Name: Kristen Ley and pups Willow Scarlet Ley (photographed) and Henry Albert Ley, and cat Norman
Location: Jackson, Mississipi
Size: 2300 square feet
Years lived in: Renting 1.5 years
Kristen Ley is the creative mastermind and founder of Thimblepress, a letterpress, stationery and celebration company out of Jackson, Mississippi (perhaps most recognized for their incredibly cheery and colorful Push-Pop Confetti). Her home is unique not just because it's in a historic building along one of Jackson's picturesque downtown streets—it's also the home of her business.
The production office and three letterpresses are on located on the first floor of this building, and Kristen’s office, the PR department and her personal apartment are located upstairs.
→ Get the look! Check out the all the design details, resources & shopping info for Kristen's style
Her light-filled apartment has gorgeous architectural character like wooden floors, brick walls and tall ceilings, and her signature blend of vintage finds, art and furniture that she has picked up on travels complements the surroundings perfectly. For this tour post, the images focus on the personal apartment of Kristen, but you can see what the offices and the storefront look like in our Thimblepress workspace tour.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I have many different styles I love, from Hollywood Regency, Mid-Century Modern to Bohemian. I feel like you can have many different styles you love and not confine yourself to a style-box by creating vignettes and not overdoing it. I give each room a "leading role" such as a piece of furniture, rug or a painting and then I base the room off of that. A lot of my pieces are hodgepodge, but over the years I have learned to edit and keep what truly makes me happy.
Inspiration: I find inspiration everywhere, but I really get inspired from explorations at the flea-market for vintage finds or from a trip to Round Top, Texas (Round Top Antiques Fair). Travel always allows me to get inspired. When I travel is when I come up with the best product ideas for Thimblepress. Old movies like "How To Marry A Millionaire" also offer tons of eye-candy for home inspiration!
Favorite Element: I love love my pieces to have a story, even if it's that I found the couch on amazon.com and repainted the base of the couch to be gold or I found it at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in LA. I like to be able to tell people about the adventures that went into finding the piece, or the friendships I have with the different artists' works that adorn my walls. I think it's because I am a sentimental sap!
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge I have faced in this space is working with a very old building that I do not own, but in those challenges are some of the most beautiful moments. The apartment needs a lot of work and if I owned the building I could easily hire a historic architect to help work with the space, so instead I work with what I have like the kitchen that needs a major face lift. The kitchen was yellow, the bedroom was red, and the front room that houses Thimblepress' photo studio was purple. We went through and painted everything white. Eventually I would like to wallpaper the kitchen and redo the countertops, but I am trying to keep my investment into the space as minimal as possible since I rent. Another challenge was the closet space. There is a tiny closet, obviously meant for weekend stays, in the bedroom, so to supplement that I made the hallway next to my bedroom an open closet and all of my vintage outfits and dresses hang on those racks, so those closet racks in my mind become art in itself.
What Friends Say: Most people love the apartment and say they don't feel like they are in Mississippi, but in a NYC apartment. I quickly tell them that if this was a NYC apartment I wouldn't be living there unless I was a millionaire due to the size of the space. ;)
Biggest Embarrassment: There is an unfinished room next to the kitchen that I *think* was supposed to be a bathroom, but for what rooms I do not know. Since the storage space is very lacking, I decided to make the small closet-room my "everything that doesn't have a home" room and a laundry room. I call it my Monica from "Friends" closet as I hate showing it to people and I rarely let anyone in (if you are a "Friends" fan, you know exactly which episode I am referring to... the one where she won't let Chandler in the closet). But it really does help having somewhere to put things like winter coats, holiday decor, vacuum cleaners, washing machine, etc. My goal is to make it look like an organization store came in and did magic, but ahh, priorities.
Biggest Indulgence: Honestly, probably my small, like SUPER TINY Eames table I have in my living room. I am a Charles & Ray Eames SUPER-fan, so when I found this tiny table up for sale on Ebay, I splurged a bit to get a piece of history. I figured I may never get the opportunity to own something else of theirs, so I jumped on the opportunity. When I say the table is tiny, it is like 16 in x 12 in x 12 in. It really is a table to go on top of a table. I really do work hard at repurposing things with a little paint or finding great deals, so I really haven't had to spend a ton of money to make current vision happen. I say current because I never stop moving things around and trying things a different way.
Best Advice: Only keep things in your home that you love. If you keep a lot of other junk around that is sub-par, then all the good stuff gets hidden from the spotlight. I had a graphic design professor once tell me that you are defined by your weakest piece, and I always take that with me and apply it in a bunch of scenarios. Also, you don't have to have a ton of money to make a home look great. Take your time finding pieces you LOVE, scour the internet for deals and don't be afraid of a little DIY.
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