Name: Beth, Nick and 20-month old Will Dekker; Maeby the Dog
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Size: 1,900 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5
Beth and Nick Dekker are born entertainers--the pair met at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they both studied theater--and nowhere is that more clear than in their warm Glen Echo home, where musicians are known to perform, outsized dinner parties often spill over from the dining room to the den and visitors make themselves comfortable in a beachy guest room that's rarely left unoccupied.
It's of little surprise that the work of local artists are featured throughout the Dekkers' home. After all, Beth and Nick, along with four fellow alums of Calvin alums, are founders of Wild Goose Creative, a nonprofit multi-disciplinary arts company in Columbus.
The decor in the Dekkers' home serves as an autobiography of sorts for the couple. For instance, a den, converted into a shared office space for Beth and Nick, is papered with book pages shellacked to a wallpaper base. The pages come from three antique texts: A math book, an encyclopedia and a book of poetry. And among the pages are quotes about teaching--Nick is a theater professor at Ohio State University--and a predominance of references to the letter "W" in honor of Will, the Dekker's toddler. Elsewhere, a decal of the London skyline recalls the many trips the Dekkers have taken to the city. Downstairs, a patchwork quilt made for Beth by her grandmother hangs over a loveseat; upstairs, an embroidered quilt made for Will by his paternal grandmother is draped over his crib.
If there is any doubt that the Dekkers are raising their son to appreciate local arts as much as they do, Will's bedroom lays it to rest. The brightly hued room is decorated exclusively with work by local artists and friends, including a soft stuffed elephant made by friend and fellow Wild Goose founder Jacqui Hoke. For their part, Beth and Nick keep their bedroom a calm refuge, with a color palette based around serene grays and purples.
Despite its location smack-dab in the middle of a landlocked city in a landlocked state, one might confuse the Dekkers' guest room with a room in a beach cottage. The room, painted aqua and sea green, is decorated with shells and driftwood plucked from the beaches of the Outer Banks. Decals of birds flying high serve as stand-ins for a flock of gulls; a guest book open on a whitewashed desk allows visitors to comment on their stay. It, like the rest of the Dekkers' home, is a soothing, retreat inviting those who enter to sit down, relax and stay awhile.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My style: Martha Freakin' Stewart
Inspiration: I think it would have to be a mix of the clean lines of Martha Stewart, but being able to do it in a thrifty, creative way. I like taking old elements and mixing them with the new and making it all practical. If it can't get dirty, I don't want it in my home.
Favorite Element: I'd have to say the walls in the office.
Biggest Challenge: I would have to say the biggest challenge was in maintaing the historic character of the house. A previous owner was a historical architect; the woodwork was untouched and we wanted to keep it that way. We wanted to have a modern look--and my bright colors--but do it in a way with an old, turn-of-the century Craftsman. And we wanted to keep it comfortable, warm and inviting.
What Friends Say: Friends just say that they love it and they think I'm Martha Stewart incarnate--not that I agree. Most of the stuff I do, including redecorating, is with the idea that if it takes longer than five minutes, I don't do it. I'm way big about being creative on a budget.
Biggest Embarrassment: Our backyard--I don't know what to do with it. And our countertops. We want to replace those someday soon.
Proudest DIY: The upstairs bathroom which we completely redid. It took us three weekends to do. Another one was when, on a Saturday, Nick and I put up shelves behind our basement door. Before that, it was absolutely wasted space beforehand. It was easy, but doing that was a very proud moment. Another thing that was small but that made a big difference: changing out the light switch covers. Light switch covers are one of these things where I spent a little money changing out plastic for wood or metal, but it made a lot of difference. When you walked into the room, it felt that much more complete and finished.
Biggest Indulgence: The living room rug, from Azia Oriental Rugs (www.aziarugs.com). I knew I could get something like it from Ikea, and get it a lot cheaper, but I just loved it.
Best advice: If at all possible, when you're moving in somewhere, give yourself some time--even a weekend--to get in there first. We were blessed with a month, but even a weekend will do wonders in terms of being able to get a few rooms painted and light fixtures changed out.
Dream source: I still think it would be antique malls and that sort of thing. I also like Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware--things that are timeless and clean and practical.
Furniture and accessories: Bentwood rocking chair in the living room was made for Beth's father, a pediatrician, by an Amish craftsperson in payment for his services. The now-defunct Peddler's Village Craft & Antique Mall in Columbus was the source for a number of items in the Dekkers' living room, including the vintage suitcases and trunk. The Logan Antique Mall in Logan, Ohio, supplied the bowling pin light, as well as many of the pressed glass pieces on the living room mantel. Seashells and driftwood throughout the house were picked up on the beaches or in shell ships around Cape Hatteras or Ocracoke Island, in the Outer Banks.
Paint: Martha Stewart for Lowe's (discontinued): White Grape in dining room; Beach Glass and Sandy Beach in guest room; Moon Time in master bedrrom.
Light fixtures: Lowe's
Artwork: Among the pieces on display in the Dekkers' home are ones by: Igloo Letterpress, Sycamore Street Press, Robin Oatts and Adam Brouillette.
(Thanks, Beth and Nick!)
Images: Jennifer Wray