For more than a decade, I, Quelcy, have been a loyal Design*Sponge reader. For more than a year and a half, I’ve been on the other side — a contributor. I’ve been inviting myself into people’s homes, both physically and figuratively, to bring you the stories and spaces that inspire many a Pinterest board, your dream homes, and your very real renovations. It is about time I return the hospitality. Today, I invite you into my home, so come on in!
Dubbed a “handyman special” by the local developers who own my building, the apartment has its fair share of quirks, but it checked off several items on my wish list: cheap rent, tall ceilings, architectural character, and lots of natural light for photographing recipes for my food blog, With The Grains. Above all, the “handyman special” granted me permission to do whatever I wanted to the space (as long as I didn’t hack into its structural integrity), so I promptly signed that lease.
I piled all my belongings into a corner, and I got to work. I ripped up carpet, cleaned the deathly-looking ash and cat smells that lurked below said carpet, painted EVERYTHING, possibly [probably] inhaled lead paint and made this place feel like my own. For nearly nine years, this place has ebbed and flowed with me, from a job I hated, to a layoff, to a major leap into self-employment as a food & prop stylist, photographer, blogger and event designer.
I’ve celebrated heartbreaks and immense milestones here, but what really made this labor of love feel the most like my home was filling it with fur and dirt. First came my most diligent kitchen assistant, Julep, then came a farmer. As luck would have it, I met Kyle, an organic farmer/graphic designer/pet portraitist at Lili Cafe, our neighboring coffee shop (another perk of my location). I felt a whirl of butterflies and admiration, and before long, he too became a member of this home.
This old building we call home feels like its days are numbered. The neighborhood has changed so drastically around us, Pittsburgh housing prices have soared, and I fear this building will soon sell beneath us. In the meantime, I’m so grateful for this home. It’s a cozy, cost-effective space that has enabled us to take creative career risks. The seams are usually bursting with produce, beekeeping equipment and a fair bit of dirt amongst the props and backdrops, but this space is hugely personal. It reflects my story, so I’m thankful you stopped by to visit. —Quelcy
Image above: Kyle’s foraged stinging nettle (an antidote to allergies when made into tea) and curing garlic mix with my collection of vintage props in our entry. I lean very rustic — if I’m not risking tetanus, I’m usually not interested. We both consider Julep, our Aussie-Lab mix, to be our muse in all our endeavors.
Entryway Rug- secondhand Park bench & table – craigslist Flour Grinder, Tin Bucket & Rolling Pins – flea markets
Kitchen Mint Paint Color – Glidden Minty Green Door paint – Behr Honey Locust Lemon Wall Decals by Urban Walls Rug – Ikea Pendant light – vintage Light Bulb – Ikea Toy kitchens & Cake Containers- flea markets Vintage Kitchen Mixers – Zerrer’s Antiques Artwork- made by Quelcy & Kyle Coke & Pepsi crates – flea markets
Dining Room Wall Paint- Behr Chipotle Paste
Floor Paint – Glidden Stone White Mantle wallpaper- collaged by Quelcy from a vintage book Table – refinished antique Chairs – Ikea Trunk, Ironing Boards, Typewriters – Trader Jack’s flea market Cake stand – vintage & Ikea Still Life Painting – WildCard Botanical Floral Prints – Friday Cheer Co
Vintage Light Fixture – a grain sifter from a flea market
Vintage desk – secondhand
Living Room Wall Paint – Glidden Belfian Waffle
Floor Paint – Glidden Stone White Couch – flea market Pillows – Target & Ikea Coffee Table – Ikea bookshelf Desk & Shelving – Ikea Cowhide rug – Ikea Vintage camera – from my Grandfather Gold standing lamps – Target Bees & Honey Print – Cavallini Paper Co. Bee Print – Trohv Octagonal Framed Dog Photo – Pittsburgh Furniture Company Tennis racquet – The Ardent Forager Riding Helmet – Flea Market Small velvet hat – American Girl Dolls Baskets – purchased in Nairobi, Kenya Corn Print Fabric Curtain – purchased in Nairobi, Kenya Daily Bread Photo Pair – PGH Vintage Mixer Wooden Drum – made by Kyle’s uncle
Bedroom Wall Paint – Behr Pencil Point Floor Paint – Glidden Stone White
Mantle – Glidden Crisp Linen White Bedspread – Target Pillows – Ikea Bedside light – Target White Sewing Desk – gift from friend, refurbished Antique Sewing Table – Turn Key Liquidators Globe – flea market Chalkboard frame – made by Quelcy
Bathroom Wall Paint – Glidden Botanical Green
Floor Paint – Behr Flat Top Frames – Ikea & Vintage, painted gold Horseshoe – Friday Cheer Co. Landscape Painting – by Kyle’s brother House Painting – Anne Wertheim Candles – Target Vintage pharmacy & cigarette tins – flea markets “Q” hook – Anthropologie
Office Calligraphy Chalkboard – Jessi Evans Frames – Goodwill, painted Gold Paper (in frames) – Artist & Craftsman Supply Gold Lamp – Target Gold bulldog tape dispenser – Target Clay pot – made by Nina Barbuto Julep portrait – by Kyle Industrial desk – purchased second hand from a church Locker – Ikea Gold & White Curtain – Target Rug – Costco Pet Portrait – Regal Collars