Sarah's Family Home for Six

House Call

Name: Sarah
Location: Duluth, Minnesota

A year ago we downsized our family of six's home massively so that both my husband and I could have more time to pursue our passions. We are both physicians and I had realized that design and self development were my passions......so we put our 6000 sf wonderful old home (with fancy acid washed marble countertops and glorious dining room to seat 16) on the market and found a foreclosed single level house that spacewise had everything we needed.

We moved in less than a year ago- it involved having a huge estate sale- getting rid of over half of our furnishings. We now feel about a ten thousand times lighter and life is so much easier with four kids (age 5-13) now- less space to clean, declutter and more togetherness both figuratively and literally!

Challenges for me were creating a old house feel using furnishings and exisiting materials (not wanting to remodel or spend much as the goal was to have a puny mortgage) and resisting the tempation to keep too much of our old stuff back in- I had to let go of a lot! The main splurge was silk curtains for the main living space. They brought that English country and a touch of glamour into the spce for me. Also I wanted to create a grand feeling- and to do this I kept some of our very high pieces and threw a folding screen on top of a bufffet to bring the Mario Buatta vibe in.

At heart I am a Nancy Lancaster fan and love that layered, collected look. We removed a raised bar in the kitchen and replaced with a simple formica top in "Soapstone" finish -that was my biz partner Suzi's suggestion- genious- and 350 bucks instead of 3,000 that the "old me " would have spent! Layering rugs over the Pottery barn braided seagrass rug also helped to create an aged ll0ok. Of course paint was also important- used alot of color to transform rooms.

Thanks, Sarah!

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.

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