We can’t believe it’s been five years (!!!) since we house crashed John’s sister Emily. And since they’ve completed a lot more rooms (we crashed them right after they moved in), we can’t wait to share the goods.
Oh and their front door is Cornichon by Martha Stewart. Every time we pull into her driveway it makes me smile.
Here’s that cute family of ours now. You might remember that Emily lives with her hubby Todd, three kids, and a pretty sizable pooch named Tuck – so this is a hard working house with a big dog, a four year old, a tween, and a teen running around.
We love that it always feels welcoming and nothing’s too precious, but it still has that clean and modern aesthetic that makes people say “three kids and a big dog live here?!” And Emily definitely has a few tricks, so we’ll share those as we go. Emily’s a lot like us in her shopping ways – she finds things at thrift stores and yard sales, happily works in a few hand-me-downs, and is no stranger to affordable stores like Ikea and HomeGoods.
For example, her dining table is a yard sale find, the ottoman is from HomeGoods, and the rug is from Marshall’s. There’s also a splurge in there every once in a while if they save up for something, like their sofa from Crate & Barrel (if you look at our first crash, they had an old hand-me-down couch for a few years while they squirreled away the cash for a new one).
Their simple and clutter-free aesthetic definitely lends itself to the sunny and airy look of the house (they designed it themselves, and Todd is a photographer so giant windows to let in a ton of light were a must). It’s one of those “everything we need and nothing extra” houses, which always inspire me. And not having tchotchkes all over is definitely a kid and dog friendly choice (not to mention it saves major dusting/cleaning time).
If you look closer at the picture above, the furniture picks are also practical for kids and dogs. The West Elm chairs are wooden (no upholstered seats to worry about staining) and the table is rustic and old. So even when their youngest son repeatedly bangs it with a metal car, the dings blend right in. I also love that the end chairs are light wood, the side chairs are deep red, and the table is medium wood. Nothing’s too fussy, and it oozes informal charm.
Something that makes their house even more stunning in person are the light fixtures. This one above the table is a secondhand find from ebay (search “sputnik” for others like it). And since they’re the one thing the kids/dog can’t reach, it’s an easy way to add a nice dose of unbreakable glamour.
A few more of her tricks:
- a bold patterned rug can hide stains like a champ
- wipeable furniture (like chairs, sofas, or ottomans covered in leather or a leather-like material) are easy to care for – and can even look better as they get more beat up
- white walls can make a room feel clean and airy even when there’s dusting and vacuuming to do (Emily gets rid of any wall-marks with a Magic Eraser)
- a white sofa can be covered with a white washable blanket when messy kids are doing their thing (and since it’s the same color as the sofa it doesn’t scream “blanket covered couch, here!”)
And we’re always getting requests to share non-white-cabineted kitchens, so here’s a shot of theirs, complete with wood ones:
The awesomely unusual choice that they made for a modern new construction house was sleek white appliances over stainless ones – and we always marvel at them in person. They still look really clean and modern and have worked well for them over the last five years (they’re from the Jenn Air series). Oh and the island is from Ikea while the stools are from West Elm.
And see the white pantry that’s next to the fridge in that shot above? In our first house crashing we shared how cool it is (it pulls out and is accessible from both sides), so here’s an old photo, just for kicks. And because I’m in love with it. It’s so functional to be able to access it from either side.
While a lot of the main floor is airy and light, the kids rooms are full of color. Here’s twelve year old Olivia’s room, complete with no-sew curtains that Emily whipped up with the ol’ hem-tape method. And you can read more about the upholstered headboard that we made for her here and the pink painted dresser here. The walls are Lazy Days by Valspar.
I’m in love with the bold curtains and even the hooks for bags that Emily hung behind the door to add function. Oh and she got that curtain fabric at a local store here in Richmond (called Williams & Sherrill) for anyone wondering.
Speaking of function, above the built in mirrored wardrobe from Ikea (their modern alternative to traditional closets) there’s a nice little niche that Emily and Todd had their builder add – just to squeeze out even more storage and to create a place for colorful bedding and bins. And see those retro-ish prints on the wall? I made those for our print shop about four years ago (back when we had one) and gave a set of them to Olivia – so it’s always sweet to see them hanging in her room all these years later.
Jake’s fourteen, and he wanted a more subdued room, but it totally captures his personality thanks to the plaid bedding, the blue accent wall paired with the red side table (it’s stained instead of painted so it has a cool transparent quality), and the basketballs hanging right on the wall (which aren’t just for looks, he uses them too).
I also love the graffiti-ish monster print on the wall from Ikea a while back, but my favorites are the yellow safe and the red gumball machine (didn’t you have those things as a teen? I totally did, but my safe was purple).
