You can buy these amazing screen printed letters at http://www.yeahnoyeah.co.uk/. I’m in love with these and when I have an extra 160 pounds they are mine.
Suzanne and Steven have been married for nearly 19 years. They have 3 kids – aged 16, 12 and 11. They are born & raised New Englanders — he, Massachusetts; her, Connecticut. They met at flight school!! They have lived in many places from Maine to L.A. Once highly active in the local bicycling community, they now have retired to more casual rides. Suzanne went back to work 2 years ago and teaches Kindergarten at Highland Presbyterian Weekday School. Steven works IT for a company out of Seattle, traveling back and forth.
1. Suzanne, we know that you have or have had multiple Rolodexes (or is it Roledices?). What is that draws you to them? And, we know that you do have an odd/special story about the one you got at Greenhaus? Can you tell us that story?
Rolodexes sounds about right, but I feel like Rolodie could work too! But yes, I am definitely drawn to old school office supplies. This attraction probably dates back to when my sister & I would visit my dads office. He worked in NYC and trips into the city were always fun, but the highlight was often getting to go into the office supply room to pick out a snazzy pad of notepaper, some pens, pencils and envelopes. I still love office supply stores and have got a thing for freshly sharpened pencils. Don’t even get me started on my search for an old-school typewriter.
So, when a friend took me to Greenhaus a while back, one of the first things I noticed;after swooning over the air plants, wall of wine & shelves of beer — was the groovy desk in the corner with an old school office vibe, and among other things on the desk was a big, groovy Rolodex with a flip top cover. It immediately reminded me of an address book that my grandmother kept next to her phone on the kitchen counter. Hers had a lid and along the side were the letters of the alphabet with a slidy pointer thingy. When you moved the lever down & pointed it to the letter you wanted, the lid would flip up & voila - you were at the page you needed. So as I was flipping through the Rolodex to make sure there were blank cards and that all the letters were there, the woman in the shop said “There’s just one entry in there”. And sure enough, I got around to it: Rita 937-0658. Rita was my grandmothers name. Needless to say, that Rolodex was mine.
2. How has your style grown or evolved along with the growth of your family? Is the decor in the house selected democratically? How much interest do your children show in the home?
Now that the kids are bigger, we feel like we can make some upgrades and not have to worry about anyone coloring on the couch. (The daughter that once did most of the couch & floor coloring now applies her talents to canvas & we proudly display them on our mantle and on the walls!)
Generally speaking though, as far as house is decorated & arranged; Steven is really good with the big picture, and I’m good with the details. While he leans more toward the modern and I lean towards the classic, we both totally share the same vision for the overall look and vibe of our home. Having a home that is warm and welcoming and truly lived in and loved is really important to us.
3. With both parents working full time, and three kids, what about your house works for you and how have you adapted it to work best for your family?
This is an old house with absolutely zero storage space - both inside and out. Through lots of trial and error and rearranging, we’ve figured out how to make things work. We’re big fans of dressers, armoires, baskets & open shelving to hold all our stuff!
Our front hall is set up to make getting out the door on time for school and work as efficient as possible. Everything has a spot & it’s all to (theoretically & ideally!) ensure that we’re all not running around looking for something.
4. Youve moved many times and finally settled in Louisville. What if any pieces have you carried with you through these moves and why are they special to you? (not just furniture, we’re also thinking of your wall of photos).
When we were first married, we lived in Rockport, Maine. A teeny little Harbor town in which there was just a little diner, a boatbuilding school and an antique store just down the street from our apartment. We actually lived on the first floor of an old shipbuilders’ home. There was an entire wall of corkboard in one room where the shipbuilder would put up all of his blueprints. We had no idea what to do with it, but slowly just started pinning photographs on it and soon enough, the entire wall was covered in photos. After we moved, we sorta missed the wall of photos & found ways to recreate it in each new home. We love it & so do the kids — its a conversation piece when we have folks over and even just among our family, the pictures always trigger a conversation or a fun memory. I actually just very recently found a photo of the original wall of photos in that apartment & added it to the wall here!
Many of the first pieces of furniture that we ever bought together were from the antique shop in Rockport. The Shaker table at our front door came from this shop. We remember buying each & every piece - much of it with wedding money — and sometimes, agonizing over it - will it fit? Can we afford it? If we weren’t sure (about either) the owner would just tell us to take it home and see how we liked it and then when we inevitably liked it, he’d tell us we could pay him when we had the money. We called it the Joe Castalucci payment plan. We’d go up each week with some money to pay for our furniture. We still refer to the pieces as “The Joe Castalucci Dresser” or chair, or table.
After our stint in Rockport, we moved down to Portland & both worked for a wholesaler of direct imported furniture and home accessories. We took advantage of the employee discount and were able to get some really gorgeous pieces that we’d probably never have been able to afford otherwise. The green painted cabinet in the dining room is from India - in other homes of ours, it usually served as a closet; but we like it as a liquor cabinet best.
5. Maine has such a distinct style, New England but also it’s own. Do you feel this has resonated with you? Why has this style in particular stayed with you?
