Name: Kathryn and Emilio Ancaya and their daughter, Claire
Location: Kenilworth — Asheville, NC
Size: 2,000 square feet (with 700 square foot attached studio apartment)
Years lived in: Owned 7 years
Kate has always appreciated the beauty of old homes, and when she saw that the architectural gem she had long admired had gone on the market, she knew there was a dream to chase. Seven years later, the couple has made a number of improvements to the charming villa-esque home resulting in an airy and calm residence, which is embraced by Kate's gardens on a sunny corner lot. The intrinsic fluttering of warm sunlight from the variety of casement widows dances over the home's golden wood details, lofty plastered walls, and lovely floral displays all throughout the day, so go ahead—take the tour—and don't be surprised if you feel a bit like a butterfly skipping across an enchanted oasis.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Well, we like what we like and can't really commit to any one style or trend. Kate grew up in a 1700s-era farmhouse in Pennsylvania while Emilio spent his youth in a contemporary Spanish style home in central Florida. We love antique + modern; worn + shiny; neutrals + color…
Inspiration: The process! We are constantly inspired by what our home could be as we slowly make it our own.
Favorite Element: The doors and windows and how we can always feel connected to outside even in the winter.
Biggest Challenge: It's an old house…there is a constant and long list of upkeep + projects yet to be done. Although we have always lived in old houses with unending projects, this house feels so worth all of the work.
What Friends Say: "Every time I walk into Kate and Emilio's home it's like stepping into a different world... It's such a unique home, so different from anything else in Asheville, not only from the architectural perspective given its Spanish Revival style, but also the beautiful atmosphere and feeling they created. It's bright and cozy and has so many carefully curated design elements; such as the amazing collection of blue pottery sitting atop the kitchen cabinet, or the fun Art Deco lamp in the living room. There's always a little surprise if you look close enough. Everything comes together cohesively and the hand picked flower arrangements just add to the paradise they call home."
Get the look! → A Harmonious Blend of Traditional, Contemporary & Modern
Biggest Embarrassment: We aren't really embarrassed so much as conscious of all of the work left undone… peeling plaster, holes in the floors, etc. But again, we love the process! I don't think we would be content to be in a perfect home.
Proudest DIY: Our daughter Claire. Oh, do you mean at the house? Probably the kitchen…it took us a while to dive into this project. We did some demo before we moved in and then just lived with it (torn up floors, holes in the floor, etc.) so we could take the time to develop our ideas and understand our needs. When we took the plunge, Emilio was able to find flooring that matched the existing floors in a dumpster and spliced them in. He also built the wooden counters and wall shelving, and installed the cabinets. The marble counter was a beast so the folks over at Nova installed that for us.
Biggest Indulgence: The 90-year-old prayer rug in the dining room. We have been fortunate to have found many of our belongings at flea markets in Pennsylvania and from family who also love the hunt of a flea or yard sale. The rug was a deliberate purchase and felt very serious! But it will be with us forever. And PLANTS! Every weekend we refresh arrangements throughout the house so we are constantly surrounded by plants and flowers. It makes the week easier and is a fun, relaxing weekend task. Our daughter has even started making some for her room. She gets it.
Best Advice: Fill your house up with what makes you happy, calm, and inspired.