Linda & Steph's Eclectic Millhouse

Linda & Steph's Eclectic Millhouse

Trent Johnson
Jul 8, 2010

Name: Linda and Steph
Location: Carrboro, NC
Size: 900 sq/ft
Years lived in: 2.5 years, renting

The first time I visited Linda and Steph's home, I knew I had to photograph it. A combination of styles fill the one bedroom home of this artistic and talented duo, bringing together vintage and modern styles paired with crafts and homemade art. Every nook and cranny holds a treasure, while lofted ceilings, vintage paint, retro artifacts and tons of bookshelves fill this comfortable and well-loved home.

The most impressive thing about this home is that it holds an enormous amount of furniture without feeling cramped. I counted no less than 8 bookshelves in their home, all filled to the brim. A workspace just off the kitchen serves as Linda's primary office, which she uses daily. (Linda is an interactive and print designer, and owner of Ruby Red Design. She also has an Etsy store for custom stationary.) Steph is a graduate student, but also an impressive artist. Her paintings line the hallway, fill the bathroom, and her easel lives in the den.

The kitchen was renovated by the home's owner, who rents to Steph and Linda. Granite counters, stainless steel appliances and custom cabinets remain unpretentious in the spacious kitchen. Bulk baking supplies line their cupboards, while a super-sized dining table fills the center of the kitchen.

While the home is low on light, there's no shortage of fixtures. A lantern hangs above Linda's work space, suspended from a DIY tree, also the home to her sewn family of birds. Their dog Lucy, though camera shy, was kind enough to hang out on on the sofa while I toured the family room. Vintage furniture and a roll-top desk too large to leave the room sits next to a reveal of the home's original paint, seen below. (The home was renovated with the desk inside and the door frames are now too small to let it leave.)

Re-Nest Survey:

My/Our style: Random - whatever comes our way! We don't really go for anything specific. We see things we like and that becomes our style. If we had to narrow it down however, it'd be eclectically homey.

Inspiration: Similar to our style, our inspiration comes from what we happen upon. We like things balanced, yet off-kilter with plenty of color and a splash of class.

Favorite Element: As a theme, texture - it's everywhere. Specific item in our house? The kitchen table! Its a great place for eating, gathering, and I (Linda) take a lot of product photos there.

Biggest Challenge: We rent from an unconventional yet fabulous landlord who left a lot of furniture in the house, so that and the fact that the house is old (built in the 1920s) and has only been partially renovated here and there. That of course adds to its charm too: we have beautiful 12 foot bead-board ceilings and crown molding, plus a mix of original and new hardwood flooring throughout. It's also a challenge not to collect too many things! We have a lot of small items and when you add them all up, it sometimes becomes overwhelming.

What Friends Say: That it's fun and really feels like a home (This makes both of us really happy as we are home bodies so we're glad it reflects us). We also get, "You are too crafty for your own good."

Biggest Embarrassment: The dust bunnies for sure. And sometimes when I think I can make cute little vignettes, it ends up looking like a yard sale table at 1pm.

Proudest DIY: Definitely the tree and the family of birds, as it was fabulous to bring the outdoors inside. Though the refrigerator coverall did make me squeal with delight.

Biggest Indulgence: For the home, the mattress on the futon. While we don't get to enjoy it, we have a lot of guests and they always sleep really well. Non-home related, I'd say gin and tonic (homemade tonic, of course!).

Best Advice: Simple is good, and free is better! Buy new if you must, but previously used, well loved, or recycled is better. Also, if you find something you love, see if you can make it yourself first. There is such a satisfaction in creating something with your own two hands.

Green Elements/Initiatives: Reusing, recycling, buying locally, eating well, growing our own vegetables, and keeping things simple. Try not to throw things away, ever. If you have room, stack things neatly, or hide them away. There's a reuse for everything, including those fantastic plastic woven bags that lemons come in from Trader Joe's.

(Thanks, Steph and Linda!)

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(Images: Trent Johnson)

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