What once started as an outlet for sharing personal photographs has turned into a social networking haven – connecting creative individuals who otherwise may never meet. (Yep, we’re talking about Instagram.) For example, designer Jaclyn Joslin and lifestyle blogger Brynn Elliott Watkins. Jaclyn, the Founder and Lead Designer of Coveted Home (a Kansas City based interior design, furniture & home accessory brick & mortar) was scrolling through the app when she found Brynn – the lifestyle blogger behind Being Elliott. Brynn had just moved into a new home with her then fiancé, filmmaker Aaron Lee Craig, in Brooklyn’s up and coming Ditmas Park. Jaclyn saw an instant design opportunity, and reached out to Brynn to see if she’d like to collaborate… in the form of a fabulous living room makeover! What started as an online-only project soon turned into a trip to Brooklyn, lots of shopping, styling, and one gorgeous finished project. The rest, as they say, is history:
We’re big fans of your client, Brynn Elliott Watkins. How did you two initially connect?
Brynn and I met through Instagram. She is a lifestyle blogger and stylist living in Brooklyn and has an amazing creative eye. I had been searching for a blogger to collaborate with; someone in fashion that shared my aesthetic: clean line modernism with personal touches of vintage or rustic elements. I remember seeing an Instagram snap of a little lamp she had purchased for her apartment (that she had just moved into with her then fiancé) and a light bulb went off in my head. She was the perfect fit! I sent her an email with a formal introduction and proposal and she responded back right away that she was interested and excited about the idea of collaborating.
When doing your first consultation, what was Brynn’s top priority for the space?
It needed to be as open and inviting as possible, and an authentic representation of her style. She and Aaron have a sizable collection of mementos they have gathered on their travels. Having the mix of personal items, along with the furniture pieces and some accessories from my store Coveted Home, proved to be the perfect combination.
What was the starting point? Did you keep any of the existing furniture?
The first photos I received of the space depicted a total bachelor pad. This was Brynn’s husband’s apartment, one that he had been living in with several other guys prior to their engagement, and she hadn’t moved in yet. There was a black leather sofa in the middle of the room and a bunch of bikes propped up against the wall! As a couple, Brynn and Aaron had recently purchased the Alba Credenza from CB2 and a rug, but that was about it. Needless to say, it was perfect timing for Brynn and I to start collaborating, as we worked together to tackle all the man clutter and mismatched décor (no offense, guys)!
What a transformation, indeed! What was your original inspiration for the space, and did it change at all during the process?
I spent a lot of time (as I do with most clients) stalking Brynn’s Pinterest boards. At first, I was quite surprised by how rustic some of the spaces she had pinned were, which elicited a change of design direction to incorporate that aesthetic. I think we pulled off that overall style with the use of the Mexican Equipale chair, bull skull and woven baskets the couple picked up in Sedona, along with a few additional vintage pieces.
Did you face any challenges in the process?
The room is a good size, but there is a set of double doors on one of the walls, which breaks up the useable space a bit. I had envisioned the sofa positioned against the biggest wall, but we weren’t sure if the TV credenza they had already purchased would fit on the opposite wall, due to the doors. It ended up being a really close call, but it all worked out!
Once the room was complete, what did you love most?
One of my favorite pieces in the room is the coffee table that my friend Matt Castilleja and I collaborated on. He is a local Kansas City craftsman and is so talented. I love that Brynn and Aaron have a custom piece of furniture made in Kansas City in their Brooklyn home.
Those sentimental moments are always the best. Honestly, there are a lot of really amazing pieces as well as show-stopping artwork in this room. Any other details you can share?
My friend Jen Campbell from at1stsightbk.com sells amazing vintage pieces on her site. She loaned us the brass and walnut table lamp, indigo pillow and small Arthur Umanoff round spindle side table for the shoot. Brynn and Aaron ended up loving the lamp and pillow, so [they] kept both. The artwork on the wall is a mixture of photos from their wedding in Iceland, which was printed and framed by Framebridge, a Bob Dylan poster that Brynn received from her father, and a piece from a young artist named Scout Eastwood.
You mentioned earlier that the space is filled with quite a few personal mementos. Do you have any tips for incorporating those special items in our readers’ homes?
The use of personal mementos that Brynn and Aaron have collected on their travels give the room life and warmth. They are also conversation pieces and we sprinkled them throughout the room so that each area has interest. I love the small black and white photos Brynn printed from their wedding. We didn’t even bother with framing them, instead just put a few here and there to add personal touches without being fussy about it. In the end, there were a few small items we omitted: pieces that ultimately were just not as sentimental to them. We didn’t want it to feel cluttered and I always advocate keeping only what you really love.
Thank you so much for showing us the project. It’s stunning!