homebodies: an eccentric one-bedroom condo
Michelle Norris and Forrest Aguar share a colourful condo with their dog Taco in Atlanta, Georgia.
What do you do for a crust? We are ad photographers and own a company together called Tropico Photo (@tropicophoto).
Describe the house you live in. Our home is a modern one-bedroom condo with high ceilings and concrete floors. The building was constructed about 12 years ago and has four floors – we’ve been here for almost two years now. Our unit itself is really open and full of light. We’ve got lots of plants scattered around and hanging from the ceiling, plus unique knick-knacks from our travels and little pops of art in every corner. We like the idea of each piece in the house being elevated beyond its normal use.
What have you done to the place since you moved in? When we first arrived the place was totally white, so we painted almost every room. We tiled the backsplash in the kitchen, switched out the mirror in the bathroom and added shelves to the closet that go all the way to the ceiling, since it’s our only storage space. We also did a tonne of decorating. We’re hoping to change out the light fixtures next!
Did you start out with grand decorating ideas, or has the look of the place just evolved? This was our first time owning a property, so we were really excited to go big with the decorating and make it our own. I had a lot of Pinterest boards with inspiration, but ultimately we took the images from the listing and made Photoshop mock-ups of where colour blocks would go. Colour is sort of the base of all our decorating ideas, and from there we just fit pieces within the colour story. We got most of the work done within a couple of months of moving in, but it’s always evolving. We just changed out some of our artwork and are always keeping an eye out for special pieces.
How do people react to your home when they walk through the door? They are always so surprised and delighted. I think if you know us you can tell our style is pretty bold, but I feel like it’s rare to see that reflected so strongly in a living space.
How would you describe your decorating style? Colourful and eccentric. We try to keep away from clutter while still filling the condo with exciting items to enjoy. We love colour, but left a lot of white spaces for a modern feeling. We’re still invested in it being a very functional space, as well as being warm and inviting. Lots of cushy furniture and little areas to relax throughout. It’s nice to have an artistic flair while also making each room an oasis to enjoy at different points of the day.
Do you ever get overwhelmed by the brightness? Never! It’s so nice being in a space that feels optimistic. The white areas also leave breathing room between all the colours. Our personal taste is to be surrounded by and bathed in colour in general, so it’s hard to imagine being overwhelmed by vivid hues.
Tell us about that amazing coffee table! One of our best friends’ father made it! It’s one of a kind. He was working on really wild furniture in the ’80s and we were so excited to get one of his designs. He refinished it for us and now it’s hands down one of our favourite pieces in the house.
What goes on in your house (aside from sleeping)? Everything! We work from home, take calls, have friends over for meals and parties and relax. I’m totally in love with it and we can’t talk enough about how happy we are to live here.
Can you share a favourite memory that’s taken place in your house? There are so many great ones, but we did have a housewarming party when we first moved in that was very special. So many friends and family came and we just loved welcoming them into our first space and being able to really call it our own. It was also sort of an unveiling, because no one had seen it completed yet. We had lots of gatherings in our old place, but it wasn’t as good for hosting. We love that the kitchen is so open to the dining room, living room and porch here, so entertaining is really seamless. We can chat while we make food and drinks!
Where do you find most of your furniture and bits and bobs? All over the place. Some pieces are custom from people we know, and we’ve purchased a lot of art from talented friends, as well. Some of it is from a warehouse in Georgia called Final Cut, where old items from Anthropologie end up at a steep discount. I do a lot of secondhand shopping, and a little bit of shopping online.
What is the most precious item on display? Oh, it’s hard to think of which is the most precious! Our friend Katie did a great little drawing of our dog Taco that hangs in our bedroom and it’s a treasure. We love that little guy so much, so having a piece of art with him in it is lovely. Another of my favourite things is the flamingo hanging in the living room. Forrest had seen me eyeing it off at a children’s store and knew how much I loved it, so he got it for me as a surprise for Christmas one year. My whole family was visibly confused when I opened it up, but I love it so much. It’s been displayed prominently in both places we’ve lived in since.
Is there anything you’re currently searching high and low for? We want to upgrade to a more stylised full-length mirror. We’re also searching for special lighting fixtures to swap out with what we have now. It’s been hard to narrow down as far as fixtures go, because we’re really invested in the design being unconventional and making sense in the space, while also wanting a certain quality of light that is functional. It can be really daunting! Our space is so small, so I have to keep myself from browsing furniture and home goods too much. It’s important to remind myself that our place is already full of things we love.
Which is your favourite spot in the house? Probably the living room/kitchen combo. It’s full of light and we spend most of our time there. I like how it works for being a place to prep meals, stage our offices, and then moves into being a relaxing space in the evening. It’s super-functional.
What does home mean to you? It’s my safe space. I feel like it's where we can relax and regroup, and also spend quality time with each other and our pup.