A “Vintage Minimalism” Style Home — House Tour
Name: Jes and Caleb Plain
Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Size: 1600 square feet
Years Lived In: 9 months, owned
Though they both grew up in Central Pennsylvania, Caleb and Jes have spent their entire relationship elsewhere. Nashville, Philadelphia, Los Angeles…and even a year on the road in an 18-foot travel trailer. This 1950s brick home in Lancaster is the first roots they’ve put down close to their families. While they are still splitting their time between the East and West Coast, they love all of the Pennsylvania seasons and rediscovering all of the country roads in the area.
The house is just two miles from downtown where they often hit up the farmer’s market for dutch pretzels and coffee. As a software designer, Caleb enjoys working on projects, particularly his motorcycles and electronics. Jes is a writer and musician and does contract work in organizational and styling projects. They share their home with their two dogs, Conor and Rigby, who are often curled up on a pillow or barking like maniacs at the neighborhood stray cat.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: I would say "Vintage Minimalism"? Maybe? We’re really into clean lines and not having a lot of clutter or congestion, but we also love old things and texture and warm colors. We’re both drawn to the ’70s (who isn’t, right?!) but also love bold graphic patterns and high contrasts, so we use a lot of black and white. We have a lot of heirloom items inherited from both sides of our families, so we always find a place for those things in our spaces.
Inspiration: We live part time in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, so both of those places provide a lot of inspiration, particularly for color. We also love the plants in L.A. When we drove across the country I brought a Bougainvillea, a White Oleander and several succulents and cacti. I plan to do that a few more times. For this house I have been thinking a lot about my Mom Mom and Pop Pop’s house in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It had a very modern ’60s style. It’s not something I want to recreate in appearance, but I am chasing a feeling that I always had in that house. It’s hard to explain, but we believe old houses shouldn’t feel too modern. You’ve gotta preserve the charm of their era!
Favorite Element: The natural light! The sun hits the back of the house first and lights up most of the house with brilliant warm morning light. The way the windows and openings are laid out in the house maximizes the light in every room. And the kitchen is so beautiful in the morning, which really helps me wake up while I’m making breakfast.
Biggest Challenge: I think the most challenging part of any space for us is finding things we love the look of at a price that makes sense. I think this is why we end up doing so many things ourselves. We often can’t find what we’re looking for so we have to make it ourselves.
What Friends Say: "This reminds me of my grandma’s house!" Thankfully they say it with honest joy and not disgust!
Biggest Embarrassment: The house is still very much in process so we’re trying to not feel embarrassed at all and just accept that things take time. But if I had to pick, the landscaping comes to mind, particularly in the backyard! It has a lot of potential but we haven’t had the time to work on it.
Proudest DIY: The bathroom tile. I love the classic ’50s tile but we had grey and maroon and we didn’t want to rip out all of the walls. So Caleb took a stab at resurfacing the red tiles white and keeping the grey. It came out great and is holding up really well! After we replaced the grey carpet (gross) with the matte black tile, it felt like we got a whole new bathroom.
Biggest Indulgence: The kitchen floor. The house had the original 1950s vinyl and even though it was quite yellowed in parts, I was determined to get it polished and keep it. However, during some plumbing work a can of plastic eating primer was spilled and the floor was destroyed. We went through so many different ideas of what to replace it with before finding Marmoleum. It’s one of the only thing we had installed by professionals, and it was definitely worth it. It’s so durable, easy to clean, and a good modern twist on what would have been in the home when it was built.
Best Advice: When it comes to style, nothing matters but what you like. Dark walls take more maintenance. If you spray paint indoors, prepare yourself for the clear residue that covers everything around you.
Dream Sources: European appliances! The UK has so much awesome stuff that we want and they just will not ship here!
PAINT & COLORS
All White Walls: Sherwin Williams — Snowbound
Upper Kitchen Cabinets and Trim : Sherwin Williams — Alabaster
Lower Kitchen Cabinets : Sherwin Williams — Truly TaupeKitchen Wall and Stairwell Trim : Sherwin Williams — Less BrownDining Room: Sherwin Williams — Black FoxBedroom Floor: Valspar Porch and Floor — Eucalyptus Leaf
Upholstered stool — Nate Berkus (Target)
Plant Stand — IKEA
Mid-century expandable dining table — West Elm Outlet (We got this table for free but we do not recommend it! It dings easily and is cheap veneer, not wood. West elm also makes all of their tables one inch high than standard so it’s hard to find chairs for.)
Koldby Rug — IKEA
White Chairs — "Vintage" IKEA
Amber Chairs — At Home