sneak peek: elias & theresa carlson

Theresa and Elias Carlson have lived in this small Seattle apartment for three and a half years. The couple’s day jobs don’t allow them to be quite as creative as they’d like, so they started this super cute joint blog and developed a growing photography passion. In addition, they spend a significant chunk of time working on their home — nearly everything has been garage-saled, thrifted or found and fixed up or made by Theresa’s handy parents. It’s so sweet to see that you don’t need the perfect space or a lot of money to create a beautiful home. (See more photos on Facebook!) Thanks, Theresa and Elias! — Amy A.

Image above: This green chair was my birthday present last year. My mom found it at a barn sale. The cushion was looking a bit worse for wear, so she made a new one with beautiful blue wool.

Image above: We live on the third floor of an old apartment building. The space is small — about 750 sq. feet — so we are very limited. Our funds are limited, as well, so I suppose our theme is “Make the best with what you can scrape up and fit it into the space in a pleasing manner!” My mom, sister and I are always on the look out for new “junk” that we can fix up for our houses. My sister lives in a small apartment in Seattle, as well, and since we don’t have much storage, we wind up trading things around between our houses, and my mom’s basement 300 miles away. We are excited to have a real house someday where we can move into the space and really choose a style and run with it.

Image above: This green dresser is another that my mom found. The globe was a gift to me from Elias; I just love the black waters. The little crystal lamp is one of my mom’s specialties. She finds glass lamp bases at yard sales, re-wires them if they need it and finds a lovely glass shade to set on top. You will see these little lamps all over our apartment and her house.

CLICK HERE for more of Elias & Theresa’s Seattle apartment!

Image above: We saw this leather Chesterfield sofa at Second Saturday’s Flea market here in Seattle and fell in love. We scraped up the cash we had been saving for a special occasion, tied the couch to the back of our Highlander and conned a friend into carrying this hummer up three flights of stairs to our apartment. My next project is to make pillows that better fit the color and feel of the couch. The “E” and “T” are lovely screenprinted letters from Jessica Hische.

Image above: This dresser was in shambles, and my dad fixed it up and strengthened it to be a functioning storage unit. He jokes that it would have been easier to start from scratch and make a new dresser. I love the odd spaces it allows for books to be on display. The orange lamp is part of a set that my mom picked up at Value Village and bought shades for. The other is on our bedside table. I found the mirror on an estate-sale expedition. We were looking to class up our apartment a bit, and this was the perfect addition.

Image above: The kitchen hutch has a special place in my heart. My dad built this out of wood from my grandparents’ old home. When they passed away, their house was in such disrepair that it needed to be torn down. My dad salvaged the lumber and created several pieces from the wood. The handles on the hutch came from the cabinets in my grandparents’ home. My sister has a hutch, as well; these were given to us as Christmas presents. And yes, that is Dave Matthews on my wall. That poster has traveled with me from my bedroom in high school to my dorm room in college and to our kitchen.

Image above: Fiestaware was the dish of choice when we got married, and I still love it. The mug display is our souvenir collection. When we travel, we pick up a Starbucks mug from the new location and bring one home for my sister and one for ourselves. She does the same. It is a functional and uniform record of where we have been.

Image above: This is Fantastic (as in Fantastic Mr. Fox). My family has a tradition of making homemade gifts for each other for Valentine’s Day. This was what I made for Elias last year. I am going to have a hard time ever topping that little guy.

Image above: This beautiful dresser was another estate-sale find. We got it for a mere $50, an unbelievable price for such an old piece in such good shape. We couldn’t have asked for a better color; it reminds me of bubble-gum ice cream. My jewelry storage on top is a gorgeous old turquoise planter. Perfect for draping necklaces and holding rings.

Image above: The bookshelf used to be an old gun cabinet. My dad converted it into a bookshelf/china hutch, and my mom painted it a bright, sunny yellow inside.

Image above: Elias bought me this old collection of butterflies at a flea market after I hinted how crazy I was about it. The brown background to this collection of photos is an old school chalkboard. A school in my hometown was getting rid of their chalkboards to replace them with white boards. My mom snapped them up and my dad cut them down to make one for myself, one for my sister and one for my mom. Not only are they chalkboards, but they are also magnetic. We chose to use this space as a display for a few of our favorite photos.

Image above: This yellow chair was such a fun find. I saw it sitting outside of a house next to our apartment building and I wanted it! A couple days later, the same house had a yard sale and sold me the chair for $5. That little pink dresser was found and painted by my sister and then passed on to me. I just love the size and shape of it, but I am not sure how much longer the pink color will last!

  1. What a wonderful home! So much inspiration, so many great pieces and stories – love the little pink dresser, the bedroom dresser, the kitchen hutch – but my favorite thing of all has to be that Fantastic Fox. Yes, you’re going to have a hard time topping him! ;) Thanks for this awesome sneak peek.

  2. Theresa says:

    Thank you all for such kind comments!
    Debbie: Yes, the NY map in the kitchen and the Paris map in the living area are both framed Cavallini papers. I just love those!

  3. Shannon says:

    That yellow sofa is INCREDIBLE! ok, go to Anthropologie, they have a yellow chesterfield so similar looking for $$$$. Yours is way more incredible!

  4. Talya says:

    I think this home is absolutely lovely, I really like that by doing things ona budget, as many of us have to, and with limited space, consequently so many things have a special meaning. It comes across as a really loving home in these pictures, this is my absolute favourite.

  5. teresa says:

    This is definitely my favorite sneak peek so far! Not out of the realm of possibility for the average person and full of personality!

  6. Lovro says:

    Beautiful colors! Very American,in a good way. Reminds me of Gilmore Girls! :)

  7. luciane says:

    good, very good!!!

  8. Casey says:

    where did the wooden grid holder for the starbucks mugs come from? I have a collection too and just have to have one!

    1. Beth says:

      Would also love to know where the mug holder is from? Looking for a similar storage/display idea!


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