Name: Kaitlyn McGowan and Evan Walker
Location: Downtown Gainesville, Florida
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years Lived In: 16 months, renting
Our home is a 1930s-ish converted duplex that I share with my partner of four years, Evan, and our cat, Rasputin, or Poots as we call him. Located downtown in a college town, our place has seen some interesting, fun, and scary renters. Two years before we rented it, we toured it, and the house was filled with graffiti scribbled on the walls, knocked-out windows, and multiple five-gallon bongs in the living room. This got us some refinished floors and much needed updates, so that worked out nicely for us.
Evan and I are fans of so-bad-it's-good movies, and we sometimes host movie nights with friends. Upgrading from our tiny closet apartment to this house was a big deal, and we were excited to create a space that accommodates our friends. Our house is functional for hosting a few friends around the TV and snacking in the dining room without feeling too crowded, but also feels cozy when it's just the two of us. Overall, our home goal was to make a space that our friends feel comfortable using. Don't want to take your shoes off before coming inside? Cool, that's fine. Did your drink spill? That's why we have a dark rug and couch! Is that pillow in your way? Just toss it on the floor, who cares?
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I like to describe my style as boho-vintage-swamp-chic. I've always had an eclectic style, and struggled to balance all the different styles I'm drawn to. Eventually, I had an epiphany that bohemian, mid-century, chic, modern, and vintage don't have to be mutually exclusive. They can happily coexist! The blend of styles and personal touches are what sets apart someone's home from a page in a magazine.
Inspiration: Looking around at our house, I realize that I created a space that draws inspiration from nature—lots of brass and porcelain animal figures, animal and plant art prints, and tons of living greens. Both of us being Florida natives, I wanted to capture our experience growing up here—not just the stereotypical beach and sunshine. Florida has so many distinctive birds, plants, and of course, alligators. That's the Florida I wanted to draw inspiration from—some coastal, some tropical, and lots of swamp vibes.
Favorite Element: My favorite element is the cuckoo clock I inherited from my grandma, Mimi. Actually, a lot of that room is a result of Mimi! Aside from the memories tied to that clock, it's the perfect authentic vintage vibe I was aiming for in that room.
Biggest Challenge: Living in an old house has a lot of perks and just as many challenges. One of those challenges is a serious lack of storage space, so it's been tough to handle as an organization freak. I've had to figure out creative ways to implement functional storage solutions that fit in with the decor and effectively hide all our little secrets. And now I have a basket addiction, which actually isn't as bad as it sounds.
Proudest DIY: This isn't the biggest DIY, but it's something I'm really proud of. I found this beautiful, bronzy, funky, glass light pendant that I wanted to hang over our dining table. The problem though, was that it's designed to be wired directly into the ceiling, and being renters we weren't about to mess with that. So we snipped an extension cord, bought electrical tape, and watched a LOT of Youtube videos. And viola! We safely "Frankensteined" the light pendant to be able to plug into a wall outlet.
Biggest Indulgence: I like to think I'm pretty frugal when it comes to buying new items for our house. I do my due diligence for coupons and discount codes before ordering something online, and let's be real, most of our furniture was purchased from the internet. Now, that's not to say I don't indulge my interior decor sweet tooth. I definitely buy more accents and furniture than I should, and I can't deny a good antique brass piece to add to my collection!
Best Advice: Take time to get to know your space and be ready to go through ups and downs with each room. Invest time and money in pieces that you love, but don't overthink it. Don't be afraid to transition a room if it's not working for you—you should be in love with your home.
Falls Sectional — Wrought Studios
Coffee Table — Serta Bryant
TV Stand — Manhattan Comfort Liberty
Coaster Barritt Industrial Antique Nutmeg Open Bookcase — Amazon
Rattan Wicker Shade — Etsy
Vintage Portrait —Etsy
Span 3-Head Metal Globe Floor Lamp — Target Project 62
POÄNG Armchair — IKEA
Blankets and Pillows — Target
Lupini Rattan Bench — Opalhouse
Jasper Laine Wire Branch Display Cabinet — Overstock
Lory Pouf — Opalhouse Target
Oversized Jungle Mural — Love Frankie
Art Prints — Etsy
allen + roth Aged Bronze Vintage Tinted Glass Urn Pendant — Lowes
Allen Dining Table — Target
Cockatoo Statue — Pier 1
Thanks, Kaitlyn and Evan!
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* This submission's responses have been edited for length and clarity.