Paul & Krystal's Thrift Store Treasures

Paul & Krystal's Thrift Store Treasures

Janel Laban
Jul 26, 2010

Welcome to Virginia, a blogger in Baltimore who is trying out for place on the editorial team as a House Tour Contributor. Enjoy her work!

Names: Paul, Krystal and their dog, Johnny Cash
Location: Charles Village — Baltimore, Maryland
Size: 1200 square feet
Years lived in: 1

My first memory of visiting Paul and Krystal's Charles Village apartment had to do with a white gumball machine in a corner next to their sofa. Almost hidden against the room's off-white walls, I was immediately charmed by the playful and clever placement of the antique. It didn't take long for me to discover similar nooks and arrangements throughout their spacious apartment, each telling a story more delightful than the last.

As I got to know Paul and Krystal better, I discovered the two were frequent house re-arrangers. Every subsequent visit to their home was an adventure. At one point, the entrance was a fun, casual dining room, and the bedroom an airy white studio space filled with whimsy.

Each transformation I see brings new light and life to the objects in Paul and Krystal's home. I have been very eager to share photographs of their home and what I would consider a wonderful example of how possible it is to create and recreate warm, inviting spaces on a budget.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My fiancé lovingly refers to me as a knick-knack connoisseur, but I would describe myself as a sentimentalist. Whether it is my grandfather's pre-adolescent homemade "shoe shine" box or a photograph of a Mexican wedding party from the early 1900's, I experience the same kind of awe and wonder. I want to feel a part of that history in some small way.

Inspiration: Photographs of distant relatives leading distant lives, strangers discarded objects and the magic and wonder of the American South.

Favorite Element: As far as our space is concerned, I love the openness of our bedroom and the wonderful natural light. It's the kind of room I walk into and just melt. On a more specific note, I really appreciate how personal our home has become. Everything that surrounds us is something with a family history or a personal calling. It makes such a different to live in a space where you are constantly engaging with memories. As we move into our life as a married couple, it's been such a pleasure to blend our pasts and create new ties that are visible and constantly shifting.

Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenge has been working with a space that we are not permitted to make very many changes to. We are both really excited to arrive at a point in our lives where we can buy something of our own and transform it to fit our comforts and style.

What Friends Say: Everyone that comes to visit really seems to enjoy the space. We really enjoy changing things up. We constantly switch rooms around as the mood moves us. This past New Years, we decided to switch four of our six rooms about eight hours before a party of nearly thirty guests would arrive. Friends always seem to smile at our spontaneity, citing that they are constantly noticing an object or photograph they have never had the change to engaged with before. We enjoy changing things up because it gives our home freshness and allows us to meditate on the changing spaces and how our belongings change meaning for us when there is a big shift.

Biggest Embarrassment: Structurally, there are elements of our apartment that, if we could change we would, but we hang in their beings it's a space that we're renting as we transition.

Proudest DIY: Over the years, I have been inheriting some wonderful antique objects and I've been learning a lot about maintaining their natural uniqueness. I thoroughly enjoy the process of preservation. But I would have to say I am most proud of bringing a fresh eye to older pieces. Most recently, I've really enjoyed taking old photographs, and small objects from our family members and making shadow boxes of certain periods of their lives. I recently found a third grade admission certificate from my grandfather, along with a brown speckled bow tie that measures 3 inches long. It's making for a lovely time capsule.

Biggest Indulgence: As a budding folklorist, I have the pleasure of finding myself in odd places, meeting a lot of interesting people. I've spent the past few years in the American South documenting Outsider/Self Taught artists. My biggest indulgence is buying their work. I find that these types of artists have a unique path to creating artworks and their biographies and work bring a really wonderful energy into our home. I enjoy looking up and feeling their presence. Most of the things in our home are heirlooms, or second hand finds that rarely exceed $20.00. We live on a tight budget in order to support our passions and to have the resources to support others as well.

Best Advice: Don't look at decorating a space as a form of permanence. Our best inspiration has always come from pulling rooms apart and reassembling.

Dream Sources: I'd say that if we keep acquiring things as we have, from loved ones, alleyways, artists and thrift stores, we're on the right path.

Thanks, Paul & Krystal!

Images: Virginia Jarvis

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