To see how pulled together their apartment is, you wouldn’t guess that Carlos Castillo and Jonathan Pereira are only 24- and 23-year-old students at UMKC. They’ve already established a mature design aesthetic, begun collecting art (even if most of it is borrowed, traded or self-made) and realized the importance of editing, especially when it comes to collections like Carlos’ salt and pepper shakers.
After a brief test run of New York City life, they returned home to finish school with nothing but a few hand-me-downs. “Everything was mismatched,” Carlos says. So they made a few key investments in furniture and raided their parents’ closets and basements for art.
The couple’s first home back in KC was in a newer building that lacked character (and the carpet was a deterrent). They told their landlord they were looking for something else and were shown this window-filled, hardwood-floored, one-bedroom apartment in a six-unit colonnade building not far from the Kansas City Art Institute.
It’s “old enough to have only one outlet in each room,” Jonathan says, but it has “more light and charm,” Carlos adds.
When setting up their house, Carlos considered Andy Warhol’s words: “Think rich, look poor.”
Their apartment doesn’t exactly look poor, but it is filled with inexpensive finds from Carlos’ vintage shopping habit. He admits being into “cutesy knickknacks,” while Jonathan’s taste trends more toward clean-lined, modern style. “It’s like a thrift store in here,” Jonathan says with a patient, loving sigh.
Although the apartment’s style is slightly unbalanced in Carlos’ favor, “It used to be much worse,” he says. “I’ve toned down the grandma patterns and florals.”
Self-regulating his look hasn’t stopped his addict-like behavior of sweeping through his favorite shops regularly on lunch breaks. “I go once or twice a week because it changes a lot,” he explains. “But I only do that for periods of time then take a break.”
When Carlos buys something, he’ll rush home after work to integrate it into the apartment to show Jonathan how well it works. “I like newer things with older things,” he says. “And I like finding them. It’s about the search.”
Although mostly accepting of Carlos’ quirky finds, Jonathan has to draw the line somewhere. “I have to tell him to limit himself to one thing each visit,” he says.
That civil compromise helps them achieve the carefully put together look that feels more like home than a dorm.