The Inside Out: Alex & John’s Good Bones

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Alex and John
Location: Winooski, Vermont (next town over from Burlington)
Favorite: for Alex, the claw foot tub, and for John, sitting in an armchair in front of their wood burning stove

Alex and John don’t care how much work they have to put into a house but it better come with good bones. They, as well as some of their more discerning neighbors, confirm that this 1300 square feet, 1899 brick house has good bones.

When they first saw it, the original wood door frames and the solid pine floors captured their hearts immediately. They were able to overlook the vinyl, shoulder high wainscoting, the horrible lighting, and the linoleum floors that pervaded the house for the good bones they knew they could resuscitate, reinvigorate and treasure.

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The priorities upon move-in were to completely transform the bathroom and to override the oil heat source with a new wood-burning stove. For the next 18 months they saved enough to proceed with the kitchen and the back room.

During that blessing or curse of a pause, they learned the personality of the house and thus what would please it and them the most. They consistently respect the simplicity and history of the house, incorporating antique wood furniture, a salvaged claw foot tub, family heirlooms, and vintage farm tools into its decor.

But because they mix folk influenced design with contemporary living, they have chosen wonderfully bright and colorful tiles as a stark contrast and fitting complement to the wood dominated spaces. In fact, they are about to take on the challenge of integrating some modern furniture into the living room!

Alex, a telecommuting consultant for a Bronx based health care non-profit, and John, a local psychiatrist, also agree on many a notion of good living; they buy all organic food, are members of a local CSA (Intervale Farmer’s community supported agriculture), ski every winter at a cooperatively owned ski area (Mad River Glen), recycle, reuse and conserve resources, and they dote on their pets.

If their decision-making paths diverge, however, they take a fresh approach and they split it.

When finally, they had saved enough cash to redo the kitchen, Alex declared that she wanted its walls to be orange. John’s response was, “OK, then I get to pick the color of the cabinets.”?

Alex accepted this compromise but worried what the results would yield. It turns out that they both have a great knack for color. The olive green cabinets work amazingly well with the light green glass backsplash tiles and the Moroccan orange walls.

When they decided to do a vegetable garden in their backyard, this being their first time living together outside of a major American city, it seemed obvious to both to draw a line down the middle of the raised bed and embark on two adjacent, yet distinctly run vegetable plots.

Like many of their interior design decisions, the maverick strain is balanced by good communication and compromises yielding complementary vegetables, colors, and furniture collections.

Originally Posted July 13th, 2005