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At Home With

Carlos Castillo and Jonathan Pereira


Carlos and Jonathan swear their closet is always this neat and tidy — and good-smelling. They burn incense to keep it that way.

A Goodwill table paired with an IKEA chair make up the office in the couple’s bedroom. They watch movies and play video games on Twiggy, the computer, aptly named for her slim figure. A reproduction of artist Albrecht Durer’s rhinoceros hangs on the wall next to a display of tiny knickknacks. And, finally, during “a Groupon stage” the couple went through, a Himalayan salt lamp supposedly ionizes the air. “I think it just looks pretty,” Carlos says.

Jonathan’s favorite space is the bedroom, which he calls “my sanctuary.” It’s uncluttered and uncomplicated and shows obvious signs of Carlos’ visits to antiques shops, with an art piece in retro Harvest Gold and a mid-century office cabinet used as a dresser.

Carlos’ collection of salt and pepper shakers started with the owls. The frogs are from the couple’s stint in Brooklyn, and the bunnies were acquired at the same time as Dandy Lion. Carlos prefers glossy and shiny shakers, and “I like them all to be the same size,” he says.

Friends sit in the schoolhouse chair while Carlos whips up a drink in the tiny kitchen. Despite its diminutive size, Carlos calls it “workable.” It’s enough for Jonathan to indulge in his baking hobby.

The couple eat at a bar top dining table from Nebraska Furniture Mart. They use a garden potting table originally bought for the balcony from World Market as a buffet. A friend gave the couple the art piece in return for help in cleaning out his apartment.

Carlos picked up the vintage croquet set at a yard sale because he liked the colors, and Jonathan framed the back cover of his Cook’s Illustrated magazines.

Pet bunny Dandy Lion enjoys freedom from his cage on a built-in bench in the dining room. Jonathan is allergic to cats, and dogs are not allowed in the building.

Carlos saves all the postcards mailed to him from friends who are studying or teaching abroad and displays them in a kiosk-style table lamp with a city skyline lampshade

Carlos’ collection of glossy owls on the window sill and one patchwork pillow on the Papasan are an example of his affinity for “things,” most of which he finds during regular visits to his favorite antiques shops: Nellie & Nico’s and The Ridge in Shawnee.

A working typewriter finds a home in a nonworking fireplace. “It’s so big and bulky that’s the perfect place for it,” Carlos says.

The gentlemen were lucky enough to snag a balcony apartment in a historic colonnade building in the artsy neighborhood just north of the Nelson, Kemper and Kansas City Art Institute. They don’t get to use the porch as often as they’d like because of their jobs and classes, but it’s set up for relaxing and entertaining at a moment’s notice.

Together four years, Carlos and Jonathan have the respectful relationship of a couple beyond their years. Here, they sit beneath framed art that reflects their own creative attempts and personal history.

“At Home With,” a feature that takes you inside cool and unusual apartments and homes in the Kansas City area, appears in Ink the first and third weeks of the month. Know someone with a kick-ass pad? Send info and photos to info@inkkc.com.


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.


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