Name: Heidi & Kirk Demarais
Location: Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Size: 2500 square feet
Years lived in: 4
When we first heard from Hope (the wonderful photographer who took the shots of this tour) she said, "How about taking a look at my sister's place in Arkansas? It's cooler than it sounds!"
And is it ever! Heidi, Kirk and their young son enjoy the kind of space that those of us in the city can only dream about - but this is no cookie-cutter McMansion. Their house is a slice of history and one of those happy circumstances where just the right owners found just the right space - this house has people living in it who appreciate the history and the era that it hails from.
Unique, artful touches abound - from the amazing texture of the wallpaper in the bedroom to the sputnik chandelier to the magic shop credenza, you know you are experiencing a home that is part living space and part art gallery (which is not surprising, considering Kirk's profession). We think you'll enjoy this look at one creative family's home as much as we did - enjoy!
Our style: Mid-century, eclectic, vintage-fun
Inspiration: Brady Bunch, grandma houses
Favorite Element: 17 ft wide stone fireplace
Biggest Challenge: Keeping fingerprints and smudges off of the windows
What Friends Say: They love it, especially the wide-open spaces. Kirk has a big toy collection, so guests spend a lot of time reminiscing over those treasures.
Biggest Embarrassment: Aging carpeting and crumbling cement steps
Proudest DIY: Wallpaper "restoration"- the day we closed on the house, we came right over and started tearing this atrocious "brown bag" crafty wall paper off the walls. It came off in huge sheets, revealing layers of amazing wallpaper underneath. In the master bedroom, we decided to keep the old wallpaper layers, with torn layers showing through. Some really beautiful patterns had been chosen throughout the years.
Biggest Indulgence: Our mortgage payment
Best advice: Fully embrace life in an older home. Don't try to modernize it to the point where it loses its charm and character. Sure, your closets and bathrooms might be smaller than you'd like, and you'll have regular repairs, but you're living in a piece of history. Take time to imagine all of the people that have lived there, all of the fabulous clothes that were worn and the great parties that took place in your living room. No one could ever duplicate that sense of history in a new home.
Dream source: Family room/office: Mike Brady's office at his architectural firm, Marvin Glass's bachelor pad as featured in a 1970 playboy article (minus the naked people): Pre-schooler's bedroom: IKEA all the way, and the playroom at the millionaire villain's house in "Escape to Witch Mountain"; TV room: Disney's Haunted Mansion; Bathroom "lobby": Don Draper's (Mad Men) downstairs powder room that isn't really supposed to be used; Twin bathrooms: Steve Zissou's ship, the Belefonte (Life Aquatic)- lots of turquoise and green, shiny tile, strange but delightful details; Kitchen: Pee Wee's Playhouse, 50's diners, the Brady kitchen (I would love to have their avocado & paprika dinette set); Master bedroom: Anthropologie; Formal living room: my grandmother's formal living room- white carpeting, extra long couch, calming and cool color palette
Truly, we have found most of our furniture and decor at flea markets, thrift stores and antique shops. In our son's bedroom, we have a wooden toy box from the 50's that is designed to look like a circus train car. We found it at a local antique shop, and the woman who owned the shop said it had been used by all of her children when they were little. We also found a great vintage kids' table- with chrome legs, aluminum rim and Formica top that came from a local flea market.
Our long turquoise sectional sofa was actually a gift from friends. (!) It had been in the girl's father's office waiting room for decades, and he had recently remodeled, passing the piece on to her. While she really liked it, it didn't match the style of her home, and was in separate pieces around her house, instead of united in its full glory. When we moved into our house, she graciously passed it on to us, along with two fabulous black leather club chairs.
Ebay has also been helpful. We found a great pair of lamps, and also four mid-century wall sconces that were in perfect condition.
(Thanks, Heidi and Kirk!)
Images: Hope Johnstone