January 2020 Issue
Meet the Home Owner:
2019 brought us some amazing features and we plan to continue that into the new decade. Our talented friend Jessica and owner of Six Eighty Eight, a lifestyle brand that combines her love for entertaining, decorating her home, thrift/vintage shopping, curating personalized gifts, pottery making, and local foodie excursions, has got the perfect space to bring us into the 2020! Read her story and see her space below.
What made you select this apartment or Durham?
Before moving to Durham, I lived in New York City for several years. My apartment there was tiny (as in my bed, minus a headboard, touched three of the four walls in my bedroom) tiny - but I loved it. I lived in the Chelsea neighborhood for years, then moved to Astoria, Queens for a while, and then finally on to Harlem. What was most common in all of the apartments that I lived in was that 1. they were all very small spaces, and 2. the neighborhoods, the moment you stepped out of the front door, were full of coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and theatres. When I decided to leave New York, I knew that I wasn’t ready for suburban life just yet, as I still wanted to have some of the same experiences that I loved having in New York - I was just ready to have them in another city.
Once deciding that I was going to be moving to Durham, I started to look for apartments in the downtown area - close to some of the places that I really enjoyed when I used to come and visit friends. The moment I saw Liberty Warehouse Apartments online, I knew this was going to be the place that would allow me to still have a very urban experience - just in a new city. I loved the industrial history of the building, I was obsessed that it was right across the street from Durham Central Park where I could visit all of the events that go on there (specifically the Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning), I was so excited to learn that all restaurants, shops, bars, coffee spots, and even my pottery studio were just a few short blocks away, and I was over the moon excited that my apartment itself was small (although massive compared to the places I lived in while in New York) and had a wonderful view of downtown Durham, which was exactly what I was looking for. Moving here has been one of the best decisions I have made. I miss New York every day, but I love it here in Durham.
How has downtown living been like?
It’s amazing. I walk everywhere, because I can. On the weekends, I hardly ever get into the car because most everything I need is in just a few block radius to my apartment. I love the very local feel that Durham embraces so well. All of the restaurants downtown are local (minus one pesky McDonalds that for some reason hasn’t been kicked out yet) and I love that. For those that know me well, you know that I am a huge supporter of local and small businesses.
While chains and big box stores have their purpose in the world - I love that Durham remains committed to supporting small. And because I get to walk to all of these places whenever I want to, is such a bonus. In a place like New York, it’s easy to feel like the city swallows you up and you just become another one of the millions grinding day in and day out. But here, I actually feel a part of this city, and I love that.
What do you love most about this home?
That every single piece that I have in my space, I love. It is a reflection of who I am as a person, and when I walk into this space, it resonates with me, it makes me feel calm... and at home.
What is your design philosophy?
My design philosophy is borrowed from Nate Berkus which I’ve always believed, but he says it so much better: “I believe your home tells a story about who you are and who you aspire to be. We represent ourselves through the things we own. I don’t believe in trends. I believe in collecting things that you connect with. We should surround ourselves with things we care about, that have a story, that have meaning”.
Jessica has the best view of Central Park and downtown Durham.
Who or what is your biggest design inspiration?
It’s a toss-up between Nate Berkus and Genevieve Gorder. I love their aesthetic because their homes are well designed yet looks very lived in and approachable. They both are world travelers and the moment you step into their space (as if I’ve actually stepped into their spaces, although they totally should invite me over for dinner) you feel like you too have traveled along with them. I feel like they would pour you a glass of wine and take you on a tour of their home while they relive all of their travels and special memories.
While I feel like my style is my own, I do feel that I constantly grab inspiration from both of them. On my walls, I not only have art, but found wood and metal pieces - I learned that from Nate. On my couch, I have very whimsical pillows of geese that I just adore - I learned the importance of adding a touch of whimsy to your space from Genevieve. There are many other designers that I admire, but for many many years - all the way back to the early days of the Oprah show and Trading Spaces (before HGTV), these have been my style gurus.
Why is creating a beautiful home important to you?
To quote Dorthy (yes, that Dorthy) “Because there’s no place like home”. I love interior design, I have since I was in my early teens, and to me my home is my happy place, so it has to be beautiful….and personal...and inviting. For me, I’ve always been drawn to neutral and dark colors. Now it’s a trend, but I’ve been doing “dark and moody” for...ever, really. I instead have called it #masculinechic because I love mixing some of my feminine pieces (like faux fur, glass, and pampas grass) with dark woods, metals, and leather. I also love the smell of tobacco and sandalwood throughout my home. At first sight you would say my space looks very masculine, but I’ve also added a lot of feminine touches to soften up the space a bit. You’ll find this in my wardrobe as well, I wear a lot of black and leather, but always try to soften it up with a heel, fur, or sparkly accessories. It makes sense why my home looks the way it does - it’s an extension of who I truly am.
What was your biggest challenge in this space?
When I first moved into this space, I loved it because it was small. I didn’t come here with anything but my clothes and my dog. Every single piece in my home was purchased after I moved here, so I knew I wanted to create a small space with intention. I didn’t want a big space just so that I could fill it with a bunch of stuff, I wanted my space to feel intentional and cozy. I believe that I achieved that, and now almost 3 years later, I would say that ‘not enough space’ is my current biggest challenge. I love curating spaces and buying pieces that I resonate with, but currently, I’m all out of space.
What is the process when selecting your pieces?
I have to fall in love with the piece, it has to look and feel like me, and I have to visualize it in my life for a very long time if not forever. I do not purchase anything (or sell anything, or gift anything) unless I personally love it and would consider it to be a forever piece.
