As an interior designer, Sarah has worked with companies like Kohler, Airoom, and currently Perspective Consulting Group. She has designed hundreds of different types of rooms in hundreds of different styles of homes… but always through someone else’s vision. No matter how much freedom her clients gave, she was still designing for their family, their life. When she and her wife, Jamie, chose to buy a home together, they were finally able to turn that beautiful creative energy on their own space.
Initially, they weren’t looking for a new construction home. Sarah explains she was “gunning for a run-down single family home with good bones that we could gut and remodel. Jamie wanted a condo because I was working 80 hours a week at the time and she didn’t want to get stuck shoveling the driveway. Ha!”
So, as great marriages are made, they met somewhere in the middle. Deciding a townhouse would be a good compromise, they started hunting in Park Ridge, Illinois (literally somewhere in the middle between Sarah’s hopes for city life and Jamie’s suburban dreams). The new development they found hadn’t even broken ground yet, and they were able to have a hand in its design from the ground up, customizing it rather than tearing an existing home apart. Their home has since been built lovingly and intentionally around unique pieces of art, bold wallpaper, and lots of contrasting geometric patterns.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Jamie: Polished, but cozy.
Sarah: Mid-century modern meets Scandinavian contemporary meets reclaimed industrial.
Inspiration: Our art collection drives the rest of the design. Sarah’s mom is an artist, so art was always a huge part of their life. Over the years we’ve been collecting pieces from our favorite artists, buying artwork, and finding unique pieces on trips around the country. We find a piece that we love and then build the rest of the room around it.
Favorite Element: Jamie: I told Sarah that my only requirement for a new house was that it have a fireplace. One of our good friends did the tile work and my sister custom made the mantel out of a live edge piece of walnut. And Sarah’s sister made the piece of artwork hanging above the fireplace inspired by our wedding. I am also in love with how much natural light we get in the house.
Sarah: On a trip down to Austin last year, we discovered Dolan Geiman’s work and fell in love. We got three of his pieces (the three Senoritas) and knew they were perfect for the dining room wall. I wanted to accent the ladies with something big and bold and found an awesome geometric pattern from Hygge & West.
Biggest Challenge: Patience. It feels like we’re always waiting for something. Waiting while we watched the house getting built. Waiting to save up so that we could actually afford to furnish the house. And most of all, waiting to find the right piece of furniture or artwork that fits the space.
What Friends Say: People say that our house is too nice. But really, we’re just lucky that Sarah works in the industry. And that we’ve had the help of a lot of friends and family to make this house a home. They also say that our kittens are the best part. They’re right.
Biggest Embarrassment: We like to cook and entertain a lot. Our kitchen isn’t the chef’s kitchen that we’d like to have. One day we hope to remodel it and build our dream kitchen. And at any given time, at least 50 percent of our plants look like they’re about to die.
Proudest DIY: Jamie: Sarah let me run with my design vision for the powder room and I’m really proud of how it turned out. I wanted a dramatic wall color, and it complements one of my favorite pieces of art, by artist Stella Zee. The America wall shelf is one of the first pieces that we bought together, so it will always hold a special place.
Sarah: I decided to try to install a new fixture above the bar when we moved in. Since then I’ve replaced almost all of the light fixtures in the house myself. And they all work!
Biggest Indulgence: Our custom dining table. Jamie’s sister and brother both have custom dining tables from the same company, Rustic Elements out of Joliet, Ilinois. We had swooned over Jamie’s sister’s dining table for years and were so excited to have a house that would finally fit a proper table. The top is solid walnut with a clear coat stain to embrace the natural character of the wood. The base is black powder-coated steel with a solid walnut cross brace. The bench is made to match with a walnut top and steel box legs. We love it.
Best Advice: Jamie: Take the time to find pieces (furniture or art) that you really love, not just pieces that work in the space. That way, your house is really a reflection of you.
Sarah: Don’t play it safe. Be open to blending patterns, mixing metals and exploring textures. This is your chance to have fun with it and make it yours.
Dream Sources: Jamie: Travel everywhere. It’s my dream come true when we stumble into the small, independent shops and find something perfect to take home with us. And I would just like to own every single piece of Dolan Geiman’s. One day we’ll have an original.
Sarah: Italy. I lived in Rome while studying interior design and fell in love with all of the high-end furniture and lighting designers out there. It would be my dream to have a house full of Artemide, Flos, FontanaArt, Foscarini fixtures.
PAINT & COLORS
All Benjamin Moore Matte Finish
Powder Room and Stairwell — Hale Navy
Living Room — Deep Silver
Master Bedroom and bathroom — Paper White
Rest of the house — Misty Grey
Light Fixture — West Elm
Sofa — West Elm
Chair — West Elm
Rocking Chair — Family heirloom
Rug — Wayfair
Coffee Table — World Market (several years old)
Larger Side Table — Bottom is an antique sewing machine base, top is made by Jamie’s sister Erin
Small Side Table — HomeGoods
Media Cabinet — IKEA
Floor Lamp — West Elm
Table Lamp — Artemide
Curtains — Target
Seattle Print — Etsy
Table and Bench — Custom Walnut top with steel base made by Rustic Elements Furniture out of Joliet, IL
Chandelier — Target
Triptych — Dolan Geiman Limited Edition Señoritas
Thistle Etching — Lisa Goesling
Skull Print: Sparkle Twins – Z Gallerie
Wallpaper — Slice Pattern by Hygge & West
Head Chairs — Wayfair
Side Chairs — West Elm (several years old)
Vanity — Kohler Tresham
Sink — Kohler Tresham
Faucet — Kallista Barbara Barry Counterpoint
America Wire Shelf — Susan Fredman At Home – Union Pier, MI
Mirror — CB2
Light — Wayfair
Artwork — Stella Zee
Artwork — James Rizzi Limited Edition
Fixtures — Moen
Thanks, Sarah and Jamie!
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