Name: Jamie and AJ Fink / Kiddos: Sophia, Etienne, Charlotte, Laurent and Nicasio / Pets: Oliver, Audrey, Napoleon and Greta
Location: Brookfield, Wisconsin
Size: 3200 square feet
This 1968 house on an acre of land in Wisconsin was a "time warp disaster flanked in brown," but Jamie and AJ knocked down walls and painted to transform this house into a bright, cheery home with plenty of style and function — important with so many kids and pets who live here! It's a reflection of who they are individually and as a family. And it's a great example of Jamie's talent as a designer.
Jamie actually began her career in interior design at a young age; her interior designer mother would take her to showrooms, stores and design meetings when Jamie was as young as 12. Being surrounded by design early has certainly influenced her eclectic, sophisticated look.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Eclectic meets timeless
Inspiration: I was inspired by where we've been, what we've lived through together and Pinterest. I tried to create a home and not just redo a house. This is a place that both AJ and I imagine having our grandchildren to…Many, Many, Many years from now so we wanted to keep it timeless yet still hip. Each room tells a story and can be expanded upon for years to come!
Favorite Element: I love how knocking down some walls and using paint can completely transform the feel and function of a space. We took down the walls between the former formal living room and dining room to create an open concept, huge kitchen which was a necessity not only for our family but also to accommodate our entertaining lifestyle. We also opened up the stairwell to the lower level to deceive the entryway into a more grandiose feel and to give us ample opportunity to have the lower level feel more like a continuous part of our home.
Biggest Challenge: Renovating an entire house all at once with five kids while living with my in-laws…It was a constant battle against exhaustion and sanity.
What Friends Say: Our friends are floored at how the space has been transformed from a 1968 time warp disaster flanked in brown to an open, airy home grounded in white. They are in awe of how each corner tells a story, how it is a true reflection of who we are individually and as a family and are constantly asking how it manages to remain clean with five kiddos and four pets.
Biggest Embarrassment: Our biggest embarrassment usually comes from when we think back to our ignorance in regards to timeline and budget. We jumped in head first and demoed the ENTIRE house (eight dumpsters and multiple flatbeds full of the former remains) in one swoop… Something that took us over five months wherein we thought we could accomplish it in a week or so. We ALWAYS fly by the seat of our pants in life and this house was no exception.
Proudest DIY: We built our ENTIRE kitchen and hung the cabinets by ourselves. All of the cabinetry came in flat boxes so not only did we have to layout the kitchen but we also had to assemble every. single. cabinet. by hand! We did 90% of all of the work in demo and rebuilding by ourselves. I never in a million years would have thought that AJ and I were so capable but we learned along the way and are still in literal awe at what we accomplished and how we survived!
Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest indulgence is probably the quartz countertops resembling marble in the kitchen and kid's bathroom. They are so so beautiful and practical, however, that in our opinion they were worth every cent we spent.
Best Advice: ALWAYS add more days to your timeline and prepare for obstacles. Like I mentioned, we underestimated our the time it would take to complete and although we expected setbacks, we weren't fully prepared mentally for their arrival…
Dream Sources: I'm a sucker for Anthropologie and although we have elements from there dotted throughout we chose a more economical route with the bigger ticket items (i.e. kitchen table, rugs, etc.) As a freelance interior designer. I've developed a keen eye for ways to find what you love at a fraction of the cost.