How did you get started on thrifting for your home?
I came to Durham with all of my belongings in the back seat and trunk of my car. I wanted a fresh new start. Thrifting has always been in blood. As a child my mom would scour the newspaper looking for garage sales to go to over the weekend. Most Saturday mornings I would hop in the car with her traveling from garage sale to garage sale, and I loved it.
At a young age it just meant that I usually got to come home with a new toy or gadget of some sort, but as I got older, I really started to love the feeling of finding the beauty of someone else's “trash” and making it my own treasure. This love of the hunt - of finding a great deal - of having pieces in my home that no one else has - of knowing that most pieces had a story before it landed in my home was rooted as a child and remains to this day. I hardly ever buy things for my home from a big box store. I like doing and having things that no one else does or has. I don’t want a group of people sitting in a conference room each quarter talking about what new items should be on the floor at their stores and determining how my home should look - I want to decide that for myself. My mom said when I was younger that any time she would try to help me do something, I would say “I do it” - and honestly, nothing has changed. So that’s why I thrift/vintage/flea market/garage sale shop. I love the thrill of finding a deal and falling in love with forever pieces - on my terms, with my vision, and with my aesthetic. With that, 90% of my current space is second-hand.
What is your favorite piece in your home?
Oh this is so hard, because everything is my favorite. But if I have to pick one thing, I would choose my bedroom armoire that I thrifted from TROSA. The moment I saw it, it was love at first sight. It truly was. Did I go into the store looking for an armoire? I did not. But once I saw it, I knew I had to have it, but there was one problem - I didn’t have any space for it. I tried to think of items that I could sell to make room for this massive piece, but in the end I couldn’t come up with a solution so I walked away and left the store without it. The rest of that day I kept thinking about it, and thinking about it and still couldn’t come up with how I could justify getting this piece into my tiny space. The next morning I woke up and was still thinking about it (which typically means that I need to have it) and as I was lying in bed I said “I know, I could sell my tall dresser, move the short dresser that was on the side of my bed, to the foot of my bed, move the bed over a smidge, and then I could place the armoire where the dresser was and use it for a linen and crafts closet”. Done. TROSA doesn’t open until noon on Sunday’s, so until then I prayed that the armoire was still there and wasn’t sold to someone else that also fell in love with it. I was the first one in the store that day, I ran to the back and this time luck was on my side because it was still there. I purchased it immediately, and it was delivered that next weekend. The piece is so well made - and if you lived in my house (thankfully no one else does) you would often see me staring at it and touching the wood. On one side of the armoire I store all my thrifted linens (yep, I even thrift blankets and bed linens - I have some really beautiful pieces) for when guests come to visit, and on the other side, I have baskets full of all my craft supplies. I promise I will have this piece forever.
What are your favorite shops to source from?
Hands down my favorite shops are TROSA, the Scrap Exchange Thrift Store, and the Raleigh Flea Market. Honestly my entire space has been sourced from these 3 places.
If your house was a drink, what would it be?
A Manhattan. The golden brown of the bourbon (Blanton’s preferably) combined with a vintage rock glass and a drop of brandied cherries, sweet vermouth, and bitters, aesthetically, fits very nicely within my #masculinechic space.
(Jessica also has the ability to use her apartment's community spaces and amenities for entertaining as she pleases, so these last few photos are around Liberty Warehouse.)
Describe your go-to Friday night in Durham?
On Friday evenings I really love to stay at home and watch a movie on my favorite blue couch. I mentioned that 90% of my home is second-hand, but my couch is part of the 10%. I purchased it from Crate and Barrel and it probably cost more than every other thing in my home, combined, but I loved it - I saved for it - and I bought it. It’s the best couch to be lazy on.
My weeks are typically so very busy, that on Friday’s I like to stay home. But if you were to ask me about Saturday night, I would say that I like to dress up a bit and grab dinner with friends at one of my favorite downtown restaurants (i.e. Mother and Sons, M Sushi, Mateo, or Viceroy). After dinner I like to grab drinks at either Alley Twenty-Six or Kingsfisher, and if I’m really being indulgent I hop over to the Parlour for a late night ice cream cone before walking back home.
Any advice for anyone on how to create a home they love?
Design your space with intention. Fill it with pieces that you absolutely love - and take your time. You don’t have to furnish your home in a weekend. Take time to find pieces that really resonate with you. When people walk into your home, it should have personality. Most importantly, it should exude YOUR personality. Don’t be afraid to mix and match - whether that be a balance of high and low cost pieces, or mixing your mid-century table with a set of traditional chairs alongside a mirror that you brought back from your travels to Italy. It’s all about personal style, don’t feel that you have to follow the latest trend. Include pieces that have a story - even if you make up what that story is. I am a collector of glassware because I love to entertain and I make a damn good cocktail. 98% of my glassware has been thrifted or found at a vintage shop and I often imagine the fancy parties these pieces were a part of at one time. It’s fun to think about how some of our new-to-us found pieces, once lived. So again, take your time when curating your home. This is the one place in the entire world that is carved out just for you.
Make it your sanctuary. Your happy place.
Thank you for coming along with us on our Curated Home Tour! We hope that you have enjoyed this read and are inspired. Like what you see? Follow us at @curatedhometour and keep up with Jessica on instagram @sixeightyeight. If you would like to see other Curated Home Tour Features click here. Subscribe below to receive updates on the February Issue, news about the shop, giveaways and upcoming events. If you think that your home would make a great addition to our "Curated Home Tours" please contact us!
Thank you for your never ending support!
Until the next home,