INDIANAPOLIS -- Leslie Lewis transformed her 612-square foot apartment on 16th Street into something you'd expect out of a single-family Mid-Century modern.
Lewis works in client services at a digital marketing firm called Nimblejack. She's been in sales, training, and marketing for her whole career, but enjoys taking on creative projects outside of work. She's passionate about styling for hire (fashion and home), and writes a lifestyle blog at lovelessyloo.com .
Her design style is a clean mix of Mid-Century modern, industrial, and bohemian. She says it’s important to blend styles together to create a personal and lived-in look, rather than strictly adhering to only one particular style.
"Understanding how different aesthetics and genres can mix well together is an awesome challenge," Lewis said. "Size, scale, and color, pattern all play an important role in making the combination work."
Her home is a collection of mostly second-hand items. She buys very few things brand-new, because she thinks items that have some kind of story (known or unknown) are more special.
Lewis thinks secondhand pieces also can be more affordable if you are willing to put in the time to visit thrift stores and keep an eye on Craigslist.
Her bookshelves in the living room are from her dad, who made them over 30 years ago. The dresser in her bedroom is a Paul McCobb piece that she won at an auction in town several years ago. Her living room coffee table was found at a vintage shop in Asheville, N.C. and lugged back in her little hatchback. The light fixture in her dining room was purchased by her parents in New York City in the 70s, and recently gifted to her by her mother.
Lewis says she's fortunate to have been given some wonderful pieces, and she enjoys the hunt of finding distinctive pieces (furniture, art, textiles) on discount at Goodwill shops, and local places like Midland Arts and Antiques, Society of Salvage, Flux, etc. When she can, she collects things while traveling, to remind her of the various cities she's explored.
She loves seeing other people’s homes, and getting inspired by the choices they make. This includes homes of friends, and interior design blogs that allow for sneak peeks into other people’s spaces (like our own Home Tour series).
Lewis gravitates toward light and airy spaces with hardwood floors and historical elements.
The “hygge” term has been really buzzed about over the past year - a Danish word that represents comfort, coziness, simplicity, warmth - and she feels like she's pursued those sentiments far before she even knew such a word existed. She wants a home that she wants to return to. Spend time in. Welcome friends to. She admits she's a bit of an introvert, so it’s important that she have a space where she enjoys retreating.
"I'm fortunate to have an apartment that has charming details - hardwood floors, original tile in the bathroom, exposed pipes, and original kitchen cabinetry. No matter how skilled the decorator, it can be tough to create an impressive space if you’re dealing with old carpeting, drop ceilings… all the things that make you go 'ick' when home-buying and such," Lewis said.
Read more from Lewis in our Design Q&A below:
Q: Biggest design challenge for your home?
At first I really hated the mirrored closet doors that are present in my living room, but have learned to appreciate them because they make the space appear larger and help the light to bounce around. I don’t have central air, so I have to use a window air conditioning unit, which makes me cringe. Also, my dining room is quite small, so I’ve needed to get creative with vintage/wooden folding tables for hosting larger groups for meals. Lastly, my passion for fashion and thrifting means I have a lot of clothing, so I’ve gotten very creative with storage solutions.
Q: Biggest indulgence?
I haven’t spent a ton on anything in my home… but spent a little more than I would on secondhand pieces for my dining room table and bed (both purchased new from West Elm.) I suppose my biggest “indulgence” is my general openness to finding things for my house, even when I’m not looking for them specifically. I’m generally always okay to buying something, even if I’m not hurting for it, if I find it at a good price, really love it, and feel I might not find something as special for a long time. I love to shop secondhand, so I pick a lot of little things up, here and there.
Q: Best design advice?
Be intentional about your space. Try to avoid buying things that are only "good for now", but you expect to replace later. That approach sticks people with things they don’t really like much, but feel guilty about replacing later. It’s a common piece of advice from decorators: Outfit your space slowly. Also, practice saying “no” politely, and use that phrase (especially when you are young and just starting out) when people want to give you things you don’t love. Finally, square footage isn’t everything. If you’re considering a new home and have the choice between a smaller (but interesting) space, and a larger space - try to live smaller. Less square footage forces you to be more discerning in your decor choices.
Q: Favorite place you shop for home inspirations?
I feel a little mixed on giving this response, because I generally try to avoid big box stores, but I still really like Ikea. (And am so excited that one is coming to Fishers!) They have simple, fairly well-designed pieces (especially certain special collections), at affordable prices. I also find good stuff at Target (recently got a great circle mirror and set of Nate Berkus sheets). Other non-local places that I pick things up at are West Elm and Crate & Barrel.
Q: Favorite LOCAL places you shop for home inspirations?
If I’m just window shopping, I love stopping in at Form + Function in Nora. Wonderful furniture and lighting fixtures, just usually a bit out of my price range. I go to Midland Antiques and Society of Salvage (right next door to one another) several times a month, and love Flux in Fletcher Place. I regularly make the rounds to Goodwills and Salvation Army as well - I’ve found so many great things for the home at the various locations around town - pots/pans, mugs, baskets, etc.
Q: Special technology in your home?
I’d love to eventually have a sound system installed, but in the meantime I have a Sonos speaker for listening to music and podcasts. I use Apple TV to watch Netflix/Hulu, etc - and love it because of Airplay. I was hosting breakfast recently, and a friend of mine was able to pull up her wedding photos on my TV, from her phone, for the group to see. My computer and monitor are both Apple as well. I’m still fairly basic - no Alexa or Nests for me quite yet.