An “Ew, This Is All Old and Gross” Suburban Ranch Got a Colorful Redo

published Jan 11, 2024

An “Ew, This Is All Old and Gross” Suburban Ranch Got a Colorful Redo

published Jan 11, 2024
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Kara Lauren Kirchhoff has owned this “small ranch-style” St. Louis, Missouri, house for four years, and says they remodeled the home over several years, spending $20-30k to remodel it all. They share it with two kids and a dog.

“The house was built in 1966 and looked like it when we moved in, but not in the good way, in the ‘ew, this is all old and gross’ way,” Kirchhoff begins. “I have a bachelors degree in interior design and architecture and worked in the field professionally for about five years and then made the switch to graphic design. I was then an art director and brand manager at an agency for 10 years and have recently embarked on my own to be a freelance designer with multiple focuses. I have a lot of interests and an easily distractible mind. I’ve been designing and making jewelry both on my own as well as a production artist on the side on and off for years as well and sell some of my jewelry on Etsy. It’s mostly witchy stuff with an affinity for skulls.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Tell us a little about your home and the people who live there: I have painted every inch of the house, completely gutted and remodeled the kitchen, and had a load bearing wall removed. My ex-husband helped me restore the original hardwood floors that were covered with carpet at some point in the house’s history. I never understood why people did that but boy was I excited to find that original hardwood when I had the wall removed. I am obsessed with paint and color and have painted diagonal and angular accent walls all over the place along with some fun wall murals in the bedrooms.

My kids are 6 and 7 years old and the lights of my life. Designing and decorating their rooms has been so fun for me; I’ve built them beds, painted murals, used lots of colors and fun lights. It’s been healing for my inner child. I just turned my daughter’s closet into a desk/vanity space for her 7th birthday. It turned out pretty freaking adorable if I do say so myself. I am also a plant mama, the number fluctuates quite a bit but I usually have around 80-90 plants in the house at a time. And last but not least I have a big old black lab that is as big of a pain in the butt as she is adorable. It’s a lot… of both.

I identify as a queer non binary femme, chronically ill, and neurodivergent. Pronouns are she/they. Mostly I identify as a weirdo lefty witch. And yes, I think it is definitely reflected in my home! I fully believe that interior design, especially home design, should be a reflection of who you are. It should invoke joy and give the feeling of sanctuary. When I look around in my home, I think, this is what the inside of my brain looks like. If I could say to someone, this is who I am, I would should them my house.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Colorful, eclectic, bohemian, witchy, plants

What is your favorite room and why? Ughhhhh! This is honestly so hard because I love every single room for its own reasons. My living room and kitchen are wonderful because I love the colors and the decor and the art, but most of all it’s where most of the plants and the best light is. I love my bedroom and bathroom because it’s my peaceful place, my sanctuary. My bathroom is tiny but it’s beautiful and has great light. I love my kids’ bathroom because it’s wild and fun. I love my daughter’s room because every detail about it heals my inner child and brings me joy in the way that it perfectly represents then pretty pink girliness that is her and was never me. My son’s room is small but it is perfect for a mischievous little boy who has lots of energy. I love my home; I have spent the last four years making it *exactly* how I want it to be.

What’s your best decorating, shopping, cleaning, or organizing advice? Absolutely! I highly suggest starting with finding your style and your color palette. Looking at publications like Apartment Therapy or images on Pinterest is a great way to discover what you like. Pay attention to what brings you joy. Don’t be afraid to go a little crazy. It’s your home, have fun with it! Don’t worry about what the next buyers are going to do. YOU live there, do what brings you joy.

I think bold colors are fun and create a lively space, playing with abstract or geometric shapes on your walls or in your furniture is a great way to add interest as well. I also love a fresh coat of white paint to give everything a bright clean look, and then you can layer on the colors on top of that. Put art on your walls, put color on your walls, use shelves, build the vertical space, replace your light fixtures. A coat of paint and some updated light fixtures can completely transform a space. If you really want to get fancy replace all of your doorknobs and vents/registers to match. I’m also a big fan of hanging plants, having something drop down from the ceiling can add a lot of vertical interest and add depth. Plus plants and great and beautiful and good for you!

Thanks Kara!

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