Kathryn & Perry’s “Have Less Do More” Apartment

published Feb 20, 2013
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Name: Kathryn and Perry Bacalis — Wedding and portrait photography team in Denver.
Location: Capitol Hill, Denver, Colorado
Size: 650 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months; rent

Kathryn and Perry are the kind of people that make friends with just about everyone they meet. They are warm and welcoming, creative and stylish, just like their home. They recently left behind 1300 square feet of loft living and moved into a 650 square foot apartment in the heart of Denver’s Capitol Hill.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

“Have less, do more, be more” is the lifestyle Kathryn and Perry chose to start living this year. After getting rid of over half the contents of the loft, they were able to transition into the new apartment without even renting a moving truck. Kathryn chose a few key pieces from their loft to bring over to the new apartment and turned out some seriously amazing DIY projects once they arrived. The color palate in this tiny space makes it cozy without feeling cramped. It’s the perfect mix of clean and creative — just the right environment for a couple of hardworking artists!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: My style is eclectic — I’m mid century/antique collector and a DIY addict. Perry’s style is more industrial and rustic. We wanted to create a space that feels clean yet bold, minimal yet well lived.

Inspiration: I feel we both draw inspiration from spaces that we loved as kids. Growing up in North Carolina definitely gave me a real love for old, well-crafted pieces and for homes that felt warm and well lived. For as long as I can remember, my biggest design inspiration has always been my Aunt Peggy and her small, eclectic apartment in Charlotte. Her whole space was furnished with the most unique pieces (a mix of Southern antiques and modern furnishings), all scouted from garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. Many of the items my sister and I had actually found with her on one of our many Saturday morning garage sale “treasure hunts”. Everything in her apartment had a story and nothing came from any well known store. Even as a little girl I remembered thinking, “One day when I have my own place, I want it to be just like this!” Perry grew up in the small town of Monument, Colorado, in a house that was warm and filled with tradition, with handcrafted furniture made by his dad and pictures of his grandparents’ life in the Air Force hanging on the walls. I definitely think this is why we share a love for handcrafted pieces in our home.

Favorite Element: I love everything about our small 1920’s kitchen. From the bright white floors to the period farmhouse sink to the black suede wall and bold fun calendar, it really is the perfect place for morning coffee. And to be honest, I think the thing I love the most about it is how small it is. It’s just so easy to cook with everything so close. We built the custom bar top by the stove to create a space to make cocktails and sit while we cooking. It’s definitely my favorite room in our little abode.

Biggest Challenge: The amount of space! It has challenged us the most. We laugh when we tell people how our place is literally just what we need and not a square foot more. This year we challenged ourselves to live small and save big. We decided to move from our comfortable 1300 square foot loft to a small 650 square foot 1920’s apartment. And I can honestly say it’s been the best thing we’ve ever done. Cutting our square footage in half, shedding a lot of “stuff” and committing to a more simple way of life has absolutely changed our lives. Our mantra with this move has been have less, do more, be more. Creating a functional space that feels both inspirational and homey has been a challenge, but it’s been a fun one!

What Friends Say: I am definitely a savvy treasure hunter/bargain scouter at heart. So normally the first thing out of our friends’ mouths is, “You paid how much for that??” or “You made that?!!” Most people love the southwest inspired painting + DIY pendant light combo by our dining table the best! Home tours around here normally start with me telling guests the story behind where we found certain pieces or how we made them, and end with Perry making some killer Old Fashioneds.

Biggest Embarrassment: Well, as you know, with small space comes limited storage. Even though we did get rid of quite a bit in the move, the limited closets in the apartment are definitely stuffed to the brim. Although Perry has done his best to make the closets as organized and efficient as possible, he lives with an artist! So what can ya say! Sometimes I’m just happy we can shut the door and call it a day! Ha!

Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY has got to be our little dining nook/statement art wall! I kinda love telling people about this space because its origin is so simple, and yet it’s our favorite wall in the apartment for sure. Believe it or not, I found the massive 50″ square framed canvas at Goodwill. I blissfully snatched it up, painted away its former life with some fresh white paint, and dressed up the frame with a black lacquer. Drawing inspiration from an old southwestern woven rug I had seen years back, I purchased a set of small paint samplers from the hardware store and went to town creating my first original piece of art. This was the inaugural piece that sparked my passion for what is now MASTHEAD Collective. The whole space is pulled together with the small tiger wood pendant table snagged on Craigslist, our knockoff Eames chairs from Overstock, and the hanging pendant we created from an IKEA shelf bracket and ceiling light.

Biggest Indulgence: Our place is literally furnished from Craigslist, thrift stores, home depot and Goodwill. However, we do have an indulgence to confess. Our Case Wire Rolling Chair from Modernica is literally the most expensive thing in the apartment! At nearly $350, it was a big indulgence for us, but it was one of those “we deserve this, damn it!” moments, and there is still no buyer’s remorse here! As wedding and portrait photographers, we spend lots of time editing photos in front of the computer. So the chair gets used every day, and was well worth the money.

Best Advice: The best advice I have ever been given with decorating a space is if something is over $200, make sure you are going to love it in 10 years or don’t buy it. And if you haven’t used something in 3 months, sell it or give it away. An uncluttered life is a good life.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


    • Behr black suede
    • Behr decorator white
    • Rustoleum chalkboard paint schoolhouse green


    • Antique framed postcard and mahogany pendant: thrifted


    • Queen Anne sofa: Estate Sale
    • Black and white pillows: Ikea, Crate & Barrel
    • Nautical Mirror: Target
    • Modern floor lamp: Ikea
    • Cross country Skis: Home & Again / Denver, CO
    • White Buffet: Craigslist Rustic herringbone coffee table: /Handmade by Kathryn & Perry / MASTHEAD COLLECTIVE
    • Danish arm chair: Mid Mod Mall / Denver, CO
    • Eames style arm chairs: Overstock.com
    • Fiddle leaf fig: Home Depot


    • Tabouret stools: Overstock.com
    • Custom Bar top: DIY
    • Small kitchen motivational calendar: Local Artist / Anna Newell Jones
    • Stendig Calendar: Crate & Barrel
    • Coffee Station: Thrifted and Ikea
    • Shelving: Ikea


    • Raw wood desk: Handmade by Kathryn & Perry / MASTHEAD COLLECTIVE
    • Case Wire Rolling Chair: Modernica
    • Vintage Flag: Goodwill
    • Linen Tufted Headboard: Handmade by Kathryn & Perry / MASTHEAD COLLECTIVE
    • Vintage tiger wood dresser: Garage Vintage / Denver, CO
    • Cowhide rug: Ikea
    • Vintage martini sign: Annex Antiques / Broadway Antique Row, Denver, CO
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Kathryn and Perry!

(Images: Ashley Poskin)

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