Home Tour / Will + Misti Staley

I recently went to visit Will and Misti on a road trip and was able to stay at their home for the night. They moved to Helena a few years ago to start a non profit called Thrive which encourages economic growth in the Mississippi Delta region. Since they have been there Misti has started a company called Reclaimed Helena.  They bought this home in downtown Helena and restored it to what it is now, a home with loads of character full of family heirlooms and pieces from friends. 

Our piano came with the home.  We need to have it tuned and a few of the keys don't work, maybe now that we are having a child we will get it working so he can take piano lessons.  

We have a kind of folk art gallery in our hallway.  The piece in the middle is by Sammy Landers a folk artist from Arkadelphia, AR.  The found object Box with Horse is by Daniel Davison.  We traded art years ago, maybe 2005, when I painted portraits of his sister, Katie's, dogs to look like Napoleon and his wife.  It creeps a lot of people out, but I love it.

Our bedroom picture was also taken on our Reclaimed Helena photo staging day.  You can see the RH Coffee Table used as a Bed End Table, the Breakfast in Bed Table and our Wood Art Piece on the wall.  We have our soon to be baby boy's crib in our bedroom for now.

We both love the original claw foot tub in the bathroom.  We painted it black and re-guilded the feet.  We will tile the floor in a black and white hexagon tile this year.

We spend a lot of hours in our art studio.  It's nice to sit at the drawing desk and watch the birds in the backyard.

I always have something brewing, growing, or fermenting on our counter top.  This week it's sprouts and NORA tea, some weeks its kombucha, kefir, or kimchi.

This photo was taken during our Reclaimed Helena photo staging day.  We took these photos for our website and our Kickstarter campaign.  I would love if everyone reading this would watch our Kickstarter video.  It gives you an awesome look into Helena.  Become a backer and support the Delta, any support amount matters.  $50 or more and you receive a custom wood piece.

Name:

Will + Misti Staley

 

Occupation:

Will is Co-Founder and Creative Director for Thrive, a non-profit design firm set in rural America.  www.thrivecenter.org

Misti works as a freelance artist and is the Creative Director for Reclaimed Helena.  www.mististaley.com  www.reclaimedhelena.com

 

Hometown:

WS / Little Rock, Arkansas

MS / Douglasville, Georgia

 

Current Town:

Helena, Arkansas

 

Favorite Book:

WS / The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

MS / So many!  Current read Wild by Cheryl Strand

 

Favorite Movie:

WS / A tie between Forrest Gump and A River Runs Through It

MS / I am Sam- It makes me cry every time!

 

Favorite Band:

WS / Cut Copy

MS / Bjork

 

Favorite TV Show:

WS / Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown

MS / Jeopardy

 

Favorite Restaurant:

WS / Southern Gourmasian - Little Rock, Arkansas

MS / Taste of Thai- Douglasville, Georgia

 

Favorite place you have traveled to:

We love traveling! We met while traveling through Europe.  Will's group basically followed around Misti's group because we actually had plans of where we were staying.  After Europe I would visit Will in NYC and he would visit me in Atlanta.  We would also each fly to a certain city and meet up there for a few days.  Our entire first years of our relationship involved traveling.  It is hard to pick just one place that was a fav.  Will's favorite is Barcelona, Spain - Misti's is Kyoto, Japan.

 

Next destination on your list to travel to:

I, Misti, would love to visit Thailand and India.  Will would rather spend a few weeks on the beaches of Greece.  That's fine with me too!  Ha!

 

What you like about your city:

Helena is such an exciting place to be right now.  Helena was called "Little Chicago" in the 20s and 30s.  Helena had it all.  It was a booming metropolis set on the Mississippi River.  Around 1970, industry left and so did many of Helena's residents.  Over the last few years Helena has started making a comeback.  Living here offers so many great opportunities for people our age.  Opportunities that would have never been available when we lived in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.  We both serve on lots of boards and community groups, own our own businesses, and are super involved. Most importantly - we've made friends with people of all ages here in Helena and they support us in ways we could have never imagined before moving here. We feel like we have joined a team.

