When the walls began to come down on this 1932 bungalow renovation, Chelsea, of CircDeco, fell in love with her investment property and decided to instead revamp it for herself. Staying true to her business’s ethos she sourced all of her furniture second-hand and purchased sustainable finishes. Caroline Sharpnack beautifully captured the life of this home, in which each piece has a story and every room holds a memory.
From the designer… This 1932 East Nashville bungalow was converted to a two-unit before we acquired it. My fiance, James, business partner, Brian, and I purchased it as an investment property. However, once we started removing walls to let more natural light in, we fell in love with it and decided to move into the lower level ourselves. While it would be fun for all of us to live here, Brian lives elsewhere as the upstairs unit is occupied by another tenant who lived here before we purchased the house. We have yet to renovate the top floor.
I have worked in the interior design industry for thirteen years and have become very aware of how wasteful the design world can be. So when I started my own company, CircDeco, I focused on creating livable spaces using only vintage, second-hand, or locally and sustainably made furniture and products. Applying that to our new property was a fantastic exercise in realizing the opportunities and limitations of my new business model.
The inspiration behind the design started with using what we had. After that, it was all about being resourceful and finding a way to incorporate items I owned into a seamless and inspiring new design. For example, I knew I would use the fabulous green kitchen wall tiles (from female-owned Red Rock Tileworks in Nashville, TN) I purchased as a sale score and a focal point in the small kitchen. We still thought we might rent the space to someone else when designing the kitchen, so we went with simple, dark finishes. That ended up being a great choice because the black countertop and soft wood of the cabinets help to ground the open space. The one upper cabinet is a Chairish find, resting on top of the countertop. It’s one of my favorite details in the kitchen area.
I knew I wanted a window-seat dining nook and would use the old dining table from our apartment in New York, so I built around it. The slipcovered dining chairs are multipurpose. We love to entertain, so those chairs can roll (they have casters) into the living room and are comfortable enough to sit for hours once dinner is finished. Everything needs to be multipurpose in a tight space like this, and nothing can be too precious.
The large cabinet came from a Spanish Mediterranean style home my mother and father used to own. It was a terribly outdated wood tone, but I loved its potential, so I refinished it to house the items that would go in the upper kitchen cabinets we don’t have.
All of the large furniture items are second-hand and most have a story they’re either pieces I already owned or found while out treasure hunting. Some small accessories (lampshades, a stool, dishes, etc.) and textiles were purchased new but consciously. I would donate to carbon offset (via Terrapass and Project Wren), whatever items I couldn’t ensure were sustainably and/or locally made. It took some time to complete, but all in, we finished the renovations and furniture design in eight months.
The Haven Workshop is an intimate, community-driven learning experience for interior designers who are looking to up-level their business and build a successful brand.