We lived in a lot of places in Maine & I’m not sure there’s a particular style that has resonated with us so much as an approach to how we do things in our house. New Englanders are resourceful and purposeful. I think we just naturally try to find the most efficient use for something & when adding anything new; making sure it serves a purpose — which sometimes results in a little rearranging and/or purging. We definitely have things that are a little nod to our east coast life - collections of rocks from favorite beaches, paintings from an aunt of the Maine coast, and a driftwood garland that remains on our mantle year round. We’ve got a mix of styles and a mix of old and new & just try (hope!) it all works together. We’re super big on making due, and working with what we’ve got and finding something totally groovy that’s second hand or vintage is how we like to roll.
6. If each of you had an animal spirit, what would it be and why? Could you name an animal spirit for the family as a whole?
Animal sprit? Okay, that one caught me off guard! I don’t know. It’s not something I ever really think about. Maybe for us as a couple; and this is totally cliché, but I feel like we can get away with it cause we met in flight school - I’d say birds. You could say that we left our nest of New England a long time ago & made a new life for ourselves here. As far as the family as a whole, again - not sure … I always see the five of us as very tight. We come from a very large extended family & we are the only ones not living on the east coast — so, whatever sort of animals leave the mother land & travel together as a tightly knit pack — that’s us.
Photography by Marife I. Bautista email@example.com
question by megan and daniel
We are very happy to have our friend, the talented Michael Jester joining our blog.
I came pretty late to the Joni Mitchell party. I borrowed her Greatest Hits CD from a friend when I was 21. I’m 31 now and he has yet to get it back. I listened to it while driving a U-Haul from Louisville to Chicago on a portable boombox with my little pug, Leo, at my side. I don’t know that Leo was a fan but I was hooked. I remember calling people and being all “Have you heard of Joni Mitchell?? She’s amazing!” One of my personal favorites was and is Urge For Going and for whatever reason the line about geese in chevron flight has always stuck in my head. Perhaps foreshadowing my current obsession with chevron pattern.
I didn’t even know what chevron was at the time or why these geese were going to the gas station, but it has turned into a mini-obsession. I can’t really pinpoint what exactly it is about it. Maybe it’s because you don’t see much of it out there. I used watch “designers” on Trading Spaces try to use it too much or too boldly and would scream “Don’t listen to Hildy!! SAVE YOUR KITCHEN!” at the television. But when used right, in delicate doses, it can be quite effective.
I have been shopping for sheets and duvets recently. A challenging task for someone with design OCD coupled with being a cheapskate in regards to anything that doesn’t have butter or alcohol in it (I eat out a lot.) I came across these beauties on West Elm:
Perfection! Something modern and cool like this on a vintage bed frame would suit me just fine. There was also that chevron-ish patterned sofa and chair set I loved Green Haus had for a hot minute. They sat for months like an old dog at a pet store. Once I got it together to buy them they were gone. Lesson learned - if you see something, you buy something.
But, that duvet cover. I’m too cheap right now to buy it but considered going DIY on a set of white sheets. But…really? I mean, have you ever just tried drawing on a t-shirt with a Sharpie?
I used to clean apartments in Brooklyn. I cleaned even tinier ones in Manhattan. If anyone had a dining room table it meant one of two things:
1) They were using their living room as a dining room, or
2) They were ballin’. One lady I cleaned for in Brooklyn (she was a baller) had a dining room table and chairs I fell head over heels for. She had a cool modern table and for chairs she used mix and match old wooden ones. They were each painted the same bright yellow. This gave them the feeling of being one while at once applying each with its own strong personality. Give it a try! Or, better yet, just give me your old chairs because I need them.
Major artists of the last and current century interpreted as sandwiches by Brittany Powell and Tae Kitakata. How flippin’ fun is that? I can totally imagine using this as a way to teach little Bug about art history.
Christo and Jeanne Claude
Sarah has been living in louisville for 8 years, in schnitzelbrug for a year and a half, is a middle school art teacher, loves friend and family time, running, biking, outdoors, art, making things, travel, books, good food and drink, gardening and thrifting. She grew up in Frankfort, went to college in Lexington, then a Seattle adventure, then Louisville. We’re glad she’s here.
1. You have been living in Louisville for 8 years and in the Schnitzelberg area for a year and a half. Do you feel at home and settled in your new place? What do you like/dislike about your neighborhood?
Oh my goodness, i feel so good and settled in my Schnitzelburg home! I’ve lived all over town in the last eight years (Old Louisville, Highlands, Clifton, Butchertown, phoenix hill, highlands, tyler park), mostly moving every year—not by choice!—until i found this place. I’m still renting, but i love having a whole house and a yard. I love the Germantown vibe in that there are all kinds of people and families (old and established/young and hip, and everything in between). There are lots of dive establishments and plenty of hip ones too. I can get good beer and food and see some of the most amazing karaoke in the world (i’m sure of this!) every thursday and saturday evening just steps from my door. People sit out on their porches and look out for one another without being overbearing. There’s a facebook page where people post about neighbors who are going through a rough time so that others can donate money or food or household stuff. Oh, and kids still play outside in Schnitzelburg! lots of them, just having a blast till it gets dark out. Just like when i was a kid! I’ve always chosen to live within walking and biking distance from the places where i hang out, and thought that Schnitzelburg would feel kind of far from things, but i still walk to the highlands. Basically, it’s a dream.
