Kara & James' Kid Tested, Mother Approved Contemporary

House Tour

Name: Kara & James
Location: Bedford, New Hampshire
Size: 2,700 square feet
Years lived in: 10 months — owned
Who else lives here? Finn (23 months), Gavin (6 months), Great Dane Dory and our Lab/Golden named Peach

Kara and James bought this contemporary fixer upper 10 short months ago. Kara, a city person, and James favoring a more secluded, country lifestyle compromised on a location between the two in Southern New Hampshire. Their home is isolated on over two acres of wooded land, and a 10 minute drive to downtown Manchester.

If it is not clear from the photos, Kara's favorite color is green. She has a hard time picking one shade so she has chosen different shades of green — mostly of the yellow green variety — for many of the rooms throughout her home. The exception being her kitchen which is painted a pale (but not powdery) blue. It's a color she used in a bathroom of a previous house. I can relate to falling hard for a color and wanting it to be on at least one of my walls, always.

They have a designated play area for the boys so they can keep their living room orderly and relaxing for the adults. Kara is a bargain hunter and has been able to acquire most items in her home through family members or from the Internet. One lovely piece worth mention is the bar cart in the living room. She found this on eBay and drove to Connecticut with her mother to snag it . Her leather couch and chair are both Craigslist finds and much of the art hanging throughout her home is of her own creation.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style? Mid-century modern meets I-have-two-little-kids-and-two-big-dogs. Anything I buy has to be comfortable and cleanable AND look good!

What is your greatest inspiration? Color, and usually the color green. For me, there is nothing worse than being surrounded by white walls. Everything comes alive — whether it is furniture, artwork or accessories — when placed up against a colorful wall.

Favorite Element: The high ceilings in the living room and the large windows throughout the house. I love that when I look outside any window all I see is green. I also love both of my boys rooms — they are super colorful and fun.

Biggest Challenge: The exterior! There are so many flowers, plants, trees and bushes on this property and it is extremely overwhelming. This was our first year seeing what kinds of flowers we have and while watching them bloom at different times was fun, next year we will definitely do some streamlining. (We immediately got rid of the koi pond and some dying trees.) Don't even get me started on the pool.

What Friends Say: They usually say they love the colors and that it is very "me."

Biggest Embarrassment: I have a long list: the living room fireplace and ceiling fan, the dog hair and drool covering every surface, the foyer light, my master bathroom…

Proudest DIY: We had a leak in our master bedroom closet this summer which prompted us to rip out the wall to wall carpet (we had it bound into an area rug since it was still in good condition) and install hardwood floors. Jim found the flooring on clearance at Lowe's because the style was being discontinued and installed it himself (I LOVE having a handy husband.) I removed the wallpaper and painted the walls (green, of course). There are a few things left to do (replace the vertical blinds) but we're really happy with the way it turned out.

Biggest Indulgence: My rugs are my biggest indulgence even though I bought them all at deep discounts. I am a bit obsessed with Company C rugs because of their amazing designs and uncompromising quality. They used to have tent sales every fall where I scavenged the damaged section and landed some major deals. Unfortunately they no longer have the tent sales but now you can find their rugs and pillows every so often at HomeGoods.

Best Advice: Surround yourself with things you love and you'll love your surroundings.

Dream Sources: Room & Board, Ann Sacks, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Company C

Resources:

FURNITURE

    • Sofa, recliner & one end table: Craigslist
    • Bar cart: eBay
    • Sideboard, one end table & slatted bench: New Hampshire antiques stores
    • Slipper chairs in living room: Jordan's Furniture which were slipcovered in IKEA fabric by Tricia's Custom Slipcovers
    • Media stand: Crate & Barrel

ACCESSORIES

    • Yard sales, HomeGoods, Target

LIGHTING

    • Lowe's, IKEA, HomeGoods

WINDOW TREATMENTS

    • Lowe's

ARTWORK

    Jenn Ski prints in the dining room with a mix of HomeGoods and my artwork throughout the rest of the house

    PAINT

      • Benjamin Moore

    Thanks, Kara!

    Images: Violet Marsh Photography

    • HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE Check out past house tours here
    • Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
    • Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.