As part of the audition process to become an Apartment Therapy Boston blogger a year ago, the finalists were asked to submit a house tour. Nervously, I submitted my own — Kyle’s Jamaica Plain Gem. A few fun and surprising experiences emerged from that gamble, including a regular gig on Apartment Therapy and the tour being spotted by Better Homes & Garden's Decorating magazine — my apartment has been professionally photographed and will be featured in an upcoming issue (date TBD). In anticipation of the magazine photo shoot, I went into overdrive, shifting from my ordinary role of "serial re-arranger" to full-blown "re-styler", making significant changes to my space...
The one thing that hasn't changed in the past year is my addiction to saturated color. In these photos, the baseline color palette is amped up by the addition of fresh flowers. One of the perks of having your home photographed by a magazine — they fill it with fresh flowers! However, in the past year I've made small attempts to temper the abundant color with injections of grounding neutrals. I changed the daybed covers from white to "clay"; sewed a new kitchen "skirt" and window seat cushion, shifting both of them from multi-colored fabrics to matching browns. Those are just a couple of the myriad changes I've made over the past year!
Since I already answered the Apartment Therapy House Tour Survey in the original tour, I'll focus here on highlighting some of the specific changes I made to my space this year. Even for me, this was a highly unusual degree of re-arranging/re-decorating — learning that your home is going to be photographed by a national magazine inspires you to do lots of things you've been meaning to do...like hang light fixtures!
Here are just some of the changes and additions:
• Other than the living room, every room has been dramatically rearranged (and truth be told, the arrangements have already changed since these pictures were taken!)
• In general, I've added more decorative layers (lamps, end tables, artwork, treasures) to my space in the past year, which in the photos might feel like "too much" but for me feels playful, nuanced, and enriching. Most of the objects, furniture, and decorations I acquired in this time were secondhand — from Boomerangs in Jamaica Plain, the Cambridge Antique Market, The Massachusetts Antiques Co-op in Waltham, Craigslist, the Canal Street Antique Mall in Lawrence, and Downstairs at Felton Antiques in Waltham. Don't be intimidated by the word "antiques" — most of my "antiques" are under $50, often much less.
• Added ceiling fixtures! My favorite is the red vintage one in my office which I got for $40 at Birch Street House and Garden in Roslindale. You should definitely check this place out!
• Despite people's disbelief at the number of pillows they saw in the original house tour, my mom made a few more! These were placed at the window seat in the kitchen; plus we added a more playful graphic pillow to the arrangement in the living room to break up the silky, formality of the other pillows.
• Took doors off hanging kitchen cabinet to see the colorful dishes inside.
• Reupholstered the living room ottoman (which was originally a $20 treasure from Boomerangs!). This was my first time having something professionally reupholstered (I usually try to do things myself) and it really is a fun treat to have someone else do it so well! I highly recommend Melo and Sons in Somerville.
• Added plants!
• Used old dining table as my new desk and created a new dining table from a vintage top, vintage chairs, and a CB2 base.
• Further indulged my embarrassing chair fetish, by placing more occasional chairs around the space. I have people over quite a bit so the chairs do come in handy!
• Added curtains in doorways between dining room and kitchen to break up the straight-shot view from one end of the apartment to the other.
• Added a couple more photo walls which make me really happy.
Until next year...
(Images: Kyle Freeman)