Name: Lara Linn
Location: Newport, Rhode Island
Size: 630 square feet + 140-square-foot porch
Years lived in: 4 years; Rented
Lara Linn enjoys a simple life. She lives right in the heart of Newport, just blocks away from her small art studio and the Newport Art Museum, where she is an active member and ceramicist. She is walking distance from all the seaside city's best restaurants and nightlife and lives in a spot where it's easy for friends to drop by and say hello. "For me, finding a home with character is important, but it is also all about location, location, location," she explains. "I have learned to trade in on the size of an apartment for where it is situated."
On a gorgeous July morning, Lara wears a warm smile and a summer dress as she opens her door in bare feet. She has a beautiful spread of homemade mini muffins, fresh cherries, and a full pot of coffee ready to share. This is the kind of moment Lara savors: a visit from a new friend on a sunny day.
Lara fondly remembers growing up with friends and family coming in and out of each others homes. "I don't think people operate that way as much these days, and I offer my apartment as a place to bring that lifestyle back. I love when friends stop in. I love it more when I am in the midst of my chaos and they join in," she says exuberantly.
Signs of Lara's creativity and DIY spirit abound. Tiny–perfectly imperfect– ceramic salt and pepper serving bowls are lined up in a row next to a collection of Mala-inspired beaded necklaces; these are Lara's handmade creations. Weathered wood from an old picket fence appears throughout the apartment, used for everything from framing and shelving to serving. Lara prides herself on being able to create a beautiful space using "curbside treasures" and low-cost DIY solutions.
Lara's home is equally as inviting as her aura. Her living room feels bright and spacious, despite her apartment being a mere 630 square-feet. Twinkling white lights, a small collection of driftwood, and a cozy faux fur throw add a sense of warmth to a gorgeous white marble mantel.
When the dreamy Newport summer is long gone and the days of enjoying the late afternoon sun on her front porch are over, Lara's beloved apartment has helped her to appreciate wintertime in a new way. "This past winter in Newport, even with its record-breaking snowstorms, I couldn't have been happier because it meant I didn't have to leave my living room," she says. "I love spending time in that room. I was able to work on a variety of projects, while making soups and watching movies for days on end. It was pure bliss…until I lost heat. Then, well, not so much."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Whimsical, Eclectic, Re-purposed, Inviting, Comfortable, Playful, Full of what I call "Curbside Treasures"
Inspiration: My living room was created based on a coffee table I carried in from the street a couple of years prior to moving here.When I first saw this living room, I knew I would be pulling that coffee table out of storage and started mentally decorating before I even signed the lease. I found a comfortable sofa and the faux-fur rugs to balance the hard wooden lines of the table. The blue wall was inspired by the waters of Costa Rica- my happy place.
Favorite Element: Walking into the living room and seeing that big blue wall. Makes me smile every time.
Biggest Challenge: The limited closet space!
What Friends Say: "I feel so relaxed here. Do you mind if I take a nap?"
"Everywhere I look there is some other interesting thing to see."
Biggest Embarrassment: My bathtub doubles as storage. I get a work out every time I shower.
Proudest DIY: After painting the living room walls white, it washed out the white wooden door frames, the fireplace, and its mantle. Bummed,
I knew I needed to correct this. So, at 2am, I used the picket fencing I found on the curb to frame the door frames. I then used silver craft paint I had leftover from a project, which I sponged on around the fireplace to bring out the gray in the marble. Both fixes re-highlighted the apartment's natural elements and cost me a whopping $3 in supplies.
Biggest Indulgence: The way I shop feels indulgent to me. If I am strongly drawn to an item, I will acquire it and then find a way to work it into my home. But as a "One Item Indulgence," I would have to say last week when helping a friend shop for furniture for her baby's room… I wound up bringing home a French loveseat, in frosted green fabric, because I have always wanted one! It was fun fitting it into my already-maximized-with-furniture apartment's space and layout. But I did it. ;)
Best Advice: Tidy up your clutter. Not ready to clean it up or put it away? That's fine- but a 5 second shuffling of it can make your space go from messy to "Organized Chaos," something my mom used to describe my childhood bedroom. For this purpose, I love custom-made trays my brother and sister-in-law, Root & Leaf Crafted, created for me as well as trays from West Elm. I pile everything into these trays and my piles then look like art versus clutter. Your greatest treasures do not have to be purchased, think outside of your wallet.
Dream Sources: I would love to walk through markets in India, Thailand, Bali.
PAINT & COLORS
- Green paint: was here when I moved in
- Living room: Benjamin Moore Super White, semi-gloss
- Living room accent wall: Behr Lagoon, matte
- Glider: Lowe's
- Teak chairs: Christmas Tree Store
- Bench: Gustave White auction- I then spray painted and reupholstered it with flea market fabric.
- Birch wood: curbside treasure
- Basket for birch: Michael's- I then spray painted it.
- Side tables: curbside treasures
- Gardening dresser drawers: curbside treasures
- Curly willows: Sweet Berry Farm, Middletown, RI
- Coffee table: curbside treasures
- Metal marquee L: from Jane Pickens theater, Newport, RI
- Wooden Shaker box: was a gift filled with chocolate chip cookies from 20 years ago. I managed to eat all the cookies and have re-used the container, thereby confirming that you CAN have your cookies (box) and eat it, too!
