Ashley & Jason's Colorful Colonial

House Tour

Name: Ashley & Jason
Location: Frederick, Maryland
Size: 1152 square feet
Years lived in: 4

Ashley and Jason are documentary filmmakers who know that there are two sides to every story. At home, they've put their storytelling talents to work, combining distinct styles to create a narrative spanning two generations of affectionate homeowners. From the old, hand carved valances and matching bookcases to the new, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, the history of the home and the character of its inhabitants can be seen from every doorway.

The previous owner - who would eventually serve as the namesake for the couple's cocker spaniel mix, Roscoe - was an eccentric electrician with a penchant for home improvement projects. He had lived there since the sixties, covering the surfaces in kitschy patterns and fashioning light fixtures from tin cans. This quirky style was the first thing they noticed about the house, but Ashley says the gorgeous wood trim and the diamond window in the stairwell were what sold them on the place. The house was already packed with personality, but they knew they could give it even more.

After they bought the house, they would call on Roscoe to help with renovations. He would make the drive across town to lend a hand and offer advice. Inspired by this relationship, they infused a modern vibe into their retro surroundings. Ashley and Jason improved the flow of the floor plan by opening the kitchen up to the dining room, but left Roscoe's built-in corner cabinet. And when they restored his Pepto pink-colored bathroom, they kept the square nook he built into the wall. Their decision to mix old with new gave way to a signature mishmash of styles and decades that lends unique perspective the story of the space. As you walk from room to room, there are plenty of heartwarming reminders that this is a house that's easy to love.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Warm, charming, and cozy, with a mix of modern and vintage.

Inspiration: This town, 100%. I love everything about downtown Frederick, from its architecture to its history to its commitment to the arts to all the boutique and antique shops lining Market and Patrick Streets. Every time we walk around downtown or eat at one of the amazing restaurants, something new inspires me and another weekend house project is born.

Favorite Element: Can I count our whole kitchen? It was a huge gift from my parents and it's only a few months old. The original kitchen was cramped and orange and featured faux-cobblestone Formica countertops and ancient flowered linoleum tiles. Our new kitchen features white bead-board cabinets, granite countertops, and we traded our formal dining room for an airy kitchen-dining combo separated by a breakfast bar and glass cabinets. In terms of my favorite structural element, the first thing that sold me on the house when we first walked through the door was the little diamond window on the staircase.

Biggest Challenge: Flow. I tend to treat each room as a separate art project, and only when it's complete do I realize that the room might not actually "go" with the rest of the house. Even though I know this is probably breaking a few design "rules," I love that each room has its own distinct personality.

What Friends Say: Mostly things like, "You painted this room again?!" "Where did this table come from?" "Didn't that chair used to be over in that corner?" Friends know that they're going to have a new experience every time they come through our door. We also hear time after time that our house is very "us" which is a huge compliment, we think...

Biggest Embarrassment: Aside from owning a very functional but ugly futon, I would say our biggest botched project--painting the upstairs floors white instead of refinishing them properly--was my biggest embarrassment. I started collecting all of these gorgeous pictures of houses with white floors and convinced myself it would be a great idea. Two weeks and about 20 cans of white paint later, we were left with a giant mess that peeled up, stuck to our socks, and scratched when anything touched it. We tried to tough it out for a couple of months, but finally got around to sanding them back down and staining them the same gorgeous deep color we used on the downstairs hardwoods. I just wanted to believe it could work so badly!

Proudest DIY: The entire bathroom, which was done up in various tones of pink when we bought the house. At first, I tried to go with it and went for a super retro-kitschy theme, adding green and yellow to the mix, but we tired of that quickly. We finally did it the right way and went for the same monochromatic scheme we have going in the kitchen. We managed to do it all for less than $3,000, by re-glazing the tub and tile instead of replacing it and going for very convincing peel-and-stick tiles that always surprise our guests. I was so thrilled to get that awful pink toilet and sink out of there and to cover up the fake tile pattern on the walls with tall white wainscoting.

Biggest Indulgence: Appliances. We tend to scout for deals and hardly ever pay full price for something beautiful, but we don't mess around with appliances and technology.

Best Advice: Plan, plan, plan! It's taken me three years of constantly re-imagining and redoing rooms to realize that I'm a terrible planner. I only recently started using mood boards and Adobe Illustrator to actually lay out color schemes and furniture placement before diving right into the fun stuff first, which helps save time and money.

Dream Sources: Retro Metro, Pop Deluxe, CB2, West Elm, Urban Outfitters, Uncommon Goods

Resources of Note:

LIVING ROOM

    Paint - Valspar Tropical Bay
    Slipper chair, rug, side table, and curtains/shades - Target
    Green cabinet - Yard sale find
    White lamp - Bed, Bath, & Beyond
    Other lamps - Ikea
    Bookcases and wooden valance - Came with the house

DINING ROOM

    Paint - Behr Lemon Pound Cake
    Table, mirror, frames, mannequin - Craigslist and thrift store
    Bar stools - CB2
    Yellow Cosco chair reproduction - Target
    Curtains - Target
    Chairs and "bar" - Ikea
    Small black mini shelves - Bed, Bath, & Beyond

KITCHEN

    Paint - Behr Elephant Skin
    Cabinets, countertops, appliances, tile - Home Depot
    Custom roman shade over window - Blinds Galore

BEDROOM

    Paint - Behr Sandstone Cliff
    Bed, bedding, curtains, shades - Target
    Dresser - Ikea
    Nightstands - Homegoods
    All lighting - Target
    Curtain tie-backs - Urban Outfitters
    Vases above bed - CB2
    Fonts woodcut art - Etsy (peppersprouts)
    Window on wall - Came w/ house

BATHROOM

    Paint - Behr Anonymous
    Shower curtain and rugs - Target
    Light in wall cubby - Ikea
    Cotton ball/Q-tip jar - Container Store
    Vessel sink, fixtures, flooring, tall wainscoting - Lowes

DRESSING ROOM

    Paint - Benjamin Moore Eraser Pink
    Chaise lounge, pillow, blanket - Ikea
    Bookcase - Target
    "Purse tree" - CB2
    Lighting - Ikea

STAIRS

    Runner - Home Depot
    Frames - Ikea

OFFICE/CRAFT ROOM

    Paint - Behr Asparagus
    Desk, chair, futon, hanging light, bookcase, curtains - Ikea
    Turquoise lamp - Homegoods
    White cabinet, rug, roman shade - Target
    Pillows - Homegoods and Ikea
    Multicolored cubes on desk - Target (kids' section years ago)
    Drum pendant light - CB2

Thanks, Ashley and Jason!

Images: Lindsay Wood/Ashley Henley

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