A Playful, Imaginative “Desert Ranch” Style Home in Illinois

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Playful, Imaginative “Desert Ranch” Style Home in Illinois

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Steve and Sarah Carter, Emerson, Mercy June and their pup Biscuit
Location: Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Size: 1,700 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 2 years

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Steve and Sarah Carter have created a space that breathes freedom, imagination, whimsy and truth. The spirit of this home is playful. The walls are adorned with beautiful and curated art collected by Sarah, an artist herself who uses creative work, primarily painting, to advocate for vulnerable women and children globally. The art on the walls tells more of the story of who the Carter Family is. Every artifact has a story, every artist is known. Nestled among the artwork are works of art by their children, Emerson and Mercy June.

Get the Look! Shopping Resources for this Tour → Playful, Imaginative, & Whimsical

The grey-washed floors, matte white walls and (nearly) floor-to-ceiling windows leave this home flooded with airy light. The color story of the home nods to Steve and Sarah’s roots growing up in Southern California and the desert of Arizona.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Is “California Modern Eclectic Desert Ranch” a style? Ha!

Inspiration: Being an artist, my environment fuels my creativity and inspires my imagination. I want things around me that are beautiful and playful and spark curiosity. Growing up in the Arizona desert, I’m inspired by the cool earthy tones found in mountains and sunsets there. But I also lived several years in California, and my husband is from there, so the minimal ocean vibe definitely influences our home as well. Our space is like a happy little mix of both of us.

Favorite Element: The late afternoon light that hits our gallery wall *just* right.

Biggest Challenge: I could do with a tad larger kitchen; we gave up cabinet space when we opened up a wall (but I would happily trade storage space for more natural light so it’s hard to complain!)

What Friends Say: “I can tell an artist lives here.”

Biggest Embarrassment: I have switched the three bedrooms into kids rooms, an art studio, an office, shared kids room, and back too many times than I’d like to admit. It takes time to really know your space and lifestyle needs and it can be challenging to find a way to make it all work together.

Proudest DIY: The chalkboard walls the kids and I painted on a whim one day. I absolutely love the drama and depth they add, and the kids leave me darling little notes and drawings that I treasure.

Biggest Indulgence: Our grey hardwood floors that we refinished when we moved in.

Best Advice: People make the place. A new home is like a blank canvas and the memories you make are the colors you’ll add over time. Gather people at your dinner table, invite them to sit on the patio and share a glass of wine, offer to host a playdate. Before you know it, memories will fill up every corner and crevice, making the more beautiful work of art out of your every day life at home.

Dream Sources: Restoration Hardware (including RH Teen and Child & Baby), West Elm, Saatchi (for gorgeous unique art), Fine Life Co has fun ceramics and features local Arizona artisans.

Get the Look! Shopping Resources for this Tour → Playful, Imaginative, & Whimsical

Thanks, Carter Family!

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