Interiorssneak peeks

Behind the Scenes: Amy’s Home

by Amy Azzarito

It’s hard to put into words just how happy I am about this post and the reason we’re writing it today. I’m happy for two main reasons. First, Amy has written a tremendous book, made a beautiful home and has lived an inspiring & courageous life. Second, she had stood by and supported me through more than I can describe and it is with great pleasure that I get a chance to celebrate and support her in such an exciting stage of her life. Amy’s first book, Past & Present, launched last month and we’ve been anxiously awaiting a big story that officially hits stands today: her New York Times debut! If you pick up a copy of today’s paper you’ll see her smiling face (and beautiful living room) looking back at you from the Home & Garden section. In a story entitled “Some Assembly Required”, writer Penelope Green shares Amy’s story, from her close-knit family beginnings in Arkansas to her dedicated pursuit of multiple graduate degrees to her inspiring home, filled with a mix of objects that all have incredible stories. It’s been an honor, and continues to be, to work with Amy and to see my friend and co-worker celebrated in such a big way truly makes my heart- and everyone’s here at D*S- fill with joy.

Amy’s full (19 slides!) home tour and story are in the NY Times today, which you can view online or in print. We aren’t allowed to reprint photos from the Times so instead we turned to our wonderful in-house photographer, Max, to document Amy’s home so we could share it here today, as a companion to the big story. I’ve watched Amy’s home really turn into something special this year, with a lot of hard work, antique hunting and craftiness. From the hauling of an epic Roman wall medallion home from Brimfield to the careful curation of a beautiful grouping of antique seascapes, Amy’s apartment is not only full of inspiring objects and furniture, but it’s also full of love. We’re all so proud of her and hope you’ll check out her article online or in print. And a big thank you to Amy and Max for making today’s special Thursday sneak peek possible. xo, grace

All Photographs by Maxwell Tielman

Image above: Can you see that divot in the right side of the sofa? This is where I sit to work when I’m not at the Design*Sponge office.  The rug is from West Elm, the coffee table from BluDot, and the sconce is from Schoolhouse Electric. My mom made the floral needlepoint pillow when she was younger. It was pretty tough so her aunt helped her finish. The seascapes are vintage.

Image above: I turned my ugly brown Billy bookcases into beautiful looking built-ins following instructions from Little Green Notebook. (Note: Painting Ikea furniture is not fun. It took many, many coats to turn those brown bookcases white!) A huge part of my design library is at the Design*Sponge offices. I kept my favorites at home to reference when I was working on Past & Present. I also have a large collection of children’s literature.

Image above: My parents gifted me this vintage library table when I graduated from Library Science school. The photograph is by Leigh Merrill. (She was a photographer working as a pool cleaner in New Mexico. Before cleaning the pools, she would photograph them. The series is here.)

Amy’s full home tour continues after the jump!

Image above: The bench is from Restoration Hardware, the Coral and Tusk feather pillow from was a gift from Julia Rothman, the blue pillows were from Crate and Barrel.

Image above: My kitchen had a serious ’70s vibe before I took a leap and painted my kitchen cabinets white. I made the the leather pulls with leather that Matt Pierce of Wood & Faulk graciously sent from Portland. I attached the pulls with roofing nails. It made such a huge difference in making the space feel brighter and lighter.

Image above: The butterfly dome that I made for Design*Sponge at Home on a vintage side table.  The print is a sheet of wallpaper from Nama Rococo.

Image above: I replaced my ugly closet door pulls with these lovely Nagkonya goddess handles found on eBay.

Image above: Vintage pull-down map. Some of my favorite design books atop a vintage farm table from Moon River Chattel. The benches were made by Wüd Furniture. I bought the obelisk on etsy to remind me of working on Past & Present.

Image above: One of my two kitties – Freya likes to ham it up for the camera.

Image above: Two Brimfield finds from different years. The machinist cart was a find a few years ago. The wall medallion I found last year. I can’t wait to go this May!

Image above: My Nightwood built bed. The rug is vintage from My Marrakesh. (That’s Freya again. Her brother Loki is probably hiding behind the bed)

Image above: The cameo bracelet was another Brimfield find. I love the color of this le pen. I’m a huge list maker so I almost always have a notebook on hand.

Image above: My giant bathtub. The rug is from West Elm.

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  • Congratulations, Amy! I love so many things about this peek – the coffee table, the grey walls, the leather pulls on the cupboard doors and the Ikea hack! Oh, and the drapery over the bed is awesome and I’m doing that as soon as I can find some branches in the park! However, the nicest thing is that everything is found or DIY, demonstrating the potential for people without the budgets for designer items to create eclectic, gorgeous homes.

  • I’ve been thinking about spray painting my coffee table a bright red/orange/pink color for the past few months. Seeing Amy’s awesome apartment has reinforced that idea – thanks Amy!

  • I really dig this place. What I love just as much as the apartment and decor are the names of Amy’s cats. As a Nordic Studies minor, Freya and Loki were my faves. I also have a gray cat named Loki.

  • Amy that bathtub is A M A Z I N G. Did you redo the bathroom when you moved in?

