This Pennsylvania Rental Home Is Comfy, Colorful, Welcoming, and Full of (Kid, Plant, and Pet) Life

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Living room with light brown leather sofa
The living room. The playroom is off to the left.

Name: Sarah McPherson, 2 kids (ages 6 and 2), 2 cats, and 1 dog
Location: Pine Grove Mills, Pennsylvania
Type of home: House
Years lived in: 2.5 years, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My home looks very different than it did a year ago (when I separated from my husband). The start of the pandemic lined up with the start of my new life, and I’ve been working on creating this home for me and my two girls since.

I finally got brave enough to bring live plants into my kid-and-pet-filled home, and it is going really well. I keep getting more. We have a playroom, which is great now that the girls are at ages where they can play together (and on days when they are both home with me while I’m working remotely, it gets destroyed, but that is what it is for!). The house is fairly old but a good size for us (though I’m dreaming of a home with a second bathroom some day) and with a great yard and large front porch.

I love this corner of the dining room — plants, art by Justina Blakeney, and Queen Michelle Obama.

I am a social justice-minded, single mom of two kids who, at 32, is really just figuring out who I am and what is most important to me. This shows up in big ways, like exploring my biracial identity and bringing in a lot of Black art/books/toys into my home and smaller ways, like incorporating yellow into every room (as it is my new favorite color).

I plan to keep adding to this gallery wall as I collect more irresistible art!

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Comfy. Colorful. Welcoming. Plants. Pet fur.

I got this dress not long into the pandemic and dream of wearing it out one day. For now, it was too pretty to hide in the closet, so it's art!

What is your favorite room and why? I’m not sure. My bedroom was my first safe space in my home and it really reflects me, but I also spend the least amount of time in it. Our dining and living rooms are where we are most of the time — working, remote schooling, eating, crafting, playing, relaxing, etc. I love how many plants I’ve been able to fit into these two rooms, also!

I recently got this round dining table. It works really well and fits better in the space than the previous rectangle table.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? My bright yellow dining chairs! They are from Article.

Any advice for creating a home you love? As with most things in life, it is okay to experiment, try things, change things up, and change your mind. I think I have just recently accepted that my home will never feel “done,” at least for very long, and it is okay to feel that. I love the evolution of a home.

One of our cats, Huxley. I spent a year in Turku, Finland, when I was 18, and the church art on the wall was made and gifted to me from one of my host grandmothers!


This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

Correction: An earlier version of this post mistakenly included a photo from another house call in Sarah’s house call. That photo has been removed.