Name: Jeannette of JAID Style
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; rented
Stepping into Jeannette's converted warehouse apartment on the historic downtown mall of Charlottesville, Virginia, it's easy to imagine you have been transported: to a tropical island, off the coast of Africa, in the 1950's, where James Bond and Fred Astaire live. Oh, and you're in a black and white film.
This sense of being transported to another place and time is exactly how Jeannette wants you to feel in her home. In fact, she doesn't want her guests to just feel comfortable; she wants them to feel curious. You may stop in the entryway to get lost in the Edward Gorey prints, before coming across a four foot temple guard carved in India, adorned with jewelry and aviator goggles — there is a sense of humor that runs throughout the space. Next you may wander past an antique Chinese wedding cabinet, across the zebra rug, past the camel carved in India, to stop to stare at Jeannette's most prized possession: a gilded icon hand-painted in Greece. On your way upstairs to the rooftop patio, just past the surfboard, you will lose yourself in a wall of black and white images, with a Beatles mirror reflecting a Union Jack flag that hangs above the bed, across from a collection of world globes. You will, without doubt, experience a single powerful emotion: wanderlust.
Jeannette views her home as an art project, constantly evolving, and you can watch her thoughtful design progress through the space. From the zebra head hanging in the living area, your eye is drawn to the striped kitchen wall, then down the hall to the black and white rug. A collection of carved antique furniture from Jeannette's grandmother can be found dispersed throughout the apartment; a sideboard in the entryway, a table in the dining area, a pie safe in her bedroom. These antiques mix with the modern lines of orange chairs in the style of Charles Eames and the wishbone chairs tucked around the dining room table. The journey through time is as apparent as the journey through geographical places in this apartment.
To achieve this sense of being transported to a different place and time, and in order to best utilize such a small space, Jeannette likes to imagine her home as boat. (It is no coincidence the three round mirrors above the sofa are reminiscent of portholes on a ship.) While the ceiling may be high, there is only one room, which contains the entryway, the kitchen, the living space, and the dining area. Therefore, each area must be streamlined and multifunctional. For example, the dining room table is pushed up against a wall, and also serves as a desk and work space. But I,for one, cannot imagine getting any work done in such a space; here at Jeannette's, in my mind, and eyes, I am off wandering.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style/Inspiration: Antiques mixed with mid-century. The style and colors reflect many of my obsessions: black and white movies (think Casablanca and Fred Astaire), stripes, and travel. Almost everything in my space evokes memories of people I love and places I've been.
Favorite Element: The windows. I love the drama and authenticity of the old, metal windows, and I love the interaction with them, since they are difficult to open and close. Because everything else is the space is white drywall, having this old element so prominent in the space lends it more history.
Biggest Challenge: There are no rooms, so I had to be thoughtful about how to use the large, open space so that it functions well for my daily living, but can also be used to entertain friends.
What Friends Say: They ask to go up to the rooftop, which has amazing views of the bustling downtown pedestrian mall below, as well as the mountains that surround the city.
Biggest Embarrassment: The carpet upstairs, though since I'm a renter, I have no control over that. If I had my way, the kitchen would have a concrete countertop and subway tiles to the ceiling. And of course, there's the problem of the kitchen being right in the middle of the space. Needless to say, I would re-do the entire kitchen.
Proudest DIY: My grandfather's huge metal desk (next to my bed). This piece was from a steel mill, and sat in a garage since the early 80's, as no one wanted to touch it. I ripped off the top, sanded down the sides, painted it high-gloss black, and finished it with a desktop from Ikea. The top's edge was a ¼ inch too small for my taste, so I finished the piece with a custom metal band made at a local roofing store.
Biggest Indulgence: As a renter, it can be difficult to get permission to paint. My landlord indulged me by allowing me to paint large black stripes on the kitchen wall! I wanted them to break up the white drywall and emphasize the architecture of the stairs.
Best Advice: Think of your space as an art project. There's nothing you're stuck with, so feel free to bring new things in, and take old things out; have fun and let the space evolve to be an expression of who you are in the moment, on any given day, or week, or year.
Dream Sources: Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (the flea market in Paris), street vendors all over the world, local auction houses, 1st Dibs, One Kings Lane, Shiner International.
Resources of Note:
• Gold lamps: lampsplus.com
• Black bench: Chinese antique
• Black lamp: Crate & Barrel
• White bowl: West Elm
• 3 white cylinder vases: Ikea
• Sideboard: great grandmother
• Orange chairs in the style of Eames: garage sale
• Sheepskins: Ikea
• Zebra head: Anthropologie
• Clock: Ballard Design
• Sofa: Metropolitan Home
• Zebra rug: Hollywood Love Rugs
• 3 circle mirrors: Ikea
• Camel: antique from India
• Black and white pillows: Ikea
• Wishbone chairs: thrifted Hans Wagner replications
• Icon: hand-painted in Greece
• Lamp base: Target
• Lamp lantern globe: World Market
• Table: great grandmother
• Giant clock: vintage, from India
• Gold bedside lamps: lampsplus.com
• Union Jack flag: vintage, from local antique store Circa
• Desk: grandfather
• Desk chair: Ikea
• Klismos chair: gift of a friend, recovered by Jeannette
• Carved pie safe: great grandmother
(Images: John Robinson)
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— John + Sara Robinson, Jeannette Andamasaris