Welcome Home Come on In Series: Laura's House...

Welcome back to my 2nd Welcome Home: Come On In series.  You can find the first one here.  I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Laura and her family.  Her home is delightful but not only that, her husband and her have redone their home from top to bottom on a budget, mostly DIYing by her very handy husband.  Laura stays home with her 2 children, soon to be 3 in August!  She is a dear friend and just an insanely talented but humble person. 

Here are a few before pictures to help you appreciate all they have done...

Family Room Before

Kitchen Before

Bathroom Before

  Now enough of my jabbering...here's Laura and her sweet dog.  I'll let her take it from here, enjoy!

Who calls this house home and how long have you lived there?

My husband Jared and I live here with our two kids, Izzy (4) and Rex (2) and we are welcoming a baby girl in August! We also have a dog, Zoey. We bought the house in March of 2009. Jared moved in and I joined him two months later after we got married! 

Her husband built this desk and the console table in the family room by hand...

Why did you choose your home?

Our home was a foreclosure and my father in law actually found it on Craigslist. We chose it because of the location, the charm, the yard, the price, there was a shop for my husband and really it was just perfect for us. My husband works in construction, so it was very doable for us to fix up the house. It was in really bad shape when we got it. There were several offers on the house by the time we found it and the bank was in the last stages of choosing a buyer so we didn't think we even had a chance. We offered higher than the asking price and because we were actually going to live in the house and not flip it the bank accepted our offer. To us it was a miracle and an act of God, a true answer to prayer.

What do you love about your home?

After 9 years I still love many things about this house. I love the cape cod style. Dormers add so much character inside and out. I love that it has lots of big windows and is very bright. It also has a fairly large yard with mature trees which we love. Our backyard is pretty private which has been a big plus. We spend a lot of time out there. I also love that we have been able to make it our own since we have remodeled almost the entire house. It has been so fun for me to pick things out and design each and every room. It's really how I started discovering my love for homes and design. And we live on a street with many retired folks and widows and they are the sweetest most wonderful neighbors! 

How does your home work for your family?

Since we only have 1200 square feet of livable space we have had to make our home work for our family. We have gotten very creative about extra storage, organization, furniture placement, etc. For instance we put our desk in our living room since there was nowhere else to put it! We actually really like having it in the living room. And just recently we added a recessed wall cabinet in our upstairs hallway to put linens and bathroom supplies. Right now, things are working fine for us but it's about to get even better since we are finishing the basement. :) I do have to admit that recently our house has started to seem smaller as our family, possessions and visions grow bigger. We often discuss whether or not we add on, or move some day. It would be a long time from now, so for now we are making it work and how we do that is a conversation we have to have a lot. We have to be very picky about what we allow in to our house, we clean out A LOT, and have adopted the less is more strategy. I also remind myself of how cozy it can feel and that I already struggle to keep this small house clean, so those things help me stay content. 

Dining area...

Command center by the front door in the kitchen/dining area...

How do your kids influence how you outfit your home?

Having kids in the home has influenced just about every decision we have made for our home in the past 4 years. :) And the dog before that! We have dark furniture because to me it is more important to have furniture that appears clean and requires little maintenance than to have light furniture, which honestly I would prefer. We have acquired several bins and baskets and they're everywhere! Under the couch, beds, in closets and cabinets! I don't have things that can break easily anywhere near the floor. I learned that lesson the hard way. We keep play doh in our powder room cabinet, puzzles in one of our desk drawers and colors and coloring books in one of the cabinets in our kitchen. :) It's very possible to have a kid friendly house without having kid things out everywhere all the time. I just aim to have a place for everything so it can be put away. I am really looking forward to having a play room in the basement once it's finished. And we are planning to add 3 closets down there. I do want to say that not everything is polished and picture worthy over here all the time and I don't expect it to be. That is really not a realistic expectation when you have kids! But it is nice to be able to pick up at the end of the day or during naps and have a defined place for everything. I also find that I'm able to relax more and feel less stress when there is less clutter!

Their daughter's room...that bed was a $60 CraigsList find that they refurbished.

Laura's husband built this kitchen for their daughter...

How has your home changed since you moved in?

It has changed so much! We have removed and moved walls, we have painted every surface and replaced almost everything since there was so much damage when we moved in. Doors had holes in them, the ceiling was falling down in one bedroom, faucets and pipes were dripping, drains didn't drain, lights didn't work, the roof leaked, the basement flooded. It was a huge mess. I really have to give my husband credit here for being so knowledgeable about these things. We couldn't have bought this house if it weren't for him. We've also added a lot. Window seats, the portico on the front of the house, the built ins our master closet, wall sconces (I can't get enough!), and outdoor lighting.

