An Adventurously Dreamy Home with a Touch of Golden Glam
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Name: Audra Wrisley
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 3 years
A super successful photography business isn’t the only thing Audra and her husband, Thijs, have built together; they’ve also transformed their 1940s condo into an inviting and beautiful home to share with family and friends.
Being an older home, the solid brick structure and quirky, uneven door frames speak to its age, as do the historic iron casement windows. But the couple has been able to turn those wrinkles into smile lines! They prefer simple, clean spaces enhanced with pops of color, pattern, and personality.
Let’s talk about it though…the gold. Audra’s passion for this beautiful accent color has trimmed their condo to perfection. Every touch of gold (from the little teal and gold duck windowsill planter to the large gold-rimmed mirror in the living room) complements the space and gives the condo a super cohesive, chic feel without pretension.
Working and living together can be a challenge for any couple, but this duo makes it look like a piece of cake; they even throw international travel into the mix multiple times a year! Having lived abroad together, and Thijs being from Holland with Indonesian heritage, travel and a playful wanderlust infuse their home. This space is such a reflection of their teamwork and partnership across all aspects of life that it’s a joy just to be invited in.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Adventurously dreamy
Inspiration: Not a specific brand, designer, or style, but I realized recently that my grandmother has subconsciously been a big influence. She lived in rural Michigan but had the looks and attitude of Elizabeth Taylor. In personality, we are pretty different, but when it comes to design I am equally obsessed as she was with gold and pops of fun bold colors.
Favorite Element: Wallpapering a jungle on a ceiling has always been a lifelong dream! We lucked out with our small kitchen ceiling that is recessed, so while the jungle print wallpaper is a bold pattern, it doesn’t necessarily overwhelm the entire space.
Biggest Challenge: Besides that space is limited, the building is almost 80 years old and, although it’s sturdy, it’s always a bit of a gamble what will happen when you drill into a wall!
What Friends Say: This varies widely from “That’s… hmmmm…interesting” to “OMG I want to live here!”
Biggest Embarrassment: We initially didn’t plan on putting in all the medicine cabinets in the bathroom, but when we tried putting in a nail into that wall, it basically collapsed and we looked straight into the kitchen! After some serious brainstorming on how to repair the wall, the medicine cabinets ended up being a happy accident. The mirrored fronts visually give us a little more space, while providing storage at the same time!
Proudest DIY: Exposing a brick wall isn’t rocket science, but when we had to do it in half a day (due to contractor complications) it became a bit of a challenge! Together with some help from friends who thought they were coming to move a few boxes over beer and pizza, our wall became a massive test of our abilities that we proudly braved. And of course now, we love that it’s such a focal point in our home!
Biggest Indulgence: When we were in grad school in Barcelona, we were on serious student budgets, and I worked several nannying jobs to pay the bills. When I was wandering the Gotico neighborhood one afternoon, I splurged and spent 80 euros on the golden deer head that now hangs on our bedroom door, which at the time, might as well have been 800 euros! Although it seemed a little crazy then, it’s now become a great reminder of that time in our lives, and why I believe in surrounding yourself with things that make you happy is always worth it.
Best Advice: I was so excited when we purchased our first home, so I could finally paint the walls and really make it our own space. Although I think it can be difficult to find your own style in the world of Pinterest inundation, I believe that having a space that feels like “you” is the best environment you can create. I’m also a huge fan of finding inspiration in unexpected sources — instead of shopping the catalogs for home decor, check out a flea market or craigslist for some unique pieces. Lastly, think of what would make you happy, and then go for it! A wall can always be repainted.
Explore This Style:
PAINT & COLORS
Martha Stewart — Precious Metals Gold
Front Door Paint — BEHR Custom Color
Linen Sofa — Ikea
Colorful Velvet Pillows — World Market, Ikea
Curtain Tie Backs — Urban Outfitters
Vintage Blue Globe — Brooklyn Flea
Carpet — Home Goods
Vintage Bench — Good Wood
America Map — Vintage Market
Sideboard — Refinished piece from Craigslist
Bookshelves — Refinished piece from Craigslist (with paper from PaperSource)
Gold White Shelves — DIY
Teal/gold duck plant holder — Vintage find
Thanks Audra, Thijs and Garcia!
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