A Pennsylvania Home That Abides by the 90/90 Minimalism Rule

As with clothes, the way you decorate a room expresses your personality. In its most ideal form, it signals to guests how you interpret yourself. In this round of Real Cool People, Real Cool Apartments, we check out the Pennsylvania home of Anthropologie graphic designer Jenny Nieh. Our intentions behind the creeping: to learn what she’s all about

Neighborhood, # of rooms:

Havertown, Pennslyvania, 3 bedrooms

How long have you lived here?

We’ve lived here three years! We’ve enjoyed every moment we have spent here, from restoring the place to decorating it and making it our own. Sadly we just put it on the market as my husband and I are moving to Portland to embark on our next adventure. But like I said, three beautiful, wonderful years.

What do you like about the neighborhood? Has the neighborhood influenced the aesthetic of your home in any way?

We love that it used to be called the Paddock farms. This house belonged to the farmer and was built in the 20s. We have definitely adhered to the original colors when restoring the home: wood, white and some beautiful greens. The white walls really showcase the way the light comes into the house.

Who do you live with (animals included)?

We live with our black cat that we rescued from the area. His name is Kai, but we call him Mao Mao. (Adopt black cats! They are the least adopted cats because of crazy superstitions. We love Mao Mao, he’s the best).

What did you think about when decorating? 

My husband and I grew up moving around a lot, so we have a tendency to keep decor as minimal as possible in case we move. Beyond that, we’ve always tried to bring things into the house that remind us how big the world is, and to get out there and explore it. I realize that is somewhat ironic, but it grounds us as people. We like to bring in things that comfort us as well — candles, throws and lots of tea.

What do you do for work?

I am an illustrator and graphic designer for the art department at Anthropologie. I love working here, it’s endlessly inspiring because of the people and how creative everyone is. Recently, I have also started a personal project called Nine Archives — coming soon!

If we were a fly on the wall of your home for a weekend, what would we typically see?

Our good friends Kacey and Andrew stopping by to order spicy Sichuan food in together. Our cat sleeping on the carpet with his belly up. David and me in the study room hanging out or working on our own things.

What do you think your home says about you? And how do you want visitors to feel when they walk into it?

We always want our guests to get a sense of what we care about, I think. I’d like to imagine the idealistic and fearless and maybe even naive parts of ourselves reflected through the house.

Where is your favorite place in your home and why?

I’d say it’s the kitchen. We spend so much time there cooking and eating and talking. The light is beautiful in this room and it changes all throughout the seasons.

What are your favorite home “scores”?

The tiny things we’ve kept from our travels — the boat tickets to Lofoten islands, rocks we picked up from the beach in Vík or the menus of restaurants where David and I spent our anniversaries. We don’t eat fish anymore, but over the years we’d always pick a seafood restaurant to celebrate our anniversary because seafood places tend to list the date on their menus, and we loved that meaningful connection with the time and place.

What’s something about your home you want to change and why?

I have an urge to have more things, but that never happens.

What’s something you’ve been looking for forever but still have yet to find?

A good reading chair. I think it’s a very personal and intimate thing to find a reading chair and we haven’t quite met the perfect one for us yet.

Where do you look for decorating inspiration?

If I get to travel, then it’s the shops and interiors. I love Merci, Labour and Wait and HAY. Copenhagen is such a dream for interior lovers. I definitely recommend it. When I’m at home, everything from Pinterest, places that feature people’s homes like Man Repeller, Remodelista, Scandinavian design blogs and the occasional magazine (Dwell and Elle Decor UK specifically).

What’s the best piece of decorating wisdom you’ve ever heard?

It might not exactly fall under “decorating 101,” but I love the 90/90 rule from the Minimalists: If you haven’t used something in 90 days, give it away. We’ve extended that philosophy over time to: If you don’t need it and won’t care about it in 90 days, don’t buy it or bring it into your home. Decorate your home with memories, and consume less.

Photos by Carina Romano

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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