Thank you so much for inviting Rue into your home, Bladon! We’re totally blown away by the space. Tell us, what inspired your design and décor choices?
I would say this is more instinct than inspiration. A lot of the stuff in my home was either made by me in my furniture studio, or a refurbished project from a thrift store. Very little is in its original condition – my sofa being the one mint condition exception. Unfortunately, the walls are limited to white due to being a renter but I’ve found that to be a really nice canvas to work on top of, and will likely carry some of that starkness to my new home.
I love that livable, not overly designed look. Was that part of your vision for your space?
By and large, what you see is pretty much how I moved in, although as I sell items I replace them with new ones. This is probably my 5th dining table in this space!
You mentioned your own furniture design studio. My hunch is that a lot of the pieces in here were designed and made by you?
Yep! If I didn’t build it, then it most likely came from a thrift store.
That explains all the character!
Salvation Army can offer such diamonds. They may need a little work, but they provide a great place to start. The black dresser in my bedroom, for example, was a maple veneered piece at Salvation Army, which had been sitting out in the rain so long that most of the veneer had peeled off. A new veneer, black paint, updated hardware, and a wool drawer lining gave it a great new look all for about $60.
What a steal! I noticed that you display your clothes and shoes almost like décor. Tell me about that.
I guess if I had a great walk in closet they wouldn’t be out in the open like this, but this place is really short on storage so that’s why I have the big industrial shelving in the living room. But I like living this way. Everything I need is within reach, neatly in its place. Of course, even if I did have a great closet it would be the same way!
And all those plants in the kitchen? What’s the story behind those?
In recent months my partner and I bought a house together and he’s staying with me until we move. His orchids and shoes were the only items that really had to make their way over in the interim. And did they! But I love them. I’ve come to really appreciate what complex and unusual plants they are.
Your kitchen seems to be the perfect place for them too, with all that great light!
Yes! I love how many windows this place has — the most amazing light I’ve ever lived with. This place is in a pretty deserted neighborhood, near the intersection of several major highways. It makes for a lot of industrial corridors, off ramps, warehouses, and all around sketchiness, but I love it. I like how gritty it is, the way the cars on the highway sound like waves on the shore, and how the highways carve out pieces of the city and allow great views of downtown and neighborhood skylines.
Finding beauty in the mundane and said like a try artist! Speaking of art, any noteworthy pieces in your vast collection?
Most of the artwork is from my mother, my sister, and myself, although some standouts are the large black and white painting by JC Steinbrunner (over the sofa) and the great little painting of 9/11 by Owen McHugh, a favorite past landlord (the red toned piece in my kitchen).
Let’s end with a big question, shall we? What’s your style motto?
It must look good, and it must be useful.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Thanks, Bladon!
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