As soon as you meet her, Tolly is a genuine friend — accepting, welcoming, and easy to talk to. A book publicist by day, prominent blogger by night, and silk aerialist in her free time, Tolly is expressive and versatile — and with a quaint home office, music studio, and silk rope hanging on a tree in the backyard, her house follows suit. Like Austin, her home is a blend of cultures and ideas infused into a space that's relaxing, comfortable and unpretentious.
As Austin's Eavesdropper, Tolly has her ear tuned to the beat of the city's scene and culture. In her own AETV video productions and those upcoming with Citysearch, you can find out about Austin's hot spots and attractions — great for locals and visitors of the city. She spends a lot of time behind a keyboard as a blogger and publicist, so she makes a conscious effort to unchain herself from the computer by isolating her laptop to the office. This allows the rest of the home to be her sanctuary — where she can relax and pursue other hobbies and interests.
The subdued color palette of her home's walls and drapes, along with the amber glow from antique lamps and chandeliers, adds to the sense of relaxation and calm. There's no television in her home, and in its place are a pair of cozy rocking chairs that she and her husband use to read a book or magazine while listening to some music. Her husband enjoys woodworking, and crafted several of the pieces in the living room — including the stools and the dining and coffee tables. Made by joining different types of wood, some gathered on their travels in India, the pieces have geometric patterns that take on several unique shades and textures.
Tolly and her husband have turned their backyard into a space for enjoying their creative interests. The patio area is used as a wood shop, and Tolly hopes to one day transform some of that real estate into a yoga studio as well. There's also a blue silk hanging from the a tall oak tree, where Tolly practices silk aerials — something she's been enjoying as part of a New Year's resolution to have more offline hobbies. Also out back is an impressive music studio that her husband built from the ground up. In it, her husband leads a "School of Rock", teaching children how to play everything from guitar to drums, and even doing vocal coaching. Featuring a sloped roof and eight-inch thick walls with sound dampening foam, this music studio is able to jam out without disturbing the neighbors. Whether you're inside or out, this space is definitely one that offers the true essence of home — a place for peace, comfort and escape.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: I guess I think of our style as "vintage modern", as well as "wood obsessed." We both love the look of natural wooden furniture, especially since my husband is a wood worker. I'm always ooing and ahhing at Megan / Don's apartment in Mad Men, so I guess I'm a bit of a mid-century modern gal too.
Inspiration: Mad Men, my friend's houses, and books like Design*Sponge at Home and The Selby Is In Your Place. Those both sit on our coffee table, and I thumb through them almost daily. Also, '70s colors, like avocado green (which I painted our whole bedroom).
Favorite Element: Probably the fact that we have so many homemade things in our house. I love bragging to people that my husband made this table or that stool. He's built three pieces of furniture for our living room alone. We also built a music studio in our backyard that I think is pretty awesome.
Biggest Challenge: Our house is small, so finding furniture that fits our proportions can be challenging. That being said, our tiny house is a snap to clean.
What Friends Say: "This is so cute!" Ok, so in all honesty, they are my friends so they have to say that, but I really do believe them now. It took a while to get the house looking like how we wanted it to, but we're just about there.
Biggest Embarrassment: Our backyard! Oh my God. When we built the music studio out there, it kind of ate up all the grass — it's pretty ugly right now. Once we replace the grass though, we want to have friends out there for entertaining.
Proudest DIY: Either the coffee table in our living room (that my husband made), or the orange accent wall in our living room. I mixed two colors together to get that shade, and it was all kind of an accident, but it worked out nicely.
Biggest Indulgence: Our two couches. I love them! A lot of our furniture is either vintage (as in Craigslist "vintage") or was given to us by family, but the couches are brand new. My husband made fun of me for buying a "backless" couch (i.e. an Antoinette Sofa), but it's so glorious to look at. It's a SEXY piece of furniture.
Best Advice: Everyone always says "don't fear color!" which is sound advice. But I'll add onto that by saying, don't fear color-neutral combos. When I was in my early 20s, I painted every space I lived in purple, red, green, peach — it was a little out of control. Once I moved in with a dude though I had to tone things down a bit, and now I like this style even better — the colors are still bright and cheerful, but the neutrals make things feel calmer and more serene. Less like a crazy person lives there.
Dream Sources: Dream Sources: Thrive Modern for new, Uptown Modern on Burnet Road (here in Austin) for vintage; my friend's shop Reclaimed Austin, Craigslist.
PAINT & COLORS
- • Office: The brown was already there, but I painted the accent wall with Sherwin Williams "Turqish"
• Living Room: Sherwin Williams, mix of two colors, Pumpkin + Habanero Pepper
• Bedroom: Sherwin Williams, Gecko
- • Hexagonal "Dining" Table: Ross, my husband, made it out of three different kinds of wood (including some wood we brought back from living in India together one summer). He takes custom orders too.
• Pictures above the Hexagonal Dining Table: Imaginarium (here is a post to how those are assembled)
• Turquoise Flower Lamp: Gift from my mother-in-law
- • Coffee Table: Ross, my husband, made it out of scrap wood from the music studio we built
• Green Antoinette Sofa: Urban Outfiiters
• Brown Mid-Century Modern Sofa: Home Decorator's Collection
• Couch Throw Pillows: Pier One, Urban Outfitters, and a trip to Kerala, India in 2005
• Yellow / Wooden Rocking Chairs: Room Service Vintage on North Loop here in Austin
• Green Screen Printed Art: Design Public
• Pressed Leaf Artwork: I made
- • Rooster Art: Nate Duval
- • Pillow Shams + Comforter: Design Public
• Wicker Drawers: Pier One
• Bird Art: Nate Duval
• Lamps: My mom gave us those
• Printed Table Cloth On Accent Table: Oat Willie's Campaign Headquarters
- • Artwork: Woman sketch by Kiah Denson
- • Pink Lamp: Room Service Vintage
• Cube Hanging Lights: IKEA
• Curtains: Urban Outfitters
• Brown Floral Mural: DIY project by my husband and I, fabric from Jo-Anne Fabrics
• Walnut Desk: Estate sale in Hyde Park (Austin, TX)
• Artwork in Office: Central picture of turquoise building comes from South Austin Gallery, little collages were made by me, screen-printed yellow art from Design Public
(Images: Chris Perez)
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