House Crashing: Cozy & Full Of Character

Who’s in the mood for some snooping? When Lori and her husband Greg (and their sweet son Owen) invited us over to crash their charming Richmond home, we jumped at the chance. Isn’t that little tin roof over the door awesome? I also love that the front steps are tiered on three sides instead of being closed in on the ends. Bet someone could DIY that…

Lori and Greg are actually veterans of the House Crashing experience. They had us over their first home back in 2010 (when both Lori and I were both prego). We loved that house so much that we couldn’t wait to see where they lived now…

… especially since in the time that we last crashed them they’ve had a son and were just on the cusp of having a daughter! Ellie actually came a little while ago, but Lori was still pregnant when we crashed her house. Apparently we only invade her home her while she’s with child.

The small world story is that they had a son named Owen just a few months after I had Clara and we hadn’t seen them for a few years. But now, by coincidence, Owen and Clara are preschool classmates. Seriously, we walked into school the first day and said “no way! how are you?!”

So while our kids were in school one morning, Lori had us over to check out their new has-room-for-two-kiddos home (we wanted to squeeze the house crash in before she had a newborn to work around). So here’s a shot of their pretty formal living room in the front of the house. The tall ceilings with thick detailed molding were awesome. Nearly all of Lori’s furniture is secondhand (hailing from Craigslist and thrift stores alike) which is always a really cool layered look – and of course it’s a nice budget-friendly method. She also loves to get accessories from places like HomeGoods and flash sale sites (the starburst mirror was scored at a deep discount from One King’s Lane).

My favorite spot in the whole house was the more casual family room in the back of the house right off of the kitchen. See these built-ins? Lori and Greg hired a local handyman to build them to fit between those two windows and provide a ton of kid-friendly storage. So smart. You wouldn’t believe all the toys, games, movies and other clutter they’ve wisely hidden in those drawers & cabinets. I especially liked that they chose doors that are flush with the frame (it had a really clean look). And for anyone looking for a handyman, Lori said she found him through her realtor’s recommendation, so that method can actually work out.

So even if you’re not able to build a giant TV cabinet yourself, it’s amazing how much input you can have by hiring someone local to make it (and it can often be cheaper than getting one made by a larger company, like KraftMaid or even buying a giant unit at Pottery Barn and paying a hefty shipping fee). You also get to pick the cubby sizes, the type of doors, the hardware, the paint color, the placement, etc – so it’s a great way to be involved and end up with something super functional and fitted to your home. Oh and see that coffee table? Lori got it at The Dump (the same local furniture outlet where we got our dining room table). The funny thing is that now stores like West Elm are selling tables like it, but she got it a while ago from a furniture discounter! I love that.

The kitchen is really open to the casual living room, so picture us taking this shot with our backs to the built-ins from the photo above. We loved that it had wood cabinets since so many of you guys request that we share house crashings beyond white kitchens (we share whatever we get invited to crash! haha!).

They had a nice dark granite to work with the cabinets (and dark hardware on the wood cabinets to tie it in) and the giant window over the sink was amazing. This shot does it no justice, but it’s a gorgeous wooded lot so Lori can basically watch birds and deer and pretend she’s Snow White while she washes dishes.

This little nook in the kitchen, to the left of the white table above, was one of my favorite little “moments” in the whole house. That gorgeous painting was by a local artist that Lori and Greg picked up a few months ago at the “READ Art Show” (held annually at the New Community School here in Richmond). I love the bright colors with the thin frame around it.

In person it’s about 100 times prettier. And those two skinny cork lamps were so cool and unusual on that pretty mid-century cabinet that Lori found on Craigslist and updated with new knobs.

Wanna see the cork lamps a little closer? They’re from another local furniture outlet called The Decorating Outlet (which is where we’ve found a lot of the lights in our house too, like the pendants in our kitchen and the capiz chandelier in Clara’s nursery).

This shot is what you see if you step about five steps to the left of the photo above, and it’s the hallway that leads from the front door to the kitchen. We loved the old industrial stool (a craigslist find!) and that huge cow painting (from a local shop called The Wild Orchid). And doesn’t that black door frame in the background look awesome?

If you step further into the hallway you can see a little entryway table and a casual striped rug (which is another flash sale site find from One King’s Lane). The touches of black in the door, the letter on the wall, and the stripes in the rug were really pretty and understated I thought. Lori has this way of decorating that sort of screams “oh I just tossed this together” – especially in person. It really gives off an awesome not-too-fussy vibe. After all, two kids under two and a half live here, so it has to be functional and work for the family.

Here’s a shot of their bedroom upstairs, continuing with the not-too-fussy theme. Doesn’t everything from the small sunburst mirror (another secondhand find) to those cool dark sconces and that orange pillow just feel warm and inviting without feeling extra frou-frou? The whole house has a very “we actually live here” vibe, which is awesome and comfortable. And those sconces also hail from The Decorating Outlet here in Richmond.

This pretty side chair on the other side of their bedroom was a secondhand score (Lori recovered the seat with some new fabric from a local fabric outlet called U-Fab). I love how those ikat-ish stripes in the fabric pick up on the darker elements in the room like the dark frames, the dark sconces above the bed, the dresser, etc. Just like in her hallway (two shots back) Lori has a way with using hits of dark colors just so (it never feels dark or brooding, just crisp and interesting).

