Ali & Dustin's "Beach House Getaway" in Downtown Denver

House Tour

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Name: Dustin Audet and Ali Elman of Rust & Varnish
Location: Lohi, Denver
Size: 961 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Owned

Although Ali & Dustin, the dynamic design duo behind Rust & Varnish made their home in Colorado, their California roots and their insatiable love for the beach inspired its design to be reminiscent of the sandy shores of the West Coast. Upon arriving in their beautiful space, you wouldn't think that it was located in a bustling, urban neighborhood by the Rocky Mountains.

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One of my first tours posted on AT was of Ali & Dustin's coffee shop on Navajo Street, Black Eye Coffee. The renovation they did on the once old, tired space was quite impressive. So you can only imagine how excited I was to get a peek inside their home. Heirloom antiques, salvaged treasures and well thought out DIY projects seem to be mainstays in their design repertoire.

"In our home, we wanted to bring that light, beachy feel back to Colorado." says Ali. First things first, they made the call to paint the hardwood floors Sherwin Williams Pure White! Then they brought in rustic, textured elements by building out a custom pallet accent wall in the living room and adding reclaimed wood shelves in the kitchen.

Some might claim that painting real hardwoods is a cardinal sin of decorating much like painting dark wood molding in a classic victorian. Gasp! But guess what, the best thing about decorating is there are no rules! "Make your space, wherever it may be, one that transports you somewhere else." Ali suggests. "Your home should be a sanctuary but it should also give you a feeling. Why not feel as if you are escaping when you are in your own home." I think Ali's design philosophy is brilliant. Why shouldn't your home feel like your favorite vacation hideaway? I think these two are on to something. Ali & Dustin, thank you for always having a fresh innovative take up your sleeve, can't wait to see what you're up to next!

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Its constantly evolving. It just needs to feel authentic. In general it comprises a mix of old and new, polish and rust, thrifted and mainstream.

Inspiration: Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes it comes from blogs, interior magazines, hotels and travel. For this house the inspiration came from my hometown of Santa Barbara, CA and Dustin’s hometown of Gibsons, British Colombia. We missed the ocean and that beachy vibe. We figured if we cant live near the beach we can at least feel like we do. We wanted it to feel like we were on vacation when we were at home

Favorite Element: The white floors.

Biggest Challenge: Making our awkward layout work for us. The front door leads right into our bedroom. Then we have this long narrow room that is off of the living room. You can’t do much with it, so I originally turned it into my dressing room and closet. Now that we have the little one, I share it with her and its turned into a nursery.

What Friends Say: This is a direct quote from a friend who is far too kind.. we didn’t even bribe her I swear… “I think it's an effortlessly comfortable juxtaposition of chic elements and earthy vintage. You want to spend time in the rooms. There is an atmosphere that incorporates different textures, quiet light, and soft aromas. There is always something to look at without feeling cluttered.”

Biggest Embarrassment: Telling people that the front door is actually not the front door and to go around to the right side of the house.

Proudest DIY: For this house, probably the wooden shelves above the sink in the kitchen. It was a simple project, but really helped give the space the feeling we wanted—it added a nice texture and finish.

Biggest Indulgence: Our couch. We wanted a soft comfy couch that you could sink into. On a rare West Elm visit, we found ourselves sitting on one of their display couches and not wanting to get up. We were sold and had to have it.

Best Advice: Make your space, wherever it may be, one that transports you somewhere else. Homes should be a sanctuary but they should also give you a feeling. Why not feel as if you are escaping when you are in your own home.

Dream Sources: ABC home in NYC, a farm in Ireland, Moroccan markets & souks.

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Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

  • Interior walls were already white when we moved in.
  • Interior floors - Sherwin Williams Pure White
  • Bathroom - Royal by Ace, Garden Stone, Semi Gloss
  • Kitchen countertop - Rust-O-Leum Countertop paint in Grey
  • Kitchen walls - Rust-O-Leum Chalk Board Paint and Martha Stuart Country Blue

ENTRY / KITCHEN

  • Large Chest of Drawers - Vintage hand me down from mother
  • Bike Rack - CB2
  • Light Fixture - Urban Outfitters
  • Wood Shelving - Salvaged Barn Wood we installed
  • Smaller Drawer/Cabinet- Thrift store find
  • Pink Painting above - NYC Union Square Artist
  • Rugs - Target
  • Coat Rack - Estate SaleHanging metal shelves - West Elm

LIVING ROOM

  • Mirrored TV Stand - Vintage Piece passed on by a family friend
  • Couch - West Elm
  • Blue Arm Chair - Garage Sale
  • White Arm Chair - Vintage piece from a shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  • Coffee Table - From a modern furniture shop in New York called Sit Down NYC
  • Large Pop Art Painting - An artist friend in Santa Barbara- His name is Wallace Piatt
  • Girl Sketch Art Piece - Sara Ford
  • Subway Train Art Piece - Axel Geittmann
  • Other Photography Pieces by friends Sara Ford and Atisha Paulson
  • White and Blue Pouf - Target Find!
  • Blue Bench - West Elm
  • Antlers - Salvaged from the old Tico Tico club in our hood
  • Chost Lamp - Sit Down NYC
  • Blue Based Lamp - Thrifted in Brooklyn
  • Wood Wall- Salvaged Wood we installed
  • Netting - Online Nautical Décor Store
  • Nautical Art - John Fellows
  • Slim White Bookshelf - CB2
  • Older Bookshelf - Estate Sale

DINING ROOM

  • Urban Outfitters Headboard
  • Hammock Chair - Found in Tulum Mexico
  • Most Art is collected & thrifted from all over
  • Woven Tapestry Art from Taryn Slawson
  • Dresser from Ikea
  • Side Tables - Thrifted and Urban
  • Oars - Online Nautical Décor Store
  • Blue Based Lamp - Thrifted in Brooklyn
  • Upholstered Bench at end of bed - Estate Sale
  • Black & White Chevron print Chair- Chair was a craigslist find and we purchased the fabric from fancy tiger and re-upholstered it

BEDROOM

  • Urban Outfitters Headboard
  • Hammock Chair- Found in Tulum Mexico
  • Most Art is collected & thrifted from all over
  • Woven Tapestry Art from Taryn Slawson
  • Dresser from Ikea
  • Side Tables - Thrifted and Urban
  • Oars - Online Nautical Décor Store
  • Blue Based Lamp - Thrifted in Brooklyn
  • Upholstered Bench at end of bed- Estate Sale
  • Black & White Chevron print Chair- Chair was a craigslist find and we purchased the fabric from fancy tiger and re-upholstered it

BATHROOM

  • Shower Curtain - Shabby Chic for Target
  • Baskets - Container Store
  • Vintage wallpaper art - Colorado Antique Gallery
  • Sketch Art - Yours truly (Ali Elman)
  • Light fixture - Antique Store in Savannah, GA

NURSERY/DRESSING ROOM

  • Vanity - Vintage find from a Brooklyn Antique Shop
  • White Dresser - Sit Down NYC
  • Navajo Rug - Tulum, Mexico
  • Antique Dresser Drawers - Craigslist find
  • Crib - Alma Mini Crib
  • Shelving - made by us with CB2 hardware
  • Clothing rack - Container store
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Thanks, Ali & Dustin!

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(Image credits: Ali & Dustin's "Beach House Getaway" in Downtown Denver; Kathryn Bacalis; Ali & Dustin's "Beach House Getaway" in Downtown Denver)

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