Kat & Jon's Thrifty Dollhouse

Kat & Jon's Thrifty Dollhouse

Name: Kat, Jon, Canada the dog, and Corso & Sabine, sibling cats
Location: Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Size: 750 square feet
Years lived in: Rented 2 Years

Natural born thrifters, Kat & Jon have a thing for worn wood, chipped paint and soft leather. Their philosophy is that if something has held together long enough to make it to the thrift store, it probably has lots of life left to live. Theirs is a traveling feast of finds, a space chock full of personality...


This is the fourth manifestation for Kat & Jon: always evolving and responding to what each new rental wants. Thoughts of a clean, modern space were set aside when the heavy molding and worn floors begged for a deep, rich library-like feel and their collection of vintage finds seems to be thriving in the adapted setting.

Creative to the core, the house keeps changing and flexing with their whims. The main room has been a movie set, a photo studio, a silkscreening shop, a library, a dining room, and a company headquarters, each with its own layout and appropriate furniture.
They've recently rented an artist's studio so that their shape-shifting business (currently a not-for-profit filmmaking school for kids) can have a home elsewhere and home can become a little more like home.

Apartment Therapy Survey
Our style: Thrifty, eclectic, and whimsical
Inspiration: The continual surprise of thrifting antiques shopping. We like to be inspired by the space, instead of forcing our style onto a space.
Favorite Element: The dollhouse that a family friend built in the late 70's — I've been toting it around with me since I was a kid. It's proven amazingly versatile! It's currently a linen cabinet, but it's been a pantry, dresser, bookshelf, craft cabinet, and back in the day, an actual dollhouse.
Biggest Challenge: In an old building there are always a lot of challenges, but overcoming things like hideous salmon spongepainting was easy.
What Friends Say: When's the next dinner party? And where's your tv?
Biggest Embarrassment: The flesh-colored exterior, which unfortunately we're stuck with.
Proudest DIY: There has been a lot of DIY'ing this space, but my favorite is probably the dresser drawer bookshelf. I'd like to make more of them eventually.
Biggest Indulgence: The leather couch and chair — a craigslist find, but quite spendy for us! It belonged to an Italian woman who lived in the North End for years, who passed it along to a grandson, who sold it to us. It's in like new condition and it has to be at least 40 years old!
Best advice: Be patient with your projects. Letting a space grow and change organically is much more pleasing than buying just to get it done.
Dream source: 127 Corridor sale — the world's longest yard sale at 654 miles long. I still need to check out Todd Farm.

Furniture: Craigslist, thrift stores (Boomerangs in JP, Thrift Shop of Boston in Roslindale, Goodwill in the South End, the now extinct Hadassa in Allston, and many many places in Chicago), and saves from the landfill.
Accessories: Vintage toys and cameras are either passed down from family or are eBay finds.
Lighting: Kitchen shades from Williams Sonoma; others: thrift
Rugs and Carpets: Bath is Urban Outfitters; Living is from RugsUSA.com; Kitchen is from eBay
Window Treatments: Living room fabric is from Sewfisticated in Somerville; Kitchen was from IKEA; Bedroom were sewn from Urban Outfitters tapestries
Beds: The bed was the first present my husband ever gave me. I left town for the weekend, and he salvaged the piece from a local thrift store, brought it to my apartment, and assembled it and painted it in my room. It's now one of my favorite things in the house.
Artwork: Prints: Matt Cipov and superkonductor.com; Boy Scout diorama by Nikki Hollander; Leaf woman painting by Kass Copeland; Aquatints by us
Paint: Living room is Behr Fedora; Kitchen is Benjamin Moore Half Moon Crest; and I can't find the bedroom paint chip at the moment.

(Images: Kat, a.k.a. Kiddo Katsu)

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