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UO at Home:

Interview by Katie Gregory
Hope Wasser and Arthur Velocette tell us about their book collection, how they made vintage furniture pieces more functional, and their never-ending quest for a life-sized horse statue.

Hey guys! Where do you live?

South Carlisle St., which is in South Philadelphia, PA.

Have you found that one person’s aesthetic comes through more in the décor, or is it pretty well balanced between the two of you?

Arthur Velocette: It’s pretty well balanced.

How would you describe the other’s decorating style? Do you guys have pretty similar tastes, or do you find that you’re drawn to totally different things?

AV: We have similar tastes for the most part. I like junk and clutter a little bit more than Hope does, but it’s a big place so it’s actually kind of hard to fill up.

Where do you find most of your knickknacks?

Hope Wasser: Mostly at thrift stores and flea markets. The traveling flea market here in Philly (it travels around town) is great for home items, but not so great for clothes.

Have one of you ever brought home something the other totally hated? What was it?

HW: I didn’t love the western rocking chair Arthur brought to the house at first, but over time it has grown into one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the house! I guess he was just ahead of the curve on that find.

AV: Ha! Wait, which one? The '70s tweed one or the leather one?

HW: The leather one.

AV: Oh yeah, that actually took a while to grow on me, too.

That wardrobe inside the closet is awesome. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

AV: It’s a great vintage piece, but like a lot of vintage furniture, it really didn’t hold much. We took the door off and added closet poles in and around it. We reused the door as a mirror outside of the closet.

We love the door you turned into a table. Where did you guys come up with the idea for that?

HW: I had used these doors for my closet in my old apartment. When I moved into this new big space I wanted a library table and opted to reuse the old closet doors in a new way.

Your pen and pocket knife collection is pretty impressive. What else have you wound up collecting over the years?

AV: Shoes? Cardigans? When I find something I like I buy it in every color.

That glowing orb of white figurines is something we’d really like to get our hands on. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? Like, what is it?

HW: I made this light sculpture for a fellowship project in college. I could make more custom for clients but it might be a little pricey.

We noticed you guys have your books on the windowsills with the spines facing the street. Any particular reason for that?

HW: These are “already read books” that we are now using as decoration. Neither of us are the types who read books over and over so they either get gifted, donated or become decorative.

AV: Also, they are mostly pulp novels and weird self-help books, so they are kind of embarrassing.

Speaking of books, you guys have a ton! What are your favorite authors to collect?

HW: I really like books on art, design and poetry. Hermann Hesse’s Gertrude is my favorite read and H.D. is my favorite poet.

AV: I like any book that just became a movie. I’ll read the book and then see the movie so I can say the book was better. It always is of course.

Where do your pets like to hang out the most?

AV: Thunder Pawpaw (the grey cat) loves our ladder next to the window, while Kitty (the black) cat sleeps on Hope’s white pillow (which drives her crazy). Petunia is just always next to one of us, or snoozing in her crate.

When you’re not hanging out at home, what do you guys like to do together?

HW: We love to shop for clothes and home items. We are always making lists of new projects to embark on. These are typically home related but as of late we are planning and designing our wedding.

What is each of your favorite pieces in your house?

HW: The dining room table, chairs and rug group.

AV: The Turkish couch.

What is your Holy Grail item that you’re constantly hunting for but haven’t found yet?

HW: A big, old school wicker chair.

AV: A life size horse statue.