Thomas & Amy's Antiques Plus IKEA Rustic Modern Mix

Thomas & Amy's Antiques Plus IKEA Rustic Modern Mix

Tamara Gavin
May 18, 2016
(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Name: Thomas and Amy Fitzpatrick, Aislinn, Sean and cairn terrier Jack
Location: Highlands; North Carolina
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: less than a year; owned

The Fitzpatricks live at 4,000 feet in the quaint mountain town of Highlands, North Carolina, a vacation respite for some 15,000 visitors each summer. But for Thomas and Amy, they enjoy the surrounding natural beauty year-round in their 1950s home which they've been transforming since they moved in last year. Amy, an interior design student and a mom of three, was raised in Highlands and understands well the culture and style of high-elevation living. Take a wrap-around deck, windows with mountain views, a rustic wood-burning stone fireplace and lots of exposed wood, and you've got all the elements for a warm and cozy home that you'll be wishing was your little hideaway retreat.

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Like many homes, Thomas and Amy's house is a work in progress—they're still working on the kids' rooms and bathrooms—but they've still been able to successfully make their mark in under a year and on a budget. Amy mixed their gorgeous Norwegian antiques with IKEA pieces and thrift store finds to create a Scandinavian-inspired rustic-yet-modern home.

Since they are in the mountains, darker wood tones are expected in the home's materials so they go back and forth about the interior wood paneling and whether to lighten it or not (a signature look in Scandinavian interiors) because of its potential impact on re-sale of the home. Amy's home has taught her to really embrace those features that make her home unique, including the handmade wormy-chestnut cabinets in the small-but-efficient kitchen. It's those features that fit the personality of the home and its history and Amy says, "It's not what I would have picked out and, yeah, it's a bit quirky, but, hey, this kitchen actually works!"

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Rustic Modern + Scandinavian + 1970s Art Student

Inspiration: The unique homes we grew up around in Highlands, Remodelista, and House Beautiful

Favorite Element: The view out the windows, the stone fireplace and the back deck

Biggest Challenge: Trying to undo a bad 80s "renovation."

What Friends Say: "It's amazing what you've turned it into; so unique and YOU."

Biggest Embarrassment: The crumbling laminate countertops and 4 different kinds of flooring in the kitchen.

Proudest DIY: Transforming a completely furnished and overly decorated house into something that accurately reflects just a few months.

Biggest Indulgence: A heating system!

Best Advice: If you see something that has promise, trust your gut. Be realistic about the time that a transformation takes and enjoy the emergence of something completely new. Also, prioritize what's important about home life to you. For us, it's having nature close by and a fireplace.

Dream Sources: 1st Dibs, Circa Lighting, DWR, Plain English Cabinetry


(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)


  • Bedroom Paint Color: Benjamin Moore "Linen White"
  • All other rooms have pine wood paneling.
(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)


  • Norwegian Chest: family heirloom
  • Rocker: designed by Tom's grandfather
  • Map of Paris: souvenir from Tom's grandmother
  • Mirror: The Screen Door in Asheville, NC
  • Shelving Unit: IKEA
  • (Image credit: Tamara Gavin)


  • Wood frame sofa: Goodwill
  • White sofa: IKEA
  • Shelving Unit: IKEA
  • Wood frame chairs: now defunct Flashbacks in Asheville
  • Coffee table: Mid-century antique from Tom's grandparents
  • Sheepskin: Amy's parents' farm
  • Rug: inherited from family
  • (Image credit: Tamara Gavin)


  • Table: IKEA
  • Vintage Danish chairs: Family heirlooms
  • Pendant lights: Lowe's
  • Art: Goodwill and inherited from family
  • Painted chest (under shelves): Norwegian heirloom
  • Rug: inherited from family
  • (Image credit: Tamara Gavin)


    All cabinetry in Wormy Chestnut wood

    (Image credit: Tamara Gavin)


    • Bed: IKEA
    • Wall covering: Local Artist using Amy's parents' wool
    • Side tables: Thrift store
    • Chairs: Thrift store
    • Rugs: inherited from family

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    Thanks, Thomas & Amy!

    Re-edited from a tour originally published in 2015 -- AB

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