Here’s their master bathroom and although they inherited a tub in the middle of the room set on a diagonal, Lori decided to work with what she had and just added a ton of function. So she had the same handyman who built that awesome media cabinet in her family room build the cabinets under those two windows on the back wall and she brought in that pretty dresser with the mirror above it for even more storage.

This is actually where she bathes her kids, so it’s nice to have that dark-drawered dresser (another thifty find from an old antique shop) to fill with kid-bath-stuff, while the white cabinets under the windows are used for seating and even more storage for her and her husband’s stuff. And going back to the dark hits of color thing that Lori does so well, see how she picked a dark-framed mirror and that dark-fronted cabinet to balance the dark vanities on the other side of the room? Love that.

Ellie’s room is awesome. This is how it looked before she was born – all floofed for the camera (of course the pillows and stuffed animals are out of the crib now that she’s here). And see that pretty crib? It’s from Pottery Barn – but she got it on Craigslist! Awesome right? She didn’t even need to paint it, it came that color.

The bunny art above the crib is something Lori found at a local store called Strawberry Fields, but the cool thing is that it’s actually by a local artist that John and I met at the craft fair last year. It’s a small world, eh? We love her stuff (Clara has the same bunny in the hall). And how cute is that felt mobile? It was an Etsy find.

Lori also got these cute book shelves on Etsy. I love the hot pink color and the way they play with the side table that Lori painted with a hot pink top. And that plush rocker below them is also a Craigslist find.

Owen’s room is awesome too. We were especially into this giant piece of art over his crib, which was actually a large piece of fabric that Lori stretched over a canvas and stapled around the back. It totally looks like a giant painting, right? The fabric is Marimekko for anyone wondering (it’s out of stock, but hopefully that link and the name might help you track it down on ebay or from another fabric wholesaler if you’re interested?).

There are sets of pretty pocket doors in a few places, like this one that looks into the guest room.

Here’s that room a little closer. I love the old metal bed and the placement of it under the window with the peaked ceilings on either side of it. The cool thing about that bed is that it was Lori’s from childhood. Yup, she’s had it for nearly 30 years!

The same goes for the dresser, it’s from her room as a child and she didn’t even paint it (or the bed) – this is them in their original 30-years-old glory. Don’t you love the casual cottage-y feeling they add to the room? And of course I’m awkwardly obsessed with that glass based lamp (another secondhand find of Lori’s).

Looking through the other side of those pocket doors you can see a chill little office/playroom/sitting room.

I loved these cool blue cube tables that Lori paired together (they’re from Home Decorators), along with framing a National Geographic map that she cut into nine parts on the back wall.

So that’s Lori, Greg, Owen, and Ellie’s awesome home. We’re so grateful they invited us over to shoot some pics to share with you – and we hope you guys got a kick out of touring their home from the comforts of your chair/sofa. Want to play the favorite part game? I loved the pocket doors, the colorful art in the kitchen, and the awesome family room built-ins. Meanwhile John dug that clever fabric-made-into-art over Owen’s crib, the fact that most furnishings were secondhand finds, and also called those living room built-ins right along with me. Ok, your turn.

Psst- Let’s keep snooping! Click here to virtually walk around over 45 homes that we’ve crashed.


  1. Eileen says

    What a beautiful home! I am in love with the yellow paint used in the living rooms and kitchen! Is there any chance you know the name of the paint color?

  2. Ana says

    I never comment, but I just loved this house, like woah! Someone called it up above: approachable. Exactly. This kind of house is so inspiring for me. Sometimes, while I enjoy the eye candy of other house crashings, they kind of make me a little anxious. Like how! Will I ever! Make my house! Look this perfect! This house is so relaxed and just softly states, “You can totally do this. There there.” (Gentle back rub) Your commentary really helps, too, Sherry! I guess some of us weren’t born with the decorating gene, but we’re learning. :)

  3. Tiffany S. says

    So well done.

    This just makes me wonder if small(er) town Craigslist is different from city Craigslist because no one I know has had any success and ends up getting stalked or fearing for their life. The one and only time we gave away a box spring for free, the interested party’s second email address (I’d already sent our home address to her first email address before she then had to email us from her boyfriend’s computer) was HellfireAmerica, and I’m 100% certain our boxspring is in a seedy motel on a highway (it is, she mentioned her daughter was the new manager).

    I might give it a few more tries as we move from one house to another here in Seattle, but you’re so lucky that it works out so well.

    • says

      Oh yes, I know that’s called dentil molding, but I just broadly described it as detailed molding since it has all those groves and things (added details)!


  4. Pamela says

    Lucky finding a handyman who would build cabinets with inset doors and drawers. The people who did my kitchen refused to even consider such things.

    I’m sure Lori did her homework carefully, but just a note to anyone thinking of obtaining a secondhand crib. It is now illegal to sell, or even give away, a crib that does not meet current federal safety standards, including no drop-sides and more durable slats, mattress support, and hardware.

  5. Cindy says

    I pinned the living daylights out of this post. Nice job! My favorite is the understated pops of black in every room. It pulls the house together. TOTALLY stealing that idea.

  6. says

    You guys do such a great job with photography, it makes every house look great. Some days, I think it might even make my house look designer-y enough to be be crash-worthy. If you ever get lost in Iowa (ha ha, probably on your way somewhere else), I’ll hook you up!

  7. katalina says

    is it weird that when I saw the rabbit art I thought– that looks like the same art you have!

    do you have a link to the artist that works?


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