Home Tour / David Kowalski

So here it is!

This is the start of my blog for Brick+Mortar. This is all an experiment that was created by myself and some really great folks who were kind enough to help me and give me advice. For the time being, it will be on a schedule of sorts.

Monday | Homes + Spaces: I'll try and bring you a house or space tour. I think people are way more interesting than design so I'll do my best to make it as personal as possible.

Wednesday | Featured Product: I'll feature a product of mine that I can give a little more history and story to. I'll have ecommerce set up so you can purchase it if you want.

Thursday | Stuff I Like: I will have a post about something I find interesting. It might be a shop or an organization or a band or a movie... or really anything I want I suppose.

Friday | Playlist: I'll have a situational playlist. Sort of like Songza but better (in my opinion).

The first post will be about my home and will kind of be the template for the other home and space tours. I'll just walk you through a couple of spaces, talk a bit about my favorite pieces and then have a section for questions I would probably ask you if I met you.  

I hope you enjoy it and tell a friend.  


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I've never been able to make anything grow, but that rosemary and those tall tree bush things are the exception. That ginkgo tree was planted by Trees Atlanta

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This porch was one of the things that sold me on this house. I love a big porch and I spend a lot of time out here. 

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My old roommate Kendrick and I built that swing bed and it is my favorite thing on this porch. There is no better place to take a nap in this house. Kendrick is a woodworker and is super talented and you should check out his work here

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That radio is one of my favorite things in my house. It belonged to my grandparents and I think it is so good looking. The lamp on top of the radio, my dad made for me, from a piece of driftwood I brought back from Cannon Beach. On the wall I've got a few vintage photographs I brought back from China. Two Andrew Wyeth (my favorite artist) prints. A Howard Finster print. A piece by my old roommate Mick Bailey. And two Honere Daumier's. 

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That couch was a Craigslist find. I managed to talk them down to a hundred bucks and it's worth every penny. 

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You cant really see it, but that top book on the left side of the coffee table is one of the most important things to me. My grandfather left my grandmother when I was really young and the only thing I knew of him was from my grandmother and my mom. I've only seen him a few times in my adult life. The last time I saw him was a few years ago and several weeks after that visit, a manila envelope showed up at my house addressed to me from him. He had handwritten the story of his life and his reflections on it. It was beautifully written and very sad. He titled it Idle Times and Wasted Opportunities. I typed up every word and I printed a copy of it for me and for my mom for Christmas. I'd probably make sure I had it if my house was burning down. 

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I love a good old model ship. I found this at an estate sale and I was going to put it in the shop but I liked it too much. That bowling pin was given to me by Katie Davison and she is one of the reasons Brick+Mortar exists. She had a space in an antique store and she wanted out and I wanted in. Two friends and myself went in on it and it did really well and thats how Brick+Mortar was born. 

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My dad gave me that lamp and it was his dads. It takes those long harsh bulbs so I dont use it that much. That picture in the center is a watercolor I got at an auction that happens the second Friday of every month. If you are in Atlanta you should check it out. Free BBQ and beer and good cheap stuff. Two Spy prints are next to the watercolor. I love Spy prints and will snatch them up if I come across them. 

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I have no idea why I put an old vacuum cleaner and antlers in my fireplace. It just seemed right.  

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I still feel a little guilty about that blanket. I stayed in a hostel in Switzerland that had these blankets and I thought they were so cool that I snuck one in my bag.  

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Those vertical books are some of my favorite finds. They were sitting in a box in a closet at an estate sale. The seven volume set is Shakespeare and it's from 1792. The three volume set is a first edition set of The Last Days of Pompeii.  

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Name/Occupation/Hometown/Current town:

David Kowalski

Seller of antiques and things I find interesting

Hickory Flat, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

Favorite book/Movie/Band/TV Show/Restaurant:

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard is one of the most beautiful books I've read. It helped me see God in nature. I'm reading David And Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell right now and it's shaping up to be one of my favorites. I love all of his books.

Millions is my favorite movie. If you like good stories and british kids and interesting cinematography you'd like it.

My favorite bands are Sigur Ros and Sleeping At Last. I also love Radiohead, Hammock, mewithoutyou, Sam Cooke, Explosions in the Sky, Loney Dear, Cole Porter.

