Name: Heather and Jeff LaHaise
Location: Wales Garden; Columbia, South Carolina
Size: 2,600 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years; Owned
Heather and Jeff LaHaise, along with their son Walker (a high school freshman) and dogs Charlotte and Teeny, are surrounded by art. Heather is an artist herself, and her appreciation for art and design shows in every room. The LaHaise family uses every inch of their 2,600 square foot home, built in 1920 and revamped for a modern lifestyle.
When Heather and Jeff bought this house in 2007, they loved it, but the home, built in 1920, needed needed some reconfiguring to suit a modern lifestyle. Opening up the space was their goal, and Heather started the process herself, drawing her ideas on graph paper and sharing them with her contractor, Lee Willm. The kitchen, now spacious and open with high ceilings, white marble countertops and walls of sleek gray cabinets, used to be three rooms instead of one.
Heather and Jeff use every bit of their 2,600 square feet. The living room is perfect for socializing, and a small sun room is where Heather practices guitar. (She's taking lessons, but has no plans for a recital any time soon.) She paints in her studio in the back of the house, between the living room and the kitchen. Everything in Heather and Jeff's home makes sense. She built a sink into a small closet in the studio for her paint brushes, because she didn't want to rinse them in the kitchen. A narrow hallway from the kitchen to the backyard has plenty of extra cabinet space.
Upstairs, we peeked into the bedroom, but didn't go in, because Charlotte and Teeny were keeping watch on the bed, having been asked to give the guests some space. (They're very loving dogs.) Charlotte, a rescue dog, is rather famous, having been featured on the cover of Bark in 2009. Justine (aka Teeny) was adopted shortly after Charlotte.
Though Heather is doing more abstract work these days, she became known for her portraits of dogs first. Her love and appreciation for their personalities, and her sense of humor and compassion, show in every painting. Some of her canine subjects are dogs she knows, but she finds many of them on rescue websites.
Heather's house has been a labor of love, and a lesson in learning to trust her own judgment. Like many artists, her biggest indulgence is art. She buys what she loves, and her walls are covered with friends' work. And Heather can make friends with an artist just about everywhere. Two works by Patrick-Earl Barnes hang on the wall in the living room. Heather calls them family portraits, though he was already working on them when Heather met him on the streets of SoHo.
Heather finds furniture everywhere. When asked where something is from, the answer could be IKEA, Design Within Reach, Lowe's or "my grandfather's barn." The LaHaises' home is warm and open, with something to see everywhere you turn. Anyone could feel at home with art here.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Casual with an edge.
Inspiration: Everyday life, other artists, art books, architecture, interior design, even fashion.
Favorite Element: The open feel of the house. I knew it needed some work, but I loved that it could be a place with no wasted space. We could use every room.
Biggest Challenge: Trusting myself. I had to trust that I could draw this on graph paper and give it to Lee Willm, my contractor, because we did not hire an architect.
What Friends Say: Where do you get this stuff? Honestly, it's such a mix. I feel like it's very personal, because I have found things everywhere from IKEA and DWR to my grandfather's barn and street artists.
Biggest Embarrassment: We are sandwiched in between two beautiful, exquisite yards. And ours is certainly a work in progress. The two large dogs don't help! In the next few years, we plan to expand my studio and redesign the outdoor space to make it part of our living area.
Proudest DIY: I've done a lot myself. There's been plenty of painting and repair work, as well as Shop-Vacing of the basement. (Jeff did that last one with a torn ACL, no less!) I'm most proud of drawing the whole house redesign on graph paper.
Biggest Indulgence: Art is my biggest indulgence. I buy what I love and arrange my space around it. I try to support my friends that are artists, another way of trusting myself and my judgment.
Best Advice: Don't let your son out past nine at night! But on the house front? Just go with your gut. Go with what you like.
Dream Sources: I look at websites like just another masterpiece daily.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- Sherwin Williams: Roman Column, a white Heather says is "not too purple, not too green."
- Rug: Khoury Rugs in Columbia, South Carolina
- Paintings in stairwell: Katie Walker
- Cane chairs: her grandfather's barn, upholstered in cheetah print by Heather
- Sofas: Design Within Reach
- Coffee table: grandfather's barn
- Flokati style rug: West Elm
- Barcelona chair: DWR
- Television console: Ikea
- Photograph of Charlotte over the fireplace: Amanda Jones
- Sofa: DWR
- Japanese cocktail set: Heather's great grandmother's
- Table: ESD, Elizabeth Stuart Design in Charleston, South Carolina
- Light over table: DWR
- China cabinet: belonged to Heather's great grandmother
- China: Lindt-Stymeist from Carol Saunders Gallery in Columbia, SC
- Cabinets: Lowe's
- Fridge: Sub Zero
- Built in coffee maker and dishwasher: Miele
- Stove: Dacor
- Rug: Khoury Rugs
- Ghost stools: DWR
- Graphite of Jeff and Walker over bed: Heather LaHaise
- Art: Marius Valdes, Jan Swanson
- Large "W": $25 from a flea market in Atlanta, Georgia
- Red cart: Lowe's
- Fabric in closet door: Ikea
- Bed linens: Marimekko
HALF BATH BESIDE KITCHEN
- Dog painting: "Feather" by Heather LaHaise. Her work can be found at Slate Interiors in Charlotte, North Carolina.
(Images: Virginia Postic and Anne Postic)
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