- Faux fur rug: Ikea
- Sofa: Raymour & Flanigan
- Curtains: Ikea
- Blue chair: HomeGoods
- Book and game wooden stand: HomeGoods
- "A Fool's Fortune" card game: created by my brothers
- Wooden/white table: curbside treasure I then sanded
- Peacock platter: handmade by me
- Hot and Cold antique knobs: NYC flea market
- Glass butterfly atrium: atrium bought in thrift store; branch picked from outside; butterflies from Michael's
- Glass window frame: curbside treasure from when neighbor was replacing their home windows
- White end table with drawer: curbside treasure I then sanded
- Lamp: curbside treasure I then spray painted silver and bronze
- Lampshade: Lowe's
- Mirrored strands: I glued mirror mosaic squares to fishing line.
- Blankets: HomeGoods
- Crane pillowcase: West Elm
- Wall mirrors: thrift stores
- Brown LP cabinet: NYC flea market
- Red rotary phone: RI Antique market- it's my home phone and it works!
- Seating cube: HomeGoods- the white faux fur fabric is from a body pillow, from Target, which I then cut and sewed to cover the cube.
- Double wooden theater folding-chairs: Epilogues, Bristol, RI
- Pillow cover: this is a cloth napkin which I loved. I bought it in Crate & Barrel and then sewed it to a pillowcase cover so I can see it all the time!
- Wall scrolls: Spring Fever, Newport, RI
- Basket: gift from a friend
- Driftwood: collected from various beaches
- Faux fur rug: Ikea
- White fairy lights: local hardware stores
- Mamiya dual-lens camera: eBay
- Artemis bust: Berkshires antique market
- Slinky: toy store
- Mirror: yard sale- I added the peacock feather and crystal gems.
- Temple bell: LA florist shop
- Temple mirror: gift from a friend
DINING ROOM NOOK
- Table: NYC antique market (bought for my very first apartment!)
- Chairs: Craigslist- fabric is a blanket from HomeGoods that I then cut and used to reupholster
- Vanity chair: a family chair given to me by my sister-in-law; I reupholstered it with fabric given to me by a friend.
- Mirrored shelf: West Elm
- Birch candleholders: Sweet Berry Farm Middletown, RI
- Hanging lantern: Ikea
- Wooden cigar-drying box: Brimfield Antique Market- I use the trays for organizing the beads for my necklace creations.
- Custom-made wooden trays: Root & Leaf Crafted
- Mala-inspired necklaces: I created them with beads from multiple resources; Anchor Beads which are mood beads (they change colors!) are from Asheville, NC.
- Salt and pepper pinch pot sets: I created them in pottery using recycled wood.
- Cupcake stand: Fishs Eddy, NYC
- Gargoyle: Boylston street, Boston
- Glass bowl: NYC
- White ceramic face: made by my friend Mary
- Glass Christmas balls: local artist
- Shutter: HomeGoods
- Blue tinsel wreath: Michael's
- Wooden console table: curbside treasure
- Chair: curbside treasure- I reupholstered with fabric from a friend.
- Shoe basket: HomeGoods
- Wooden spice rack: yard sale
- Jars: antique markets and repurposed produce jars
- Bird mug: I created it in pottery.
- Branch fairy light ball: I put it together using items in my apartment.
- White pedestal bowl: Williams-Sonoma
- Stained glass butterfly: Root & Leaf Crafted
- Coffee mug and creamer: made by me
- Muffins: home baked
- Muffin server: that omnipresent picket fencing (!) with ribbon I had on hand
- Bowl for grapes: repurposed flower vase
- Silver tray: Fishs Eddy
- Silver spoon: antique market
- Above-cabinet collectibles: antique markets, Sweet Berry Farm, pitchers from travels, glass and tray handed down from family member
- Book and flower stand: curbside treasure
- Painting: from Italy, gifted by a friend
- Wishing broom: Bristol Antique market
- Umbrella holder: repurposed bread canister
- Bed frame: Ikea
- Paper ceiling lanterns: Ikea
- Curtains: Ikea
- Seafoam green end table: curbside treasure
- Lamp: bought by my mom for her very first apartment- that lamp has traveled cross-country more times than I can count.
- Lampshade: came with the lamp- I then glued all the butterflies (from Michael's) onto it.
- Bed pillows: one is a cloth napkin I purchased from Crate & Barrel sewn to a pillowcase, others are from Pier 1.
- Cabinet: LA flea market
- Accordion: my grandfather's
- Custom-made bookshelf: Root & Leaf Crafted
- Desk: a curbside treasure my mom and her friends brought home for me!
- Chair: artist Ben Butler's studio, Newport, RI
- White closet: Ikea
- Black storage cubes: Ikea
- Storage baskets: multiple sources
- French loveseat: Preamble, East Greenwich, RI
- Chair: Gustave White auction
- Faux fur throw rug: Ikea
- Framed bird print: The Mincing Mockingbird & the Frantic Meerkat
- Wooden shelf: I created it using that omnipresent picket fencing I love.
- Pen and pencil holders: combination of pottery that I created and re-purposed glass candleholders
- Vintage travel case: antique market
- Birch paper straws: Anthropologie
- Game/book/paint crate: flea market
- Seafoam green console table: Gustave White auction
- Silver tray: West Elm
- Wind chimes: Root & Leaf Crafted and gifts from family members
- Wall lamp: curbside treasure
- Hooks and frames: sourced from everywhere and anywhere
- Sunflower ceramic wall hanging: custom-made by my pottery teacher, Charlene
- Shoe rack: hardware store, which I then stained
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