2. You’re a maker and a raker. Ha. Teaching middle school art I’m sure has its ups and downs, is gardening something you do to ground yourself? Has it always been a passion of yours or something you’ve grown into?
I come naturally (ha) to gardening because my mom is an expert flower gardener and my dad has grown an impressive vegetable garden ever since i can remember… but that doesn’t mean i’m good at it. I’ve had a community garden plot since i lived in seattle in 2003 and there was a community garden right next door. Now there’s one just three doors down in emerson park. this year i’m focusing my efforts on my backyard, with two little beds of vegetables and the perennial garden my mom and i started last fall. It’s all just a big experiment, but there’s little i love more than eating a salad from my backyard. And i am so excited every day to see what’s springing up in the flower garden. It’s a new surprise every single day. I now understand why my mom is so enamored with this whole thing.
3 You incorporate a lot of color and shape splashes in your home. How much of being an artist has translated into your sense of style and design?
I have no idea. I kind of think of my living space as more anthropological than artistic. I love digging up stuff in junk stores and the family basement and discovering treasures on street corners. Without trying to, i imagine the past lives of these finds and make up stories about them. I really like old, funky, used stuff. I really really like free stuff. I can’t imagine actually having a budget and buying exactly the right thing for a space. It just doesn’t work that way for me. It’s nice to find an amazing deal and figure out how to incorporate it. Nothing in my house costs more than a few dollars. If i find or buy something i just can’t use, i can set it back out for someone else to discover. I do find it interesting to talk with friends who actually know something about design, and i usually discover that i have done things in my home that designers (decorators?) do on purpose. Like juxtapose shapes and colors and textures in certain ways. I think i approach art the same way, just intuiting (though i do have some training here).
4. Growing up Kentucky’s capital, Frankfort, I assume you were surrounded by more antiques and horses. Is that true? Also, Megan and I were talking the other day about how nowhere we’ve been is as overwhelmingly green as Ky. Do you find this true, and how much of your surroundings growing up influenced your design choices now? We love the red horses…
I wasn’t around too many antiques and horses growing up. I think i was probably influenced by the styles of my parents and their friends, which was mostly casual/hippie/hand-me-down/creative. I’m not sure why i insist on turning my living space into a jungle with houseplants, but it makes me happy and i guess that’s why. The red horses are great! I got them at will russel’s rapture yard sale (see previous post!). He sold me a huge bucketfull of red, blue, and green ones for $3. Over time i’ve given them away (some to Jessica Berg Lam’s twins—see previous post!) except the red ones.
5. Your house looks like its a perfect place to sit and converse with friends. The rooms look like they were styled to promote that rather lets say, play video games or watch tv. Did you have that in mind when styling? Do you entertain at your home very much?
I do have tons of seating! First, i love chairs. I have too many chairs in my house, plus chairs in my basement, plus chairs in my parents’ basement. I do love chairs. Ten friends get together every monday to eat and watch a movie, and when it’s my turn to host there’s plenty of seating (and plenty of stools and poufs, which i also love to collect, to hold plates and glasses). Ii do like to entertain, though now that i think about it, it doesn’t happen too often. That’s it: I’m going to start entertaining more! It’s just that i’m not a confident cook, but having people over is about so much more……….and i’m pretty good at lots of those things, like creating ambience, drinking, choosing music, dancing, and putting out snacks in pretty bowls. My cat is good at entertaining guests, too.
6. Do you have (and I’m sure you do) an animal spirit? And if so what is it?
This may sound awful (or even trite, given recent decorating trends!) but i think it would be the remains of an animal. I like to collect little dead things, skeletons, pieces of bone, fur, etc. I also like abandoned nests. Just remnants of life. I like taxidermy too, but that stuff’s expensive. I’m pretty in touch with my body and am fascinated by the idea that it gives out, loses animation, separates from the spirit, and still leaves something behind.
Photography by Marife Bautista firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine this scene, except that it took place in our house and as such the stairs were much narrower and Daniel wasn’t wearing that sweet scandi sweater and the result was Daniel bump, bump, thudding half way down.
We go around and around about this: shoes on the stairs. Daniel sees this practice of mine as a continual nuisance. I see it as a convenient way of reminding ourselves to take your damn shoes up stairs and put them away where they belong for crap’s sake, already.
So when I saw this sartorial footwear line up on the Selby, I found a little comfort in causing Daniel some discomfort last week when he tumped over a pair of shoes neatly tucked onto one of the lower stairs. I’m sorry, Daniel. Please forgive this weird idiosyncrasy. Buy, hey now! At least I’m not alone in the habit.
Next time, watch where you’re walking - or falling, as it may be.