Name: Sean and Mandi Ehman
Location: West Virginia
Size: 1,977 square feet
Years lived in: 4
This contemporary-style home in West Virginia is a unique example of how to customize a modular home and make it beautiful, but more than the aesthetic result, it's the fruit of living intentionally that shines. Sean and Mandi Ehman have put as much thought into the way that they want to live their lives as they have put thought into the cabinetry, custom baby gate, and galvanized, corrugated master-bath walls.
The Ehmans both grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, and after that experience, they decided that they wanted to have a commute-free and less expensive lifestyle, and to give their children stay-at-home parents. To accomplish these goals, they found a pastoral piece of land in West Virginia. To get a home built quick on that land (while Mandi was pregnant), they bought a modular home but left off all of the traditional finishes. Sean and Mandi knew that to have a manageable lifestyle, there needed to be minimal clutter, and they found that a clean, contemporary style would inspire and challenge them to maintain order.
Sean's dad helped with the sliding doors, and Mandi's dad helped with finish work, including the sliding barn doors, flooring, and stair railings. For cabinets and appliances, Sean and Mandi chose a balance between Ikea and high-end options. And since the structure was finished in 2007, Sean has been slowly doing the final work to make their dream house a home: he has made custom shelving, end tables, an entertainment center, picked out paint colors, and even made decorations such as the wood tree in the kitchen.
All of the DIY hard work helped the Ehmans save money, but still get exactly what they wanted out of their home. In turn, their home works for them. The customized, organized spaces and lack of clutter mean that Mandi can work from home as the owner of the Life Your Way blog, that the girls can be homeschooled, and that everyone can help pitch in the clean-up easily before a family movie night—all without a commute.
To read more about the Ehman's home, check out WV Living magazine's summer issue. To learn more about Mandi and her business, check out her blog, Life Your Way.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Modern Minimalist
Inspiration: For ideas, we love Dwell magazine, Living Etc., and loved Metropolitan Home before it closed.
Favorite Element: I love that so much of our home is unique and reflects my husband's style and creativity.
Biggest Challenge: Our home is a modular home, and we had it delivered unfinished so that we could get in quickly but still finish it to reflect our style. However, DIY projects take a lot of time, and it's taken us almost four years to get our house to the point where we feel like it's mostly done.
What Friends Say: Because our home is so unique, it gets a lot of comments from our friends who visit—either about the DIY features like the doors and the shower or about the minimalist design and where in the world is all of our stuff.
Biggest Embarrassment: We originally stained our subflooring rather than laying floor. There were a couple problems, though: one, it didn't pass our final inspection for our appraisal, and two, the stain and seal we used ended up looking like a very shiny brown paint rather than stain.
Proudest DIY: The master shower is definitely a highlight of our home, with galvanized steel roof panels on the walls and pebble tiles on the floor. Not only is it super functional since we can give all four of our girls a shower at once in there, but it's pretty cool looking too!
Biggest Indulgence: The Electrolux appliances were probably the only area where we didn't seek the cheapest source. Instead, we went for quality, and four years later, we're still really happy with all of them.
Best Advice: Be patient and don't expect or try to get it all done right away. Shop around for the perfect item rather than settling on the first one you find.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
• All paints: Olympic Premium Interior Paint
• Band Lands in upstairs office
• Whispering Winds in upstairs hallway
• Navajo White in upstairs guest room
• Lilac Gray in upstairs guest room
• Practically Pink in upstairs girls' bath
• Practically Pink in upstairs girls' bath
• Bad Lands on downstairs clock wall
• Navajo White in downstairs master bedroom
• Prairie Winds in downstairs master bedrom
• Practically Pink in downstairs nursery
• Floating shelf: handmade
• Couch, Ikea
• Entertainment center custom-designed with Ikea cabinets
• Bed, handmade
• Wardrobe, Ikea
• Guest bedroom furniture set, antique
• Fixtures, cabinets, and wardrobe, Ikea
Thanks, Mandi and Sean!
Images: Mandi Ehman
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