 

Reason for moving into current home:

I can't believe that we own a home!  It is also unbelievable how affordable it is to own a home in Helena if you enjoy putting a little work into it.  There are so many great, old homes to revitalize.  We qualified for a low interest home loan that also included money for all of our construction improvements.  We put tons of sweat and elbow grease into our home from tiling our kitchen, to turning our upstairs into an entirely separate apartment that we can rent out for regional festivals - like the King Biscuit Blues Festival.  If you love old homes and have dreamed about fixing one up, your should move to Helena!

 

Design origins:

We have received so many beautiful pieces in our home from family.  We love that each piece has a story behind it.  Our dining table was given to us by Will's parents.  Will has memories of many hours of math tutoring at that table when he was younger.  Our soon- to-be, baby's crib was Will's sister's crib when she was a baby.  We hand painted our dinning room wallpaper.  Mrs. Netta, who owned our home before us (That is one great thing about Helena, everyone refers to homes by names of people who have lived there in the past) was also an artist.  She hand painted dark green into each leaf on the wallpaper to match the dark green she had painted below the chair molding.  We continued that legacy and painted out a lot of the 1990s background busyness with light green, painted a lighter green drybrush over that and added highlights and shadows to each flower and leaf.

 

Favorite or most meaningful piece in your home:

WS / The butcher block top in our kitchen.  I grew up with it in my kitchen when I was younger.  My parents bought it from a butcher shop when they were first married.  All butcher shops used wooden butcher blocks and would have to change them out after a specific number of years.  It has so much character and history.

MS / I love the stemware cabinet in our dining room that Will's parents gave to us.  It is two separate pieces that they found at garage sales in McLean, VA.  They stacked them using an old door in-between.  It is beautiful.  And of course, the Wolf range that my parents bought for us as a housewarming present/Christmas gift and I joke around that it is my birthday present for the rest of my life.

 

Biggest challenges with your space:

Our ceilings are 12 ft.  Will is 6'5" and likes to utilize all of that height.  I'm 5'7", bring on the step stool, or in some cases the ladder!


Dream house and city:

WS / A modern home in Mexico or Spain on the beach with a terra-cotta tile roof.  A hammock and an instant knowledge of fluent Spanish. 

 

MS / I love our house, so maybe something totally different.  Ultra modern, full of glass walls, but antiques and older pieces mixed in.  Maybe California or someplace warm, minus mosquitoes/bugs.  Close to an international airport.

 

Watch Reclaimed Helena's video and support their kickstarter campaign at:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/102265082/reclaimed-helena-furniture

 

View Misti's artwork at:

www.mististaley.com

 

Learn more about Thrive at:

www.thrivecenter.org

Playlist / Evening Bike Ride

This is my part time therapist. Nothing clears my head like this two wheeled beauty. I love getting on this bike and riding through the city. It makes me feel alive. It helps me know there are other people besides the ones in my circle. I see the buildings that i never see because I fly by them in my car. I discover streets I've never seen. This bike connects me to my city.

 

This is the playlist I listen to when I need an evening bike ride. It also works for porch hangs, and fire pits, and hikes but it's most useful for an evening bike ride through the city when its about 8:30 and 65 degrees out. 

Home Tour / Chris + Katie Torres

Chris and Katie are one heck of a creative team. They own a photography business called 6 Of Four and a letterpress business called Farmwood Press and have two kids and manage to have one of the most peaceful homes I've been in. Not sure how they do it, but I'm thankful they took the time to snap some photos of their home. 

The painting in the entry was from a local artist and it's of the area around her parent's home in Canada. 

