A Boston Apartment Steeped in Art and Family History

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Photo of the living room. We found this chair at a thrift store, and friends rescued the tri-pod lamp from trash day in their neighborhood. Eva and her dad refinished the cedar chest together before we moved into our new home in 2013. (Image credit: Submitted by Eva )

Name: Eva, Jack, their 3 year old Eleanor and Robin Williamson the cat
Location: Dorchester — Boston, Massachusetts
The basics: Four years, owned 1,100 square feet

Eva and Jack’s space is like a cozy and welcoming art gallery. After bouncing back from a fire that destroyed most of their belongings, they’ve created a home that feels stylish and exceedingly personal.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I live in our 1904 first floor condo with my husband, artist Jack Thrombly, and our nearly-three-year-old, Eleanor. I should note that we have an agoraphobic cat named Robin Williamson, though she most frequently enjoys the space underneath the furniture, and rather less of the limelight.

We live on the first floor of a tripple-decker in the Pope’s Hill region of Dorchester in Boston. Jack and I have always been treasure hunters in thrift and bookstores (and the odd side-of-the-road find), and have filled our home with beautiful found objects, large and small drawings by Jack, and art from family and friends.

Three years before buying our home, Jack and I experienced a terrible fire that consumed nearly all of our belongings and left us homeless. We lost an incredible amount of art, family jewelry, photographs, books, music, and history. Our current home is composed with nearly all new-found pieces, and rescued family objects that we incorporated to re-claim a sense of family history. Our travels since the fire have been opportunities to gather new pieces that are time capsules for our lives and story.

In the weeks after we bought our home (which was, notably, pre-Eleanor), Jack and I painted every inch of the apartment. We both tend towards cool colors, and the feeling of grays, blues, and purples felt both calming and creative throughout the house. Jack went through a period of creating large portraits of friends and family, and we have hung several throughout our space as well.

What is your favorite room and why? When we first moved in, we approached the dining room with the most clarity, and it felt “finished” the soonest. We used Benjamin Moore’s “Dreamy” for the walls (a beautiful purple-grey in Matte), and used all black and white art and photographs. Gradually, as Eleanor joined our family, a mountain of toddler paintings and an Ikea play kitchen have joined the space, making it feel even more comfortable and true to our family.

Our living room has taken longer to come together, but now feels like a wonderfully comfortable and beautiful space. We painted it Benjamin Moore’s Ice Cube Silver, which evolves between a silvery grey, and a cool blue depending on the time of day. There are two large portraits that Jack drew, and then several family photographs that make the room. Our most recent purchase is a Vintage Mersman Mid Century Modern coffee table, which I found on Craigslist for a steal. The “floppable” couch, colorfully pillows, toy baskets, plants, and collection of cook and art books makes this room a place we spend much of our time at home.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Our Mersman 8085 Mid-Century coffee table. I was on the search for months before finding the right piece for the space, which was an INCREDIBLE upgrade from the two Ikea cheap-o tables that we used before. We are a little more careful about water and crayon marks on this piece than the laminated Ikea tables, though the table is sturdy, beautiful, and will hopefully withstand the force of Eleanor!

Eva’s words of wisdom: Slowly let a space evolve. Incorporate family history. Use color! While I understand the aesthetic of all white walls and furniture, color brings so many moods and dimensions. And art. Find, invest, and display the images and shapes that speak to you.

Thanks, Eva!

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