Interiorssneak peeks

A Philadelphia Home with Vintage at Heart

by Grace Bonney

Mary and Will's Philadelphia Home Tour on Design*Sponge
I, sadly, was born without the gene that gives so many people the patience needed to hunt for great vintage furniture and clothes. Thankfully in today’s online retail world, there are hundreds of incredible shop owners who have not only the patience, but the great eye, to find these gems and make them readily available online. Mary of Millay Vintage is one of those people and I’ve been following her excellent shop since I first discovered her Instagram feed (which is filled with incredible coats, jackets and dresses.) Mary and her husband, Will, recently moved to Philadelphia from Boston to pursue a new job opportunity and managed to get their new home put together in less than a month. Along with their Chihuahua, General Gazpacho, Mary and Will fell in love with their apartment’s architecture and French doors and decided to embrace the original details when decorating. Rather than covering them up with modern design, they’ve managed to mix in contemporary pieces along with a wide range of vintage finds collected from thrift shops and Craigslist. Because they’re renters, Mary and Will were limited in what they could do to the space to make it their own, but they used paint, contact paper and wallpaper (hung, not pasted) to customize their home and create a space that feels warm and welcoming and reflects the people living inside. I love seeing all their DIY projects and marveling at their incredible thrifted finds (that iron bed!) – it’s such wonderful proof that homes don’t need to be brand new, expensive or “finished” to be beautiful. xo, grace

Photographs by Joe St. Pierre

Mary and Will's Philadelphia Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The Bedroom: Mary and Will's dresser was an inexpensive find from a thrift shop in Athens, GA. The mirror was handed down to Mary from her mother (who originally found it in a consignment shop) and Will gifted the vase to Mary after saving it from a donation pile at his parents' house.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Bedroom: The bedroom's iron bed was a local Craigslist find. Mary found a vintage roll of wallpaper from the 1970s on Etsy and hung a large piece of it above the bed as a decorative headboard.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Hallway: This is the hallway that leads from the bedroom to the living room. Mary says it's their dog's favorite part of their home. "He's claimed it as his runway. Nothing is more special than coming home after a long day and seeing him run full-speed down the hallway towards you."
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Living Room: Mary describes the couple's living room as a calming space. "It has so much openness and displays such a variety of different natural light throughout the day. And that molding!"
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Living Room: The living room couch is a vintage find from Craigslist that Mary found years ago. She loves that it's comfortable and handsome.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Living Room: Mary and Will are always on the hunt for great roadside finds and this dresser was another score. Found on the side of a street in Boston, it came home and got a fresh coat of paint. The 1930s map of Paris above the dresser was the first piece Mary and Will ever had professionally framed and it's one of their most prized possessions.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Living Room: Mary appreciates nude paintings and this piece was a recent purchase by a local Philadelphia artist, Charles Hewins, from the 1940s. The carved box on the bottom left shelf is stuffed full of love letters that Mary and Will wrote each other.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Living Room: The room's marble coffee table is one of the few modern pieces Mary and Will have invested in. Their dog likes to use it as a cool napping spot.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The view from Mary and Will's living room into the kitchen. Mary loves the French doors. "They are so special to have in the space and are original to the building."
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Kitchen: This nook in Mary and Will's kitchen is their favorite and where Mary spends a good amount of time hanging out when she's at home. The dining table chairs were a hand-me-down from Will's family and originally belonged to his grandmother. The table was a Boston flea market find, picked up right before the couple moved to Philadelphia.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Kitchen: The kitchen nook's hutch was another inherited piece from Will's grandmother. Originally painted Kelly Green, Mary decided to paint it white to go with their overall style. The bottom of the hutch offers great hidden storage and the little fringe pouf hanging from the cabinet door handle is a piece that belonged to Will's other grandmother, who Mary had the pleasure of meeting years ago before she passed.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Kitchen: Mary and Will don't have a dishwasher, so they spend a lot of time here after every meal washing up and talking.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
More details of the kitchen.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Bathroom: Mary and Will love that their bathroom still has its original tile.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Study: The oil painted gray scale portrait is Will's favorite piece of art. They purchased it from an art student who lived down the street from their old home in Athens, GA. The rolling bookcase is both functional and beautiful.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
The Study: This chair was another side-of-the-road find and it gets a solid pool of sunlight throughout the day, making it General Gazpacho's unofficial throne.
Mary and Will Spears' Philadelphia Home on Design*Sponge
What Will and Mary love most about their home....

