Morgan of The Brick House

I am excited to share a new series on loving. living. small. called a small chat. for this interview series, i am inviting some lovely bloggers, designers and stylemakers to share their thoughts on small space dwelling. The first interview is with Morgan of The Brick House. Morgan's blog follows the renovation and design layout of her home, yes, a brick house. Her style of modern and vintage hi/low decor is inspiring and pretty. read what she has to say about designing and living in a smaller space.

Your blog, The Brick House, chronicles your renovation and your love of vintage finds. As you've been designing your space, how had you've utilized your space while keeping your design style in tact?

I've been trying to go slowly and discover how we use each space on a day to day basis. I'm a collector and I love vintage, so I'll scour our surrounding areas for great deals. Most of the pieces I bring into the house are a bit of a surprise. Thrifting allows me to save money but doesn't allow me to pre-plan how a space will come together. Most things I bring home initially have an intended area or purpose, but somehow end up somewhere else entirely. I'm trying to be extremely flexible when it comes to utilizing space and have developed my design style through tons of failure as well as trial and error.

What are the best accents for small spaces?

Art. Like real ART. I think it makes any space, big or small exciting and unique. I always think that's why those spaces on TV design shows look a little bland and featureless. They usually lack art or try to make fake art to match the room. Fake art tends to look a little themed and hooky. Oh, and plants. I love plants and they are so easy to find, cheap to buy and liven interiors up the way pillows or tchotchkes can't.

Have you ever had to give up a piece of furniture because of your footprint? On the flipside, what piece of furniture do you use the most in your small space?

I give up or sell furniture constantly because of space limitations. I have an extremely hard time passing up a great deal on quality vintage furniture and over time have switched items in and out of the house that fit better in terms of scale, quality, design (or if I just got tired of looking at something). I probably use my white couch in the den the most or the built-in desk. Our whole lives are spent in the den.

You have such a great eye for vintage and thrift finds. What are your best tips for finding decor for smaller spaces?

Hey thanks, I try really hard! I say quality first. Quality doesn't always have to be the most expensive either. Vintage items are typically made better than the pressboard passed off as wood in a lot of current furniture, and you can find them for cheaper than Ikea stuff. Go to high end vintage stores and really look at and touch and feel quality items to get a sense of what they should be. It will help you develop your eye and instinct when your at the thrift stores, garage sales or flea markets. It gets very easy to recognize the weight, finish, and construction of quality vintage that may seem a little worse for ware but can easily be fixed up with a little danish oil rub down, sanding, and TLC. Craigslist, flea markets, thrift stores, and vintage stores are my main sources and I've used them to furnish every space I've ever lived in.

You have great a great color palette in your home. What inspires your color choices and what advice can you give small space dwellers looking to add color in their space?

Color has always been really hard for me, and I'm still trying to figure it out. I think the 30-60-10 rule is one to live by if your color challenged (which I am). I've really been inspired by the interiors I see in blogs or decor magazines and I work at being aware of what I respond to on an initial gut level. I'll focus on what I like or disliked based on that initial "WOW" or "EWW" of a space. Then I'll try and copy what I love. Figuring out your personal taste is much harder than it seems, there is just so much stuff out there to choose from. Thats why I like the limitations of being thrifty. It limits choice and forces you to be make do with what you find.

I've been enjoying a more neutral palette of browns, grays, blacks and whites with hits of yellow and red. I love white walls and if white or a pale neutral is your 60% color you can go a little nuts with more intense colors. I love looking at Scandinavian interiors with all those white walls and floors and then crazed colors and patterns everywhere else. If your ground is neutral then you can change details in and out really easily, like if you get sick of that fuschia rug or lime green chair just switch it out and you don't need to worry about repainting the walls or tearing out the floors. Its great to have a more neutral base that can be changed up with the addition or subtraction of art, lights or accessories. Neutral doesn't mean beige. I outlawed resale beige in my life, it's just to depressing. Develop your personal taste and then trust it. Buy things you love (and not just think you kind of like or might need) and they usually fit together really well.

Thanks, Morgan! Click here to check out The Brick House and see Morgan's space. And looking for some cool vintage finds, then click here to buy some goods from Morgan's etsy shop, Brick House Vintage.

::Enjoy more small chats:
::Jessica Rust of Rust Designs
::Bob & Cortney Novogratz of Sixx Design


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Morgan of The Brick House


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