  • Wonderful all around. Congratulations! (quirky, bright, welcoming home–thanks much for sharing)

    • Hi Alison –
      The couch is from Mitchell Gold but I had it recovered in the blue/gray velvet. :)

  • Hi Amy. Congrats! Such a beautiful apartment. I can’t tell if it’s just the photograph, but it looks like you may have privacy film on your bathroom window. If so, is that something you installed yourself? I’m looking for some fairly opaque and easy to install privacy film. Would love any recommendations you might have!

  • You went to library school! I knew there was a reason I liked you :) (I mean, besides your impeccable taste)

  • The lighting over your living room/study really is inspiring! Since you named your cats Freya and Loki, did the nordic Yggdrasil have anything to do with that lighting choice?

  • Wow, those are the tallest legs i’ve ever seen on a cast iron tub! be careful and don’t break your neck getting in and out of that beast! :D

    hello from a fellow Arkansan! still in Arkansas…

  • I didn’t know about your website until today’s Times story, so thank you for that. And I have to say the photographs here are better than those in the Times.

  • Great apt! Great attitude and I love that you “hustled” at so many different gigs, really shows what you’re made of.

  • Amy – Great to see how the other half lives! That bar is looking might-t-fine:) Sweet color combos & kitty. Congratulations again!

  • Amy, you have wonderful taste and your apartment looks so comfortable and welcoming. So many of the pieces convey a story about your past or have a memory attached to it– that’s why it’s so great– it’s got personality. (It’s also really well edited.) We moved out of a tiny Brooklyn apartment and bought a fairly large historic home (built 1895) in Denver. I keep reminding myself to take my time collecting pieces and to be patient putting this house together. No one want to live in a showroom, right?! That said, the one thing I have really searched for are rugs. They absorb echoes and give a room warmth, almost immediately. So can I ask- where did that rug (next to the bookcase) come from? I love it! Congrats on the book, it’s on my go-get-it list. And kudos on the NYT too.

  • A big congratulations, Amy. Certainly it’s about the decorating and your lovely apartment, but your NYT article gave me a wonderful insight into what makes you tick and why. And, the divot on your sofa….I can relate! All the best to you on your new book and in the future, which will be brilliant.

  • Amy, I love your place. Can you tell us the lovely pale shade of gray paint you used? It is the perfect greay, with no apparent undertones. Thanks!

  • Congratulations, Amy, and thanks for sharing your space with us! I will never look at cabinet or closet pulls the same way again. And thanks for the privacy film resource — just what I need for a basement pocket door.

  • Just read the NYT article – how fantastic to see you getting the props you deserve! Love it all – especially the bathtub. Zowie! I did the exact same Billy bookcase faux built-in and feel your pain. But mine staging is not nearly as fetching as yours. I find that the command hooks spontaneously let go, sending things crashing. I’ll have to try the actual picture hangers. In summation: Way to go x 100!

  • Oh yeah!!! Loving that bed frame!! Also the the salon style painting arrangement above the couch. Givin me ideas!!! This space is full of inspiration. Thank you!

  • Super pretty home, Amy! The pops of color add so much life to the space. I love that you changed your chandelier chain to a bright pink cord. I found some awesome color cord at http://www.colorcord.com so I can try the same kind of project. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  • Amy–

    I love it! Where did you get the rug in front of the bookcase?


  • So pretty! And congrats on your new book, what an accomplishment!! Also, this is a little late to be helpful with the Ikea shelves, but anytime I need to paint over veneer, etc., I always start with Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 Primer. It sticks to slick surfaces and usually only needs a single coat of paint over it. Last year I used it to prime an icky fake-oak bed at my house and all it took was one coat of the primer and one coat of white paint.

  • Thanks so much for all the nice, supportive comments! I’m going to come back and read them whenever I need a pick-me-up. xoAmy

    Sarah – I think I did use Bulls Eye but it still required lots of coats. I may have been a little over-zealous, though as I wanted it to look extra good. ;)

    Stephanie – Do you mean the gray in the living room? I’ll try to hunt down the color name for you. Gray is soooo tricky!

    Lucia – Give your Freya a kiss from my Freya! ;)

    Cara – My Loki is special too – although he’s a bit of a fraidy cat.

    Merlin513 – the tub is indeed a wee bit dangerous!

  • Love all of it! Do you know the names of the blue paint colors used in the bedroom and bathroom (might be the same color)? I want to paint my bathroom a shade of blue but have yet to find a color I like and your color is beautiful.

  • Beautiful spaces. i admire the textile and detail decoration. I have Burma cat too.

  • Hello! What is the darker paint that you used in the bedroom and bathroom? Thanks!!

  • Love it all. I’m afraid I will now be up all night rearranging my house. My Ginormous linen couch needs a makeover and I am crazy about velvet. I don’t live near any fabulous fabric stores. Any online resources you can recommend?

  • I love your separate Ha Ha posters. Can I know who they’re by and where did you get them?

  • hi! Just came across this post and would love to know the brand and color name of the gray in your bathroom and bedroom! Thanks! Gorgeous space!!