Colorful Coastal California Style in Asheville

Colorful Coastal California Style in Asheville

Tamara Gavin
Jul 16, 2016
(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Name: Rob Maddox and Karie Reinertson, owners of Shelter Collective
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; rented

Rob and Karie have created a home that beautifully recounts their lives through displays of unique treasures and layers of textiles, many of which have been collected from family and friends. Other objects were acquired during their years of traveling, trips to thrift stores and estate sales, or were made by the two talented designers themselves. The collection of these meaningful reminders of their experiences and heritage results in a space that is warm, personal, and authentic.

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

A large kaleidoscopic print by a Brazilian artist above the sofa contrasts with the handwoven rugs and other vintage pieces in the living room and serves as a colorful focal point, a piece that Karie says continually keeps her interested. Elegant mid-century furniture pieces are paired with less-polished vintage thrift store finds and the outcome is eclectic and "moderately bizarre," as Karie described in last month's House Call.

The unexpected pieces and their special connections to the past contribute to a relaxed and intimate environment while baskets filled with soft textiles, weavings hung on the walls, and layers of patterned rugs bring texture and warmth, the perfect recipe for an especially cozy home perfect for playing a good record and curling up with a cup of coffee.

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: It's as if Coastal California from the 1970s met New England from the 1950s and had a colorful love child.

Inspiration: We're both really inspired by the design build movement of the 1970s both architecturally and the way in which those lives were lived. People who chose to make it themselves and let the stuff that surrounds them shake out of the lives they lived instead of the other way around. There is a piece of art on the wall that Rory Sparks, a designer/book binder friend of ours gave us once that speaks to that. It says, "Pay attention to what you pay attention to." We take it to mean, "Do the thing that interests you most and the rest will come around."

Favorite Element: Our favorite element is Rob's grandfather's senior thesis from Architecture school in the 1930s. It is a 3' x 5' hand drafted and watercolored collage of architectural elements and scenography. Architecture from the days in which architects were artists as well.

Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenge is meaningfully culling. We're both designers, makers, collectors, and curators so accumulation comes way too easy for us. The hard part is determining what has merit and why. This gets even more complicated when objects and space get imbued with history and meaning. So many objects in our home have a story, whether it is a print from a friend or a tool chest from a great grandfather. There is so much history and meaning to everything in our house it can feel like living with ghosts. We love them all but sometimes they have to go!

What Friends Say: They probably say that we've got way too much going on!

Biggest Embarrassment: We've lived in so many different homes in so many different places of varying degrees of beauty that there is nothing embarrassing anymore. Anything can be beautiful if its obviously tended and loved by someone. That said, we're not the biggest fans of carpeting. It just feels so foreign amongst our handwoven rugs and natural wood furniture. We're not embarrassed, just aware.

Proudest DIY: We didn't have a dresser for the longest time and this house has next to no closet space so we were on the perpetual hunt for something that would work. All the stuff we found was either too expensive or not what we were looking for and usually both. When Karie went off to teach at Penland School of Crafts in rural NC, Rob found a dresser at a local thrift shop. It was so beat up that at first he thought he would paint the whole thing, but with his mom's help, refinished it instead. Under the grime, paint splatters, and peeling finish was a beautiful Lane Alta Vista dresser. It looks like Louise Nevelson did a line of furniture! We love how it works as a dresser and as a piece of art.

Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest joint indulgence has to be the weavings from Centinela Weavers in Chimayo, NM. They're not the most expensive thing ever, but we were such diggers, that when we bought something new and beautiful it felt like such a big deal. We've made it a point to buy beautiful things from people we know.

Best Advice: You can't just buy the life you want to live, you have to make it for yourself.

Take ownership of your space and the things in it, because in some ways we make space and buy things to remake ourselves. For us, our home is the outward presentation of the story of our lives; how we perceive it and want it to be perceived. Finally, don't be afraid of the weird stuff that you're interested in that challenges you; that's where are the growth happens.

Dream Sources: We love textiles so our dream sources would probably be weaver cooperatives in Guatemala and India. Also, the rug room in the no-longer-open Packards on the Square in Santa Fe, NM, and the rug on the back of that guys chair from Antiques Roadshow, where he cries after hearing that something from his family had value.

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Resources of Note:


  • Print by Karie's friend Amir Fallah
  • Print by Beatriz Milhazes from the Durham Press (Rob's friend Katy Yeaw worked at the press that made it)
  • Print by friend Rory Sparks
  • Block prints by Shawn Reed
  • Fabric throw on couch: Pendleton
  • Fabric throws on chair: Vintage horse blanket from estate sale, wedding gift from Bali
  • Vintage nautical flag: from Rob's grandfather's boat (apparently means "this boat is in distress.")
  • Vintage Mark Cross traveling book case: from Rob's grandfather
  • Inuit carved walrus: Inuit in origin from Rob's grandfather
  • Northwest Native American mini basket made from baleen and bone: from Rob's grandfather
  • Coffee table: Rob's great-grandfather's tool chest
  • Couch: from friend Tarleton Walmsley at the vintage market The Screen Door, Asheville NC.
  • Woven basket full of fabric: Louise Langsner, basketmaker from Marshall, NC
  • Rugs: thrift store finds and Jackelope in Santa Fe, NM
  • Records: mostly thrifted, but the new good ones are from Harvest Records in Asheville, NC.


  • Pastel drawing: Karie's friend Erick Jackson
  • Weavings: Centinela weavers, Chimayo NM
  • Buffet: Oddfellows, Asheville NC
  • Glassware: Mike Krupiarz
  • Antique silver candelabras: Rob's mom
  • Watercolor: Rob's grandfather's architectural thesis
  • Hans Wegner CH90 Sawbuck chairs: thrift store in D.C.
  • Farm chairs at dining table: Rob's great-grandmother
  • Woven camel saddle: Jordan
  • Vintage books: John K King Books in Detroit
  • Ceramic Sauerkraut Crock: Villagers in Asheville, NC


  • Kitchen spoon: Amelie Mancini
  • Dried wedding bouquet: Lady Luck Farms (friends)
  • Cutting board: Field (Karie's friend Jonah Takagi)
  • Cutting board: NY Heartwoods (friend Megan Offner)


  • Watercolor by Kreh Mellick
  • Oil painting of giraffes: by Karie's father
  • Leather inlay wall hanging (to right of bed): by Karie
  • Small paintings: Karie's college days
  • Vintage handwoven poncho: thrift store in Wilcox, AZ
  • Lane Alta Vista dresser: Habitat thrift
  • Jewelry box: gift from Rob's dad to his mom and from his mom to Karie
  • Turned bowl: Andy Mcfate
  • Leather pouch: hand sewn by Rob
  • Hand quilted and knit bedcover: found at an estate sale of a guy named Fa'oud who apparently was an actor psychologist and unknown artist.
  • Wedding guest book: Rory Sparks
  • Totems: from Rob's grandmother


  • Watercolor by Kreh Mellick
  • Folding storage cube (on dresser): Rob design / Iron and Ash fabricator
  • External frame backpack: Vintage EMS
  • Weaving: Centinela weaving, Chimayo NM
  • Vintage Cypress Knee (on side table): Goodwill
  • Vintage dresser: Goodwill
  • Winter in Aizu Print: Kiyoshi Saito (from Rob's grandfather)
(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Thanks, Rob and Karie!

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