Sarah & Hillary's Maximalist Loft

Sarah & Hillary's Maximalist Loft

Sarah Rainwater
Sep 1, 2009

Name: Sarah Lewis & Hillary Rhodes
Location: Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Size: 1,800 square feet | 2 bedrooms
Years lived in: 6 months

Roommates Sarah Lewis and Hillary Rhodes aren't shy about showing off their stuff. The loft they share in a converted former cotton mill is filled to the brim with collections of artwork, Etsy finds, and vintage treasures. Minimalist? No. But if you've got it, why not flaunt it?


Sarah, an actress from the UK, and Hillary, a writer originally from Boston, met in Iowa and ended up becoming roommates in this diverse Rhode Island loft building that is also rumored to be the home of a few Pawtucket Red Sox players. The furniture and accessories in their home — which were almost all thrifted, found, or handmade and snatched up for less than $100 — have histories as unique as theirs. Ordinary objects are elevated to art and put on display: Sarah's exuberant clothing collection is too big for her closet, but adds tons of color to her windowless bedroom and Hillary frames the covers of pulp science fiction novels and hangs them over her bed.

Their quirky mix of styles is confident, full of personality, and may not be for everyone, but that suits Sarah and Hillary just fine:

One of our favorite moments was overhearing two guys installing the blinds when they didn't know we were home. One guy said to the other, "Sheesh. These people will take anything for furniture." We took it as a compliment that they didn't get our style.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our style: Mid-century manic/Danish modern wannabe

Inspiration: Danish design, atomic era, smooth and curvy shapes, things of multiple colors

Favorite Element: The windows, but not the view

Biggest Challenge: Working to divide our big, open space into a kitchen, dining room, sitting area, living room, and office without any walls separating the rooms

What Friends Say: We get mostly wonderful feedback. Even people who live in far fancier spaces seem envious of ours.

Biggest Embarrassment: The large gaping holes in the bedroom walls. Their function is to let in light, but you can hear everything.

Proudest DIY: Reupholstering two chrome chairs in sheepskin

Biggest Indulgence: None. Everything was found on eBay, craigslist or Etsy for less than $100.

Best advice: If you love it, it will fit in.

Dream source: It's Sarah's dream to find an authentic Dunbar, Saarinen or Eames chair on someone's sidewalk that no one else has noticed. Also, Hillary is dying for a stuffed shark to hang in the big space over one of the bedrooms ... Or maybe a small living shark, in a tank. We'd take that, too.

Inspiration: Sarah's Danish cousin's grandfather's apartment in Sonderso, Denmark. It's stuffed full of the above. Well, not the shark.


Furniture: craigslist, the street, yard sales, goodwill

Accessories: eBay, pillows from Olive

Lighting: eBay, craigslist, Bird Wing Productions

Rugs and Carpets: eBay

Beds: craigslist

Artwork: Hillary's photographs, Plates by Ninainvorm, painting in the living room by Clare Bowers, poster in the living room by Strawberry Luna, painted wooden camera by Star House, artwork in the bedroom by Monkey Powered

Thanks, Sarah & Hillary!

(Images: Sarah Rainwater)

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