A Generic 1990s House Looks Anything But Boring After a Year of Creative Projects

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Home office with navy walls and sputnik light fixture

Name: Catherine Leavitt, husband, and three boys: James, 8, Henry, 6, and Elliot, 3
Location: Alpharetta, Georgia (a northern suburb of Atlanta)
Type of home: House
Size: 4,800 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My husband and I love old homes—the first home we bought was a 100-year-old Dutch colonial. When we moved to Atlanta little over a year ago, most of the homes we found were built in the 1990s. So, we purchased a home with a floorplan that worked for our family and lifestyle. It had large and generic rooms—but we knew we could focus our energies on our own cosmetic renovations that would bring character and depth. It’s been a busy year of home projects!

Apartment Therapy has shared peeks of Catherine’s home before: This Once-Generic Room Is Unrecognizable After a Makeover and A ’90s-Era Powder Room Gets a High/Low Patterned Makeover. She owns a design firm called Friday & Co. Design.

I’ve always believed in the importance of surrounding yourself with meaningful things. It is important to me that our home reflects us and what we love. My husband Mike and I traveled a fair amount for work and fun, so we have a lot of items we’ve picked up while traveling. We also have some meaningful pieces I’ve inherited from my parents and grandparents. And we love to sneak in quick trips to antique stores wherever we are—having three young boys has made that a little trickier though.

Mike builds beautiful furniture and over the years he has built custom pieces throughout our home. Being able to design something with him and then have it come to life is magical—I know I’m spoiled to have that as an option!

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Layered and collected family home

What is your favorite room and why? We took on a kitchen renovation during the beginning of a pandemic. We were able to do it almost all ourselves since Mike built all of the cabinetry. During the start of the pandemic where everything felt so dark and we were stuck at home we were able to put a lot of energy into creating something beautiful and practical.

I was Mike’s apprentice when he needed one—like helping him put up the tongue and grove ceiling late at night when the boys were in bed. Three months of work and a lot of dust later it was finished. The kitchen is certainly the heart of our home and it’s been wearing a lot of hats this year with the boys home full time.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Bamboo basket pendant lights from Etsy

Any advice for creating a home you love? I think people should collect things that they love —the best homes are the ones that tell stories about the people that live in it. I smile when I see the vintage mirror that we carried from the secondhand store to our first apartment in Brooklyn over a decade ago. That mirror has made it through four moves!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.