Meet Mike and Amy Karlin: public servants by day, quintessential urbanites by night. They walk to pick up their groceries, they host elaborate dinner parties for their friends and they tweet from multiple twitter handles. They look for ways to exercise their passion for culture, arts and food in our budding city. Sprouting from her love of the local business community, Amy started her own PR/event planning company, Splendid Events, to offset the routine of her day job and flex her creative side. With innovative entrepreneurs popping up across Ottawa, Amy has built strong relationships with many talented people.
After renting an apartment in the Byward Market for several years, they decided it was time to buy a place of their own. They were tired of the 2am wake ups after the bars closed, but loved the convenience of shops, markets and restaurants. They settled on Little Italy because while they wanted a little more serenity, they weren’t ready to settle down in the suburbs. Little Italy was a perfect fit- it is abundant in charm, nightlife and green space. It offered the mixed neighbourhood they were looking for, where they pick up almond croissants on Saturday mornings at Art-Is-In, shop the fine cheese and meat section in Luciano’s or stop by Preston Hardware to tackle odd jobs around the house. 20 minutes on foot and you can be anywhere you want to be.
How do you describe your style: Modern clean and functional. We make the best use of 960 square feet with clean lines, efficient and well-designed pieces of furniture. We have a rule in our house- no single-use items; everything must serve more than one purpose, except, of course, for the corkscrew. We couldn’t part with it, we like wine too much.
What is the best feature of your house: We love entertaining and our friends practically live in our home. The open concept layout makes it perfect space for having them over for dinner and drinks.
So who is on cooking duty?: Mike is usually holding down the fort in the kitchen, while Amy is usually mixing some new craft cocktail recipe. There is no herb, alcohol or meat that these two can’t handle.
Favourite piece of furniture: It’s a tie. Our dining table and Eiffel Metal chairs from Mikaza are definitely two of our absolute favourite things. We knew we had reached adulthood when they finally got rid of our crumby old Ikea black wood table and upgraded to our new modern glass table. The extra leaves make it easy to host a room full of our friends for dinner. We also love cozying up in our Structube bed. Mike claims it’s the most comfortable bed in the world- a bold statement he is willing to defend to the end.
Favourite accents around the house: We love to support our favourite local businesses, so if we’re having friends over for dinner, I pick up fresh flowers from Blumenstudio. Also, our friends at Versatile made us these custom Little Italy coasters that we love. They are made from vintage fire insurance maps of Ottawa from the 1940s- see there’s our house right there.
Proudest DIY moment: Painting the red wall in our living room, dining room and kitchen area. We were a bit nervous when we slapped on the first coat of primer. It looked like someone threw Pepto Bismol all over our walls. But it was nothing a few coats of red couldn’t cover. The bold colour adds character to space and we love it.
Advice for first time buyers: Buy a place with that is in the neighbourhood you want. You can always make aesthetic changes down the road, but if the layout isn’t conducive to your lifestyle, then keep looking. Also, get involved with your condo corporation- you can join the board or at least go to meetings. You have the opportunity to make a positive impact on your living space and your neighbors’ too.
This post will run concurrently with our ad in Ottawa’s quarterly arts & culture publication, Herd Magazine. Their release party will be held at Fall Down Gallery on Friday, July 5th at 8pm.
Photos taken by Ottawa photographer, Christopher Schlesak.