A Bright Boston Victorian with a Modern Twist

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

Name: Justin and Anna Spaller + Cat, Oscar
Location: Savin Hill — Boston, Massachusetts
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: Rented 1 year

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Two years ago, Justin and I had no idea we would end up living in an old Boston neighborhood, let alone in a beautiful 19th century Victorian home. At that time, we were Midwest natives turned Brooklynites, planning a big farewell to the city that never sleeps after four years. We left to travel across the States, Southeast Asia and India, and arrived back just in time to get married last year. That same month, we heard of Justin’s acceptance into an MFA program here in Boston, so off we went to explore our new city and home!

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

After moving around so much in the years we’d been together, a city and home with such history seemed like a wonderful place for us to start nesting. The historically Victorian architecture and woodwork are the ideal pairings to our mid-century modern style, and the natural light in the apartment is a dream. Being two creatives (Justin a writer, I a photographer and new member of the Apartment Therapy team!), we have collected artwork over the years that now lives happily on these walls. I have loved mixing bright colors, bold patterns and textures with the simplicity of mid-century design and the home’s original elements.

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

Our home sits on top of a huge hill, so Justin and I sometimes feel like we are up in our own private tree house. Being surrounded by nature while still being close to the city and the Atlantic is the best of both worlds! Although we still travel often, we won’t be moving apartments for quite awhile and are always grateful to have such a strong foundation to return to after each trip…even if it is up in the trees.

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Mid-century modern mixed with lots of pattern, color, and texture!

Inspiration: India, the 1950s, handmade goods, and other people’s homes.

Favorite Element:
Anna: Natural light.
Justin: A working fireplace.

Biggest Challenge: Our bedroom takes up the majority of the apartment, so it was a challenge creating a communal space that feels large and comfortable enough to entertain in.

What Friends Say: “We feel so at home here!”

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

Biggest Embarrassment: We don’t like that the bathroom is off the kitchen.

Proudest DIY:
Anna: Finding a cabinet just the right size for our bizarre kitchen nook, and creating a beautiful green space around it using hanging baskets from Thailand and a clothes rack from the clearance section.
Justin: Creating a bar and booze book haven in the pantry shelving between the kitchen and living room.

Biggest Indulgence:
Anna: thrifting home goods.
Justin: thrifting books.
Both: wine, ice cream, and dreaming real estate on Zillow.

Best Advice:
Make a space to live in, not a museum.
Don’t rush. Enjoy finding the pieces you’ll truly love to see every day, and don’t stress about making it look perfect too quickly. Life is messy and building a home takes time.

Dream Sources:
Anna: The first opening hour at the Brimfield Antique Flea Market in Western Massachusetts. A flea market in Morocco. Anywhere with parquet flooring.
Justin: Argosy Old & Rare Book Store in Midtown Manhattan.

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)
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Justin & Anna Spaller (Image credit: Anna Spaller)

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