Interiorssneak peeks

A Light and Textile Filled Philly Apartment

by anne

Originally from New York and DC respectively, Nina and Will Pace met in grad school in Baltimore before making their way to Philadelphia, where they’ve been renting this apartment in the city’s Manayunk neighborhood for the past two years. Nina’s background is in painting, which has led her to a lot of freelance work. Her paintings were heavily pattern based, so making the transition into textile design was a natural fit and led to her starting her own line, Ash & Anchor. Meanwhile, Will is a Project Manager at The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and a freelance a photographer. They both used to do a lot of collage work, which influences their decorating style. The style consists of piecing together objects and layering items from different places – in a way, building their own real-life puzzles. With a cozy sense of nostalgia, Nina describes it their home as “living a timeline.” Many thanks Nina and Will! –Anne 

Image above: As a textile designer (and lover of textiles) I tend to get very “pattern-happy” and the bedroom is a great place to indulge. The elephant tapestry by Magical Thinking from Urban Outfitters is the perfect base to add layers of color. The tapestry at the end of the bed is from a friend from her many travels, the two back pillow shams are Patch NYC for Target, and the front pillow is a little guy I made from scrap fabric. The middle pillows are an Ash & Anchor test run with the pattern from our Reverie Scarf. I’m thinking of adding some home items to the line and it’s fun to be my own guinea pig!



Click for more inside Nina and Will’s home after the jump!

Image above: The living room is the heart of our apartment and holds some of our favorite pieces, like the Iron & Wine concert poster by Doe Eyed (the show was incredible) and the Crosley record player that Will got me for my birthday when we first started dating. A fairly new addition are the two golden frames on the right, which were an antique fair find from upstate NY. Our intention was to use them for our own photos/art, but for now “Richard” and “Mabel” suit us just fine. The photo over the couch is one Will took when he was in the Peace Corps––it hung above our bed in Baltimore but I love its move to the living room in Philly. A major eyesore in the living room is the HVAC system, but it makes up for itself in the heat of summer, so we let it slide. 

Image above: Our kitchen set is great for apartment living (it’s super old from Pottery Barn) because we can keep the table this size normally, but add in the leaves when we have friends over for dinner. Instant party! I also love how the red chairs pop in an otherwise neutral space. The paint color throughout the apartment is Behr Cottage White.

Image above: We try to go to as many live shows as we can, and scoring a concert poster is often a must. This Andrew Bird one is by John Knoerl of Nerl Says Design. We’ve definitely learned our lesson––although it’s annoying to hold a poster throughout a show, if you think you might one,  buy it at the beginning of the night! We’ve missed out on some limited edition beauties for sure. Also pictured: one of our wedding photos, bookends that were Will’s grandfather’s, a delicious fall candle by Rosy Rings from Terrain, and cool wooden hands that my mom found for us.

Image above: Our plants love the windowsills! You can see the baby’s tears on the far right window growing out of the terrarium and down the windowsill. On the left is one of our many prayer plants. We started with just two and they keep getting so huge that we have to split them. At night, the leaves move upwards (like they’re “praying”) and sometimes they hit into each other and make noise. It’s so bizarre and kind of incredible.

Image above: My mom split a piece of this plant from hers and gave it to me 11 years ago. It’s definitely getting a little excessive but I can’t part with it, it’s been too long!



Image above: This lamp is from my great grandmother. She had two and now my sister and I each have one. Will found the tiny vintage jewelry box on Etsy to house my engagement ring.

Image above: It’s quite a treat to live across the street from a small park and a beautiful old church, especially in the fall.

Image above: The studio, “Ash & Anchor HQ,” is where I spend almost all of my time. If I could paint everything the color of the secretary desk, I think I would! I’m not sure if they still make it, but it was the Ace Hardware brand called Tom’s Favorite. Touché, Tom.

Image above: Our “mother-in-law’s tongue” plant belonged to Will’s grandmother––it’s older than we are! The wooden box is from Three Potato Four when their headquarters were right up the road from us.

Image above: Winter’s Lore is the new winter/holiday scarf I designed. It’s the first time I’m doing a limited run, limited availability item for the holidays.

Image above: After we got married earlier this year, we made cyanotypes of our rings and the flowers from my bouquet. For my birthday Will surprised me with a wall of framed, enlarged prints! It was so sweet. Also, rolls of fabric are everywhere! Here are ones for Elixir, Fontaine, and Armor of the Sea.



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  • Wow, really beautiful. This is a style that could easily seem cluttered to my eye but they have balanced all the elements perfectly. It’s full of warmth and colour and personality (and pattern!) but they’ve judged it just right.

    And I especially love the framed blue prints (I’m sure there’s a name for that arrangement I just don’t know it) and their personal provenance.

  • I absolutely love this feature. This home manages to feel comfortable & personal without being cluttered. Love the color & the uniqueness of their findings. Thanks for sharing your fantastic home!

  • I’m reading a lot “thanks for showing a real home” comments lately. I think these commenters should realize that other, perhaps more architectural or expensively furnished homes shown on D*S, are also real homes of real people. Just because it isn’t your taste or budget doesn’t mean you can decide if it’s “real”. It’s the wrong choice of words if you ask me.

  • Your plants look very happy! :) Love the autumn view out your window.

  • Wow… as an asian myself (a proud Malaysian) I never thought of using batiks as part of my home decor because we only wears batiks for formal functions or weddings but what you have had proof me wrong. Good job. Batiks rules!

  • Thank you all so much for your super sweet words! We feel so honored to get to share our home on Design Sponge and can’t thank you enough for all of your lovely comments!

    Also– Melba, our couch is from a place called American Signature Furniture.


  • This is truly one of my FAVORITE homes featured! Absolutely stunning – warm, inviting, unique, and energizing. Yay Nina and Will!

  • A delightful apartment. Not sure what I loved most…the bright light, the bright colors, or the visual use of space.

  • Beautiful! Manayunk really isn’t a neighborhood in Philly; it’s a suburb outside of the city, about 40 minutes away.

  • I love Manayunk! It’s a quaint suburb of Philadelphia that feels just like home. A timeline is a perfect description for the apartment – each piece has a story in the history of their relationship.

  • Loved how natural and homey it felt. The plants in all the rooms really complimented the home and aided in surrounding beauty with the park outside. Everything had a place but wasn’t out of place making it seem welcoming rather than claustrophobic.

  • So sensitive, heartwarming and with all the ease that comes of painstaking effort and a brilliant eye.

  • Your home is so warm and cozy and the fabric designs are amazing , what a talent.

    It’s wonderful to know that there is hope in our youth when I see what you two have

    accomplished. Have a long and happy life and keep those scarves coming.

  • Your apartment is so warm and cozy and the fabrics are beautiful. Keep them coming.

  • Love the warmth and colors of your home and fabrics , good job Nina and Will

  • I used to live in Manayunk, too! Seeing that church steeple (next to pretzel park) made me feel so happily nostalgic. Thanks for sharing!

  • I used to live right across the street from where they are! Makes me miss Manayunk. Great apartment! :)

  • What a lovely, cheerful home! @Saffie Manayunk actually IS a neighborhood in Philadelphia, and a quick 10-15 minutes from the center of town.

  • I really love the vase on the ground next to the bookcase. May I ask where did you purchase this?