Explore a riverside apartment-turned-cigar factory near downtown Fort Wayne

When Jamie Curtis returned to Fort Wayne in 2019, she knew she wanted to live near downtown; she just didn’t know where. When a former cigar factory-turned-apartment opened on the waterfront along Edgewater Avenue, she couldn’t help but jump on it. Today, his historic home is inspired by his travels from Haiti to Mexico, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, giving the space an eclectic, vintage and bohemian vibe.

We took a tour with Curtis to learn more about his home.

Jamie Curtis in his apartment on Edgewater Ave. in the Lakeside Park neighborhood.

IFW: Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you lived in Fort Wayne and where do you work?

JC: Although I was not born in Fort Wayne, I was raised here. After my time at IPFW, I moved to California, then Haiti, then Florida, then returned to Fort Wayne in the summer of 2019. I currently work as a scuba coach with Indiana International School of Diving ( IISD) and am a content specialist within the marketing team of Home Reservea local brand of modular furniture, and I work from home.

The living room features a variety of textures, artwork, gifts and vintage items in Jamie Curtis’ apartment on Edgewater Ave. in the Lakeside Park neighborhood.

IFW: Tell us about your house?

JC: I live on Edgewater Ave. It’s a nice one-way street along the river near the city center, and my apartment is inside a historic building. It was once a cigar factory in its heyday and was later converted into apartments (long enough each apartment has had a milk door in the hallway where the milkman would have dropped off milk). I moved in about two years ago in August.

The living room features a variety of textures, artwork, gifts and vintage items in Jamie Curtis’ apartment on Edgewater Ave. in the Lakeside Park neighborhood.

IFW: What inspired you to choose this house, of all?

JC: When I first moved back to Fort Wayne, I lived with my brother in his house, so I wouldn’t have to rush to find the right place. I knew I wanted to live downtown or nearby when I met a new friend at work. Maddie and her husband own this building and said if anything opened up she would let me know. About six months later, the tenant gave her 30 days notice and I got the apartment! I was in love with the huge old windows, high ceilings, archways and the rest of the old world charm. It gets the best natural lights and overlooks the beautifully manicured yard.

The blanket ladder is one of her favorite things in Jamie Curtis’ apartment on Edgewater Ave. in the Lakeside Park neighborhood.

IFW: Tell us about your neighborhood and what you like about living there.

JC: This apartment is tucked away on a one-way street along the river. I often walk or cycle along the Rivergreenway and head downtown on my bike. My apartment is also a five minute walk from an incredible view of the summer sunset.

A table purchased from the Salvation Army fits well in the dining room of Jamie Curtis’ apartment.

IFW: Since the pandemic, when so many Americans are spending more time at home than usual, have you found yourself making any changes to the design of your space?

JC: I’m always rearranging my space and adding new pieces to the walls. Since I’ve been a tenant, I haven’t made any big changes, but I like to hunt for vintage finds, and I constantly bring new pieces into my home. It always takes a bit of rearranging to find the perfect spot for each room!

Second-hand baskets decorate the wall in the dining room of Jamie Curtis’ apartment on Edgewater Ave.

IFW: Where do you find your design inspiration?

JC: I would say that my biggest inspiration comes from living in Haiti, my native island, a place full of life and colors. I want my apartment to reflect that. I draw inspiration from a lot of colors and textiles, as well as other places I’ve traveled (Mexico, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic). Whenever I come across another space similar to my style on Instagram, I’m sure to follow for more inspiration.

A closet off the living room features windows and her favorite vintage pieces in Jamie Curtis’ apartment on Edgewater Ave.

IFW: Did you encounter any design challenges, and if so, how did you overcome them?

JC: A design challenge was the kitchen, because it’s such a small space. Slowly, but surely, I was able to find some of the perfect pieces, including my vintage rattan honeymoon dining set. It fits perfectly in my small dining room.

The bedroom features lots of light as well as colors and textures to make the room pop in Jamie Curtis’ apartment on Edgewater Ave.

IFW: What is your favorite room/space in your house?

JC: I love my main living space. It’s filled to the brim with all my favorite artwork and textiles, vintage furniture, plants, and more. With two huge windows, this is the room with the best natural light. This is definitely the space where I spend the most time!

The bedroom features lots of light as well as colors and textures to make the room pop in Jamie Curtis’ apartment on Edgewater Ave.

IFW: What is your favorite piece of furniture or decoration in your home?

JC: My favorite piece of art is from Haiti. My friend and roommate in Haiti got it for my birthday while we were living there. It is a colorful painting of women selling in the market. It is irreplaceable.

One of his favorite walls is nicknamed the gallery wall and is filled with photos of travels and friends in Jamie Curtis’ apartment on Edgewater Ave.

IFW: What advice do you have for others looking to update their space on a budget?

JC: Hit the thrift stores! Most of my decor and furniture is either second-hand, gifted, or second-hand. As you may know, saving is a random challenge. I’m a big fan of the idea of ​​slowly taking over your space. (For example, I don’t even have a bed frame yet because I haven’t found the right one at the right price.)

One of my few non-used items is my large green sectional from Home Reserve. It’s a Fort Wayne company that makes modular furniture. I’m not sure I would have ever known I needed that cut if it wasn’t for working on it! It is modular (can be rearranged or completed), changeable (changes from gray blankets to green blankets) and has storage under each seat, which is essential for apartment living.

The bathroom is bursting with color and texture in Jamie Curtis’ apartment on Edgewater Ave. in the Lakeside Park neighborhood.

IFW: Last but not least, tell us what you love about Fort Wayne and why you chose to move here?

JC: If it wasn’t for my family, I probably wouldn’t live here, as I prefer to live in a more tropical climate near the ocean. However, my parents, siblings and nieces/nephews all live here now. After living apart for six years, I wanted to be with my family again for a change. I’m glad I made this change; it was a blessing.

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