Welcome to Melanie from San Diego; a blogger trying out for a place on the Apartment Therapy editorial team as a House Tour Contributor. Enjoy her work!
Location: North Park — San Diego, California
Size: 550 square feet
Years lived in: 2
Kelly's light-filled cottage is an example of the Spanish Colonial style that is iconic in Southern California. Located in the vibrant San Diego community of North Park, it is within walking distance of trendy shops, restaurants, and of course, Balboa Park. The only possible drawback is the size: 550 square feet leaves little room for excess. Kelly has scaled back her furnishings to fit into this casita, but what she's given up in posessions she has gained exponentially in quality of life.
Owner of Rhapsodie Piano Studio, Kelly is a busy piano teacher and musician whose day revolves around music. Kelly wouldn't be without her piano, violin, cello, or guitars. These well-loved instruments are not just beautiful accessories, but musical necessities that feature prominently in the decor of her home. They don't leave room for much else, so all other furnishings have been pared down to essentials and well-loved art pieces.
Kelly has an appreciation for vintage, kitschy art which she has gathered from years of thrift store shopping. Her home is filled with natural materials, and her collections of antlers and owls add a playful note to the gracefully curved ceilings and traditional arched openings. The effect is simultaneously fun and serene.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I would refer to my style as Hunting Lodge Bohemian. I collect antlers and all things moose/elk/deer. It makes for an interesting, kitschy style that is not overdone and fits in with the "hacienda" vibe of the traditional stucco exterior.
Inspiration: I appreciate the simplicity of the color scheme. The white plaster walls and the dark wood stains create a continuity that blends together the otherwise disparate pieces. The simple palate allows a few colorful accents to pop. I am also proud of my piano, which was challenging to fit into a 550 square foot apartment. After a lot of trial and error, I finally found the perfect home for it in the living room, where the piano bench can also double as seating.
Favorite Element: I appreciate the simplicity of the color scheme. The white plaster walls and the dark wood stains create a continuity that blends together the otherwise disparate pieces. The simple palate allows a few colorful accents to pop. I am also proud of my piano, which was challenging to fit into a 550 square foot apartment. After a lot of trial and error, I finally found the perfect home for it in the living room, where the piano bench can also double as seating.
Biggest Challenge: Storage is a challenge. With one closet, I have to really, really want something in order to keep it. Most of the things I use daily are part of the decor. Everything else is constantly being evaluated for it's usefulness...if I don't use it, I will give it away because I can't store it.
What Friends Say: Friends say that my playful, comfortable house is a reflection of my personality. They also say that it seems bigger than 550 square feet! I am always throwing dinner parties and hosting band practice, and it's amazing how many people and instruments I can fit into my space.
Biggest Embarrassment: I recently purchased a moose wallhanging that was just "too much moose" for the room - literally. I ended up returning it. I have learned that editing my posessions is important - what you don't display is just as important as what you do, especially in a small space.
Proudest DIY: The bookshelf in the living room was a a thrift store purchase that I sanded and refinished myself. It is now an irreplacable fixture in my home. All of my furnishings were extremely budget-conscious purchases. Most are from thrift stores and garage sales.
Biggest Indulgence: I splurged on my Le Creuset soup pot! This was one of the most expensive purchases for my home, but I cook a lot in my tiny kitchen, and this little luxury was worth every penny. It's the little things.
Best Advice: Matching is overrated. Buying what you love, not what matches, will create an original and interesting home that is a reflection of you. If you love it, chances are that you can blend it together with your other items harmoniously. My other straightforward bit of advice is that your furnishings don't need to cost a fortune to be beautiful!
Dream Sources: I would describe my dream source as a Hunting Lodge estate sale...if you hear about one, please let me know!
Resources of Note:
Pedestal Table: Pottery Barn, (purchased at a resale store)
Cardboard Antlers: Urban Outfitters
Living Room bookshelf: thrift store
Wire Wall-hanging: Hillcrest Farmer's Market
Wallhanging: Ross sale aisle
Branch side table: Target
Images: Melanie Gilbert
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