Just five years ago, Darryl Smith couldn’t picture himself as a homeowner. A renter since college, he’d enjoyed being able to pick up and move when he got tired of the place. Cut to last Christmas, when he and roommate Alex Wear, a carpenter at Builder Beast and Alloy Workshop, began renovating his Monticello Avenue condo, starting from the ground up.
“It was wall-to-wall carpet [when I moved in],” says Smith, the Live Arts Box Office Manager. “Then last year, Alex said, ‘I can put hardwood floors in!’” With that project complete, they’ve set their sights on bigger changes, like pocket doors in the laundry area and new kitchen cabinetry.
Beyond the structural improvements, Smith has filled his condo with items taken from near-trash to treasure: A friend’s abandoned Victrola found a home in his dining room, and an orange chair he scored when a pal was moving sits in the living room. Smith likes nabbing these hand-me-downs. “[The pieces] don’t match,” he says, “but it kind of all works.”
In fact, beyond the notable exceptions —like his maple floors and kitchen upgrades—there aren’t many things in his condo that Smith didn’t score for a song. But he’s not focused on staying trendy.
“The way I look at my apartment is more of like what I’d wear,” he says. “Just the colors and the textures. It’s kind of a man cave, in a way.”—Caite White
“After working, what, 60 hours a week at Live Arts, my favorite thing to do is just come here and crash and watch TV. And not deal with people.
“The mornings are great. Like on the weekends, you can hear the baseball games in the park. And, at the right time in the morning, you can see the balloons leaving from Carter Mountain.
“I got that [screen] in Richmond. There’s this weird antique store there called Jane Hathaway’s. I probably got it for around $45. There’s a little crack in it—it was on the wall and it fell. But it gives a little character to it. And the store is called Jane Hathaway, which you gotta love.
“The Victrola…My friend Craig moved to Louisville and he was like, ‘Can you keep this for me for a while?’ It’s been with me for like 10 years.
“Some of the art pieces—these three pieces, this piece and the piece over there—are Aaron Eichorst. He’s a local artist and he’s the art teacher at Clark. He’s just started doing a whole new series of friends as plants. Kind of a little hybrid of his friends. Like, ‘Oh, you’re a pansy’ or, ‘You’re a spruce.’
“There are coats in [that wardrobe]. And if you go far enough, you get to Narnia.
“That pillow is from World Market. WORLD MARKET! That’s Oprah’s favorite place.
“My biggest thing is, for a change, I would move. Charlottesville is a different community because there’s not that many places available, so in like the last year or two we’ve been renovating. That’s my way of moving now. Or adding new furniture or new floors, new cabinets. It’s an ongoing process.”