as mara zepeda puts it, she “writes all the time, in two very different ways.” she is a freelance journalist who has contributed to philadelphia home and domino (sob), among others. she also works as a calligrapher, and with her own business called neither snow. she shares their 1865 abode in the powelton village neighborhood of philadelphia with her fiance andrew who is getting his phd in early modern european history. mara jokes, “i bring to the relationship time-consuming, ill-conceived craft projects (see ongoing project to cover entire library in paper below) and furniture off the street. he brings to it ephemera, old correspondence in different languages and abundant patience.” thanks so much for opening up your home to us today, mara! you can find more images of the place right here, and, as always, all the sneak peeks here. –anne
[Except for the obvious (e.g. Expedit bookshelf), our furniture has come from thrift shops, yard sales and relatives. My parents are artists, and I’ve collected since I can remember. Andrew and I are blessed to have many friends who are artists. Their work makes frequent appearances, and means so much to us. A few years ago I was writing a regular food column about cooking at home, which meant that, instead of dining out, my indulgence was buying affordable art. My various day jobs tethered to a computer only enabled this addiction.]
Our living room is about the only room in the house that stays clean. This is what happens when you are gifted all white furniture from your grandmother. Most of the work in the room relates to birds and flying. Charcoal drawing by Elena Peteva. Pebble cup by Kim Westad. The prints on the bock windowsill are by Keith Taylor and Luke Stephenson courtesy of Jen Bekman and her brilliant 20 x 200 project. The photo of the dragon was taken by Mark Heyman.
My experience is that an academic loves unconditionally any house with built in bookshelves. On the wall of Andrew’s study: an illustration from Don Quixote, a Frost poem printed by Emily Johnson and a 18th-century Caslon specimen (with Syriac, Coptic and Samaritan!) from the Colonial Williamsburg Print and Post Office. The graphic cloth owl hung in Andrew’s childhood bedroom.
CLICK HERE for the rest of mara’s peek (and all the images on one page) after the jump!
Friend and woodworker Dylan Weller made us this beautiful cherry refectory table, which is reason enough to get up in the morning. We’re still on the hunt for perfect chairs (and welcome suggestions!). From left to right, the art: a botanical print; photo in a rust frame by Kate Joyce, envelopes by Olivia Jeffries, print by Gail Rieke. The painting is an Old Master study by Andrew’s grandmother. Snowflake by Paula McCartney; handprints by me and Kate, from high school. Girl and bird print by photojournalist Amanda Lucier.
This is my office. I use my rolling stool to shuttle back and forth between the computer and my calligraphy table (constantly crossing this digital/handmade divide pretty much sums up my entire life). The photographs above the bookshelf are of Russian military deserters by Abigail Spindel.
My favorite part of any job is the final once over before it gets shipped. I don white cotton gloves (which I stole from Andrew, who brought them home from the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan this summer. He used them to look at manuscripts). I do this to avoid leaving fingerprints. But really I just like the gloves. [right:] The printed Specimen of Ornaments is from Benjamin Franklin’s Print Shop in Philadelphia, which produces prints on a replica of an 18th- century press. This is my favorite local attraction. It’s free, the prints constantly change, and they usually cost $1. National Park Rangers do the printing.
Print by Alyson Fox via design*sponge!; Manshroom print by Amy Ross; Glasgow print by Abigail Percy. The photo is of the first, hobbit-sized home we ever lived in, in Portland, Oregon. The print above the doorway is by Jeff Dentz and can be found at Provenance. It says “Amor signatur in hac domo” (love lives in this house), an inscription found in an old Philly church.
These leaves were collected by my mother in the 1960s for a botany assignment in college. Anne Carson translation of Euripides print by Lettre Sauvage. Alyson Fox print. Sebastienne’s suggestion of keeping herbs in the bathroom is a good one. A list of “Things I Have Loved in this World” inspired by author Jim Harrison, letterpressed by Amanda Lucier.
I transported this Danish mid-century modern piece (a style that I generally don’t go for…I might be shot for saying this) on the top of my 1986 Saab. It was a catastrophe and I almost lost my life to a dresser. [right:] The mature garden has a mind of its own, and each year we wrestle with tangled nests of wisteria, creeping hydrangea and trumpet vines. The back yard is a chaotic mess of nasturtiums, peppers, tomatoes and chard in our vegetable patch, and an ongoing battle between the overgrown espalier peach tree (what we call the squirrel buffet—we’ve yielded exactly one peach out of hundreds) and the grape vines. The front yard is a bit more presentable (I’m being schooled by our neighborhood’s greening committee) with its showy peonies.
I found a big box of these lead engravers plates from the 1930s – 50s in Boston. They have the initials and addresses that were then used for stationery. It inspires me to look at the addresses while I work and remember how important correspondence was and still is in people’s lives.
Our guestroom is affectionately called the Valentine Room, for obvious reasons. Hankie from Bird and Banner, Ladies are Complicated print by Darla Jackson and my best friend’s wedding picture, which I still think is the best wedding picture I’ve ever seen. We call this the “thank you” desk. It is where correspondence of gratitude is written. The Siamese heart print is by Elizabeth Trost.