Name: Emilie Schiller, David Kramer, dogs Gus and Scarlet
Location: Hampden — Baltimore, Maryland
Size: 1,300 square feet
Years Lived In: 1 year, owned
Our home was somewhat of an impulse purchase, which is not usually how home purchases go, but it's how ours went. My now-husband Dave and I were living together in a different neighborhood in Baltimore in a house that he purchased before we got together. I am always super impressed when one person in a couple can move into the other person's place and live there comfortably, but Dave's house always felt like Dave's house to me and not our house, so we decided in early March 2018 to start looking at houses. We had seen a couple, and then all of a sudden we saw a lot that we were interested in, and we scheduled six showings in one day. Our house was the first one we saw that day, and by the end of the day, we had decided to make an offer. It was a good thing we did because there were four other offers after ours, but due to some good timing and good relationships, we got the house. We moved in in April 2018, three weeks before our wedding.
I would absolutely never pack two huge life changes within a month of each other again, and I would especially not try to design and have all the painting and wallpapering completed before we moved in (which did not end up happening, although we did get pretty close). The fact that we were doing so much to the house came as a shock to the sellers—a couple of real estate agents who flipped houses on the side—and they asked what changes we were planning on making. Their goal was to make their other properties more attractive to buyers, and while they have seen the house since and like the changes we made, I don't think they will be using a lot of the ideas from our house (I mean, my favorite color is teal and Dave's is orange; those colors are in our house, we are not shy people).
Since we have been in the house almost 10 months, it has been great. Our dogs have made themselves at home, which wasn't really a question but more an inevitability, and we love our new neighborhood. We are planning to do some work to the basement in the future, but that will be a 2019 project since between a new house, a move, a wedding, and a very nice honeymoon to New Zealand, we felt like we had had enough change this year.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Modern and contemporary with a strong helping of color and pattern.
Inspiration: Usually the initial inspiration comes from a color or a pattern.
Favorite Element: The fact that our home feels like us. While there are definitely more elements of me in this house, when people come to our house they say that it reminds them of us, and that's great.
Biggest Challenge: Absolutely the guest bedroom upstairs. For some reason I had real designer's block with that room, and I went through three design iterations before landing on what we currently have. When I was halfway down the path of a California-style bedroom, I realized that while I could design a beautiful California-style bedroom, that wasn't who I was and it wasn't who Dave was (believe me: I lived in San Francisco for two years, and anyone can tell you I am the exact opposite of California anything in almost every way).
When I finally remembered that I was designing a room for our house and not a client's house (I do interior decorating and organizing in my free time as part of my business, Home Methods), the design came together in a couple of days. It was a great reminder to pick things for my house that I liked and that I wanted to live with, and I couldn't be happier with how the room turned out (apologies in advance to any of our guests who are not fans of prints or colors).
Proudest DIY: This is the part where I hang my head in shame about my inability to do DIY projects, especially compared to other Apartment Therapy readers, but we did a couple of projects that I am pretty proud of. One was painting the sinks in our guest bathrooms and the other was making some shelves for our kitchen.
When our house was renovated, they had installed brown granite sinks and brown vanities in the bathrooms, and while I have many similarities to my mother, I did not inherit her love of neutrals and browns. I knew we were going to wallpaper both spaces and that black and white would be better with what we had planned. After doing some research, we decided to get a Rust-Oleum epoxy kit to paint over the granite. We started in the downstairs bathroom, and the first two steps of cleaning and sanding went well, so I thought we were in the clear for the third step, mixing and painting. Turns out we did not do a thorough enough job mixing, and our activator/paint combo was a little thinner than it should have been. We ended up doing more coats than we should have and got a few more air bubbles than we would have liked, but after some sanding and touch-ups, it looks great, and we used those lessons learned on the other sink.
The other thing we did that was simple and inexpensive were make shelves for our kitchen. For that space, we actually found the shelf color before the wall color, and we both decided to lean into the bright colors since we loved the orange. We bought some 2' x 10's and brackets from Home Depot, primed and painted the shelves, attached them to the brackets, and then hung them on the walls. We now have a ton of extra storage, which is great because most Baltimore houses don't have a mudroom or formal entryway.
Biggest Indulgence: The wallpaper… definitely the wallpaper. I love prints, and wallpaper is one of the best ways for me to include them. I would have wallpapered the whole house, but Dave put his foot down on that, and rightly so I think.
Best Advice: Remember who you are designing for and keep that in mind when you think about how you are going to use the space. For us, for example, we let our dogs on the furniture; in fact, they usually own most of the furniture. When we were thinking about what to buy, we wanted to make sure everything was durable and wouldn't show (too much) pet hair, because that's how we live in our house. Keeping in mind how you use the space guarantees the space will work for you.
PAINT & COLORS
Living Room – Benjamin Moore Deep Silver
Hallway – Sherwin-Williams Gray Screen
Kitchen – Behr Bering Wave
Master Bedroom – Valspar Perfect Storm
Botanical Midnight Wallpaper – Graham & Brown
Sully Warm Brass Plug In Wall Lamp – Lamps Plus
Picture Ledges – IKEA
Art – Etsy, Minted
Throw Pillows – West Elm, Macy's
Throw – West Elm
Stowe Sectional with Bumper in Essence Aqua — Joybird
Surya Olive Rug — Rugs USA
Velvet Elowen Chair in Gold — Anthropologie
Wood Side Table – Target
Mackenzie End Table in Black –Wayfair
Tri White Marble Side Table – CB2
Clear Wood Grain Table – Design Distillery
Terrace Side Table – West Elm
TV Credenza –IKEA with Pretty Pegs legsbrass knobs
Houndstooth Chair – Design Distillery
Side Table (originally black and we painted it blue) – Room & Board
Art – local artists
Silver Lamp – Jonathan Adler
Hello Sign – West Elm
Blue Vase – CB2
Standing Mirror – IKEA
Bed – Joss and Main
StyleCraft Deer Horn Table Lamp – Macy's
Montage Mosaic Tile Rug – CB2
Bedding – Macy's
Throw Pillows – HomeGoods
Ivory Nightstand – CB2
Artwork – Artfully Walls
Chairs – Anthropologie
Console Table – Joss and Main
Mirror – Joss and Main
Marley Birds – Lulu and Georgia
Tilton Fenwick Pombal Wallpaper – Hygge & West
Avalon Channel Stitch Bed – Pottery Barn Teen
Bantam Wesco Wall Sconce in Chartreuse – Barn Light Electric
Side Tables – Target
Bedding – H&M Home
Lumbar Pillow – The Citizenry
Rug – Houzz
Alcott Oxford Black Sofa – Article
Jordana Pillow in Navy – Anthropologie
Adams Nickel Pharmacy Floor Lamp – Crate & Barrel
Floral Pillow – Bo Concept
Neon Pillow – Bo Concept
Curtains – West Elm
Ceiling Light – Pottery Barn Teen
Art – local Baltimore antique stores