sneak peek: erin austen abbott + sean kirkpatrick

Photographer Erin Austen Abbott lives with her husband, Sean Kirkpatrick of the band Colour Revolt, (plus dog Ida and two cats, Harriett and Louise) in Water Valley, Mississippi, just outside of Oxford in this home built in 1890. The town of 3,600 has a vibrant artist community, and just last year Erin opened a store, Amelia, in Oxford as a way to combine her other two passions: vintage and craft culture. Even though the home is 120 years old, the couple is only its fourth owners! It’s a place where people put down roots! Thanks, Erin and Sean! — Amy A.

My decorating style is flea-market vintage meets grandma chic. I love to mix vintage with my hand-me-downs from my mom and grandmother. I’m didn’t want it to feel too cluttered though, so I’m always editing my pieces. I also have lots of vintage collections (globes, birds, maps, sailboats, knit pillows, etc.), so I tend to rotate them so that I don’t have too much going on at once. Since it was my house before Sean and I got married, we’ve brought his style into our house as well. He tends to like things streamlined, so we complement each other.

Image above: All thrift store finds in this photo. Mississippi is not short of places to find deals.

Image above: I love the monotones going on with the love seat and pillows. The pull down map is from an old school over in the Mississippi Delta that was being torn down. I was able to get about seven maps that day when they sold everything in the school.

Image above: This is the coziest room in the house. It’s filled with all my books from my childhood as well as new ones that I’ve added to the collection. It’s also our favorite place to watch Netflix and relax. The man [who] lived here before us made archery arrows and this room was his workshop. The Shins show prints are by Cole Gerst of Option-G. The portrait above the couch is of my mom from 1968.

CLICK HERE for more of Erin and Sean’s Mississippi home!

Image above: Records. Records. And more records. All through college, I did a radio show, so vinyl was my drug. Had to get that first pressing of some obscure band to play on the show. Yes, I still love vinyl. I think Sean married me for my record collection. Our friend built the bookshelves for us to house our growing collection. Mixed in with the vinyl is a vintage Polaroid camera collection. Art by Yellow Owl Workshop and myself.

Image above: This room is great for naps — windows looking out on our old oak trees makes you feel like you are in a tree house. At night you can even hear the owls that live in the trees.

Image above: The sailboat painting was a find from a great little junk shop in Paris, Mississippi. Almost everything else in this photo was thrifted as well. The dish towels are from Anthropologie. The white china belonged to my great-great-grandmother.

Image above: Welcome to my most favorite collection of all. Our vintage glassware — glasses from anywhere and everywhere, all from thrift stores and my grandmother. The teabag art was made as a wedding present by a very talented artist named Amanda McKnight. Artist Coulter Fussell did the bird and avocado paintings. I’m not sure who did the green painting of the little girl, but I love it. I put together the shadow box of vintage jar lids.

Image above: For years I toured the country and Europe, working for different bands as their merch person. Along the way, I made it my job to find any and every photo booth in town. From a random mall in New Mexico to a Spaghetti Warehouse in Oklahoma to street booths in Berlin and Budapest, I found them all. This collection, which is only half of it, spans from 2000 to present.

Image above: The curtains are passed down to me from my grandmother’s home. They are one of my favorite things in our home. The rocking elephant was mine as a child. My mom has always been into design and it was important to her that, as children, we had quality pieces to play with [that] were also aesthetically pleasing. I think the elephant exemplifies that. It’s modern looking, yet fits with the feel of our house.

  1. erin says:

    Chemita- Thank you! The suitcases have been something that I started collecting back in my freshman year of college (1994) when I worked at a vintage store. I kept my favorites, but I used to have about 10 more that a friend of mine now has. I find them at junk shops, thrift stores, all over. Always looking. :)

    Elaine- I think you mean our guest room. You mean the blue color, right? That’s from the Martha Stewart line for Sherwin Williams. It’s been 6 years since I painted it, so it’s hazy on the name. I will look and see if I still have the paint can with the name listed. When I bought this house, I drew out a floor plan and put a color sample in each room of the plan, just to see how each color would flow from one room to the next. I wanted to be able to stand in any room and have the next rooms color look good with the room I was in. Call me crazy, but I’ve never had to repaint since. It works. You get an overview of each room and how the colors look together. No one thought the black in the den would work, but it works great! More so when you have the kitchen attached. The mint and black make the other pop.

    Mirjam- Yes! I love that color. Mint Condition from Sherwin Williams. It makes the kitchen so fun to cook in!

