Step Inside With: The Couses / by Elise Joseph

Mike and Ashley Couse are two of my closest friends and so incredibly dear to me. They are some of the kindest, most generous, cool people I know. Their love for each other is gentle, passionate and beautiful, and their home is full of character, history and love. Mike works in the music industry, constantly turning me on to new tunes. He has an amazing gift of discovering unbelievable talent. Ash is a nuturer with a warm soul, currently working as a nanny for three precious girls. And today just so happens to be her birthday... let's all wish her a very happy one! 

How would you describe your personal style?
With our home, we want to create a space that is both continually evolving and representative of each of our personalities. Most items in our home and our closet were purchased secondhand. We love the history and character of vintage items. 

What is your most treasured piece in your home? 
We really treasure our antique record cabinet that belonged to Ashley's great-grandmother. The piece is in perfect condition and holds our record collection beautifully. We love that this has been kept in the family and hope that one day we can pass it on as well.

What do you love most about living in Nashville?
We moved to Nashville immediately after getting married about four years ago. In deciding where we wanted to start our life together, Nashville stood out to us because of its great sense of community. Before we even made the move here, we felt so warmly welcomed. Not only are the people here so kind and inviting, but they are also insanely creative and inspiring.

How do you foster creativity in your own lives?
One great thing about being married is that we have the opportunity to live life with a person that we are constantly inspired by. We are always encouraging one another to a new creative endeavor or way of thinking.

Music is also a huge source of inspiration for us. Whether its going to shows, soaking in the warmth of a vinyl or making a playlist for a road trip, music is a constant in our lives. 

We also love repurposing vintage clothing and other items for our home (like the clothes we are wearing in these photos). They were different shapes and sizes, and we made them to fit exactly how we wanted. It's creatively satisfying and cost effective to bring life back to old pieces.

What advice do you have for those looking to update their home on a budget?
Visiting thrift stores, flea markets and antique shops, and doing so often. Great items move through these places quickly, so it is best to check regularly in order to not miss out on a great find. If you live in a city, try traveling out of town a bit to visit shops that may be less picked over.

Also, tackling projects yourself is very cost effective. Don't assume you can't do something just because you haven't tried it. A little research and trial and error can go a long way, and often leads to the best results.

Photos by Ryan Bernal for Pennyweight.