Our homes are powerful instruments of inspiration. There are few places that we can walk into and decide to change and personalize through furniture, color and finishes. Home is a safe place to express our personalities, tastes and creative innovation. Artist, textile designer and graphic designer Thao Nguyen and craftsman and builder, Anthony Angelicola have transformed a dilapidated carriage-house-turned-mechanics-garage into a minimal and rustic home for them to share in Philadelphia, PA. The project has taken them three years, and the result is breathtaking.
When this 1914 shell of a house in the Fishtown neighborhood was brought to Thao and Anthony’s attention, they weren’t looking to buy. Thao was working in Brooklyn, NY and Anthony in Philadelphia. When Thao was hired to be a textile designer for Urban Outfitters in Philadelphia, they decided to take on the renovation project and turn this house into their home. “The property was a complete shell (no interior walls, no plumbing or electrical) and [it had] some serious roof issues. It was formerly used as a mechanics garage and upholstery factory — there were a lot of existing materials we removed that allowed us to better appreciate the original architectural details,” Thao says. “We worked together to plan out the interior space and slowly worked on the renovation whilst maintaining full-time jobs. The process to make the home bare-bones move-in ready took 11 months, with us doing a majority of the renovation work ourselves including putting in skylights, sandblasting the wood beam ceiling and restoring the pine floors. Once we were able to move in, we worked another two years on the finer finish work — such as designing and installing custom oak french doors, open kitchen shelving and modern bathroom vanity.”
The process has been long and well worth it. The cozy-yet-minimal furniture and styling inside Thao and Anthony’s home is so beautifully done. Each room feels like a piece of artwork and the house itself, a gallery. “We wanted our home to reflect our favorite experiences traveling and appreciating art. One particularly is experiencing Donald Judd’s work out in West Texas — his philosophy for curating his home environment and work has a strong influence on how we approach furnishing our home. We designed and built many of the furniture pieces in the home to suit our needs but to keep in line with our simple and handcrafted aesthetic.” Their home’s transformation was spurred from inspiration, and their house is now the muse fueling their new home furniture line, Fire on the Mesa. This peaceful, eclectic and gorgeous home has been many things in the last 100 years, but it’s finally at its best. –Lauren
Photography by Heidi’s Bridge