Annabel Joy, 34, lives in a 1922 Craftsman bungalow in Arlington with her husband, Kean Duffey, their 2-year-old daughter, Cilla, and their 7-year-old French bulldog, Mona (with another baby girl on the way).
The couple was living in a small condo in downtown Boston when they decided to move to Arlington, where Joy is from. In a twist of fate, one of her best friends from childhood lived in this house, and she’d played there growing up.
The home, which they purchased in 2021, has four beds, three baths, and 2,780 square feet. It’s a kit home (Joy thinks it’s an Aladdin, not a Sears), and has all the original hand-blown glass windows.
Joy, who ran her own interior design firm before becoming a full-time mom, brought her self-titled “boho-ditional” (aka “boho” and “traditional”) aesthetic to her home. Here, we speak with her about filling it with inherited furniture, vintage finds, and DIY-ed pieces.
What was your inspiration for your home’s aesthetic?
“My inspiration is just what I love. I have a really specific personal aesthetic that I’ve honed through years of thrifting, designing, and scrolling Pinterest and Instagram. I buy what I love, and because my taste has become so specific, it all just sort of works together. That certainly wasn’t always the case, but it’s been an evolution as I’ve honed in on my personal style.
“My advice is always to get really clear on what you like before you start buying things. That means not just identifying a general style like ‘modern’ or farmhouse,’ but the specific color palette, patterns, materials, and motifs you are drawn to over and over again. For example, I love red and green and brown. I love natural materials and motifs like tortoise shell, bird’s nests, seashells, bamboo, and animal imagery. I love stripes and block print and polka dots.
What’s the biggest splurge you’ve purchased for your home?
“The custom Schumacher fabric window treatments. Window treatments make such a difference in a space and add richness. They are a great way to layer in color and pattern. I have block-print Roman shades in the family room with a Molly Mahon for Schumacher oak leaf and acorn motif that mirrors the oak tree just outside the windows. I also have drapes in her polka-dot block-print fabric in my dining room, and in the living room I have woven Roman shades with Schumacher Katsugi drapes on top.
What’s the best deal you’ve received on an item for your home?
“I designed an ottoman coffee table using a vintage rug for our family room and had it made. I got a great deal on the vintage blue Persian rug we used because it had a hole in it that we just cut around.
“I also have an incredible elm wood sculpture of a woman’s bust by the Boston artist Nick Edmonds that I got at an estate sale for $65. It’s from his early days when he was the sculptor Robert Laurent’s student in Ogunquit, Maine. I had it authenticated by the artist, and it’s one of my most prized possessions.
Did you do any DIYs in the house that you’re particularly proud of?
“We painted the ceiling in the dining room a rosy terracotta color, and it really pulls together the rug, art, and drapes. We also reupholstered the dining room chairs ourselves in an amazing wave velvet from Schumacher. A lot of our paintings are by my husband and me.
What’s your favorite part of the house?
“I love the living room because it has the highest concentration of pieces inherited from my mom, who passed away last year. She gave me my love of design and antiquing and art by including me in her collecting and hunting expeditions from babyhood. She had an incredible eye and could have been a very successful designer.
What’s your favorite item in your home?
“Our curiosity cabinet. It’s a tall, glass-fronted cabinet in our living room filled with a mixture of cherished heirlooms, vintage finds, and natural treasures like snake skins, antlers, and bird’s nests that we’ve collected on hikes and travels and from our own yard.
What’s your favorite thing to do in your home?
“I love to cook—I’ll put some ABBA on the speakers, fill the house with the scent of sautéed garlic, and just feel cozy. I also love to read and have created several very cozy reading spots upstairs and downstairs.
Who would your top three dream guests be for a dinner party at your home?
“Peggy Guggenheim, Emma Thompson, and Oprah .”
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.