Interiorssneak peeks

Sneak Peek: Aubrey Levinthal

by Amy Azzarito


Aubrey Levinthal and Alex Kursman have lived in this home in Philadelphia’s Center City Trinity for nearly four years. When they initially moved in, Alex had just begun his work as a Federal Defender  and Aubrey was in graduate school for painting.  Since then, the two have added a pit bull to the family mix. Their style for furnishing the home has been through a slow accumulation of thrift store finds, hand-me-downs and even trash picks. Although it’s a fairly small home in the Fitler square area, they keep squeezing things in, including a home studio for Aubrey, who now splits her time between teaching in multiple schools in the area and painting and drawing in the studio.  Her work can be seen at Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia or in her etsy shop.  She also runs a blog that brings together her love of art and as well as details the trials and tribulations of being a painter. Thanks, Aubrey and Alex! And a big thank you to Courtney Apple for the lovely photographs! –Amy Azzarito

Image above: Alex bought me this credenza for the first birthday I had living here.  I love mid-century modern furniture and its about the only dresser that was narrow enough to fit up the spiral stairs also, so it was perfect.  The painting in the middle is mine, the piece on the left is Alice Mumford, a fabulous British painter, and the piece on the right was done by a friend I went to grad school with, Amanda Bush.  As you can tell I can’t find enough walls for all the paintings I would like to display.


Image above: This pillow is from our honeymoon to Greece last summer.  The embroidery was done by a local artist.  The painting behind me is by a good friend from my MFA program, Lauren Garvey.

See more of Aubrey’s Philadelphia peek after the jump!


Image above: My dad built this beautiful daybed for us.  It is a great place to sit and look at my paintings or do work on my laptop – it also doubles as a bed when friends stay over.  Everything in our house must have at least three functions in order for it to stick around and earn the space it occupies. Our bulletin board is essentially where I get out my curatorial urges.  I am constantly putting up new show announcements, student art work, old photos and travel souvenirs.  I eventually notice that some aspect of it has inevitably worked its way into my painting.


Image above: The lithograph in the center is one of my favorite things.  It is by Alice Neel and was a gift from Alex when I graduated with my MFA. I love pops of yellow so the pillow was completely necessary.


Image above: I am currently working on a painting purely from memory of my brother and his bike in the summer – wishful thinking perhaps.  But I am always painting with a specific time of year and/or time of day in mind, many times the sense of light is a jumping off point for me.


Image above: This alcove houses some of my thrift store knick knacks as well as art books and catalogs.


Image above: That radio was in my family center city handbag and luggage store, Levinthals, before it closed a few years ago.  The print was done by a student at PAFA, the printmakers there have an awesome holiday sale with hundreds of originals available for very inexpensive.


Image above: Our kitchen is below the living room, but happily this odd little window arrangement lets in a bunch of light.  There are my pops of yellow again with thrift store dishes and a fishs eddy honey jar.  The table is refinished from Ikea and so are the chairs.


Image above: That clock hung at my mom’s childhood home, the scary cookie jar cat is from Alex’s grandparent’s old home and the mid-century ice bucket is from my grandparent’s former home.


Image above: The painting on the left was done by Alex’s grandmother and the painting on the right was done by my mom when she was in art school.  The mushroom prints are from the 1800s which I found online and had mailed from Scandinavia. The clock, on the nightstand on the right, sat on Alex’s grandfather’s nightstand for years – I love when objects remind us of things like that.  The candelabra was a trash pick – and who doesn’t love the thrill of a free candelabra?


Image above: Our back ‘yard’ is pretty tiny but we make the most of it.  We hung string lights and have some bright pops of color from flowers and their pots and our bright blue table.


Image above:  I made the little clay number block while working at an art center, my dad made the window box and refinished this door which my mom found on Craigslist.  Alex installed the lamp – I think there is a sort of family trait nearing competition to see how resourceful we can be by repurposing old family items or recycling other people’s things – great for small budget, environmentally conscious, craft fiends like us.

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