With the holiday season upon us, I can’t think of a better time to talk about family and giving thanks. My sister-in-law, Jenna, is newly married and lives in an apartment in Dallas, TX with her husband Mark. Their style is a blend of rustic and transitional. It’s soft, mostly monochromatic colors reflect everyday comfort and carefully selected, meaningful touches.
Since Jenna currently works out of a home office, their off-kitchen dining room also transforms into an office during the work day. Jenna and Mark appreciate natural elements, such as wood that features prominent grains, but they also aren’t afraid to mix in occasional contemporary pieces, like metals and glass. According to Jenna, they looked at about a hundred desks before settling on this multipurpose distressed wood table from Crate and Barrel. And while Jenna and Mark plan to only live in Texas temporarily, they purchased an authentic longhorn cowhide rug to always remind them of where they built their first home as a married couple.
Eucalyptus is one of Jenna’s favorite types of plant. It looks pretty, smells great, and is easy to preserve. Having live garlands wrap the poles inside their September wedding reception tent was one of her favorite design elements. Jenna saved several of the garlands to display as home accents and plans to re-purpose them again and again. She would love to feature one on a fireplace mantel in their future home.
This wood bookshelf is the focal point of their living room. It houses some favorite mementos from travels, a collection of wine corks, classic books, cozy blankets, and a Tiffany inspired lamp of Jenna’s grandmother’s. One day she hopes to have a real one to add to her collection.
Some of you have probably noticed that decorative antlers are a hot trend but can sell for upwards of $100. Jenna’s dad found this authentic antler in one of his fields – he picked it up but couldn’t have been more surprised when she and Mark came upon it and considered it a treasure for their home! Here she combines it in a basket tray with a few other personal touches for their coffee table.
Jenna and Mark met in college at the University of Illinois. When they visited campus while they were home over the holidays last year, they walked past a pine tree where they shared their first kiss. Jenna said they were only about 10 steps past the tree when one of them knew they had to steal some of it’s pine cones as a keepsake!
For Mark and Jenna, there is no “Do it yourself” project too out of reach. They’ve spent most of their dating lives living in major cities like downtown Dallas and Manhattan, which means they’ve never had a garage or collection of power tools. Still, Mark has found a way to bring some of Jenna’s design visions to life. Jenna’s latest idea was to create a mock headboard using branches. Jenna anticipates they will continue to modify the design but for now is proud of the unique style and bold effect it presents. As demonstrated by the headboard, it is important to Jenna that their home have a balance of masculine and feminine attributes. Adjacent to the bed is a “reading nook”. Because the wall palate throughout their apartment is a neutral color, the dark brown traditional style chaise adds depth. Two pieces of artwork, purchased by Mark during his post-college backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, decorate the walls.
The lack of ornamentation and bold colors throughout most of their apartment keeps the focus on simplicity and also allows interesting textures to pop. This is found in the ample metal doors of their bedroom dresser, which is juxtaposed with a creamy neutral storage ottoman used on the side. Above the dresser are two Crate and Barrel Tilt Bowls, which she displays new items every season.
Jenna and Mark find beauty and adventure in natural things – they value discovery and connect in working together to create their first home.
Co-Authors: Jenna Baker and Martha Knake
Chief Editor: Emily Schunke