Orange Juice, ETC

The blog of Elias & Theresa Carlson

Category: Home

Thrift Style: Home



Since moving to California we have made several small purchases that have made all the difference in our new home and I wanted to share them with you. Some were necessary purchases, others not so necessary (I’m looking at you, Macrame).

I have found at least three good thrift stores within walking distance of our apartment and there are a couple more on my list to check out. I don’t know yet if this will prove to be good or bad on the budget…

How has macrame become popular home decor again? I ALMOST didn’t buy it. In fact I put it down and walked away, it disappeared, and I had to search for it to take it home. I never thought I would have a macrame wall hanging but, there it is… and I love it. This was found at Team Amvets in Long Beach.



I have Andrea to thank for this one. She spotted it while we were wandering through our local Goodwill and kindly passed it on to me. She knows that if it is has animals, some gold, and is a little bit too quirky for most, I would probably need to have it. It is the perfect place for Elias to empty his pockets.




I had been looking for a nice floral sheet to hang and cover the ugly storage space that is our back door. When I came across this cactus sheet at St. Vincent DePaul it was love at first sight.



SHEER CURTAINS (pair): $4.00
Team Amvets wins again with these sheer curtains! Since we are now at street level, we needed something to cover the windows but still let some light in. These look so lovely with the morning light coming through.


I bought these pillowcases at a yard sale while walking through the neighborhood. They were extra long so I had to shorten them a bit to work with our pillows but they looked as though they had hardly been used, if at all. Though they don’t necessarily match the Mexican blanket, I think it works!



Living Room Mood Board


A couple of weeks ago I applied and was selected to interview for a creative position with an interior designer/blogger. In the end, the position was given to someone else but I am thrilled to have been in the running.

As part of the application process I was asked to create a mood board of my living room, either as the room is, or what I would like it to be. It was fun activity that forced me to take a critical look at our space and recognize the patterns and themes that have developed through years of collecting, rearranging, and replacing.

The bottom left-hand photo of the yellow Chesterfield sofa as well as the photo of the cactus alcove above are both photos of our current living room. The rest of the images were curated to represent the aesthetic of the room. There is no question that the sofa is the focal point of the room, closely followed by Bruce, the buffalo hide.

As a general rule, I gravitate towards mid century modern with splashes of color and a healthy dose of plant life.  Through this practice I found that yellows and greens are dominant in our space and texture plays a big role in the feel of the room. I have always been an extremely tactile person, this plays out in the leather sofa, buffalo hide rug, wool pillow cases, natural wood, plant life, etc. It is one thing for a space to be pleasing to the eye, but if you can also touch what you see, the overall experience is elevated.

At the end of the day, we want our living room to be cozy and comfortable. Some of the most meaningful moments in our life together have been spent in this room with the people we love. Our door is open!

Saying Goodbye


A week ago today we loaded up the last of our belongings into our car, and said goodbye to our home of six and a half years. The sun was just rising as we stood in the empty space, had one last kiss, and closed the door on these walls that hold so many memories of our life together.

When we first started looking for an apartment together, we found a beautiful place on Queen Anne hill. We went together to view the space and put in our application. A few days later, the landlord called to say that she had selected someone else but she may have another apartment that would better fit our lifestyle.

It was love at first sight. The old brick building, hardwood floors, metal kitchen cabinets, and a beautiful set of windows that looked out from the third floor onto a happy intersection with a glimpse of Greenlake. We created a space for ourselves that was a haven after a long day at work. We filled the space with music, friends, food, and coffee. We imagined how hard it would be to someday leave this place that had become so much of who we were and how we lived.

Its hard to place your key in the refrigerator and make the long walk to the door for the last time. The lights are off and your footsteps sound twice their size as they creak and echo across the floor. In reality you feel quite small stepping through the door, never to return again as you point your sights towards the unknown.

A week later, here we are in California. The sun is shining and we have shed our wool coats in favor of tshirts and sunglasses. We have traded brick for orange stucco. The floors are still wood, the walls are still white. The beautiful window at the front of our space lacks the view we had in Seattle, but we will settle for walks to the beach. We have traded the lake for the ocean, evergreens for palm trees. It feels like we are living on vacation but I know the afternoon will arrive when I look out the window at the golden light and wish for the gray cloud cover, a bowl of warm soup, and the familiar pale faces of those dear Seattle friends we left in winter.

Come see us soon.














Small Spaces and Dream Places


We live in a rather small apartment and though we love it, we often find ourselves dreaming about our next space. Where it will be and what it will look like are topics that regularly come up in discussion. Though we would like a bit more room than we have currently, we would certainly like to keep it on the smaller side.

Cabin Porn is jam packed with tiny dream homes. Wouldn’t you love to spend a lifetime in one of these little cabins? Or at least a long weekend…





















Before and After: Mid-Century Modern

This weekend Elias and I went our separate ways. He headed for the Cascade Mountains, destination Enchantments (his story to come…), while I headed over the Cascades with my sister to my parents house for an exciting weekend of table re-finishing!

