Location: Manchester, New Hampshire
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: Rented for 1.5 years
If this vibrant House Tour looks a little familiar to you, it should! You may recognize Tanya's professional name, Violet Marsh, from our popular January Boston House Call — Violetmarsh's Colorful Collection. Our small peek into Tanya's home was so popular that we convinced her to let us do a full-on House Tour with more photos. Tanya is a photographer who recently returned to her hometown of Manchester, New Hampshire after living in both New York and San Francisco. In the 2 years she has lived in this bright Victorian, she used her photographer's eye, and has creatively restored vintage and street-finds to turn this sunny rental into a vibrant and romantic breath of fresh air.
Walking into Tanya's home, we were bowled over by her confident use of color, while her home exudes a comfortable calm. Each room has curved walls, which would present more than the usual challenge for anyone to furnish, especially the living room which also includes four doorways. But the lack of corners is an architectural detail that she's accentuated with feminine and modern decor. Her romantic style mixes curvy antiques and rescued furniture that she's refinished and painted, as well as a few well-curated new items sprinkled in. She's created an approachable and peaceful home that makes you want to take your shoes off, walk barefoot on her fluffy rug and stay for dinner.
Tanya's creativity extends way outside her home. Her photography studio, Violet Marsh, started as a side business, but is now very busy. In her studio, like her home, she doesn't follow the rules (her portraits are delightfully non-traditional), which adds to their charm and her success. And after our AT Boston January House Call, Violetmarsh's Colorful Collection, she even started working with some Apartment Therapy readers who hired her to consult on their home design!
Style: Feminine, vibrant, curated, modern and vintage.
Favorite Element: The turret!
Most Talked about Element: Since bringing home the giant sheepskin rug for the living room, everyone touches it and asks where I found it. Before I got the rug it was my bed. The placement of it, angled in front of three windows, is very dramatic. Everyone is shocked that I only paid $110 for it. Un-inflated prices is one advantage of living in New Hampshire.
Biggest Challenge: The living room because there are no walls to put furniture against and there is only one south facing window so there is not much natural light. This room was empty for months when I first moved in because I didn’t know what to do with it. Slowly it came together and adding the sheepskin rug really finished the room. Before the rug, the couch and coffee table were floating and not grounded in the space. Living on the first floor is also challenging. My windows are all covered with sheers for privacy. Living higher up gives you the freedom to have unobstructed windows and better views.
Favorite Room: I spend most of my time in my bedroom. This may be the result of having lived in studio apartments for four years. I do my photo editing at the glass desk, and I read or watch movies in bed a lot during the winter. I think the nicest room in the apartment is the studio. The light is phenomenal in there. It’s also the only room that doesn’t have extra doors or oddly placed built-ins. The other rooms are a bit more choppy since this is an apartment created from a house.
Oldest Item: The American antique dresser set in my bedroom and matching desk in my living room. This was given to me by my grandparents when I was 14 and it’s the only set I’ve had since.
Cleaning and Organizing Tip: My grandmother said, “When you take something out put it away, and when you dirty something, clean it.” I say, “Keep things simple." I have one set of plates, one cocktail shaker, one set of pots and pans, one sewing machine, one set of towels etc. It's easier that way.
What People Say: If they don't know me well they say, "This is such a cool apartment, how much do you pay for rent?" If they know me they say, "Beautiful. You're so creative."
Biggest Embarrassment: The natural gas heating unit in my living room. It was installed this fall and it’s a horrible eye sore. It’s a brown plastic unit that takes up half of a small wall where I use to have a chair. As someone who values aesthetics, not having a choice in something that is so prominent in the room is tough. That is the dark side of renting.
Proudest DIY: The yellow-green table in my living room. I found it in the trash and loved the shape. When I stripped the many layers of brown and red paint, I found brass hardware!
Biggest Indulgence: The brushed stainless steel All-Clad cookware set from Williams-Sonoma. I come from a family of bargain shoppers where TJ Maxx and Marshall’s were household names.
Best Advice: Only buy things you truly love and take your time to figure out what that is. In my first apartment, I used plastic forks and knives for months until I found flatware that was good quality, affordable, and well designed. I still use this flatware and I still love it. Resist the urge to settle!
Dream source: ABC Carpet, although since I am dreaming, I would prefer to travel the world and curate my own collection.
Inspiration: ABC Carpet, fabric from Purl, Pattern, Plants, Paris, antique gold frames, manicured trees, scrolling ironwork, small spaces, museums, traveling, fancy hotels like Liberty Hotel in Boston.
Duvet: DKNY collection from Macy's
Living Room Sofa: C.A. Hoitt, Manchester
Bedroom Vintage Chair: OPUS, Manchester
Alabaster Bust in Kitchen: OPUS, Manchester
Umbrella Lighting Cover: Pearl River (NYC)
Bedroom Sconce: New York Vintage, NYC
Window Treatments: IKEA
Bed: Concord Antique Gallery
Paint: Star Shine by Behr