Name: Ashlae and Thom
Location: Denver, Colorado
Size: 1,100 sq ft
Years lived in: 10 months; Rented
Ever thought of what a food blogger's space would look like if it were crossed with a history buff’s pad?! Well, look no further! In the midst of the hustle and bustle of downtown Denver live food blogger Ashlae and her boyfriend Thom. Who would have thought that putting these two distinctly different personalities in an open concept loft would create such interior design perfection?
Not wanting to just replicate the latest spread from an IKEA catalog (although they strongly considered it), the couple set out to design a space that represented their unique personalities. After walking through their space, I saw how successfully they had done that — from the collection of travel books and Star Wars memorabilia to vintage baking pans and various vases, each of their many quirks were very much present in the space.
Located in a building built in 1886, and once home to the largest mercantile business in the West, the unit boasts 100 year-old tile floors, industrial windows, exposed brick, and wood beams. The kitchen, where Ashlae works her magic, is small yet perfectly efficient: everything she needs is within arm's reach, making its size more of pro than a con. As I make my way into the main living area, Ashlae quickly pulls her latest creation (a warm batch of freshly baked coconut scones) from the oven, pours me a cup of hot rum-infused coffee, and then guides me through each room of their flat. She points out her favorite thrift store finds and Thom’s many handmade projects. A large custom IKEA bookshelf is the main attraction of the living space and showcases the couple’s varied interests. Just as expected, everything has a story.
The most frequented spot in the loft is the dining nook, which displays a collage of Ashlae's beautiful food photography. A large farm table, surrounded by mismatched chairs, is become the perfect spot for dinner parties with friends, as well as the occasional late-night study session. When they're not studying (Modern European History, him; Environmental Economics, her), Thom is busy planning their next adventure and Ashlae is baking for Oh, Ladycakes. The couple is gearing up for a four month European expedition later this summer and have plans to go around the world trip in 2015. Meanwhile, they have managed to create a vibrant space that represents their quirky personalities, commitment to travel, and unparalleled love for one another.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Style: Our style is definitely a hodgepodge of thoughtfully selected things. We’re big fans of clean lines and minimalism, but are opposed to elements being sterile or too matchy-matchy.
Inspiration: We’re inspired by the city outside our window; the different colors, textures, and styles of architecture. It’s complex and diverse, but it works together. And we’ve just kind of gone with that theme inside our place.
Favorite Element: The industrial windows, by a landslide. They’re beautiful and rustic and flood the main living area with an immense amount of light.
Biggest Challenge: Ashlae: Filling the enormous white walls. We’re still trying to figure out what to do with them, but some days I just look at them and want to cry. Any and all advice is welcome... unless it has something to do with tapestries.
What Friends Say: They always have something to say about the high ceilings, exposed beams, or enormous windows. The entire place is pretty conversational.
Biggest Embarrassment: Ashlae: Honestly? The kitchen. People come over to the house and expect something immaculate and they’re like, “Oh, this is where you do all of your baking?” Yep.
Proudest DIY: Ashlae: Thom has talked about making a travel map since we first started traveling in 2010. The only problem? He was opposed to a paper map glued to a bulletin board, so he set out to make his own. With the help of an endless supply of peanut butter cookies, he cut all of the cork by hand (in two days) (!!!) and then attached it to a piece of dry-brush painted wood. He purposely left off Greenland and Antarctica, but we’ve since established that we will be visiting both. Even if they are mostly covered in ice. Right, mister?
Biggest Indulgence: Thom: Ashlae thought it’d be a good idea to spend $250 on a jade tree, despite the fact that she’s killed nearly every plant she’s brought home. Thus far, the streak is intact. I give it three months. And that’s being generous. Ashlae: He’s delusional. The tree isn’t in the greatest condition but it’s definitely not going to die in three months. Maybe five.
Best Advice: Take your time and let things come together naturally. It’s not wise to rush into finishing your place just because you’re impatient – and it’s likely you’ll end up with a lot of stuff you don’t really love. If your walls are still bare 10 months after you moved in, who cares? One day a sweet lady will come by to take pictures of your place, you’ll find out she’s an artist, and BAM! white walls be bare no more.
Dream Sources: Room & Board, Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, School House Electric and Supply Co, Dwell Studio, Rockett St George
Resources of Note:
- Ikea Karlstad couch
- Custom Ikea shelving
- West Elm jute boulcé rug
- DIY coffee table (legs from www.hairpinlegs.com)
- Mismatched chairs: thrifted and Ikea
- Jackson dining table: World Market
- Artwork: Ikea Ribba frames; Oh, Ladycakes prints
- Ikea kitchen cart
- West Elm organic shaped dinnerware
- Anthropologie latte bowls
- Duralex Picardie glasses
- Recycled wine pundt tumblers: Schoolhouse Electric
• Ikea bed frame
- Ikea bed frame
- West Elm beding
- Salvaged headboard
- Urban Outfitters bench
Thanks, Ashlae & Thom!
(Images: Kathryn Bacalis)
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