House Tour: Two Friends Create a Blended Home

House Tour: Two Friends Create a Blended Home

Kyle Freeman
Feb 24, 2009

Name: Sarah and Megan
Location: Jamaica Plain, MA
Size: 1000 Square Feet
Years lived in: Rented for 2+ years

Walking into Sarah and Megan's apartment is an experience of creativity in motion. They are good friends of ours so we get to walk through their door often and each time we're welcomed by some variant of art in process — whether it's Sarah cooking an amazing meal or Megan making decorations from found materials for their next house celebration (which are frequent and always festive)...

(Sarah and Megan hosted the clothing swap we blogged about recently.) Sarah and Megan are also good friends with each other. It's unusual to get to see a house tour of two co-habitating friends. Most tours reflect spaces lived in by couples, families or single folks. We're constantly amazed by how seamlessly these two friends have blended their stuff and their style into one delightful apartment...

There are many things we love about Sarah and Megan's home but these are our favorite elements: every nook holds a visual surprise; most of the things in their home are secondhand; their brilliantly creative use of found objects; the space feels SO lived in, not staged or polished; the perfect rhythm of bright colors grounded by aged and loved neutrals; and the ease with which they can shift the space to accommodate large groups of friends and newcomers, which they do all the time.

We're sure that there will be those of you who find their space to have too much stuff, unlike many of the more streamlined homes found on AT, but we challenge you to see the spirit of the space. Sarah and Megan, artists in their own right (see links below to some of their activities), have created a visually and spiritually vibrant home that reflects their equally vibrant and dynamic personalities. We feel lucky to count this among the places we get to spend cherished time.


Sarah: Modern meets weird old junk and delightful nothings... though I would say that the modern part would be more present if I had a little more money.
Megan: Yeah, I often feel the push-pull of my desire for a sleek mid-century modern living room (as featured in 60s National Geographic ads) and my Victorian magpie tendencies.

Sarah: Ray and Charles Eames and cabinets of curiosity.
Megan: Ditto.

Favorite Element
Sarah: I love the wing back chair in my kitchen. The kitchen is the center of my universe so I like to be cozy and comfortable sitting there.
Megan: I quite enjoy our ginormous curiosities, especially the big medical illustrations and the early 20th century collections cabinet in the entryway. In the latter, most of the drawers hold files and supplies, but one actually stays true to its original label — open it up and you'll find two dozen pinned Costa Rican butterflies, collected by a friend.

Biggest Challenge
Sarah: To try to keep the house from being too cluttered.

Megan: Having chairs in my bedroom and not allowing clothes to loiter in them. I've got to keep an open chair for Elijah, so to speak.

What Friends Say
Sarah: Some say it is highly curated, others find our stuff curious and exciting, everyone loves the pachinko machine in the living room, some find it cluttered, many love the pantry. Most importantly to me, most say they feel welcome and comfortable in our home.
Megan: Some friends like to play the "Guess who's stuff this is?" game when they visit. Even our closest friends can't always tell the difference between Sarah's weird stuff and my weird stuff; our collected lives blend quite nicely.

Biggest Embarrassment
Sarah: How very, very messy I can be especially in my bed room. What hides under my bed and explodes out of my closet.
Megan: Exposed extension cords — I've got to tack those down someday.

Proudest DIY
Sarah: Cutting apart an old futon to make 3 covered cushions to lounge around on, build forts with and most functionally make a really comfortable guest bed. (they are green and in our living room in a stack)
Megan: Melting the ice off a 2'x8' we had been using as a back porch garden bench and repurposing it as a low bookshelf in my bedroom to tame my current rotation of books. It works pretty nicely, dressed up with remainder paint from Yumont Hardware ($4) and propped up on stacks of 1970s era Popular Mechanics encyclopedias which — let's face it — I wasn't referencing anyway.

Biggest Indulgence
Sarah: All my kitchen appliances, my sewing machine and my cookbooks, I value great tools and resources over any other object.
Megan: Beer brewing tools and supplies, though my hydrometer is not half as pretty as Sarah's mixer. And toys — I'm into miniatures (a Playmobil girl at heart).

Best advice
Sarah: If you are going to paint the walls, get them painted by someone who knows how to do it right, it makes all the difference. Also, consider painting the ceiling at the same time, it is a pain in the neck, but it cleans and brightens up the room in an amazing way.
Megan: I don't want to let the cat totally out of the bag, but check out the North End trash. Amazing things emerge from the "dirt" (as my then-neighbor called it) on trash night. When I lived there, I once found a perfect red Victorian-style settee on my doorstep. It's eerie how easy it is.

Dream Source
Sarah: The trash and friends that are moving.
Megan: The trash, definitely — my mattress is the only furniture item I've ever bought retail. For cool, odd, low-cost stuff — everything from cast-off film reels to pretty samples of designer fabric — check out the Recycle Shop at Boston Children's Museum, which is great for party decorations, too. As far as curiosities go, I have to recommend Egleston Square's Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute, which, full disclosure, I designed. It has all the unicorn tears, sea serpent oil, and Thomas Paul-style Bigfoot melamine "camp plates" you'll need. Best of all, all proceeds go to 826Boston, the innovative youth writing lab.

Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute

Boston Children's Museum Recycle Shop

DIY artists at work - The Berwick Institute

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