Carla Caruso lives in the tiny town of Ashfield, tucked into the rolling hills of Western Massachusetts. She and her husband, Tim, bought the house just over two years ago (it’s the couple’s first home after 18 years together), and in the short time they’ve lived here, they’ve renovated almost everything. The result is an eclectic mix: a 1900s farmhouse with additions built the ‘70s and ‘80s. After graduating from RISD with a degree in glassmaking, Carla found herself gravitating toward jewelry, and she is now the designer/maker behind Carla Caruso Jewelry, creating all the jewelry in her home studio. Since she spends a lot of time at home, it was important that she have a comfortable, relaxing living space to “go home to” at the end of the day. Carla says, “My favorite things about the house are taking outdoor showers in the summer and sitting in front of the wood stove on winter evenings with Tim and our dog, Lola.” Thanks to Tim, Carla and Lola, and a big thank you to Jo Chattman for the lovely photos. — Amy Azzarito
Image above: The kitchen cabinets are painted in Benjamin Moore “Graphite.” We found the star in a junk shop in Vermont. I think it may originally be from a Macy’s store. The three encaustic photographs are by Dorothy Imagire, another RISD alumnus. Our dog, Lola, was scared of our steep, narrow stairs, so I sewed six Dash & Albert area rugs together to make a runner for her.
Image above: This is a great photo of both the living room and entrance hall. I’ve collected all the furniture over the years from thrift stores and junk shops. There’s another Dash & Albert rug in the hallway. The scarf on the chair is from Jane Diaz. My friend Sara Bressem made the ceramic hearts on the wall next the mirror. The hallway is painted in Benjamin Moore “Razzle Dazzle.”
See more of Carla and Tim’s Western Massachusetts home after the jump . . .
Image above: I love photography. On the far wall is a photograph by Paul Teeling. The black and white photograph behind the couch is by Susan Mikula. This room is so soothing to me . . . I spend a lot of time on weekends reading and napping on the day bed. The lamp by the day bed is by Tracy Glover; we were in the glass department together at RISD. The coverlet is Dwell Studio at Target. The coffee table is from Room & Board, and the couch is by Norwalk Furniture. Everything else is vintage. Everyone loves the paint color. It’s “Wish” by Benjamin Moore.
Image above: We don’t have room for our dressers and clothing racks because the bedrooms in our house are quite small, and I love that because it cuts down on all the clutter. We have a tiny bedroom that we basically use just for clothes and laundry. The linen duvet cover is from West Elm. There’s another Tracy Glover lamp on the bedside table and a copper and steel clock on the pedestal table by Steven Bronstein of Blackthorne Forge. Everything else is from junk shops and antique stores. The vintage “yes” plaque above the window is my daily affirmation; it’s the first thing I see when I wake up. I even made a necklace with it! All the whites you see in my house are “Cloud White” by Benjamin Moore — eggshell on the walls and high gloss on the wood work. It’s my go-to white — it seems to work with everything.
Image above: As a gift one year, my husband Tim’s mom hand-embroidered these beautiful “His” and “Hers” pillowcases for us.
Image above: This room really needs to be gutted and freshly sheet rocked, but for now I just punched it up a bit with contrasting patterns and colors. I painted the striped wall (Benjamin Moore, “Black Bean Soup”) last Christmas Day. I always coveted the dining table and chairs at Tim’s family’s house. His mom graciously gave them to us as a housewarming gift. I reupholstered the seats this spring. The Moravian star light was a gift from a friend who’s from Pennsylvania. The poster is from the Evolution Store in Soho. Everything else is vintage.
Image above: The house came without any cabinets, so we bought the cheapest Ikea cabinets we could find. We went with white on top to keep it light and black on the bottom to match the icky stove. I got the light hanging over the sink in a trade with Perch! Design. A lot of the art and objects in the house are from trading my jewelry with other crafters. The other hanging lamp is the Ivanhoe™ Sinclair Porcelain Pendant in Jadite by Barn Light Electric. The chairs at the café table are part of the dining room set, and pretty much everything else is vintage.
Image above: I wasn’t sure I could live with a slightly rusted almond-colored refrigerator, but it seemed crazy to buy a new one when this one still worked. I used white stick-on star decals to cover the rust and bring it more into the white walls; it makes me happy. Then I spray painted the handles DayGlo orange. I can’t decide if I like it. The kitchen island is painted in the same Benjamin Moore “Graphite” as the cabinets. I can’t remember where the stools are from, but everything else is vintage.
Image above: This is our favorite spot to sit in the winter. The Jøtul wood stove has a glass window, so it feels like a fireplace. The painting over the mantel was my parents’ first art purchase way back when. It’s by Bruce Ackerson, who by chance lives near me in Western Massachusetts and is still painting. The chairs are by Robin Bruce. I picked the blue fabric, and Tim picked the flowered one. The walls and trim are all “Cloud White,” and the door is painted “Deep Royal” by Benjamin Moore.
Image above: My studio work bench, where all the magic of Carla Caruso Jewelry happens! The nook is a new addition to my studio. I added a shed roof dormer to let in more light. In the springtime, lilacs bloom right outside the window. I made the task table using a really old table base (painted in “Graphite” by Benjamin Moore), lifted it with couch legs and screwed a hollow core door to the top.
Image above: This is my vegetable garden. I built these raised beds this spring with leftover wood from the studio build-out. This photo was taken during a drought; it’s much greener now, and we have tons of tomatoes and kale. We have Adirondack chairs around the fire pit, which looks out over a neighboring farm and the hills of Ashfield.
Image above: I love this shower! I designed it around the carved screen I found at a dump. The front wall of the shower is cut out so we can see the view. It’s magical any time of day.
Image above: That’s me and Lola at the front door. Walls are “Razzle Dazzle” by Benjamin Moore, rug by Dash & Albert. I found the paintings of the two girls in the foreground at a thrift store in Utah.