Interiorssneak peeks

sneak peek: micah + marianna whitson

by Amy Azzarito

Marianna is from North Carolina, and Micah is from Alabama, but the couple has made its home in Arlington, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. By day, they work in advertising, but they found themselves missing the South, so they started Old Try as a way to reconnect. The create a range of prints: from flags to insider knowledge to the little things they remember being taught as children. It’s made them feel closer to home and has connected them to other southerners. Marianna and Micah’s home, with its wood-burning fireplace and exposed ceiling beams, feels very New England; after all, just outside their door in 1775, British troops and Minutemen tussled as the Redcoats were en route to the Battles of Concord and Lexington. They have thrown a few southern details into the mix, aiming to create a space that feels homey and relaxed with clean lines and unique accents. Thanks, Micah & Marianna! — Amy Azzarito

Image above: My grandfather, now 90, is a talented carpenter, and he made this desk for me. It is walnut with Queen Anne legs. I love all the cubbies and that you can fold up the table surface. I coach and play lacrosse, so we wanted a vintage lacrosse stick for our house; this one is from England. The vintage cotton NC flag was a great auction find. The guestroom is a light blue — Summer Shower by Benjamin Moore.

Image above: Working in advertising and graphic design, we have a lot of large, colorful books, so we need a lot of shelf space. The leaning bookcases are from Crate & Barrel. We even have a travel section presided over by the Travelocity Roaming Gnome, a campaign we worked on. The green armchair was not a planned purchase. We drove to Maine one Saturday and ended up in the Crate & Barrel outlet. We saw the chair and joked about it — it was so bright! As we were leaving the store, we looked at each other and knew we had to take it home, so we ran back in and sealed the deal. The wall color is Cream Fleece by Benjamin Moore.

See more of Micah and Marianna’s home after the jump . . .

Image above: Our dining room table is made of mango wood. It has a really neat grain to it, and it’s hefty. The hydrangeas on the table are one of my favorite flowers. We used them in our wedding, and they always remind me of that day and of summertime. The ceilings in the dining room and living room are beautiful; they have wood coffering and beams. The dining room is a soft gray — Nimbus by Benjamin Moore.

Image above: The bus roll sign was an amazing estate sale eBay find. Micah turned on the southern charm and scored it at a great deal. The full sign was twice that tall, but since we don’t have 12-foot ceilings, we had to cut it in half; the other half is framed on the other side of the doorway. It is from a 1946 regional bus that went from Nashville, TN, to Selma, AL. Many of the stops along the way became important towns in the civil rights movement.

Image above: We absolutely love having a wood-burning fireplace. We use it often throughout the fall and (long) winter months. The mason jars on the mantel contain small items that are important to us. Cotton, straight from the fields — Micah grew up in the largest cotton-producing county in Alabama. Seashells from NC — I grew up going to the beautiful beaches there. Clothespins — Micah’s family always used a clothesline to dry their clothes (a bit about that here). Cranberries — we went to a cranberry harvest up here in New England. Wine corks — from bottles we’ve shared with friends. On the wall is a reclaimed metal barn star, something you’ll see frequently while driving around the New England countryside. We painted the fireplace wall one shade darker than the others — Crisp Khaki by Benjamin Moore.

Image above: Micah is part Cherokee, and his family, after being forced from the South in the 1830s, settled in Oklahoma. His great grandparents lived in Miami, and he remembers driving to see them all the way from Alabama the first time. So when he found this vintage wool pennant awhile back, he had to have it. We wanted a pop of color in our blue and gray office, so we got a red table as a work surface. The rolling pin, from Vermont, has rolled every Old Try print that we’ve shipped out. The wall color is probably our favorite one in the house — Stratton Blue by Benjamin Moore.

Image above: In our last apartment, we had open shelving in the kitchen, so we covered all our cookbooks with gingham. The art is a set of Work Projects Administration (WPA) posters we found on the Library of Congress website. We printed them on a color printer and framed them up. We liked them because of their typography and their timeless message. We wanted the wall color to pop, so we picked Wales Green by Benjamin Moore.

Image above: We got engaged at Christmas in 2007. Micah had a silkscreen print made as the proposal because he wanted a way to remember it daily. The print was wrapped, and I opened it in front of my entire family. It now hangs above our bed. This bedroom was navy when we moved in, just too dark for such a small space. We originally painted the room a lovely cream color (Benjamin Moore Standish White), but after we were done, we realized all the wood trim wasn’t white like we thought, but cream as well. There wasn’t enough contrast for my taste, which I mentioned to Micah. One weekend while I was out of town, he took it upon himself to re-paint the whole room. It’s a much brighter and cheerier yellow now — Good Morning Sunshine by Benjamin Moore.

Image above: We use our front entryway as a mudroom. The floor is tile, which is great for our snowy, rainy New England weather. We have coat racks for our numerous coats; a storage bench for all our hats, scarves and gloves; and a boot tray. We filled a cheap plastic boot tray with pebbles to make it a little more polished. I gave Micah the Filson messenger bag on our anniversary since cotton is the traditional gift for the second year. The wall color is a gray-purple — Pebble Creek by Benjamin Moore.

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  • I LOVE my print from them (the Mason-Dixon), and I’m so happy that they’re doing well. Their home is lovely, and it just makes me want to support their company even more!

  • I love the wall color in the photo with the red bowl and yellow hammer print. Is that the dining room color – Nimbus by Benjamin Moore? I’ve been looking for a living room color and that may be just right! :)

  • Prints from the Library of Congress? Genius. Lovely home, the woodwork and period touches are seamless.

  • love their style! what a great home they’ve created. And thanks for the Library of Congress link – i had no idea they were in the public domain! I have the grand canyon and yosemite ones framed in my office – purchased them at the park(s) but how cool is it that i can download and print lots more! thanks for the post.

  • I like their prints, but I’m a bit underwhelmed. You can do better, designsponge.

  • LOVE Micah & Marianna and their home is such a reflection of them! Thanks for sharing the stories behind some of your great pieces~

  • It is such a small world. I read the title of this post and remembered buying this awesome desk a few years back that was made out of an old door from someone named Micah (I live in the area too). Turns out, that Micah and the one in this lovely post are one and the same! So glad to see your ascetic extends to the rest of your lovely home! Oh, and that same desk on which I’m typing this now remains a great conversation piece! Off to check out Old Try…

  • I’m also a Native American “ex-pat” from the Miami, OK, area, and I was delighted to see Micah’s penant bearing the town’s name. What a beautiful way to weave one’s personal history into a home.

  • Do you know where I could find a bus roll print like just that? I have been looking for one like that forever! I need those same places too.