An Eclectic Mix of Comfort & Nostalgia in a Family Apartment

An Eclectic Mix of Comfort & Nostalgia in a Family Apartment

Emma Fiala
Jul 18, 2017

Name: Sarah Hughes and her two children
Location: Lowry Hill Neighborhood — Minneapolis, Minnesota
Size: 1,800 square feet
Years lived in: 7 years, renting

Sarah and her kids occupy a spacious first floor apartment in the Lowry Hill neighborhood of Minneapolis — a perfect location within walking distance of coffee shops, delicious ice cream, an art museum and a handful of lakes and trails. Not only are there countless sights to see and activities to partake in outside of their home, there are many inside as well.

In the gentlest and most familiar tone, Sarah's home screams nostalgia directly in your face the minute you walk in the door. Her home is welcoming and comfortable, filled with items you can't quite place from your own childhood, but familiar enough to keep you staring and looking for more. And she achieves this all while maintaining an overall air of minimalism and sophistication throughout the home.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Lived-In Eclectic / The Island of Misfit Toys

Inspiration: Childhood memories of comforting objects and spaces

Favorite Elements: Thing: wood burning the city! an apartment! Overall: that I know where every object came from, how long I've had it, its approximate cost, and why I've hung on to it

Biggest Challenge: Striking the balance between light and livable with personal and functional.

What Friends Say: "It's like a realistic day spa for moms on a Tuesday." "Comfortable"

Biggest Embarrassment: The (previous) kitchen. It was an ode to '80s laminate. The counter top glue would drip due to the dishwasher steam. Stripped door hinges would cause cabinet doors to randomly swing open and thwack me in the head. Quite certain Fraggle Rock was once filmed in the weirdness growing under the sink. But the landlord graciously rehabbed the entire room this winter. What was once my greatest eyesore is now sparkly and stainless and maple and granite. All the appliances sing-song when temperatures are met and timers complete. Soft-close hinges have not once attacked me. There's a SEPARATE RECYCLE BIN. It's the nicest, most intimidating room I've ever lived with.

Or, the short answer: The window exteriors have never been washed and they are filthy.

Proudest DIY: Don't really have one — the kitchen was mostly the landlord's doing, and my elbow grease is mostly in paint and object placement...not really "DIY," is it? Am in the process of hanging kitchen wallpaper, which would be fitting, but not done yet.

Biggest Indulgence: Adjustable window shades and gallons of white paint. Neither were an extraordinary cost, but when most of what I purchase is used, it felt stupidly fancy.

When we moved in, all of the rooms were painted greenish grey, purplish grey, or yellowish grey. It was like living inside of a mildly depressed elephant. With children underfoot, it's taken years to tackle, but we're almost 90% brighter!

The living room window shades have drastically changed the way we use the space. Their honeycomb structure has negated the need to wear a winter hat while sitting in front of century old windows. The top-down feature allows daylight into our room without showing everyone along the sidewalk that I have a slight addiction to the Real Housewives franchise.

Best Advice: Consider the many ways and places you find comfort, and strive to apply those same qualities to every room in your home. No matter how small a touch. No matter how inexplicable to others.

Dream Sources:

  • Flea markets on both the East and West Coasts.
  • Anything Emily Henderson points to and says, "do that" (unless it's macrame — I don't do macrame).
  • The gravity-free, narwhal-laden landscapes inside my children's heads
  • Heath Ceramics
  • Hedge Palm Springs
  • 1st Dibs
  • Forage Modern Workshop in Minnesota


Living Spaces — Behr - mixed to Benjamin Moore White Dove-OC17
Kitchen — Divine Removable Wallpaper - Compass and Gold
Sarah's Room — Behr - Burnished Clay PPU18-09

Book tower — CB2 (no longer carried by CB2, but available elswhere)
Book ledge — Umbra
Lamp — Target (discontinued)
Corner shelf — Ikea (discontinued)
Lowboy — vintage, Craigslist
Rug — Ikea
Picture holder & postcards — vintage, Hunt & Gather
Mixed Media — artist Kate Pabst
Photograph of Man — artist Jen Shaffer
Photograph of Woman — Goodwill
Custom framing for both photos — Mitrebox Framing Studio
Square ottomans — Missoni for Target (discontinued)
Brass candle holders — vintage, Retro Wanderlust
Ceiling Fixture — Blue Moon Lights via Etsy

Henry Sofa — West Elm
Stockholm Cushions — IKEA
Pata Pillow — CB2
Dream Pillow — CB2
Shelving — Ikea
Piano — vintage, Craigslist
Mirrored Lamps — Ikea (discontinued)
Large seagrass baskets — Target
Floor Lamp — Thomas O'Brien for Target (discontinued)
Moon wall quilt — inspired by Salt & Still, made by my mom
Sectional — Ikea
End Table — Ikea
Coffee Table — vintage, Mid Mod Men
Floor Lamp/ Table — vintage, Danish Teak Classics
Chair & Footstool — vintage, Craigslist
Eileen Gray side table — vintage, Retro Wanderlust
Rocking Chair — vintage, made by my great-grandfather
TV Console — Thomas O'Brien for Target (discontinued)
Window shades — Select Blinds
Belgian linen window panels — Home Goods
Wool area rug — vintage, Craigslist
Plant stand — vintage, my mom's friend's mother's trailer
Rhino head — Home Goods
"Listen Up" — artist Heather Millar via Etsy
With custom framing — Framebridge
Carnival Ride photograph — Etsy (don't have record of the artist any more)
With custom framing — Mitrebox Custom Framing
Paint-by-Number antlers — Knoll Wood Lane via Etsy
Pendant light — vintage, Empty the Nest
Pillows — Target
Throw — Faribault Woolen Mill
Pouf — Wayfair
Other misc wall decor and tchotchkes— E's Emporium, Etsy, Hunt & Gather, Retro Wanderlust, Empty the Nest

Ceiling Fixture — Menards
Rug — Safavieh via Craigslist
Table — Room and Board
Chairs — vintage, Theater Antiques (no longer in business)
Bench — vintage, Craigslist
Throw — vintage, A Gathering of Friends
Low game table & basket — Ikea (discontinued)
Hutch — vintage, gift from friends
Letter board — Letterfolk via Etsy
Sleeper sofa — Ikea
Side tables — vintage, inherited
Square ottomans — Missoni for Target (discontinued)
Lamps — vintage, Craigslist
Steve Frykholm company picnic poster — vintage, Herman Miller via Retro Wanderlust
With custom framing — Mitrebox Custom Framing
Other misc wall decor, dishes, and tchotchkes — E's Emporium, Etsy, Hunt & Gather, Retro Wanderlust, and my grandma

Cabinetry & Countertops — GEC Cabinet Depot
Appliances — LG
Table — vintage Herman Miller, Craigslist
Chairs — Target
Rug —
Wall Grid — (spray painted)
Sconce — Lucent Light Shop via Etsy

Headboard — Target
Night tables — vintage, Mid Mod Men
Lamps — vintage, Craigslist
Highboy — vintage, Craigslist
Room heater — Crane
Bookshelves — Woody's Unfinished Furniture (painted)
Chair & Ottoman — HOM
Wool Rug — vintage, Craigslist
Oil Painting — vintage, Craigslist
Window panels — Ikea
Wall cabinet — vintage, childhood home

Sweet jeezus — don't go in there!

Thanks, Sarah!

Apartment Therapy supports our readers with carefully chosen product recommendations to improve life at home. You support us through our independently chosen links, many of which earn us a commission.
moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt