area feel so cozy.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic minimalist. Incorporating and displaying objects, art and heirlooms in a minimal space so it has a layered feel in both texture and history.

Inspiration: The objet d’art I collect and treasures my parents have passed down to me.

Favorite Element: My favorite thing about my home is the sense of space and light. We didn’t put in any dividing walls so it would always feel airy and bright, the space gets such great light throughout the day. I also absolutely love our bookshelf room divider; the shelves can change levels as our collection evolves, which brings an added warmth to the room.

Biggest Challenge: Our project was put on pause (for good reason) during Covid. It actually allowed us to take more time with the design process and come up with interesting ways to make an open plan space work more efficiently.

Proudest DIY: Proudest DIY is the wall-to-wall floating console that consists of IKEA kitchen cabinets and semihandmade fronts. The space had no closets, so I had to come up with a creative storage solution that floated above the baseboard and acted as both a console and dresser in the living room and sleeping alcove.

Biggest Indulgence: Windows and yes! Bringing in more light is always worth it, especially in the long run and it brings added value to the space.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My art studio was previously a horse stable with a dirt floor. The space had good bones for a workshop, so we had a concrete floor poured and insulated the space. I love that it has that history and is now where I do my creative work.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I absolutely love our Breville coffee maker. We had to get more serious about our coffee creations as we can no longer walk to a coffee shop. As someone who has always worked remotely, it’s a big upgrade! I’m not onto latte art yet, but there’s still time.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My decorating advice is to buy things vintage and at auction. There are so many great regional auction houses with interesting estate sales. If you can’t go on the estate sale hunt in person, I highly suggest liveauctioneers.com — it aggregates the auction sales so you can search more locally. You can find interesting furniture and works of art and they have a history to them that warms a space.

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she’s called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.

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A Small 1929 Spanish House’s Remodel Retained Its Charming and Creative History

A Small 1929 Spanish House’s Remodel Retained Its Charming and Creative History

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Name: Peter Quinn, Caitlin Dawson, Crosby and Gordy the dogs, and Tazo the cat.
Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Size: 1074 square feet
Type of Home: House
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

Originally from Belfast in Northern Ireland, Peter Quinn, a video director and motion graphics artist, and Caitlin Dawson, a communications specialist and ceramicist, lived in Canada for six years before moving down to Los Angeles. “Once our Green Cards were approved, we started house hunting in Mount Washington, our favorite LA neighborhood,” explains the couple. “This was actually the first house we saw and we fell in love with it immediately. We’ve always had a thing for Spanish-style architecture, and homes with some history and original features. (In Belfast, we lived in a cottage that was built in the 1880s!). As we were leaving the open house, I remember the realtor saying the homebuying journey was ‘a process.’ I thought — not this time! This is the one!” 

Along with the architectural history of the house, the couple also loves the home’s creative history. “We joke sometimes that we bought the house because of the beautiful big arched window in the living room — but we’re only half joking. It turns out, the stained glass portions were handcrafted by the home’s previous owner, who lived here for many years before us. He did such a beautiful job,” explains the couple.

“Mount Washington is a special neighborhood — it has a similar feel to Laurel Canyon, but with the convenience of being close to some of our other favorite neighborhoods, like Highland Park and Eagle Rock. It has such a rich creative history, and many of our neighbors are now friends. A few months after we moved in, our neighbor gave us a box of stuff he said ‘belonged to the house.’ He got it from the previous owner, and we had no idea what was inside. When we sat down and opened the box, we found decades’ worth of photos, art, books, and ephemera from the couple who owned the house in the ’40s and ’50s: Manuel Rivera Regalado, a Mexican/American artist, and his wife, Barbara, a greeting card designer.” 

“In addition to working as a scene painter for motion pictures, Manuel painted portraits on Olvera Street, and frequently exhibited his work around Highland Park (there were obituary clippings in the box, which gave us the background information). There was even an exquisite stamp with an insignia, his name, and his (now our) address. I guess Mount Washington has always been a Mecca for creatively inclined folks! The previous owner must have recognized the importance of keeping this little piece of the home’s history. We framed some of these pieces and hung them on the wall, and the rest is stored under the benches Peter built into the nook.” 

