Olivera & Seth's Technicolor Chaos Cape Cod

Olivera & Seth's Technicolor Chaos Cape Cod

Jennifer Wray
May 17, 2010

Name: Olivera and Seth and their cats, Cheech and Chong
Location:Beechwold neighborhood — Columbus, Ohio
Size: 1,500 square feet
Years lived in: 2

Red Bull be damned. For a real jolt of energy, look no further than the home shared by Olivera Bratich, owner of Wholly Craft!, a store selling handmade goods; her partner Seth Massing, a musician and professional silkscreener; and their cats, Cheech and Chong. Located in Columbus' Beechwold neighborhood, the modest home positively radiates exuberance; its color-saturated palette resembling nothing so much as a Lisa Frank sticker collection.

The home that Olivera and Seth have created for themselves is bright, kitschy and--let's be honest--sometimes a bit bawdy. (Witness a velvet painting of a topless woman in the pair's parlor; and in Olivera's basement "lady lair," a handmade felt penis with the embroidered message, "That's what she said.") It is a place that pays tribute to a freewheeling sense of fun and to both Olivera and Seth's passion for vintage and handmade items. Novelty ashtrays--including one made from a mannequin's lower half, fashioned by Olivera with help from her mother--can be found throughout her home and are remnants from her days as a smoker. Olivera's collections of decades-old goods also include salt and pepper shakers, dishware, glassware, lamps, home decorating books and more.

Given Wholly Craft's position as a retailer selling handmade goods from throughout the U.S.--as well as its newest venture, displaying fine art pieces--it is little surprise to see artwork and crafts scattered throughout Olivera and Seth's home. Work on display includes pieces by locals such as Stephanie Rond and Clint Reno, as well as those from outside the Buckeye State, such as Heidi Kinney, Ashley G. and Misanthrope Specialty Company.

The basement is home to Olivera's "lady lair," and contains yet more art, space for Olivera's craft projects and a sitting area that pays tribute to Britney Spears, a onetime obsession. Upstairs, Olivera's first-floor office has the usual desk, chair and other accoutrements, as well as more unusual accessories on display, such as shelves of wigs, leftover from her past work as a karaoke host.

Seth's "man cave" can be found elsewhere on the first floor. His space is a rare earth-toned spot in an otherwise candy-colored home, and in it can be found homage to two of his loves--music and beer. Records and CDs provide both listening material and eye candy in the space; a small keg means Seth's favorite brew is always on tap. A novelty beer lamp, a gift from Olivera, further illuminates his passion. The upstairs bedroom is another rare quiet place. Olivera says the bedroom was the last priority in decorating the house, but when its time came, they decided to keep it relatively unadorned, leaving it a a place of quiet respite from the visual cacophony of the rooms below.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: Technicolor chaos

Inspiration: Generally, I love the colors of the psychedelic era and the aesthetic of the 70s craft revival that followed it. I also love trolling estate sales and seeing what other people have collected over the years.

Favorite Element: The living room is what sold us on the house--lots of room, light and a giant brick fireplace. Since we've been here I've grown especially fond of the laundry chute and the wall cutout between the kitchen and living room.  

Biggest Challenge: At first, it was filling up the space. We didn't want to buy things just to fill up the rooms so we had to wait to stumble across little treasures. That's still the case in some areas of the house, but in other rooms we're having the exact opposite problem.  

What Friends Say: The best thing anyone has ever said about the house is that it resembled "a museum of kitsch." I love that! 

Biggest Embarrassment: That we don't have a guest bedroom. The best we can offer is pull out couch in the lady lair. Someday I hope to incorporate a Murphy bed into one of the rooms. I'm also not a fan of the weird 80s beige sponge paint in the bathroom and bedroom staircase--it's on my list.

Proudest DIY: We had to redo the entire basement--floors, ceilings, walls--and we're really not that handy. Thankfully, we had the guidance of my parents, who are the ultimate DIY-ers. My mom can do just about anything with a ladder, crow bar and half an hour.

Biggest Indulgence: All the collections. 

Best advice: Have fun! Let your home reflect your personality and prioritize your personal comfort. You'll be the one spending time there.

Dream source: An estate sale by someone who shares the same taste. And the same collections. 

Resources: The World's Longest Yard Sale, an event that stretches from Michigan at the north to Alabama to the south, is both as a resource and a vacation destination for Olivera and Seth. Other resources include Wholly Craft!, Columbus fabric store Sew to Speak, Etsy, thrift stores, yard sales and Ikea. The green vinyl couch is from Goodwill, and the credenza is from Ikea. The clay teapot was made by Seth's grandfather; the kitchen canisters are from Olivera's mother. The orange flowered couches are daybeds purchased off of Craigslist. The blue wildcat lamp came from the World's Largest Yard Sale. The stuffed owl in Olivera and Seth's bedroom was made by Heidi Kinney.

(Thanks, Olivera and Seth!)

Images: Jennifer Wray

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