Ashley & Robert's Streamlined Bohemian

House Tour

Name: Robert Ludlow and Ashley Hubbard and their dogs, Teak and Lady
Location: East Falls Church — Arlington, Virginia
Size: 840 square feet — 2 bed, 1 bath
Years lived in: 1½ — rented

I first learned about Robert and Ashley through their deliciously innovative company, Fleurir Hand Grown Chocolates, and knew that if their home was half as beautiful as their chocolates, we'd be in for a sweet treat! Lucky for us, the young newlyweds are a couple of many talents, and have crafted their colonial rental into a warm, homespun nest that also serves as Fleurir's creative headquarters.

The couple picked their home based on their need to find a home with a suitable yard for their two dogs, Lady and Teak. And while the house may not be their dream home stylistically, I was impressed by how Robert and Ashley have managed to put their own stamp on the rental while still embracing the 1940s colonial's original charm.

It's hard to pin down Ashley and Robert's style in just one phrase, but one thing's for certain, they know how to strike an admirable balance between warm and inviting and clean and spare. Modern lines are warmed up by an array of casual and old fashioned accessories, and salvaged pieces are updated with pops of contemporary color. Inspired by the many places that they have lived and visited around the globe, Ashley and Robert have learned how to work a variety of influences into their small home while managing to make it look streamlined and purposeful. One of my favorite spots, and theirs as well, is the beachy sun porch that sits just off the living room. The two decked out the once neglected narrow spot with built-in seating and casual accessories including an area rug made up of a handful of layered cotton mats. As evidenced in the photos, the little room makes for a sweet escape for both humans and dogs alike.

Robert and Ashley have brought the same fresh youthful vibe into the kitchen, which was once a mess of rioting wood tones, vinyl beiges, black and white appliances, and dingy yellow walls. By painting the walls a clean blue and the once dark bead-board a fresh white, they've made the small kitchen seem open, airy, and cohesive.

The rest of the home is cozy and inviting, with personal touches and great vintage finds mixed in among more mainstream items. For more details, check out the picture captions in the gallery slideshow.

And as for their chocolates, well, I'm embarrassed to admit that the beautiful box pictured below was emptied at a speed that can only be described as irreverent given the complexity of flavors and artistry that went into each piece. You can learn more about Ashley and Robert on Fleurir Chocolate's website.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Style: Comfortable and clean — I am going to steal a term from Victoria Smith “bohemian modern.” We think that it is important to respect the character of the house; consequently, filling our house with a strict contemporary décor just wouldn’t make sense.

Inspiration: Old Lucketts Store! We even did a photo shoot for our chocolates there because it is filled with such amazing pieces and rooms that are assembled in really clever ways.

Favorite Element: The bedroom. We finally have a king size bed (a wedding present to ourselves) that comfortably fits two people and two dogs! Also, our sunroom is perfect this time of year, and the daybed we built in it is marvelous for afternoon naps.

Biggest Challenge: Because we rent it, there are a lot of restrictions as to what we can do. Take for instance our kitchen. When we moved in it was this horrible mustard yellow with overly glossy, dark wood paneling; Robert and I really wanted to paint over it and play with colors a bit to lighten it up, but our landlord wouldn’t let us. Instead, we had to pay his team to come in and paint it — we did get to pick the color, but we only had one shot to get it right. Finally, we also don’t want to invest too much money on changes that we can’t move with us in another year.

What Friends Say: Everyone agrees that our home is the most “put together” and “grown up” out of all of us. It isn’t all IKEA and Potterybarn (though we do have a couple IKEA pieces).

Biggest Embarrassment: Dog hair. With hard wood floors there is no hiding any collection of dog hair. Also, the bathroom is beyond horrible, but there isn’t a whole lot we can do about it short of ripping out the floor and walls and tub and sink.

Proudest DIY: We completely built out our sunroom adding two benches and a daybed. It is by far the best place in the house.

Biggest Indulgence: Our bed. We knew that we would have this piece for years to come and that we spend several hours a day in it; therefore, we viewed the bed and mattress more as an investment.

Best Advice: Be patient. Unless you are absolutely loaded it’s unlikely that you will be able to complete the look of a whole house immediately. Focus on one room or one project, and collect quality pieces that you truly love over time.

Dream Sources: Dwell Magazine

Other Inspiration: Blissful B blog, decor8 blog, rue magazine

Resources of Note:

Hardware: a lot of it is from Old Lucketts Store and Anthropologie

Furniture: Mostly antiques — we go out to small country towns all over Virginia with nothing but antique shops and are significantly cheaper than anything you would fine near the DC area. There are a lot of great places in the northern necks region near Tappahannock.

Accessories: Robert and I have traveled extensively and most of our home accessories
are knick knacks we picked up along the way. Ashley’s family is rather crafty as well, and several ceramic pieces, paintings, and photographs are gifts made by them.

Beds: Master is from Restoration Hardware; guest bed is antique (it was Ashley’s
grandmother’s when she was a child).

Artwork: Most pieces are, again, from travels. A lot of it is from the two years we lived in Australia — there was a market in our neighborhood every Saturday with some photographers we absolutely loved. We also have two pieces from Ashley’s uncle.

Paint: Benjamin Moore:

• Master bedroom: Eagle Rock 1469

• Kitchen: Silver Gray 2131-60

• Guest Bedroom: Sweet Spring 1500

Flooring: Original hardwood from 1942

Thanks, Ashley & Robert!

Images: Leah Moss and the talented Christina Bernales (1st thumbnail photo, Image 4, and as noted in the gallery slide-show)

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