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A Hope Street Home is Where the Heart Is

Ali Burns-Nachwalter, owner of NAVA on Wickenden Street, has created an inviting space for friends in her Hope Street-area home.


When she isn’t outfitting the East Side with new and vintage items at Wickenden Street’s NAVA, Ali Burns-Nachwalter spends her time at home with her partner Byron and her dog Monkey. “I bought the house about four years ago and recently finished a renovation,” she says. “In addition to redoing the kitchen, we took down the wall behind the couch exposing the chimney, which has really opened up and brightened the space.”

“In the past year or so I’ve gotten in the habit of buying flowers,” Ali says. “There’s nothing like coming home from a long day of work to fresh flowers. The arrangement behind the couch is by local florist and friend, Flowers By Semia. Her work is amazing.”

The vintage brass lamp behind the couch is one of her favorite things in the room. “The ornate detailing on it is really stunning,” she says. “It along with the antique lawyer’s bookcase were both gifts from my dad.”

The large kilim rug is a purchase from Brimfield Antiques Fair. “I’ve always loved antiquing,” she says. “Most items in my home were picked up at an antique store, flea market or yard sale. We also sell vintage rugs at the shop, so naturally I have to try out my favorites in the house, at least for a little while…”

Her green sensibility extends from reusing vintage items to filling her home with green plants. “Collecting plants is one of my favorite hobbies,” she says. “Byron teases every time I bring one home, asking me where I’m going to find room for this one. He recently made the mistake of telling me that he really likes aloe plants. I promptly brought one home. There’s always room for one more.”

More than anything, she wants her Hope Street-area home to be an inviting space. “I’m a little bit of a homebody so naturally I enjoy entertaining and having friends over,” Ali says. “I’ve tried to make the space warm, welcoming and comfortable. When friends come over I want them to feel like it’s a little bit of a home away from home. It makes me happy.”