Emily & Pippa's Fountain Square Home

Emily & Pippa's Fountain Square Home

Olivia Hinkel
Aug 5, 2015
(Image credit: Olivia Hinkel)

Name: Emily Hinkel
Location: Fountain Square; Indianapolis, Indiana
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years; Rented

A blend of cherished keepsakes, carefully selected art, and straight-up vintage fun, Emily's home makes an impact before you even walk in the door. You are almost guaranteed to be greeted by Pippa- Emily's energetic and canine roommate- and as soon as you catch sight of this bossy Dalmatian, you know this house is going to be something special. Eccentrically colorful and expertly arranged, it does not disappoint.

Emily and Pippa
(Image credit: Olivia Hinkel)

The walls are full of art, and they take the term "gallery wall" to a whole new level. Each grouping is arranged so carefully that to remove one from the whole would knock it off-balance. More than that, Emily has hung everything in a very sculptural manner. The artwork does more than just draw your eye to a focal point in the room and then let it roam: the use of color, form, and texture pulls guests through the house, almost without their realizing it. It is so cohesively organized that no corner can go overlooked. Emily agonizes over her decisions of what to buy and how to arrange her keepsakes, but nothing could be easier on the eyes.

Two years ago, this would barely have been recognizable as the same house. The dining room had been painted in multiple shades of green, and the bedroom walls had crumpled newspaper crushed against them in wads and painted over. After many hours and much help, she is proud of what the house has become. With fresh coats of paint and stunning art, Emily has certainly breathed new life into this house and transformed it into a home that demonstrates not all rooms need rugs, anything can be beautiful if paired with a plant, and there is nothing to rival a wall of literature.

(Image credit: Olivia Hinkel)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: A friend of mine describes my style as both "carefully curated clutter" and "maximalist," which I have always found amusingly appropriate. I like things bright and interesting and eclectic, and I like them covering nearly every surface. I've had several people tell me that every time they come to my house, they see something they hadn't noticed the last time they visited; that's how I like it.

Inspiration: I suppose it's cliche to say, but I find inspiration everywhere. That's why, in my house, you'll find an UrbanOutfitters' shopping bag hanging on the wall and a vase of arrows next to the television and a side table made from a chessboard. It's probably fair to say that I am inspired by animals, as they pop up over and over again in my decor, as does house/architectural imagery. I also tend to be drawn to Mid-century modern furniture because I like the clean simple lines; my house is cluttered enough without elaborate furniture.

Favorite Element: Probably my sofa. I found it in a thrift shop (via Craigslist) in St. Louis, and I think it's the perfect piece of furniture. I've never seen another one like it. I recently had it reupholstered (in commercial-grade fabric, so that it has a better chance against my rough-and-tumble dog), and I feel like it really makes the living room. Runner-up would probably be the pachinko machine, which has enchanted me since childhood. It was actually my father's when he was a little boy, and I practically had to twist his arm to let me display it. (For the record, it was sitting in storage, so my request was completely reasonable!)

Biggest Challenge: 1) Total and conspicuous absence of storage. My house was built in the 1800s, and there are no closets at all. So I have to engineer all sorts of places to store my clothing, shoes, linens, vacuum, and any number of things that are usually tucked conveniently away into closets. 2) Dwindling wall space. My house has a lot of windows, which is fantastic, but the down side is that it doesn't have a ton of wall space. I'm running out of room for art!

What Friends Say: I usually get positive reactions from friends, even from people whose taste differs drastically from my own, which particularly means a lot to me. Sometimes people suggest that I go into interior design, but I doubt that I could take direction very well; I'm afraid any house I decorated would only end up looking like my own! Oh, and once, a woman, a virtual stranger, walked into my house and loudly proclaimed that I "had the vision."

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen. Neither the cabinets nor the countertops are to my taste at all. I've been thinking for a long time about DIY-ing a concrete veneer on the counters with Ardex Feather Finish, but I haven't yet gotten up the nerve. Someday!

Proudest DIY: I'm cheating a bit because this, in truth, is probably my "Favorite Element," but by placing it here, I get to talk about more things... :] I'd long dreamed of a way to display all my books, which I knew would basically amount to a floor-to-ceiling wall of shelves. Purchasing a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit was way out of my price range, so I bought what is (objectively speaking) fairly ugly, industrial-looking track shelving from Lowe's. I got boards cheap, painted them white, and the whole thing was fairly simple, but the pay-off was huge. It's probably the most impactful thing in my home, plus it's better than a shelving unit because it's customizable. I can make it as wide or narrow as I want, and I can make the shelves themselves as tall or short as I want... The ugly, industrial parts of the shelving were a non-issue for me because my shelves are so packed full of stuff that none of it really shows. I will here confess that I obsessively (obsessively) arrange the books and curios on my shelves, and that when I moved 1.5 years ago and was forced to disassemble the shelves, I took myriad photos of each shelf so that it could be exactly recreated in my new house. My sister and brother-in-law gave me the rolling stairs for Christmas, which means that my dream library is pretty much complete.

Biggest Indulgence: The trio of sculptures- The Herd" by Tasha Lewis- is, I think, easily my biggest indulgence, perhaps rivaled only by my books. She was an artist here in Indy (now relocated to NYC), and when I saw her beautiful work displayed at a local gallery, it resonated with me so deeply that I decided almost on the spot that I had to have it in my home. I saved up the money for quite some time, and Tasha was a dream to work with. She also made the butterflies on the door in the dining room. As for my books, all I can say is that it's an addiction.

Best Advice: Don't assume you can't do something. There's always a way. Maybe you don't know how to drill into a particular type of wall surface or maybe you don't know how to display art without a frame or maybe you don't know how to install a fireplace mantle (all things I've learned about in recent years), but I guarantee someone knows how. I have yet to dream of an idea that wasn't feasible.

Dream Sources: Flea markets and thrift stores and salvage shops. I have access to them, but in order to find the really good stuff, you have to make frequent visits, and I am sadly lacking the time. So I guess my actual dream source in this case would be some kind of time machine.


(Image credit: Olivia Hinkel)


  • Dining room and living room: Gravity by Valspar
  • Mud room: Metropolis by Valspar
  • Bedroom: Snowy Dusk by Valspar
(Image credit: Olivia Hinkel)


  • I Am No Bird poster: by Coralie Bickford-Smith
  • Pachinko machine: my father's
  • Sofas: Craigslist
  • Yellow flower pillows: Target
  • Red/blue/yellow pillow: The Inventorialist
  • Coffee table: made by father
  • Blue deer: by Tasha Lewis
  • Terrarium: Ikea
  • Curtains: Ikea
  • Dutch plant holder: eBay
  • Woman with strawberries: by Karolin Schnoor
  • Girls talking print: Flatland Kitchen
  • Purple plant tendrils poster: for poetry reading, from bulletin board during my time at DePauw University
  • Maroon Bells photo: by Ansel Adams
  • 59 Fields poster: by Nigel Peake
  • Love print: Cats Let Nothing Darken Their Roar
  • Desk: Craigslist
  • Chair: purloined from my high school
(Image credit: Olivia Hinkel)


(Image credit: Olivia Hinkel)


  • Flower posters above cabinets: by Jill Bliss
  • Small prints over counter: by Andy J. Miller
  • Hapgood spice holder: Midland Arts & Antiques, Indianapolis
  • Aqua spice rack: Beatnik Reject
  • Magnetic board: The Container Store
(Image credit: Olivia Hinkel)


(Image credit: Olivia Hinkel)


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