Love that ceiling detail...

What are small indulgences you love around your home?

I love our upstairs bathroom. Although those weren't small indulgences haha. This was my dream bathroom. Jared built the vanity and upright cabinet. He added the medicine cabinet in the wall. We got carrara marble countertops and subway tiles for the shower. It's my favorite room. I also love the master closet. Jared built the cabinets, drawers, cubbies, window seat and cabinets by hand. It's just really extravagant to me! I even get to display my shoes. It's definitely indulgent. :) As for small things I do, I love to change my decor seasonally. I have pillow covers, wall hangings and prints, throws and other things that I change out just for fun!

Their son's room...

Look at that fun blue bead board ceiling...

Where do you shop for your home?

My favorite store of all time is Pottery Barn. I have loved it for the longest time. It is pricey. The way I afford things there is by shopping sales, using coupons, or waiting for my birthday or Christmas. I have had their store credit card for a long time and although I hesitate to encourage credit card use they send me awesome coupons (like $25 off $50) a few times a year. So I rarely buy things at full price and have managed to accumulate many things from their store! I also shop at Marshall's (Des Moines' hidden gem of home items), Homegoods, World Market, Anthropologie, Hobby Lobby, Ikea, H&M Home (online) and Target of course.  You can find items very similar to Pottery Barn items at Marshall's and Target. And if you like Anthropologie, World Market is a great lower price option to get that style. 

Where do you find home inspiration?

I am always looking for inspiration for my house. I have even found myself noting things from some of the homes in the cartoons I'm watching with my kids haha. There are movies that stick with me for a long time because they had neat houses. Is anyone else like that? But mostly I find inspiration from catalogs, magazines, Pinterest, blogs and probably the very most from other designers on Instagram. There are so many amazing feeds out there and I have had the most fun following along and getting ideas from other people. I also love to drive around certain areas in Des Moines and just look at the houses. My favorite is the amazing homes you'll find south of Grand. 

Their master closet...seperated by those sweet glass french doors.

A way to hold jewelry in the closet...

What are you still on the hunt for for your home?

My tastes change often unfortunately, so I am frequently hunting around for things and then usually not buying them and waiting until a birthday, Christmas or Anniversary. :) Lately I've had my eye out for a new desk chair, a bigger rug for our bedroom and garage doors! Which we plan to replace this fall, hopefully. I am looking for a carriage house style door. 

A sweet retreat for their kids made by their dad...

What’s still on your home to do list?

This list seems to be never ending! Even though we have already done so much it is hard for me to not keep dreaming and envisioning and coming up with new ideas for our home all the time. I am constantly drawing things out that come to my mind. My husband often comes home to sketches and photoshop mock ups. I really have to battle this day to day and seek contentment. We have so much really. Fortunately, having two busy kids to chase is a good distraction most days! 

But anyway here is a short list :). We are currently finishing our basement (which will include a family room, play room, laundry room and bathroom). Next up will be new garage doors. Down the road we would like to add a "bump out" breakfast nook to our kitchen, a new deck and patio, built ins and stone around our fireplace, can lights in the living room, built in storage in the master, replacing all our windows on the main floor (second floor is already done phew!), refinishing all the original hardwood floors and extending them into the kitchen and I really want to add ceiling beams to the living room.  That's a short list ;). 

 It could all change in an instant depending on life and if it doesn't all get done, it will be okay.  If it takes years that's fine too. I am just so happy to have such a cute roof over our heads and wonderful people in it and try to remember how far we have really come with this home. Since I became a stay at home mom 4and 1/2 years ago, we have gone at a much slower pace and yet things still get done. God provides and the patience literally pays off as we have never had to take out a loan!

Erin here --  Now you know why I love Laura so much.  Not only does she make beautiful, cozy spaces but she is just a delightful person, tremendous mother and wife, loves the Lord and a great friend.  Did I mention her amazing voice?  

Please get in touch with Laura about her design services, you can also find her on Instagram.  Her feed is beautiful!  You can find Jared's construction business on Facebook.  They would be delighted to work with you and as you can see, they do phenomenal work.   

Thanks to Laura and Jared and their sweet, growing family for letting us take a look around.  Leave a note to tell them what you loved!  If you have any home needs, don't forget to contact them! 

Until next time keep on smiling and keep on keeping on!


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