If You Love Plants, You Have to See This Kitchen

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

Here’s the best example of “never judge a book by its cover” if I’ve ever seen one. Before Erin Tole, Ryan Phillips, and their family moved into this ridiculously charming 5,000-square-foot Vancouver, Washington, home, it wasn’t exactly, well, as charming as you see it here. Nope.

In fact, the circa-1900s Craftsman was once a dilapidated apartment complex with a “rat maze of units,” and demo alone took months just to rid the residence of random hallways, extra kitchens, and layers and layers of building materials.

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

But the couple, who’d had an eye on “that house downtown,” were willing to provide all the TLC the home needed in order to reach its full potential. Once all the walls were in the right places, Erin got to work sourcing and bringing in all her thrifted treasures, creating an eclectic, bohemian manse.

She said in the Apartment Therapy House Tour where the home was first featured: “We’ve moved several times since our kids were born and in some of the first houses, I tried to ‘pick a style’ but I found that I just could not! I enjoy too many elements drawn from too many places, and my house is a reflection of that. Of all the things I aspire for it to be, cozy is up there on the list.” A quick glance at the kitchen (which, not surprisingly, is what we’re here to talk about), and it’s safe to say she’s accomplished her mission.

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

Exposed brick walls paired with teal cabinetry on one end of the kitchen are balanced out by a more straightforward and traditional white-on-white on the other. Touches like the vintage (thrifted) work bench-turned-island and reclaimed shelves amp up the cozy factor with loads of texture and soul.

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

“The kitchen shelves were going to be mounted on the wall, but because of the brick, it was much safer to hang them from the ceiling, and I actually like the design better,” Erin said.

The unifying element in the kitchen (as well as the rest of the home)? ALL THAT GREENERY. (Side bar: How do Erin and Ryan find the time to water them all and care for their two daughters, and two rescue pups and cat while I can barely keep my one rubber tree alive?) In this space alone — including the office and the breakfast nook that connects to the living room — I counted 30 plants. That’s a lot of plants. Many of them were actually inherited from people Erin knew who were moving and their green babies couldn’t make the trip with them. One man’s moving cast-offs are this family’s fortune, amiright?

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

The breakfast nook, outfitted with — what else? — thrifted mix-and-match furniture and a built-in wrap-around banquette sits on one end of the kitchen and, for right now, is their main dining area, although the family plans to fit in a formal dining room with a future expansion of the main floor.

After all, if any more friends move, they’re going to need more room for those bequeathed plants.

See the rest of the space: A Dilapidated Apartment Building Is Now a Boho Dream House at Apartment Therapy