House Tour: AB Chao's Modern + Old = MOLD

Name: AB Chao
Location: Monroe, LA
Size: 1,900 sq ft
Years Lived in: 4

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Yes, Louisiana. We discovered AB Chao's fantastically funny blog a while back. Although she doesn't post much these days, she continues to upload beautiful photos to her Flickr account. We were so impressed with the shots of her home, we decided to go beyond our usual geographical area and ask her to participate in a House Tour.

AB is so deft at those vignette and corner-of-my-home style photos. The images are truly inspiring. Warning: After viewing/reading this House Tour, you may be tempted to hop on a plane to hang out with AB in her cozy and inviting abode.

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AT Survey:

My style: It's a little mid-century, a little Martha Stewart, a little vintage-y. A friend and I came up with "MOLD" a long time ago for our collective styles: modern + old.

The inspiration for my home: I am inspired by so many different sources it's hard to pinpoint one: I find inspiration all over the place! Lately I have been inspired by the images in Japanese craft books — clean, uncluttered spaces, lots of white, muted colors, vintage florals, sweet little vignettes. I get great ideas from magazines: Domino, Blueprint, Dwell, Metropolitan Home. I also love Scandinavian home design; there's a book called Stockholm Kitchens that makes me want to pack it all in and buy a flat in Sweden. Oh, and my mother will be very upset if I don't list her as an inspiration, but she totally is: She has fabulous taste and is a ruthless editor.

Favorite element: I love the bones of my house — shiplap walls, high ceilings, woodwork everywhere. Mostly I love the way light falls through the windows throughout the day. It gives the rooms this dreamy quality that makes me so happy I just want to sit there and look around. Oh, and my kitchen, I also love the kitchen. And the porch. FINE. I love it all!

Biggest challenge in designing my home: So many beautiful things, so little time. I have a hard time restraining myself and will end up with thirty-seven half-finished projects, too much clutter, and absolutely no self-control when it comes to paint.

What friends say about my home: "Have you run out of things to paint yet?" "Can you come over and decorate my house?" "How do you keep all this white furniture clean?" But mostly they don't say anything because I am too busy talking about my latest project. My friends are very sweet about it.

Biggest embarrassment in my home: The time I attempted to paint the hallway pink (a profound failure) and got so impatient that I started comparing colors on the doorjamb. The hallway is now a gorgeous pale green, but I still haven't repainted the door.

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Proudest DIY: The suspended bed on our screened-in porch. It took about a day and cost less than $100 to build. Although I confess I didn't do much of the building — my husband and brother are responsible for that.

Biggest indulgence with respect to my home: All the stuff on the walls: paintings, photographs, etc.

Best advice given or received: Something that took me a long time to learn is that less is more. Things seem so much more special if there's not stuff all over the place, and there's nowhere for your eye to rest. Also, when in doubt, group things in threes.

Dream source for stuff: Design Within Reach, Anthropologie, Kim's Antiques on Gilmore Girls

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Resources:

Appliances

  • Stove: antique Chambers
  • Espresso Machine: Francis Francis!
  • Mixer: KitchenAid
  • Hardware

  • Came with the house: Bakelite in the kitchen, original doorknobs/pulls in the rest of the house
  • Furniture

  • My couch is from Ethan Allen, circa 1973; my mother bought it before I was born and it's still going strong. The slipcovers were made in 1981, a testament to white cotton duck.
  • Chairs: Slipcovered hand-me-downs
  • Dining room: The table and piano were my grandmother's, and the Eames chairs were free: My favorite college history professor gave them to me.
  • Our Bed: West Elm
  • Other beds/various furniture are from this GREAT vintage furniture store in downtown Monroe called "Clarence's Old Stuff." No, seriously.
  • Accessories

  • West Elm
  • Ikea
  • Various thrift and vintage sources
  • Anthropologie
  • CB2
  • Lighting

  • Ikea
  • Target
  • My mother's hand-me-downs
  • Paint

  • All Martha Stewart, all the time
  • Flooring

  • All wood floors original to the house
  • Rugs and Carpets

  • eBay
  • My grandmother
  • Window Treatments

  • West Elm
  • Ikea
  • Artwork

  • Meredith Pardue Kennedy
  • Joey Slaughter
  • Lisa Congdon
  • Leigh Tyson
  • Myself
  • My daughter Madeleine
  • Various others
  • Thanks, AB!

    • See AB's blog here: Blog, and her Flickr account here: Flickr

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    (Edited from a post originally published 06.05.07)