Name: Alva

Occupation: Marketer/Architectural Historian

Rent/Own?: Rent

Time: 2.5 years

Size: 1200 sq ft

Location: Duke Park, Durham

Nestled within the spacious basement of a 50’s ranch lives & works Alva, the practical implementer of our marketing goals. Alongside the fat cat Allouiscious, her home is an eclectic hodgepodge of items that inspire her work: from WW2 related poster/propaganda art to exotic orchids, inherited furniture, thrift-store textiles and two-toned ceramics from her favorite local potter.

What’s your favorite thing about your neighborhood?

“I love the placement of it geographically – I’m close to downtown and HWYs 147 & 85 but it still feels like a very suburban area within the city. On a nice day I can walk to Geer St. Garden and I’m close enough to the park to be able to explore it whatever the weather.”

Alva's home studio

Alva's home studio

What attracted you to this apartment?

“I walked in and saw the fireplace wall & thought “yep, I’ll live here”. The carpet smelled a little like a 70s polyester suit when I moved in but candles and linen spray quickly took care of that”

If you could change one thing about where you live, what would it be?

“More light. On a sunny day there is plenty but the kitchen is below grade so while I’ve made it cozy, there’s no replacement for natural light.”

Walk us through a few of your favorite possessions:

Several years ago I visited Granny’s Panties and found this really bad rendition of Gainsborough’s “Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire”. It was way over priced but I didn’t even argue, I had to have it. Most people think she’s creepy but the real Georgiana was a force to be reckoned with as was her lover, THE Earl Grey, so she’s a good reminder of what a woman can do even with society’s obstacles in the way. I love my Jacobsen swan chair, a piece from my Grandparent’s flat-roof on the Outer Banks. Oh and my books. . .when I moved to England a few years ago I sold everything except my China and my books, they mean the world to me.”

Alva  manages RED's website, social media & marketing materials

Alva manages RED's website, social media & marketing materials

So everything in the house you’ve acquired recently?

“For the most part, yes. When I first moved in I thought: “how am I ever going to fill all this space?” but I’m a maximalist. . .more is more – that’s weird for someone who has spent so much time studying Modernism, I know, but I believe in surrounding yourself with beauty. It takes a lot of restraint sometimes but if you no longer adore something, just give it away. There are tons of things that I used to love that now belong in the homes of friends, this way I still get to visit them often.”

The Assemblage Studio