A photo essay detailing our, um, unique decorating skills.
By Hannah Wallace
Faced with such stylish, mature Sarasotans of all ages, I’ve been meaning to do a photo-based blog about our own house. Everyone’s homes always look so perfect; how do real people (read: young, unambitious people with no money and questionable taste) decorate?
But to be honest, I was waiting until we figured out what to do with a lot of unfinished spaces (like the empty half of our spacious living room). Then I realized, there is no finishing when it comes to a house. In light of the seemingly endless projects we’ve planned for ourselves, now’s as good a time as any to show our abode, in all its quirky, incomplete cheapness.
Anyway, in the same vein as our Luxury Home department “One Great Room,” I took photos of most of the rooms in our house and listed an inventory of some of the more prominent pieces—many of which, I’m happy to realize, came from unique Sarasota-area stores. Some even came with unique Sarasota-area stories.



The wide-open layout of the main part of the house more than makes up for relatively low ceilings. Plus, we get lots of sunlight, very little of which is direct and glaring.
The terrazzo floors were just unearthed from mounds of shag carpeting and refinished by the landlord right before we moved in.
Ugly couch and loveseat donated by CCB’s boss (free). One of the cushions is virtually hollow after the benefactor’s dog shredded it. Because they wouldn’t let us live in Bradenton if we weren’t at least a little ghetto.
47-inch LCD TV from Target ($1,300; not pictured, because we haven’t bought it yet).


Martini pillow from TJ Maxx, U.S. 41 ($7); striped pillow from K-Mart’s Martha Stewart line ($10); red thing…well, nobody really knows what that’s all about.
The built-in bookshelf holds an array of literature, including plays, English history and books on grammar. Among the baubles are a decanter from American Pie Antiques, Fruitville and Lemon ($30), and a torso-less African carving from a street fair in San Diego ($5).
I dreamt of putting a Clyde Butcher poster on that big living room wall (Tamiami Trail 12, if you’re wondering http://www.clydebutcher.com/clyde-butcher-larger_image.cfm?largephoto=TamiamiTrail12_L.jpg), but apparently he’s stopped selling posters, and I really can’t afford a $1,200 print.






“Decorative” plates, green hue and 45-degree cabinet pulls from previous occupants (psychological toll, immeasurable).

Ceramic fish from the Wright Look, Burns Court, Pineapple Avenue ($9 each, clearance).


Shelf hand-made by sis Thing 1 (free).
Sideboard from Target ($100); brushed nickel lamp from a garage sale ($5) and shade from previous occupants (free).
Table and two chairs (the ones that match) from a garage sale ($10); glass vase from Goodwill, North Tamiami Trail ($1).
Boxing stand (on the lanai) from Sports Authority, Cortez Road ($60); 100 lb. heavy bag from Play-It-Again Sports, U.S. 41 ($80).




I like to think CCB’s guitar collection and the 88-key Clavinova inherited from my late uncle make this room much classier than the frat-boy toy closet it would otherwise be. (Well, maybe not much classier, but a little.)
Suede chair from overstock.com ($60); knife hole from CCB’s crazy ex (well, you could say I got him out of that deal, so maybe we can call that priceless); beach ball “globe” from the Learning Depot, Beneva Road ($8).





“Sarasota” poster from the annals of the office (free). I originally envisioned the woman jumping with joy from the fish tank; however, given the animosity of the fish, I now see her as fleeing with terror from Mr. Wiggles.



“A TV that appears as if from nowhere. That’s the dream!” Joey, Friends


And yes, that’s an original Nintendo Entertainment System.
No lie: That’s an autographed head shot of Sam Neill, which I got in the mail after I sent him a birthday card (Sept. 14, so you know).
The 2004 Sarasota Film Festival banner I found on Main Street that year after a spring storm.


Hockey stick from hockeymonkey.com ($100); replacement blade from Beaudin’s Hockey Zone, Ellenton ($30); irreparable break in the stick’s shaft from my inability to play defense (priceless).
You can just barely make out the personalized, autographed headshot of John Astin (top, center) that my mother gave me (free). Mom stage managed his one-man show Once Upon a Midnight when he performed it at the Asolo years back. She always said of Astin, “There’s a man who can get whatever he wants because he’s so incredibly nice to people.”
“One of Sarasota’s Funniest People” rubber chicken plaque from my father (free). Sarasota Magazine gave him the honor a decade ago—well before I started my tenure here.
The Gashlycrumb Tinies poster from Amazon ($9); framed by Art & Frame, South Tamiami Trail (a gift from my parents, though I believe it’s in the area of $100). Actually, my parents have framed several posters of mine as birthday and Christmas presents; the Chagall in the dining room and the Duchamp in the living room were also framed by Art & Frame.


The wall here includes two shelves from Target ($10 and $30, both clearance), as well as Chagall paintings torn out of a calendar and hung in certificate frames, also from Target.
Nightstand from Asolo veteran Sharon Spelman (free…actually, she probably wants that back).
Green dresser and mirror from Bob’s Bargain Barn, 301 Blvd. ($80).


Brown upright dresser from Twice’s Nice, Fruitville and Lemon ($55); closet overflow mess from CCB (he’s yet to pay for that, but he will).


Patio table from Indian Beach (free). A neighbor found it on the roadside somewhere…at least, that’s what he told me.
If you’re horrified at our décor, rest assured, we do have plans (or, at least, impulses) to paint and, y’know, buy better furniture. Still, it’s home, just as it is.