This Cozy Home (in One of the Coolest Suburbs) Embraces a ‘Poetic vs Perfect’ Design Philosophy

published Sep 25, 2019

This Cozy Home (in One of the Coolest Suburbs) Embraces a ‘Poetic vs Perfect’ Design Philosophy

published Sep 25, 2019
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Name: Hollie Velten-Lattrell (creative consultant) Sean Lattrell (animator), Penelope (8) and Lake Lattrell (4.5) and our dog (Wally), cat (Pink Flower Fluffy Boy), and two bunnies.
Location: Maplewood, New Jersey
Size: 2000 square feet
Years Lived In: almost 5 years, owned

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Filled with creative people (an artist and designer, an animator, and no doubt two budding artists), this large house is located in one of Apartment Therapy’s picks for coolest suburb, Maplewood, New Jersey. Hollie runs a multi-disciplinary insights and creative research studio and has recently begun working on interiors (particularly excelling in kids’ spaces) under the name SPACES by Hollie Velten. As Hollie describes below, her home isn’t “perfect,” but that’s exactly why it’s so worthy of touring; it’s a house filled with collected items, handmade treasures, and an unwavering sense of fun and coziness.

“We did the Brooklyn-to-the-burbs move when our youngest was just born for a chance to slow down and cultivate a new, creative space to grow in,” writes Hollie. “Our house is far from perfect—it’s peppered in flaws and  honestly quite jerry-rigged, but the girls tell me everyday how much they love their home and I am learning to see it through their eyes. Our yellow Colonial wedges the street corner like a big smile and is filled with happy little objects to suit our family of curious homebodies.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Layered, lived-in, storied, California memories. I work in trend and also help clients with the design of creative kids spaces. I practice a sustainable work-with-what-you-have and where-you’re-from approach, often starting from an old family photo and a children’s doodle to invite a narrative. Poetic versus perfect.

Inspiration: Mostly the past. Old family photos. Saul Steinberg. A shell house in Mexico we vacationed in. “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”.

Favorite Element: There are a few archways that give a little curve to our otherwise linear home. The nostalgia in my daughter Penelope’s room (similar to pics of my own first Holly Hobbie nursery). Downstairs, I am really into my new indoor olive tree and the Italian ’80s white set of chairs found at Brimfield from @greystone1897.

Biggest Challenge: Cords! Pets! And the brushing-your-teeth-with-Oreos effect of living with kids. I try to just incorporate different vessels for quick stashing all around.

Proudest DIY: My weird sculpture (styrofoam balls/shapes pierced through a wooden dowel and coated with plaster of paris), my daughter’s wall hanging (a costume she made from Oh! Canary art camp inspired by Nick Cave sound suits with toile fabric and raffia). Also my Pin Boards in my downstairs office, borrowed from

Biggest Indulgence: A custom portico built around the front door to give some depth and character to an otherwise-flat steel-siding exterior. Also, a beautiful Dutch console from Restoration Hardware that’s still stored in the garage, patiently waiting for a bathroom install one day.

Best Advice: Redecorate, vs. remodel. Or at least don’t rush to chase a shiny finish.  Take time to connect to your space, find small meaningful belongings, and build off of that. I have house envy wherever I go but am slowly learning to love what is inherently, authentically mine. “The way you choose to personalize your home is so closely linked to your individuality that it’s only logical that it will develop over time as you do.”- “Diary of Your Home” by Joanna Ahlberg + Peter Ahlberg / Rizzoli.

What’s your best home secret? A home is full of secrets. I do tend to be ill-prepared for things, but have discovered an arsenal of household hacks i.e.: toothpaste erases penciled wall doodles, white chalk for a quick grout veneer, vinegar + baking soda for carpets, eucalyptus bunches tied to the shower head for a fresh steam, trinket bowls of Epsom salt for clarity etc etc. We’re not too proud for duct tape and glue guns. Also, necklaces sometimes make interesting wall hangings.



  • Front Door and windows — Benjamin Moore Onyx
  • Brass Lion Door knocker — Etsy CooperTerrace
  • House numbers — Anthropologie


  • Vintage Painting


  • Bevin Chair — One Kings Lane
  • Sofa — West Elm
  • Oversized french hat on wall — Etsy AntiqueFilling
  • Silver Soft Sculpture — Danielle Marie Masters
  • Ceramic tall White Vase — Claire Weiss
  • Decorative brooms — Meus
  • Vintage plaster twisted lamp, sling chair, wool blanket, kids table
  • Kids Panton chairs — Similar to Welivv
  • DIY plaster sculpture
  • Horse Collage — William Crump
  • Mini Fiber Wall Square — Gift from Cold Picnic years ago



  • Hanging basket — Vintage
  • Cups — Target and Mercy





  • Hanging basket — Meus
  • Shower curtain — Nate Burkus Target
  • Vintage boob tray, painted wooden stool
  • Mirror — Anthropologie

Thanks Hollie!

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