Nancy & Andy’s Colorful, Handcrafted Home

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

Name: Nancy Sickbert-Wheeler, Andrew Wheeler, and their dog Bailey
Location: Evanston, Illinois
Size: 2 bedroom + finished basement
Years lived in: 19 years; owned

Metal, enamel, and film: all three media require a creative eye, a deft touch, and a sense of possibility. Andy, a medical photographer, and Nancy, a metalsmith, enamelist, and instructor, have put these skills to good use not only in their careers, but also in their home, which showcases an exquisite blend of traditional, global, and bohemian styles.

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(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

In selecting the color palette for their 50s ranch style home, Nancy and Andy showed no fear, and they managed to choose a variety of warm colors that perfectly complement their warm personalities. Pink, purple, green, yellow, and orange all feature prominently, but the main living area still feels soft and harmonious, with the manifold hues enhancing one another instead of competing. The bedroom offers a fierier mix, with saturated pinks and oranges, and the basement is painted in a bold lime hue, making it seem more welcoming and cheerier than your average below-ground space.

Homes may not be as malleable as metal, but Nancy and Andy have been unafraid to mold the space to fit their needs. They renovated the kitchen, adding an entire wall of windows that fill their home with light. It cascades over a collection of plants, highlights the grain of their custom cabinetry, and floods into the living room and dining room, which, thanks to the removal of a wall, are now open to the kitchen. They also converted part of the basement into a studio for Nancy, which is now filled with all the tools of her trade: a kiln, her impressive collection of hammers, and jars of vibrant glass particles. Andy, who in addition to his photography makes decorative gourds, also has a workspace in the basement, meaning that the extra living space gets a creative workout on a daily basis.

There are lots of things to look at in Nancy and Andy’s home. A love of art, natural objects, and travel souvenirs is evident in the decoration of their home, but even with such an abundance of visual stimulation, the home still feels fresh and open. The couple loves antiques, and much of their furniture consists of family heirlooms and long-treasured pieces. As one might expect, their space is filled with handcrafted artwork, much of it of Nancy and Andy’s creation, although many pieces are also the work of their son or Nancy’s brother.

(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: We love antiques and curios.

Inspiration: Nature, science, and history.

Favorite Element: The new kitchen and the open floor plan in the first three rooms of the house. Having a studio in the house is also great, and the basement has the same amount of space as upstairs!

Biggest Challenge: Getting natural light in a 1950s ranch-style house.

What Friends Say: There are so many things to look at in your home. It’s like a museum!

Proudest DIY: Color selection for the open floor plan area of our home.

Biggest Indulgence: The kitchen renovation, windows, and the studio space.

Best Advice: Know a contractor’s work before you hire!

Dream Sources: Pinterest.

(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

Resources of Note:

Many items have been collected over the years from antique stores or family. Much of the art has been made by Nancy or by our family.


  • Living Room: Antelope Hide, Nutmeg, and Karmic Grape–all Valspar paint from Lowe’s
  • Kitchen: Spanish Olive, Georgian Green–Benjamin Moore
  • Bedroom: Sweet Orange–Benjamin Moore


  • Curtains: Pottery Barn
  • Gourds: Made by Andy
  • Enamel artwork: Made by Nancy
  • Statue: from Andy’s mother


  • Dresser: Family heirloom
  • Artwork: Made by our son
  • Lighthouse painting: Nancy’s brother


  • Stone pendants: Allen & Roth, Lowe’s
  • Windows: Pella, with shades into lower windows
(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

Thanks, Nancy & Andy!

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