My favorite restaurant will always be Taqueria Del Sol. Fancy dinner would probably be Miller Union.

Favorite place you have traveled to:

I firmly believe travel is one of the best investments you can make. Seeing new things and experiencing different cultures is one of the best educations you can receive. My favorite place in the world is Hong Kong. I lived in China for a bit and Hong Kong has all of the Chinese history and culture on one side and the feel of New York on the other. It's super international and it's just pretty. To me it has the same feel if you would put New York on Hawaii and throw in Chinese culture. It's such an interesting place to me. Israel has a certain draw to it. I didn't love it when I was there and I didn't want to go back when I left (probably because of security at Ben Gurion). Now I think about it a lot. Theres such an interesting draw to it and there is so much history to it. I hated the way Jerusalem was so commercialized but loved going up to the Sea of Galilee and En Gedi and Bethlehem and all the places that haven't been overrun with t-shirt vendors. I recently went to Norway and even though I was only there three days, I loved it. The people are so friendly and smart and content. The landscape is beautiful, and there is just something intriguing about Norway and it's people.

Next destination on your list to travel to:

Iceland. Every picture I've seen of the country is stunning. Like most of my favorite places there is a sort of intrigue to them. Iceland has always seemed a bit mysterious to me and hopefully will be my next trip.

What you like about your city:

I heard someone say that Atlanta sort of has a personality that is undeveloped. Much like New York has a New York personality or Chicago has a Chicago personality to it, Atlanta has a personality that is still developing. You can still influence and shape the city's personality and I think that's cool. For being a city in the south, it is very international which I love. There are so many countries and cultures represented here. There's almost a tension of being a good southern city while it still has loads of other influences to it. It's almost a confused city but in a good way. There's also tons to do here. Really good food, and good music. You can be at the coast in a few hours and in the mountains in a couple hours. My grandparents lived here, my parents grew up here and I like that. I think it's so important to have roots in a city and to love the city you live in. In a world that is pretty transient I think it's honorable to dig your heels in and make your time in a place worthwhile, even if it's for a short time.

Reason for moving into current home: 

It took me about a year to finally buy, and I first starting looking in Castleberry Hill. When several deals fell through I expanded my search and found Westview and I'm so glad I did. I found a house I loved and started walking the neighborhood a lot after work to get a feel for it. The neighborhood association president at the time did walking tours for people and I took one and was sold. I knew I wanted an old house and when I saw mine I jumped on it. It's a 1930's bungalow with a huge dining room and a huge porch which is what I wanted. And it was biking distance from downtown and was right on the Beltline.

Design origins:

I appreciate art in part because my dad made it important growing up. I think that influenced my aesthetic. My grandfather was an architect and liked good design so I think that influenced me a bit too. I really don't know though. I never thought of myself being interested in design. I just like what I like.

Favorite or most meaningful piece in your home:

Doing what I do, I feel like I have come to understand and value the history of different pieces. The most meaningful pieces to me are those that my parents gave me or my grandparents gave me. I have an old radio that was my grandparents and I can still see in my head where it was placed in their home, so everytime I see it, it reminds me of them. I have an old floor shop lamp that was my grandfathers that I love. It only takes those long bulbs so I don't like using it but having it reminds me of him. My dad gave me a painting of a boat that his parents gave to him that I love. Whenever I travel I like to bring back wall stuff to remember the trip by. I have some great propaganda posters from Krakow, a kids animal poster from Hong Kong, a skeleton poster from Singapore and loads of art from when I lived in China. Basically, anything I can attach meaning and a memory to, it's staying in my house. The rest I hold very loosely and might end up in my shop. Oh and I have a really great Howard Finster piece that I like.

Biggest challenges with your space:

Not especially. I hate an empty wall and all my walls are plaster so that was tough to hang everything.

Dream house and city:

I am honestly so content where I am now but if I had to choose, I could live in Nashville or New York or Hong Kong or Paris or most of California. I'm pretty content wherever I go but I really like those places. I dont think I could live in a new house, so my dream house would have to be old. There's a castle near where I grew up that would be cool to live in. I always heard that it was a truck driver who told his wife he would build her a castle and then he did. I think that's amazing. I'd also love to live in the house in the movie Up; an old house in the middle of the city. That sounds perfect.