Are y’all ready for this insane home tour? No matter your decorating style, everyone can jive with Nick & Joseph’s love of creating a welcoming space, furniture with a story, and designing a home their friends never want to leave. We would expect nothing less coming from this dynamic duo (hello, prop stylist & graphic designer power couple) but after seeing their space we are itching to pack up and move to Des Moines and create our own little modern bungalow!
NICE TO MEET YOU:
Nick Sellers (27) and Joseph Wanek (29)
CURRENTLY LIVING IN:
Des Moines, Iowa
WHAT DO YOU DO?:
Nick: Graphic Designer at Meredith Corporation
Joseph: Freelance Prop Stylist
WHEN PEOPLE WALK INTO YOUR SPACE, WHAT IS THE FEELING YOU WANT THEM TO HAVE?
We have large windows on both sides of our living room, so we want people to have a sense that they’re sitting outside. We have a large screened-in patio on the back of the house and, in the summer, we fill it with as many plants as possible. Last summer we had about 7 full-sized palm trees out there! It’s partially because we love the way plants make a space feel alive, but it’s also a way to create privacy from our neighbors.
Because we can only be outside for half the year in Iowa, at the end of the season we try to bring in as many plants as we can, so it feels like we are sitting on our patio even when it’s snowing outside. Our neighborhood is full of 1950s “California-style” ranches and that also helps dictate our space’s indoor/outdoor vibe.
WE ARE OBSESSED WITH YOUR LIVING ROOM – TELL US A BIT ABOUT IT
Given the clean lines of our mid-century home, we wanted the decor to feel fresh: decorated, but simple and modern. When we moved in together, we merged our two different styles using the items we had from previous apartments, creating an eclectic mix between mid-century and industrial. While some of our decor items are flea market finds, we have many pieces that have stories behind them. The oversized industrial coffee table was rescued from an old building Joseph’s family owned at one time, while the armchair, credenza, and other wooden mid-century pieces throughout the home are Nick’s grandmother’s original furniture. The great thing is that you could spend thousands of dollars at West Elm or CB2 for similar items, but we got them for free and they have been passed on from family members, making the space much more personal.
Another feature we love is our black accent wall. In a way, the TV visually blends in with the wall, so when it is not in use, it looks like there are just two staghorn ferns offset to the right. It’s a good way to hide electronics that would otherwise stick out.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR HOME?
We love the mid-century character of our house and that it has a better allocation of space than older sectioned-up homes we looked at in the area. For the most part, the living room, dining room, and kitchen all feel like one space, which is closer to the open concept being built in homes today. We also love that the large windows on both sides of the living room are original to the house and that the window supports create mini shelf space, the perfect spot to set more plants!
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST DESIGN CHALLENGE?
One challenge was choosing the right paint colors. Our home’s color palette goes from white to black and what seems like every shade of gray in between. Grays and whites are the hardest because you can end up with a very blue or brown gray, or a dirty beige white. While all the colors work together, each space has its own shade, giving every room its own personality.
Our other big challenge was deciding what to put on the walls. It’s tough because, art is so expensive, we’ve been waiting to find the perfect thing for above the couch and we just haven’t found it. Stuck somewhere between having bare walls and spending a small fortune, we decided to create our own art. We bought the oversized frames from Ikea and went to the Des Moines Botanical Gardens to take up-close, almost abstract photos of palm trees and got them printed on a large format printer for fairly cheap.
IF YOUR HOUSE HAD A SPIRIT COCKTAIL, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
More like, what wouldn’t it be!? We love entertaining, especially in the summer when we can be on the patio, and the type of gathering usually determines the signature drink. Our favorite mixed drinks are margaritas, mojitos, mules, and martinis but we also show wine and champagne a lot of love.
One of our favorite cocktails is one taken from a rooftop bar in San Diego. “The Cougar” has a ridiculous name, but it’s a summery take on a Greyhound.
2 shots pear flavored vodka
Splash of St. Germaine
Fill the rest of the glass with Simply Grapefruit juice and ice and do an optional sugared rim.
WE LOVE A GOOD ENTERTAINING TIP, DO YOU HAVE ONE YOU TWO SWEAR BY?
The right playlist can make or break a party. Our favorite is Pandora’s Hipster Cocktail Party station because it can work for a dinner party or for a more lively get together.
DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN STYLE & WHAT INSPIRED IT
Our style is modern but still warm and livable. We have such an eclectic mix of things that it’s hard to define. We definitely think balance is key. Whereas the living room has a lot going on, we balance it out with simplicity in the other rooms. Some of our black accents bring a polished and sophisticated feel to the space and help ground the pops of color and greens from the plants and art.
Our style has many influences and is forever changing. It changes based on the space we live in, places we travel, and what we see at work. Because we both work in the world of publications and design (we both met on a photo shoot) we have the benefit of being around other creative people and seeing what great new trends are coming up.
WHAT IS NEXT & WHERE CAN WE FIND MORE?
Although we are at a point where we feel good with our home’s decor and renovations, we still have a long way to go. We hope everyone will check out our brand new lifestyle Instagram, @nickandjosephstyle, to see before photos of our house, travel experiences (including our recent trip to Thailand), entertaining inspiration, and upcoming DIY home projects. But let’s be real, you should actually follow it to see more pictures of our cat, Julio!
Joseph and Nick
Photography by the lovely, Lauren Konrad