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Name: Kate Schueler, Dashel Schueler, Waffles the Goldendoodle, Margaret (4), Jane (2), Benji (3 months)
Location: Mount Baker Neighborhood — Seattle, Washington
Size: 2300 square feet
Years Lived In: 5 years, owned
When we toured our house five years ago, we both immediately knew it would become the home in which we would start and raise our family. Fresh out of foreclosure after years of being an unkempt rental made it a home that many homebuyers in the competitive Seattle market had overlooked. However, we fell in love with the coved ceilings, original wood doors, and potential for an open floor plan. We knew that we could restore it to the beautiful home it had once been. Doing most of the work ourselves, we spent our first summer in our home sleeping on a blow-up mattress on concrete floors in the basement. We remodeled it room by room with the help of family and friends until it became the home it is today. Of course, we still have so many projects that we would like to complete, but now that we have filled our home with three children and a cuddly pup we have much less time and far less energy than we did when we first stepped foot into our home.
The house was remodeled sometime in the 90s so when we moved in there were a lot of undesirable features, such as a decorative granite tile insert in the middle of the dining room floor, cheap decorative trim around the windows and doors, and a store-bought mantel from a big box store. The first thing we did was remove these features to try to restore the authenticity of a house built in 1910. We also widened the opening from the dining room to the living room and took down a wall separating the kitchen from the rest of the home. At some point, an owner had dropped the ceilings so we also raised the ceilings back up. We painted everything Swiss Mocha OC-45 from Benjamin Moore, which is my favorite white for a craftsman style home.
It was important to us that we filled the home with unique pieces of art made by our friends and family. Our walls feature art we commissioned, bought from friends, photographed on various vacations, thrifted, or was made by our own children. All of the art on our walls means something to us, which makes every corner of our home feel like a special part of our story.
We’ve had three children in
the last five years and so our spaces have adapted to meet the needs of our
growing family. We repurposed a walk-in closet into a bedroom for our daughter
Jane and it is one of our favorite rooms in the house. Every night Jane kisses
the rabbits on her wallpaper goodnight and affectionately refers to it as her
“bunny room.” We want our home to be comfortable and accessible for our kids
but also to look put together and uncluttered. We use a lot of baskets and
cabinets to hide all the “kid stuff” and purchase furniture for them to use
that is both versatile and attractive. Our Montessori Pikler triangle and
rocking boat are two items that get a lot of play but also match our modern
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Traditional modern eclectic… is that a style? I just made it up.
Inspiration: Many of our friends are artists and musicians. After having kids, we are not able to spend as much time as we used to out and about with them. Adding their art and photographs to our home allows us to feel connected to them even when we don’t see them as much as we once did.
Favorite Element: Our favorite element of our home is how open it is, which allows it to feel light and bright. We also have a lot of greenery, which adds to the open, airy feeling. Living in Seattle means that there are a lot of dreary days, but our home always feels filled with light. We have prisms hanging in the front windows and year-round they cast rainbows onto our white walls. The girls love to run around in their pajamas catching the rainbows in the morning.
Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenge has been finding the time and money to remodel a home while starting a family. We try to finish about one project a month and once the project is started we try to finish it quickly. We know that if we let it drag on, it will never get completed so it’s better to just do it all at once. There are still so many things we want to do (build a deck, remodel the bathrooms, paint the kitchen cabinets) but for now we just take on one project at a time and know that eventually it will all be completed. Because we both enjoy working on our home, it’s a fun way for us to spend quality time together. There have been many evenings when we’ve put the kids to bed and then worked on our home for our date night.
Proudest DIY: Our fireplace was one of the last things for us to remodel in our home. When we moved in, we immediately removed the prefabricated 90s mantel and discovered an original beautiful gray-colored brick beneath. We spent several years with the fireplace unfinished while we debated how to retain the character of the brick but also update it in a way that worked with the traditional modern style of the house. We settled on boxing in the brick and adding shiplap all the way to ceiling with a traditional black hex tile in front. Once we decided on what we wanted, Dashel completed the project in just one weekend. We love how it is both modern and also honors the original elements of the home.
Best Advice: Fill your home with furniture and decor that means something to you. It is easy to go out and buy all new furniture in a store, but it is so much more meaningful to collect pieces overtime. We bargained for our living room chairs at a small-town vintage festival, we are storing our buffet for a neighbor who moved to Alaska, we repurposed hanging planters from a friend’s wedding. Each piece in our home reminds us of a story or time in our lives.
What’s your best home secret? People tend to think that when they start a family the “kid stuff” they will accumulate is inevitable. For the most part, we are careful to only buy toys that are easily hidden away or match our style. Our best design secret for living with little kids is to buy a lot of solid baskets and tuck the toys away. Dashel built a full wall of shelving in the basement to hide the toys and each basket is labeled. We put the toys away after they are played with and the result is a space that is fun for our children but also pleasant for us. We try to buy children’s toys that are simple, neutral, and match our personal style. Montessori toys are a perfect example of this type of toy. They are often wood and are simple enough to lend themselves to lots of creative play without turning our home into a plastic-filled kid zone.
This submission’s responses have been edited for length and clarity.