Name: Charlie and Tommy, working toward their certifications in interior design and architecture, respectively
Location: Edgewater; Cleveland, Ohio
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 2 months; Rented
Walking into Charlie and Tommy's polished-yet-oh-so-cozy Cleveland home, you would never know that this was their first place together, let alone the first "adult" apartment for them both. They've both got talent and ingenuity in spades, and have been collecting for years, awaiting the opportunity to finally create their own space.
Walking into Charlie and Tommy's home, I was immediately filled with a sense of welcome and ease. This couple knows exactly how to combine their extensive knowledge of all things design with an undeniable warmth, which permeates their space with contentment. They were fortunate to find an apartment with a great layout and abundant natural light, but their fastidious collecting and editing of furniture pieces and artwork from family, local shops, estate and garage sales over years in preparation for this move is what really makes their home feel special and complete.
And an added bonus beyond aesthetics: everything is so budget-friendly! I couldn't believe how many pieces in the space were from big box stores, but had a higher-end look when incorporate with antique items. Charlie and Tommy's place is proof that with patience and a developed eye for things that resonate with you, beauty on a budget can be possible, and a genuine joy to create.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Charlie: Mid-century Modern with an eclectic mix of old and new. We both have similar taste, but I like a bit more ‘clutter’ and making compositions (I’m very sentimental, so that’s where a lot of the items come from) while Tommy has more of a streamlined, clean and minimalistic style. Overall, we balance each other out and feel that we have made a nice home together!
Inspiration: We are working to become a certified interior designer (Charlie) and a licensed architect (Tommy), so we get a large amount of inspiration from our careers. We are also inspired by our colleagues, close friends and family.
Favorite Element: Our favorite element in the entire space is the amount of windows. There are nine 3’x5’ windows throughout the entire apartment that bring the outdoors in. We don’t have to turn on any lights until dark! It’s the best. We also love the tall ceilings, hardwood floors, architectural elements, and the history of our building. It was built in 1928 and most of the doors, hardware, trim and bathroom fixtures are original. We also love our Danish Modern living room set to death not only because of its style, but because we found it at the first early morning estate sale we went to together.
Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenge is realizing when to stop improving and to just enjoy the space. We're constantly being inspired by design blogs and websites — our gears keep going, and we are learning to step back and just enjoy what we have. It’s also hard for us to not be able to paint, but the color is extremely neutral so we don’t mind!
What Friends Say: Our friends say that they feel at home. We’ve been told that it feels like it’s been lived in for years! It always feels good to hear that, no matter how long you’ve occupied a space.
Biggest Embarrassment: Our packed closets (that you don’t see) are pretty embarrassing. We have a lot of blankets, extra chairs, and candles, okay! Another embarrassment that we have are the cushions to our sofa and chair. We did not measure them correctly while re-cushioning, which caused them to run an inch or two short. Oh well! They’re still comfortable and guests can’t tell.
Proudest DIY: We don’t really have a specific one; we spruce up each item as it comes along. Our favorite mediums are spray paint and furniture polish!
Biggest Indulgence: Our $250 Drexel Heritage “Declaration” Dining set. I guess that gives away how much we spent on everything else!
Best Advice: Be a smart shopper. Check Craigslist frequently, go to estate sales and shop locally. Know what you’re looking for…. or not know what you’re looking for! Some of our best pieces were a complete surprise.
Dream Sources: Minotti, Alivar, Herman Miller, Knoll, Thrive, Allermuir, Room & Board and Crate & Barrel.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- Benjamin Moore: Bone White
- Danish Modern sofa and chair: Julie Breznai, Inc.
- Lane “Acclaim” cocktail table and two two-tiered end tables: Julie Breznai, Inc.
- Bookcase: Family heirloom
- TV Stand: Garage sale
- Lamps: JC Penney
- Arc Lamp: Craigslist
- Harry Bertoia Diamond Lounge Chairs: Craigslist
- Brass plant stand: Family heirloom
- Architectural piece from the Terminal Tower Façade: Gift from a friend
- Rug: Craigslist
- Pillows: IKEA
- Artwork: Gifts from friends, family photos and estate sales, including Cindi Zemon of Art FX Decorative Finishes, Salty Not Sweet, and Brian Jasinski (Grey Cardigan)
- Drexel “Declaration” dining table and chairs: Craigslist
- Four Danish Modern upholstered chairs (Reupholstered in Knoll Textiles): Seconds City
- Lane “Acclaim” Buffet and Hutch: Craigslist
- Mid-century slat bench: Lea’s Estate Sales
- Side Table: Garage sale
- Bar: Seconds City
- Brass Rooster: Family heirloom
- Floor Lamp: Michael Graves for JC Penney
- Shelf: Family heirloom
- Starburst Clock: Einstein’s Attic
- Artwork: Gifts from friends, family photos and estate sales
- Rug: Target
- Metal Shelf: IKEA
- Canister set: Banyan Tree
- Ball Mason Jar collection: Family heirloom
- 1939 New York World’s Fair glassware collection: Julie Breznai, Inc.
- Pyrex bowl set: Family Heirloom
- Artwork: Salty Not Sweet
- Beer Sign: Family heirloom
- Bedroom set: Family heirloom
- Bedside table: Family heirloom
- Bedding: JC Penney
- Dresser: Seconds City
- 1946 Sensenich Propeller: Julie Breznai, Inc.
- Glass Lamp: JC Penney
- Wall mounted mid-century teak lamp: Robin Sweeney (Cosmic Girl Goes Home)
- Eero Saarinen Executive Arm Chair: Seconds City
- Eero Saarinen Tulip Table: Craigslist
- Coat Rack: Garage Sale
- Rug: Craigslist
- Florence Welch Painting: Cindi Zemon of Art FX Decorative Finishes
- Artwork: Salty Not Sweet and handmade
- Rug: Craigslist
- Shelf: Target
- Artwork: Brian Jasinski (Grey Cardigan)
- Shower curtain: Target
- Rug: IKEA
Thanks, Charlie and Tommy!
(Images: Alexis Buryk)
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