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Warm and eclectic. A little bit bohemian and Southwestern, a little bit California Modern, with some mid-century elements. In general, we go for a neutral palette with pops of color, usually with green and orange accents. 

Inspiration: The house itself — it’s a Spanish-style home, built in 1929, and we wanted to stay true to that. The desert, Laurel Canyon in the ‘70s (especially Joni Mitchell’s house on Lookout Mountain), the California landscape, New Mexico. 

Favorite Element: The big arched window in the living room, with its handmade stained glass flowers. 

Biggest Challenge: Our tiny backyard was covered in AstroTurf when we first moved in, and it just felt kind of unloved and sad. Last summer, we decided to brighten it up with white tiles, white stones, and a pergola, handmade by Peter. The whole idea was to keep it low-cost, uncomplicated, and bright. Our new bougainvillea are struggling a bit (after people telling us they would take over the whole yard!), but it’s now a lovely space to have coffee in the morning, or drinks in the evening with friends. We feel like we gained a whole new “room.”  

Proudest DIY: For the first few years, we had a table and two chairs in the nook, but it was a bit of a redundant, uninviting space. Peter made a built-in bench to wrap around the window area, incorporating storage with fold-up seats. In our little house, it’s important to take every opportunity to gain a few extra cubic feet. It’s now a whole new space we actually want to spend time in, and one of the best work-from-home spots in the house.

Biggest Indulgence: The Cafe appliances in the kitchen. We drooled over these for a while, but initially wrote them off as being too expensive. One day, after being cautious with the rest of the kitchen reno project, we decided to splash out. It was absolutely worth it. They’re amazing appliances and a joy to see every time you walk into the kitchen. 

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? It might sound a bit unromantic, but our Nest thermostat and lock system — you can control them from anywhere, which is super handy, especially if you have a tendency to lose keys, or forget to lock up (guilty on both charges). 

Also, I’m a hobby ceramicist, and while the house is full of my own creations (often early pieces, or seconds that I can’t sell — sorry, Peter), I also love owning work from my favorite small-batch potters. Our handmade plates and bowls by bX ceramics, an amazing local ceramicist, were definitely worth the investment.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: The newly created space under the nook bench stores all our miscellaneous things, like documents and invoices. It’s also just a nice space for art materials. We’ve also tried to reduce branding around the house, so we decanted bathroom products into brand-less glass pumps and put spices in mason jars. It limits visual clutter, and you can buy in bulk and reduce waste.  

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t rush — take your time selecting pieces you really love. 

You don’t need to spend much money — very few pieces in our house were splurge-y. We have three pets, so we can’t be too precious about soft furnishings. It’s how you put it all together! For instance, the IKEA mirror got a face-lift using dried flowers from old bouquets. It’s an ever-changing arrangement, depending on what we have available. 

We also found that changing up handles can be an inexpensive, simple way to make furniture more personalized. We had our eye on kitchen cupboard handles that were $50 each. Peter trawled through Etsy for something similar, and found almost identical pulls that made a lot more sense. So if you’re on a budget, you can almost definitely find cheaper versions of things you like.

Polish up old hardware — you never knew what beauties are hiding under years of grime! As our little house is almost 100 years old, some things like hinges and handles had been painted over or tarnished over the years.  The glass door handles and brass fixtures were coated with paint and dirt. Once we cleaned them with vinegar and baking soda, they got a whole new lease of life. Some of the glass door handles actually had a beautiful lavender tone, which only appeared after a good cleaning. 

Thanks Peter and Caitlin!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

Marisa Vitale

Contributor

A California native who loves to travel and explore, meet new people, laugh, play and capture all of these pieces with her camera. She lives in Venice Beach, CA with her husband and twins, Oliver and Macy, and their twin siamese cats, Choco and Blu.