The faded wood pie safe is the one piece of furniture that sums up Brooke Gibbons' two-story home in Steele Creek. She found it at the Metrolina Tradeshow Expo, and it looks like something you'd see in a diner, only without the original doors or hardware. Inside, you'll find a collection of teacups and saucers, a set of patterned metal tins, and mason jars holding old wooden spools of colorful thread. A vintage Galaxie II typewriter sits on the third shelf.
In short, the pie safe gives Gibbons' house in the suburbs a sense of nostalgia.
Gibbons, who blogs at MyIndieCharlotte.com and volunteers for Charlotte's first nonprofit street magazine Speak Up, lives with her husband Joshua and 20-month-old daughter Aisland. She says the biggest challenge since purchasing the couple's first home in May has been to combine their two styles under one roof.
Luckily, they both love going to places like Metrolina, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill and Sleepy Poet Antique Mall.
"I haven't been to the mall since last year," she says. "[When we got married], his entire suit came from Goodwill. It was in really good condition, even the shirt and the tie. It's something we believe in. We don't want to consume more than we have to."
Gibbons describes Joshua as having a Don Draper, Mad Men-type style — further evidenced by the collection of fedoras he has hanging on their bedroom wall.
"His subject of choice is definitely World War II," she says.
In her husband's "man room," originally the dining room, a large deep chestnut-colored piano from the 1920s works as the focal point. On further inspection, you'll find that the piano has been gutted and refashioned into a bar. Old, hardback books with gold lettering etched into their spines, smoking pipes and silver flasks accent the room. A lamp doubles as an ashtray. And an old world globe completes the picture — it, too, is deceptive, as its top opens to storage space.
On the other hand, Gibbons says she likes bright colors, especially blues and greens, and 1960s and '70s themes. She also is obsessed with maps, and several of them can be found throughout the home. For example, hanging over the couch is a constellation map that belonged to Joshua's mother, which she used to take with their family on camping trips.
"In high school, I was voted 'World Geography Student of the Year,'" Gibbons says. "I've always like geography. Even when I was younger, I'd watch the Weather Channel to look at the map and locate places. Even making up my own maps. I'm definitely not a cartographer, that's totally over my head, but I like studying places."
As you ascend the stairs, you'll stop midway to gaze at a collection of colorful framed collage art hanging on the wall, courtesy of Gibbons' own handiwork. While many people would use the space to hang old family photos, she adorns the off-white wall with her own artwork. That's no surprise, since she sells scrapbook kits on Etsy. Another Gibbons obsession is vintage paper goods and she often cuts out ads from old Life magazines.
In addition to the three bedrooms upstairs — theirs, their daughter's and a guest room — is Gibbons' craft room. The ceiling is slanted and sunlight floods in through the large window overlooking the front yard. A milky green sewing machine sits on the table — she says she hopes to start learning to sew in January — and the colors from pattern swatches and prints on the wall even out the brightness of the room. Gibbons says the craft room is a compilation of all the things she likes — from a set of vintage suitcases in one corner to an archive of Seventeen magazines from the 1970s.
With all the little collections throughout the house, Gibbons says, with a laugh, "It's short of being a hoarder."
But, like the pie safe, her home holds it altogether cohesively.
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