Amanda's Retrolicious Headquarters

Amanda's Retrolicious Headquarters

Kristen Lubbe
Jul 1, 2010

Name: Amanda Ramsden
Location: Sterling, Virgina
Size: 1,600 square feet — 2 bedroom, 2 ½ bath
Years lived in:

Amanda lives nestled away outside of the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC. She gets the simplicity and calm vibes of the DC suburbs, but for her interiors, she embraced the loud, colorful, artistic mashup that encompasses the District. When you walk into Amanda's Quirky Headquarters, you get an immediate sense of her personality and her passion for color and art.

Amanda describes her style in three words that couldn't be more perfect "quirky, fun, retrolicious". Her home is exactly that — the mix of patterns and colors are quirky yet fun, and she loves searching for and collecting retro pieces. She was lucky enough to inherit the amazingly retrolicious fireplace in the dining room. It's not just a fireplace — it's a record player and bar!

An intriguing aspect of Amanda's home are the paint colors and patterns. The bright orange wall color in the dining and living rooms is certainly a bold choice, and she toned it down well with the white ornamentation…that she painted herself! When I asked her about that decision she said she wouldn't recommend freehand painting it - she wishes she had just used a stencil, or even wallpaper. The same story goes for the accent wall in the bedroom — Amanda painstakingly painted the white design on the red wall. A labor of love that looks fantastic! Each room you enter has a buffet for your eyes and the ability to feast away.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

How would you define your style? Quirky, fun, retrolicious

What is your greatest inspiration? I'm sort of nostalgic, especially for time periods that I haven't actually lived through so I think a lot of my home design has been influenced by 60s/70s TV reruns or old magazines — for example, our bedroom is modeled after an old Motel 6 ad. I also look for inspiration from online sources like Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge, Saucy Dwellings, or print mags like Dwell, Elle Decor, and Atomic Ranch.

What is your favorite element of your home? A faux fireplace that has a hidden stereo and bar. It's the hippest thing I own and I'm totally in love with it.

What is the biggest challenge of your home? Structurally, our place is a perfect example of an early 1990s traditional condo. When we first moved in we felt bored with the cookie-cutter architecture.

What do friends say about your home? Our friends really like our place, they enjoy that our home reflects our fun, carefree personalities.

What is your home's biggest embarrassment? The standard "builder's choice" cabinets in the kitchen, we've talked about replacing or painting them, but still haven't gotten around to it.

What DIY project are you most proud of? The kitchen. The cabinets and the stove are the only things leftover from when we moved in. The floor was stained white linoleum, the countertops were dingy white formica, and the previous owner had actually painted the fridge.

What is your Biggest Indulgence, when furnishing your home? The Panton reproduction chairs in the kitchen from Design Within Reach. Next would be the livingroom couch, it was a floor model at Ethan Allen that we had recovered. It was more expensive, but I think a comfortable couch is a good investment.

Best Advice: Be yourself. Our home is filled with things we like that make us happy and while I'm drawn to the clean look of mid century modern, I also can't deny my addiction to little tchotchkes.

Dream Source: Backing a moving van up to the MoMA's modern architecture and design galleries.


Furniture: IKEA, Ethan Allen, Bo Concept, Crate & Barrel, Scan, DWR. Pieces like our kitchen table, dining room table, and little sofa, were all thrift store or yard sale scores.

Accessories: Too many to mention — Target, IKEA, Crate & Barrel, eBay, etsy, any place that has a knicknack that catches my eye.

Lighting: Lighting resources have come from all over — the chandelier in the dining room was clearance at Home Depot; corner light in living room from IKEA; in the bedroom the bedside lamps were clearance $4 each at Target that I paired with shades from Urban Outfitters. Another corner standing lamp base was from Linens N' Things but I wanted a 50's style fiberglass shade to go on it so I bought a reproduction one from Moon Shine, and the piece de resistance tacky bowling pin lamp was another yardsale find.

Window Treatments: Mostly thrift store curtains, the kitchen curtains are from Urban Outfitters.

Beds: Bedroom furniture from Bo Concept.

Artwork: I have created a lot of the artwork, but I am also a big fan of thrift store and yard sale art and love collecting old paint by numbers pictures. I also like to take vintage fabric and stretch it on a canvas to make art, like the Marimekko floral tablecloth I turned into art piece for our stairway. The downstairs bath uses my grandfather's old license plate collection for decoration while our bedroom has old motel and Las Vegas photos I found on eBay.

Paint: Home Depot — a mixture of Glidden, Behr, and Ralph Lauren.

Flooring: Hardwood on main floor with linoleum in kitchen and baths, carpeting upstairs.

Thanks Amanda!

Images: Kristen Lubbe

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