Becky's Americana-Inspired Apartment

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Name: Becky Emmett and Cheeky the cat
Location: Hove; Sussex, UK
Size: approximately 500 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years

A light-up McDonald’s sign, a pair of buffalo horns, a miniature Ghostbusters tableau, framed graffiti on the walls, a gumball machine in the living room: Becky’s one bedroom apartment in central Hove packs a lot of personality into a small space. She has transformed the basement flat of a tall, skinny, very English Victorian townhouse into an Americana-inspired Aladdin’s cave of vintage, retro and salvaged finds.

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The homage to American pop culture and design runs all the way through Becky’s home. Her fondness for all things stateside comes from her British mother who was raised in Palm Springs: “I have happy memories of California and I love New York for its art and vibrancy.” On trips to New York, Becky has added to her impressive graffiti collection with pieces by Claw Money, Cope2 and Cap. But the most eye-catching piece is outside, a 6 foot high spray painted ‘B is buff’. It was a surprise Valentine’s message from a now ex-boyfriend. Luckily they are still on good terms. “I can see it through the window when I wash the dishes, and it makes me smile.”

Becky’s apartment is full to the brim with her many and varied collections: Nikes in every hue, the letter B everywhere, toys from the 70s and 80s. “It’s a childhood nostalgia thing for all the toys I was never allowed.” But somehow she makes it feel curated and not cluttered. Becky has an admirable ‘one in, two out’ rule and doesn’t buy things on a whim. Everything in Becky's place is actively hunted down at Dodo Vintage where she works, on Ebay, at markets and in thrift stores. It’s kitschy, it’s retro, it’s colorful, but mostly it’s fun.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic. I love collecting anything different or unusual. I'm not a hoarder, but there is a fine line between clutter and collecting.

Inspiration: Toys, graffiti, Americana. 

Favorite Element: The McDonald's sign. I was searching for years, and I finally found one on Ebay.

Biggest Challenge: Not overcluttering. I have to stick to my 'one in, two out' rule or it would be terrible.

What Friends Say: "It's a fun place to come to."

Proudest DIY: I painted the front of the house.

Biggest Indulgence: The artwork, which is all based on graffiti. I feel lucky to have some of the pieces in my collection. I'd like to get something by KAWS next.

Best Advice: Don't follow the rules. Go with whatever makes you happy.

Dream Sources: There is a sign graveyard in Las Vegas. I'd love to go there. Also the Old Cinema in Chiswick, London for vintage furniture.

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Resources of Note:

LIVING ROOM

  • McDonald's sign: ebay
  • Buffalo horns: Dodo Vintage
  • Gumball vending machine: thrift store
  • Fisher price record player: ebay
  • Graffiti: by Tox, Cope2, Claw Money, Cap and INSA
  • Pull down light: ebay
  • Chalkboard coffee table: found in skip
  • Leather armchair and footstool: Dodo Vintage
  • Red vinyl wall stickers: Domestic
  • Expedit shelves: IKEA
  • Piano keys as doorstop: Dodo Vintage
  • Sofa: Homebase
  • Print maker's tray: Dodo Vintage
  • Curtains: homemade with fabric from Brighton Saturday market

KITCHEN

  • Letter B stencil: Not on the High Street
  • units: installed by previous owner

BEDROOM

  • Bed:IKEA
  • Flower garland: homemade
  • Bedside table: old ballot box from Dodo Vintage
  • French factory chair: Dodo Vintage
  • Bedside lamp: Maclamp by Conran from Brighton Saturday market
  • Botanical wall print: Dodo Vintage
  • Pink chair: found in a skip and repainted
  • Metal lockers: Dodo Vintage
  • Blanket box: garage sale
  • BMX: custom made
  • Bookshelves: crates from Dodo Vintage
  • Chest of drawers: present from my mother
  • Hatbox: garage sale

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Thanks, Becky!

(Images: Rebecca Bond)

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