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  • First things first, Design Sponge is by far my favorite blog. All the changes you’ve made are on point. The new website looks great. More than anything, I appreciate how well you balance the need for advertisements with giving folks un-sponsored posts. Beautiful home with so many great ideas. Is the dresser a faint pink or is it just my screen?

  • Shana, I feel terrible that we deprived the world of a General photo! After all, it is basically his apartment and we are just sharing it ;) | I promise to make it up to you by sharing more of his saucy self over on my Instagram :)

  • I do love the new redesign, but I wish that in the sneak peaks you would include all the thumbnails of the pictures at the end of the article. I liked being able to glance at all of them at once, rather than having to scroll back and forth to find the pictures I liked.

  • I love the tulip table, the coffee table, and their bookshelves! The large hex tile in the bath is great and so fun that it’s original. This post is making me want to go troll CL for hours now after seeing all their amazing finds!

  • Such a lovely tour! So many pretty details and gorgeous hues. And I also really enjoy Mary’s instagram feed. Thanks for opening up your home to us! :)

  • Mary is one of my very dear friends – her talent is truly inspiring! I recently had the pleasure of spending a weekend in this gorgeous space with this amazing family and it’s so great to see it featured here.

    Thank you so much for sharing her with the D*S readers!

  • First of all, I’d like to tell you that Design Sponge is my first & one of my favorite blogs. Secondly, just wanted to share that I am not a fan of having to click through all the pictures… since you’ve changed, I’ve only clicked entirely through 1 post. It’s so much easier to scroll through a posr than to click through.

    • Rebekah

      I’m sorry you feel that way. I gave an in-depth explanation of our choice to embrace slideshows in the “Welcome to the new DS” post if you’re interested in our reasoning, but I understand it’s not everyone’s first choice.


  • After meeting Mary and Will in Boston and working / hanging out with them they have quickly become two of my good friends. Having always wanted to shoot their space in Boston I was so excited when Mary contacted me to shoot their home in Philadelphia for the feature! I knew it would be a breeze as everything they touch instantly becomes extremely photogenic. Great write up, Grace. I couldn’t be happier! :)

  • Many thanks to everyone for all the nice comments and especially to Grace for sharing our home! I have to give all the creative credit to Mary, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve loaded an oversized piece into the back of our tiny car wondering how in the world it would work in our space – only to later find it perfectly integrated and transformed in the proper context. I’m so fortunate to reap the benefits of sharing life with her through living in this space, and am forever in awe of her creative talent.

  • Beautiful and inspiring home. Love the french doors and all the original molding. Thanks for sharing!

  • Welcome to Philly! Just curious what neighborhood this is in, ? Feels a bit too big to be a normal rowhome.

  • On your blogs, when I click onto something I see, it never shows “see more”….that is always after they show a couple pictures of a home, so I can’t see slideshow of these homes…

  • Ok,, I just figured out the new format and how to look at all the pictures. So very sorry, for my ignorance….It was right in front of my eyes and I couldn’t figure it out…Please forgive me and sorry I took up so much of your time…..the pictures are beautiful and I think I like the “sneak peaks” this way…..Thank you

  • Just some friendly recommendations if you’re set on keeping the gallery view for sneak peeks, etc. To alleviate the clicking work (or people upset that they can’t scroll), I would set a static location for the arrows so you don’t have to move your mouse to click. Currently on desktop they center on each image, so since the images are all different pixel heights, the arrows bounce around. On mobile, I would move the arrows above the image or else above the caption. Scrolling down to find the arrow, back up to see the image, down to the arrow, etc. gets tedious.

  • I would love to know where the silver stereo in the living room is from?
    love the house!