How Matt and Val Updated Their Habitat Home

“Yeah, this looks like Valentina’s house,” was one of the first things Valentina (Val) Luccardi’s sister remarked when she first walked into the Habitat home Val shares with her partner, Matt Thomas. The pair are approaching the first anniversary of owning their home, and in those months they have already filled the house with such personality that it is undeniably theirs. Bright purple doors welcome you into a living room painted a deep red filled with cozy furniture, cats running around, and a Christmas tree in transition to a Mardi Gras tree. There’s jazz playing in the background on a record player nestled beside a large bookcase of trinkets and classic books. It’s a cluttered yet organized hodge podge of DIY projects, handed-down furniture, and burgeoning plants picked up from tree and bulb giveaways around the city.

“Anything you don’t need, let me know” has become something of a catchphrase for Matt and Val. Whether it’s a chandelier from Matt’s aunt she was going to throw out or 300 bricks from a woman he met standing in line to vote, they have exercised creativity not only in how they decorate the home, but what they decorate with and where it comes from.

“It’s like an improvisational mindset, you know what I mean?” said Matt as he showed us a wooden gate he built from spare wood left after building the house. “You just find these materials, then find ways to use them. We’re just like busybody kind of people. We look at a wall, and it’s just like ‘What can we do with that?’”

The house isn’t completely unplanned/improvised, though. As much as the couple enjoys taking in materials, tree bulbs, and new cats, they also have big plans for the future of their home they’ve been envisioning since the beginning, especially in the backyard.

Already they’ve built a shed, benches, and planter boxes that line the perimeter of the yard. The list of plants they’ve plotted so far is endless- jasmine, wisteria, carrots, magnolia, rainbow eucalyptus, lime, coconut, and blood orange trees just to name a few.

At the prospect of being close to their final vision of the backyard, though, they both laughed. “Nooo, the backyard is not finished,” said Val. “We have much more to do. We want to get this brick patio done over here. Eventually we’re gonna have a kind of divider there. Sunflowers and other plants all along there. We’ve got composters we’re working on, and all the trees. It’s kind of constant.”

Matt added, “And one day further along the line, I wanna build a wooden fence. But that’s later. It’ll be a big project.”

“So in the meantime we’ll grow lots of plants. I want this to be eventually a cool oasis hangout. You know, one of those places where there’s always something going on. Always a party at Matt and Val’s house!”

The couple has definitely centered their decorating around entertaining and capturing that lively party feeling Val described.

When it comes to the more private areas of the house like the master bedroom, which consists almost solely of a bed and dresser, she said, “It’s kind of like we focus more on the front of the house and the backyard. The individual rooms are still taking us a while.”

“Yeah, I think you just focus on the spaces that people are gonna see. So when it comes to your bedroom—when I’m in here, I’m either sleeping or just getting changed. So it serves its purpose. It definitely could use some cozying up, but we mostly focus on the public spaces ‘cause it’s just what people see.”

In addition to the master bedroom, there are two more bedrooms in the house. Val has adopted one as a craft room, while Matt turned the other into a music room. Though they have not focused as much on these individual rooms as the public spaces, the rooms are essential to why they wanted their own home.

“Before this I was living all over. I was kind of bouncing back and forth between her place and a band house I had with one of the bands I tour with. I was mostly living out of my car. And I just didn’t have my own space really. Now I have a bed, my own music room, it’s pretty great. It’s great to have a place to come back to and get your brain together.”

Val, similarly, has enjoyed owning a place to call home. She’s taken the opportunity to finally (and literally) put down roots. “I’ve always had house plants, but I’ve never been able to actually have a garden, so I was really, really excited about that.” So excited that the garden and the backyard are what she calls her “point of pride.” Val lit up at every opportunity to talk about her “babies” in the garden, especially in reference to her and their future. “It’s just gonna be full of plants! A little self-sustainable plot of earth. I can’t wait.”

In a short time, Matt and Val have settled into their house. A place to come back to after long weeks out on tour with his band, a place to exercise their creativity and explore passions, and a place they can finally call “home.”