Lately I have been feeling like downsizing our coffee table. We had one too many large statement pieces in our living area and I thought that something a bit more streamlined would better fit the center of our small space. I really wanted something Mid-Century Modern but everything that I have found has been out of my price range.

After a bit of searching, I found a set of Lane tables on Craigslist in Spokane. My Mom happened to be in Spokane that day and was kind enough to check the tables over, determine their worth (with a little bartering), and pack them into her car like Houdini to bring them home until I could make it over to pick them up.

They needed a bit of work to bring out their full potential so with instruction from my Dad, and a bit of help from my Mom, I got the coffee table, and two side tables sanded down, stained, and my Dad applied a finishing coat to seal the deal.

When we started, the pieces were dark and a bit worn, but sturdy. As I sanded, the character of the wood was revealed to show beautiful contrast between the Oak and Walnut on the table tops. I am so happy with the way they turned out. I brought two tables home with me, the other will find a spot in my parents basement until I have room to rejoin it with its family.

What’s Old is New

We are rapidly approaching prime estate sale season here in Seattle and while it has become quite clear to me that I have zero room for more furniture* (for example: The perfectly worn red, leather chair that we will be storing at Elias’ sister and brother-in-law’s house until either they toss it out, or we get our own house…), I’d still like a reason to go on Saturday morning estate sale hunts.

One thing I am going to keep my eyes peeled for this summer is vintage wall paper. My sister came across a stash of it at a sale last summer and brilliantly snapped it up for gift wrapping. Would have been nice of her to clue me in on the idea at the time. Bygones.

One thing my mom taught us was that the price of the gift wasn’t so important if you have great presentation. This doesn’t necessarily mean going out and buying the flashiest paper you can get your hands on and a big shiny bow (you know, what you would have wanted when you were a child, instead of the present inside). This is making your gift stand apart in some unique, or personal way, thinking outside of the box (haha). Vintage wallpaper is a perfect solution. While your dad might not appreciate the gesture, your mom sure will, or maybe your cute friend that likes vintage.

* If I do happen upon some great furniture this summer while out estate-ing, I will probably change my story about having zero room. I will either swap something out or beg another poor soul with adequate square footage to store my new treasure. Fair warning.

Get the Look Decor: Etsy

Alright you guys, I know you have seen our apartment about a gazillion times by now but we were so thrilled to have been featured on the Etsy blog. What I love about this feature is that after every few photos, there are links to items on Etsy that will give you a similar look to what we have in our apartment! The pictures above are a few of our favorites. Check out the feature here.

Blue and Green Sofa: Junk 2 Funk
Brownie Camera: Falcon and Finch
Antlers: Mechanical Stag

Design*Sponge: Sneak Peek

We are so excited this morning to see our home featured on Design*Sponge in their Sneak Peek section! We love our tiny home and it is so fun to see it featured amongst such incredible and creative houses.
Please go check out the post if you are interested, there are some different photos from what were in our house tour and a bit more description about particular pieces in our home.

The 100th Post: Our Tiny Apartment

It seems fitting that for our 100th post we feature the tiny apartment that has become our home. I don’t know how much longer we’ll be here, it could be a year, it could be five, but I do know that I’ll never forget it. I’ve always told Theresa that I’d be happy anywhere as long as I had her, but I know when we finally decide to move on it will be a bittersweet parting. These 700 square feet or so have born witness to our life as newlyweds. It has harbored us within its brick walls as we’ve grown and matured as a couple. I am thoroughly content here, and it’s sometimes difficult to imagine being anywhere else.

The running joke/question when it comes to any kind of home related purchase is “where are we going to put it?”. Given the limited amount of space we have to work with it’s a legitimate question. Over the last few years Theresa has pulled together an assortment of wonderful things. After dozens of estate sales and with more than a little help from Theresa’s incredibly talented parents, she has created a place that truly feels like home to us. It is with great pride that we can say nearly everything in our home has been made, or refurbished by someone in her family.

Sitting here typing away on the now famous Chester I look around and realize just how blessed we are. However, it’s not our material wealth that blows me away. Rather it is the love and support of our family, and the legacy that they have given us through their hard work and time that humbles me. It is the knowledge that I am well and truly loved by my wife, by my parents, by her parents. It the deep seated faith that even if our apartment burned to the ground tomorrow we would be alright because we have each other. The beautiful things in our house are just a reminder of the larger truth: we are loved.

All you need is love.

Note: click on any of the pictures to see them a little larger.
* More photos on Design Sponge!

Painting the Walls Black

From the moment I saw these photos of Jenna Lyon’s home (Executive Creative Director for J.Crew) I have wanted black walls. My Mom was kind enough to let me have me her Domino issue in which the house was featured and Andrea bought me the Living etc issue that also featured the Brooklyn home.

Our appartment is quite lovely and the walls are very white (perhaps we will post photos soon). Painting is not allowed and even if it was, I dont know how many landlords would appreciate such a dark suggestion. For now I am saving these issues for when we have a space that will allow me to paint the walls black.

*Note, even the baby gets black walls! Also, I know that there is not a stitch of black on the walls of that dressing room besides those incredible antlers, but take a look at that shoe collection!