Name: Nicola Wilhelm and my rescue cat, Oscar
Location: Tremont Neighborhood — Cleveland, Ohio
Size: 1,500 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, renting
I am a lifelong vintage collector, soon-to-be shop owner (Helm & Co. coming to the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland this summer). When I look around my home, I can honestly count the number of pieces that I purchased new on one hand. Having shopped secondhand my whole life, garage sales as a child, and then thrift stores as a teen, I suppose it makes good sense. I transitioned, entirely, from my corporate job last fall, and this summer, I am opening a store. It still sounds more like something that is happening to someone else and not quite like my life, but here I am.
I stay away from words like “hustle” or “finding my passion.” I simply found work that I wake up in the morning and want to do, work that I am happy to be tired by at the end of the day. I live with my rescue cat Oscar. He is pretty standoffish unless he wants food or affection, much like me. I am a simple pleasures type of girl: waking before the sun, coffee (or later) wine on the porch, an afternoon by the lake (or any body of water), and a good book are my favorite things.
What is your favorite room and why? Easy question. The living room, in the early evening, as the sun is setting. There is a window upstairs, where I have draped a lace scarf from Maven Collective (Portland), and the light through that hitting the beams is so beautiful and calming. Sometimes I just sit and watch the shadows move through that room.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Since I am constantly buying to sell, I tend to not make many purchases for my own home. It feeds the desire to seek out new items and provides an outlet to creatively stage those pieces, so I find that I actually do less rearranging in my own place these days. My most recent purchase would be the thrifted vanity I am using as an entryway table. It is one of the few times where I had a specific idea for what I wanted, and then found that exact thing. It fit the spot perfectly. The wear on it makes it that much more charming. The drawers hold all my scarves and hats, and there’s enough room on top for mail, plants, and a makeshift bar. Plus, it cost ten bucks. Thank you, Goodwill.
Any advice for creating a home you love? Determine what is most important, work with what you have, and then only buy things you love. For me, being at peace when I am home is most important, and so I designed every room with that in mind. More neutrals, varying textures, lots of plants, less clutter.
Your house needn’t always be new or what is most popular in order to be something you love. Put that chair from your grandparents in the corner because you love to sit in it. Put pictures from that weekend getaway on the fridge because they make you smile. And be intentional about what you bring in. They are the most sacred of places, the homes we make for ourselves. I am a firm believer that home decor is not a luxury, but something that we all deserve and can make a priority within any budget.
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