A DIY Designer & Chronic Rearranger’s Boston Condo — House Call

Name: Annabel Joy, her husband Kean, and her French bulldog, Mona
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

“I’m a full-time public school teacher and a DIY designer/chronic rearranger/plant-hoarder,” writes Annabel Joy. “I love pop art and bright white rooms with pops of color like hot pink and neon yellow. My husband Kean, on the other hand, prefers a more toned-down aesthetic. Combining our styles was a little challenging in the beginning, but we’ve found that it has actually helped us to create a home that feels fun and modern yet totally cozy, classic, and understated at the same time.”

“For example, our kitchen is all white with butcher block counters and a classic checkerboard floor, but the kitchen radiator is painted neon pastel turquoise. Our hallway has traditional wainscoting and schoolhouse milk glass drum shades, but our bathroom has polka dot walls and a hot pink framed risograph from a Brooklyn artist we met on our first anniversary in Provincetown, Massachusetts.”

“We also have LOTS of greenery: I’m a plant hoarder, so I am always bringing home plants that I would inevitably kill if left to my own devices, but thankfully Kean is a true green thumb who can bring any plant back to life. And then there’s Mona, our Frenchie. I use large floor pillows instead of dog beds because I knew when we got a dog I didn’t want to sacrifice style and suddenly have ugly bone-printed stuff lying around.”

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the kitchen, because it looked like hell when we moved in and we completely remodeled it last summer. It was the first major home project we took on after getting married, and we had a great time working together to turn our plans into reality. It also gets the best light and has two big windows looking out into the green courtyard and the trees behind our building, so it’s where I feel closest to the outdoors and can almost forget I am in the middle of a big city. (The living room is runner up because of our working wood-burning fireplace where we’ve been known to roast s’mores for dessert!)

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? We would have a dishwasher!! Right now we have laundry in our kitchen (which is awesome), but that means there’s no room for a dishwasher, and washing dishes definitely gets old, especially in the winter when my hands get so dry. I’d also love an upstairs with a couple more bedrooms to keep us from outgrowing our space and needing to move someday in the future.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Ever since studying abroad in Ethiopia during college, I’ve been obsessed with African baskets, and I just bought Kean a lidded prayer basket from Senegal to hide the clutter on top of his dresser. We also have a bolga basket that we use as a laundry hamper.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Your home should be beautiful but also functional and it should bring you joy. Don’t get something you don’t love just because you think it’s “correct” or on trend. And take your time. Our home has taken us nearly three years to decorate and it’s still not done (and probably never will be), but that’s the fun of it!

Thanks, Annabel Joy!

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