Carla's Calm & Eclectic Collector Style

Carla's Calm & Eclectic Collector Style

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Emily Billings
Aug 26, 2015
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Name: Carla Caruso
Location: Ashfield, MA
Size: 2,100 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years; Owned

Designer Carla Caruso, of Carla Caruso Jewelry, bought her home in the sleepy town of Ashfield, MA, five years ago. Nestled in the hilltowns of western Massachusetts, Carla embarked on a years-long renovation project, which she tackled largely on her own. The result is an eclectic and vibrant take on the New England farmhouse.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

After graduating from RISD’s glassblowing department, Carla expanded her creative outlet working as a jeweler and has built an impressive business around her handmade pieces. Carla spends a good amount of time in her home, as her studio is located above the garage, so she is especially conscience of having a space that is both inviting and relaxing for her, her spunky dog Birdie, and her employees (check them all out on their Instagram).

When Carla bought her home half a decade ago, it was less than ideal and in need of some tender loving care. Fast-forward to now- Carla has brilliantly brought new life into her space. Besides her hands-on approach to home renovations, Carla has a great sense for maintaining vignettes and paring down her impressive collection of artwork and accessories.

A collector's dream, her home features artwork made by local artisans and many of her RISD peers. Faced with her eclectic compilation of quirky curiosities, guests cannot help but inquire about the conversation pieces carefully curated throughout the space. Carla truly has a knack for collecting things and distilling her space, making her home feel effortlessly calm and inviting.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Calm and eclectic.

Inspiration: I approached the styling of this house as though it was my vacation home. Cozy, inviting, relaxing.

Favorite Element: The fireplace in the winter and the outdoor shower in the summer!

Biggest Challenge: Affording it all and keeping warm in the winter. Winters are no joke around here.

What Friends Say: It’s so neat! There’s no clutter! Most of my friends have kids so I guess this place sort of blows their minds.

Biggest Embarrassment: Maybe my dining room ceiling? Or the condition of some of the walls? There’s a lot of painted-over wallpaper... This is an old house, and parts of it need a lot of TLC. I don’t like the projects that are expensive and “invisible," where you’re just fixing something without the satisfaction of a before-and-after.

Proudest DIY: My patio. I salvaged local stone and laid it myself.

Biggest Indulgence: I’m saving up for a big kitchen redo. Hopefully....

Best Advice: Wait till you live in a space for a while before you start redesigning it. The things I had planned during the purchase phase were pretty dramatic... and I’ve changed direction many times since coming to know the space. Also, just assume anything and everything is going to cost more than you’d expect, and more than the first quote!

Dream Sources: ABC Carpet, John Derian... I’d kill for something from John Robshaw... Blue Star stoves...

Resources

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

PAINT & COLORS
All paints are Benjamin Moore!

  • Blue door: Deep Royal
  • Entry: Razzle Dazzle
  • Living room: Wish
  • Stripes in dining room: Black Bean Soup and Cloud White
  • Bedroom: Cloud White
  • Dressing room: Ocean Air
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

PORCH/ENTRY

  • Cabinet: old mechanic’s cabinet found at a tag sale, repainted with some paint I picked up at a hardware store forever ago.
  • Lamp: Altamira from Providence (not sure they’re still making lamps)
  • Photo: Jessica Kourkounis
  • Mirror: tag sale
  • Rug: Dash & Albert Rugs
  • Daybed (on porch): custom made for me by Andy Dollard
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

LIVING ROOM

  • Photograph above couch: Jo Chattman
  • Photograph above side table: Susan Mikula
  • Couch: Norwalk Furniture
  • Blue chair: Robin Bruce
  • Rug: West Elm
  • Live-edge coffee table: Chuck Bayliss Woodworking
  • Lamp on side table: vintage
  • Marble side table: I assembled it from parts I found at the yearly sale of my awesome neighbor, Mike Skalski.
  • Trees on board (in bookshelf): Tezh Modarressi
  • Everything else: vintage
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

DINING ROOM

  • Velvet Rottweiler portrait: from my pal Al’s amazing store Stadler-Kahn
  • Table and chairs: vintage, I re-upholstered them a few years ago
  • Botanical print: German, I bought it at Evolution in NYC
  • Plants: my ever-expanding collection of cuttings gifted by Gloriosa & Co. at The Curtis House here in Ashfield
  • Sideboard: vintage from Chelsea Flea Market
  • Eye: Eye Think Inc.
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

KITCHEN

  • Star: thrift store in VT, probably an old Macy’s star?
  • Cabinets: there weren’t any when I bought the house, so I put in the cheapest white Ikea cabinets I could live with (my dream kitchen is still on the horizon).
  • Lamp over sink: Perch Designs, gotten through a trade, like many of my favorite things!
  • Fridge: Fisher Paykel
  • Sofa: American Made, purchased at Fly By Night in Northampton
  • Wood stove: Jotul
  • Litho of desert: found at Brimfield
  • Painting over fireplace: Bruce Ackerson, who lives in Northampton, but my family has had this painting ever since I was a child! Small world.
  • Throw on couch: Les Indiennes
  • Rug: vintage
  • Geometric painting on board: Teresa Grow of Madison And Grow
  • Fan on wood stove: Ecofan
  • Encaustic art: Dorothy Imagire
  • Avocado: Katie Pell
  • Flowers: Gloria Pascosa of Gloriosa & Co. at The Curtis House
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

MASTER BEDROOM

  • Painting of swimmer: Scout Cuomo, who now lives in Ashfield
  • Heart: 18K gold leaf that I did myself last winter
  • Bedding: Pine Cone Hill, Dwell Studio, Matteo
  • Everything else: vintage
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

DRESSING ROOM

  • Built-Ins: built by another pal, Bruce Watson
  • Rug: Dash & Albert
  • Dressers: vintage
  • Lamp: Tracy Glover Lighting
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

UPSTAIRS BATHROOM

  • Tiny pictures: all tag/thrift/flea finds- my rule is no more than $8 each for this collection.
  • Tiles: Overstock.com
  • 3D contour map of this region: hard to find! I found some obscure source online and it took forever to come. These are quickly becoming a thing of the past...
  • Mug: Laura Zindel, gifted to me by another pal Lori McLean from her amazing store in NYC
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

STUDIO

  • HAPPY banner: Zoe Johnson, AKA Captain Crafty, who also works here as a jeweler
  • Circular table: vintage
  • Chairs: Thonet
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

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Thanks, Carla!

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