Gallery

Their tv stand piece is a cedar chest from Chris' family

This roll top desk was a gift from Chris to Katie

HomeTourTorres2014-057.jpg

The beams in the keeping room off the kitchen are ones Katie's grandfather pulled out of old barns in Iowa

The rocking chair in their room was Katie's graduation present from her parents

Their daughter's bed was Katie's as a child

Their daughter's bed was Katie's as a child

Name:

Chris and Katie Torres

 

Occupation:

We own 6 of Four. A photography company in Atlanta focusing on weddings and portraits. A majority of our weddings are outside of the city in Highlands or Sea Island. We also own Farmwood Press. A letterpress company that keeps us getting our hands dirty and in the raw creative process.

 

Hometown:

CT / Marietta, Ga

KT / Dallas, Ga

 

Current Town:

Mableton, Georgia

 

Favorite Book:

KT / Bread & Wine

CT / Anything by Seth Godin

 

Favorite Movie:

KT / Spanglish

CT / Lord of the Rings Series

 

Favorite Band:

KT / The Lone Bellow

CT / Nickel Creek

 

Favorite TV Show:

KT / Currently, SUITS

CT / Mad Men

 

Favorite Restaurant:

KT / King + Duke

CT / Ecco

 

Favorite place you have traveled to:

Thailand. We have family that live there as missionaries. We went in 2008 and were able to photograph families that had lost everything from the tsunami. They didn't have any history of their families left. We went to some of the islands that were hit hard. Our cousins have been working with them to rebuild their homes and communities. We photographed each family. Then we printed and framed the portraits and hung them on the walls of their primitive homes. It was a great experience to give them a piece of their history back.

 

Next destination on your list to travel to:

We have been married for eight years and our goal is to take a trip to Europe for our 10th anniversary. We keep debating on which region because we want to see so much. We have a few more years to figure it out while we save for the trip.

 

What you like about your city:

KT / I love the growing and transforming food scene in Atlanta. There is a lot of innovation here and a great healthy and organic scene. That is huge for me in a healthy and thriving area. 

CT / I love the diversity. From down home deep south roots to people who have transplanted here. Making the city a unique tapestry of people and cultures. 

 

Reason for moving into current home:

We needed spaces for both of our businesses. We considered and looked into commercial spaces for both companies. With five year commercial leases, build out costs and utilities times two....it just wasn't a wise financial decision. We were also in a place where we needed to plant our roots as a family. We finally settled on moving a few miles outside of the perimeter and building our home. We were able to have our work spaces in our basement and be able to work from home while we are actively raising our family. Not always the easiest, but it is the best of both worlds.

 

Design origins:

A lot of our home has been pieced together from family pieces, yard sales, Scott's, antique stores, the Mart, or World Market. Most of our inspiration comes from a mix between French Country and Katie's roots of Iowa in a farmhouse feel. Some of the beams in the house come from her family in Iowa. We have a lot of dreams of what we would like to do with our home but we have a strict and small decor budget. It will be a slow process to make it what we dream of but that's just fine. With a family and other priorities in life, it can be a slow process. 

 

Favorite or most meaningful piece in your home:

KT / My rolltop desk. Chris is the best gift giver. I have always wanted a roll top desk. Something away from my work desk. A home base to write letters, thank you notes, pay bills, document our children's lives. A place to keep just for me. Last year for my birthday, he surprised me with the desk. I was afraid he might be trying to find one for me. I didn't want him to get the wrong style. It's a big item and I wanted a very specific one. He, of course, did a far better job than I thought he did. He found the perfect one for me. Such a gift of love as he searched until he found it. Much of the gift was not only the desk but his dedication to finding the right one.

Biggest challenges with your space:

Our windows are a huge gift that we didn't really envision in the building process. We knew there were windows but didn't think through how big they would be or how tall. They have added so much light to our space. As photographers, it's a dream space to document your children and family. They are also something that perplexes us for window coverings. If we want to cover them at all. We've covered the front of the house but the back of the house faces woods and we haven't covered them yet. We love the natural light coming in through them they way they are now. We are taking our time in figuring out what to do with them. 

Dream house and city: 

A home perched on cliffs overlooking the Pacific ocean in the North West.. A home with open air to feel inspired and alive and open doors to guests who need a place to rest and feel safe.