And here’s their basement rec room (it definitely comes in handy when the kids have friends over). Since Emily and Todd love their white, they opted to paint the concrete floors with a glossy (and wipeable!) floor paint. Then they layered in a giant leather sectional, which is also easy to wipe down (it has held up really well through juice stains and finger paint over the years).
I think that the coolest thing about Emily and Todd’s white & modern house is how awesomely it lends itself to pops of color and playful touches. Take the back of their metal front door for example. It’s magnetic, so it has become a place to display kid art, favorite photos, animal and letter magnets and other random bits. I love how casual and fun it is, and Clara and Emanuel can be found playing there whenever we come over (here’s an old pic of them in action).
I think it’s tempting to wonder if modern homes with lots of white are really “lived in” or kid friendly, but Emily and Todd’s house is a great example of how they can be. And I love how when you look closer, there are some really smart choices that would work for a house of any style (like weathered wood furnishings, wipeable fabrics, and gorgeous fixtures up where no one can reach ‘em). Toss in some really cool functional upgrades (like built-in niches over the closets and a pull out double-sided pantry) and you’re golden.
So we’re sending out a huge thanks to Emily, Todd, Jake, Olivia, Emanuel, and Tuck the Mutt for letting us get snap-happy at their house. Now let’s play the what’s-your-favorite-part game. Mine’s the front door (both the happy green side and the fun magnetic side) along with Olivia’s brightly striped curtains. And John lovingly runs his hands over the appliances every time he’s there. True story.
Psst- The latest edition of Clara Conversations is up on Young House Life, and it’s my favorite one yet (I say that every time, but the kid gets funnier by the day…).
We’ve only store crashed a few times (like this cute local kids consignment shop or this office crashing from Charlotte) but when a local ice cream store called Gelati Celesti opened up in our neighborhood, not only was the ice cream pretty darn good, so was the design. In fact, we actually thought a lot of it could translate into someone’s home (so it’s not just a “commercial” look that you can’t implement in your own kitchen). Let’s have a look around on this fine Wednesday afternoon, shall we?
When you walk in the awesome black-framed doors surrounded by black-framed windows and look to the left, there’s a rustic whitewashed plank wall with a prep area full of fun mint-green penny tiles. The hilarious thing is that after chatting up the owner he revealed he had seen our kitchen and that’s how he had chosen the penny tile, although he opted for the fun mint color. It’s such a small world. But we’ll get to showing you more of the awesome penny tiled area in a second. First lets linger on those marble counters. Veiny and delicious, eh?
So if you’re brainstorming kitchen pairings, we think the dark chocolate concrete floors with the light marble counters and the penny tile mixed with those rustic wood plank walls are a pretty smokin’ combo. Especially when paired with a pop of peachy coral (in the sign) and those awesome glass-jug lights above the serving area. Maybe skip any giant freezers full of ice cream in the center of your kitchen though. Wait, but on second thought, I think a giant freezer full of ice cream in the center of a kitchen could be pretty amazing…
Here’s a closer shot at that awesome salmon colored sign (the bottom ten squares are chalkboard paint so they can write in new flavors) and the mint green penny tile. Me-ow, right?
Let’s get closer. Who’s craving a big ol’ cone? Just me?
This is the other side of the room, which is full of industrial metal + wood tables and chairs along with more of those awesome glass-jugs-turned-pendant-lights. And now you can see more of those giant black-trimmed windows that let in lots of light and seem to work really well with the industrial concrete floors. So painting your kitchen window sashes black in a kitchen with white cabs, dark floors, and colorful tile could be awesome. And check out that sign in the back…
I couldn’t agree more.
Here’s a close up of those awesome jar pendants. I totally didn’t stand on a chair to get this picture. Nope, wasn’t me.
Here are a few more seating details for you, just in case the metal + wood + stripe of darker wood bench gives you any ideas – maybe for a breakfast nook or a banquette? I’ve heard that built in benches can save space (you can place a table much closer to a wall than you would if it had pull-out chairs) so maybe it could work for your kitchen?
Of course this trip wasn’t all business. A girl’s gotta eat! For any locals, you HAVE to get “Just Ask” (it’s white chocolate ice cream with peanut butter and Oreos). In other words, IT WILL BLOW YOUR FREAKING MIND.
Sorry for the caps. It’s that good. And Clara’s pretty into their cake batter variety too. So there you have a rare little store crashing installment. Have you been to any stores that have actually inspired you when it comes to things you could do to your own home? It’s amazing how many things might be applicable if you keep an eye out. Oh and the owner asked if we could shout out the designer and construction crew that made his store possible, and you know we love giving props and sharing the local love, so for anyone else looking for help, the designer was Fraser Design Associates and the construction was done by THS Construction.
Psst- Wanna see everything we’ve crashed? Your wish is my command (just click here).