  2. Bren says:

    Not sure if I missed it in the write up, but where in this beautiful world did you find the green chairs. I need those in my life! Lovely!

  3. Samara says:


    I want to come thrifting in Mississippi!

  4. jen says:

    i love how the tiny tv is surrounded by lots of books and records

  5. Sandy says:

    Beautiful colors. What a lovely artwork collection they have.

  6. Orna says:

    I have the same problem hanging a map I just found! I would love to see how you did it as well.

  7. erin says:

    I will take some photos this weekend of how I hung the map and post a link to the photos here. Just check back.

  8. Paul says:

    Photo booth/clothes pin collage is genius. A fun variation would be bad passport photos. :)

  9. Molly says:

    I am in love with your home! It’s everything I want my home to be and more.

  10. Amy Barton says:

    I love seeing your stylish digs on Design Sponge!!! Lookin’ good girlfriend. Bought some gifts at Amelia today:)

  11. Hi! I’m from brazil. I love the ”photo idea”. Congrats!! I’ll copy this idea in my house, and all my friend will love.

  12. Nicole says:

    Hi Erin! I absolutely love your home! Do you know who the artist is of the two paintings on the left side of your fireplace in the first picture? I recognize the style and love it. Thanks!

  13. Erin Abbott says:

    **If you are still looking for tips on how to hang your heavy map, please just email me and I can give you all the tips you need. Or if you have more color questions. I’m happy to help if I can.

    @paul- passport photos would be an amazing collection/variation

    @nicole- the one on the far left, was thrifted, but is signed Valon. He’s Dutch. There’s a great story about him on the back of the painting.
    The other is also thrifted, it’s a print signed Miki.
    If you look up the history of Keene, who did the first big eyed kids paintings, it’s a tragic but very interesting story.

  14. A Forster says:

    Erin, I could move in and not change a thing. Your house is just glorious! Would you share what paint color that amazing small blue vanity, under the bull fighting painting is?

    Thanks so much…

  15. erin abbott says:

    @A Forster- Thank you for your comment. That’s so nice!!
    Well, I’d love to tell you what the paint color is, but that’s exactly what it looked like when I found it at a thrift store. It was love at first sight. I was drawn to the blue color as well. I could try to color match it for you and see…. Check back, I’ll see what I come up with. Handy iphone apps.

  16. Vero says:

    Hi there! This is my first time commenting in English! I loved the bedside table made of old suitcases!! I wish I could do that at my place in Buenos Aires, but so far I only have one suitcase that could work. I’ll keep on looking! Thank you!!!

  17. Erica says:

    Erin, Your map is great. I was wondering what you are doing with the other 6 you say you collected? It has been pretty hard trying to track those maps down. Thanks.

  18. Rose says:

    My favorite sneak peek ever!

  19. Kate says:

    Erin will be on the fall cover of Southern Flourish magazine! It comes out on Thursday so we sure to check it out!

  20. Erin Abbott says:

    @Erica, I will have them for sale in the shop when my online store goes up. Some have sold, but I have a couple left. They are hard to part with… Love them.

  21. A Forster says:

    Oh Erin, thank you. I’d absolutely love it, if you ever get the chance. I could also gather up some paint swatches in that range and send them to the you at the shop, if that’s more helpful.

    Thanks, Annie

  22. Beth says:

    Erin, I will be watching for your shop, too. :)
    I pinned the picture of the green chairs and map to Pinterest just now, because peeking into this home makes me feel like a smart little kid imagining endless possibilities, in the embrace of a quiet and absolute love.
    Being able to feel this way as an adult is _almost_ as wonderful as being able to instill this feeling in a child. Thanks for the peek today.

  23. erin abbott says:

    @A Forster, yes, email me through the shop and I’ll send you my mailing address. I would be happy to match paint swatches for you.

    @beth, I love what you wrote. I’m so glad that was your take away from the images of our home. What a wonderful feeling. Thank you for your kind words.

  24. Erika says:

    i reeeeeeally love the curtains… I want to search and find ones similar. it’s not my mission. :) lovely home.

  25. erika says:

    i meant to say, “it’s NOW my mission.” :)

  26. Victoria says:

    This house is so charming! Specially in love with the kitchen. Might take the coat hanger & cups idea to own kitchen!

  27. Colleen says:

    Hi there ! Loooove what you’ve done!! Where did you get the pot rack in the kitchen??? Thank you!


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