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Kate Arends Filled Her St. Paul Home with Playful Twists on Traditional Decor

updated Sep 9, 2022
Credit: Wing Ho
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Kate Arends of Wit & Delight shares her St. Paul home with her husband and children.
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Name: Kate Arends
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Size: 5,500 square feet
Type of home: Colonial rambler
Years lived in: 2, owned

Whether she’s transforming her kitchen, styling effortlessly chic outfits, or fielding questions about relationships and parenting, Kate Arends lives up to the name of her popular design and lifestyle company: Wit & Delight. Like your friend who always thrifts the coolest finds, Kate adds her relaxed and irreverent style to everything she touches.

That’s especially true of the sprawling Colonial rambler she shares with her family in St. Paul, Minnesota. The classic architectural style is a dream backdrop for Kate’s playful twists on traditional decor. But when the family first moved in, it was full of wild paint colors and a few questionable design choices. No matter! Kate has spent the last two years turning it into a home that’s unmistakably hers, from the pink-and-marble kitchen to the inviting blue library. Each room is a constant work in progress — with evolving combinations of artwork, vintage rugs, and charming accents — but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Because I don’t design a room to be complete within a certain time frame, the spaces evolve slowly,” Kate says. “I love this way of thinking about designing for yourself because it creates a much more personalized expression of your family and home.”

With her keen eye and abundance of rooms to fill, Kate has decor scouting down to an art, whether she’s browsing thrift stores or searching online. “I have a running list of pieces I’m keeping an eye out for,” she says. “You never know when you’ll stumble upon the perfect thing!”

Credit: Wing Ho

When Kate shops online, she uses keywords to locate looks that reflect specific styles, eras, and designers. Shop with Google helps her compare items and prices at a glance without visiting multiple sites. “It saves time and energy, plus I find items from new-to-me shops that I would have otherwise missed,” she says. (And now that Apartment Therapy house tours are shoppable, you can identify and bring home those special pieces that just make a room work.)

The constant treasure hunt means that when Kate finds a piece, whether it’s a print by a new artist or an old cabinet destined for a DIY, it fits into her home like it’s always been there. “Design for how you live and who you are,” Kate says. “Your home will support and enhance your life, and you’ll enjoy it more.”

Credit: Wing Ho

Apartment Therapy Survey

My Style: Traditional with a modern twist.

Inspiration: Period pieces like Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Wes Anderson films.

Favorite Element: Our property and the way the house was designed with views of the outdoors in mind.

Credit: Wing Ho

Biggest Challenge: The layout. With two additions, we have run into costly issues when renovating. We’re working with the existing floor plan to minimize those extra expenses, like having to remove all the subflooring.

Proudest DIY: Our dining room chairs!

Credit: Wing Ho

Biggest Indulgence: Swedish kilim rugs and our artwork.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? The pendant above our kitchen island, the Swedish kilim rugs in our foyer, the Eames chair in my office, the HUGE sectional in our family room, and the vintage chairs in our formal living room. They are items that I fell in love with as soon as I saw them, and I think they act as focal points in each of these spaces.

Credit: Wing Ho

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I search for hutches and reclaimed cabinets at salvage shops. I love using them for organizing toys, storing linens, and hiding clutter in high-traffic areas. These larger pieces are often cheaper than buying something new and can act like extensions of your closets.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or piece of decorating advice? Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through when designing your home. Surround yourself with the things you love and you’ll be surprised how unique and beautiful your space becomes.

Resources

PAINT

  • Family room — “Churlish Green” by Farrow & Ball
  • Guest bedroom trim — “Setting Plaster” by Farrow & Ball
  • Home office — “Bunglehouse Blue” by Sherwin Williams
  • Kitchen cabinets — “Sulking Room Pink” by Farrow & Ball
  • Kitchen island — “Hague Blue” by Farrow & Ball
  • Dining room walls — “White Batten” by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams
  • Dining room chairs — “Aleutian” by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams
  • Foyer — “Setting Plaster” by Farrow & Ball
  • Front door — “Talipot Palm” by Sherwin Williams
Credit: Wing Ho

FORMAL LIVING ROOM

  • Rug — Lulu and Georgia x Sarah Sherman Samuel
  • Coffee table — thrifted
  • White chairs — thrifted
  • Beige armchairs — vintage
  • Blue accent chairs — Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
  • White table — Crate & Barrel
  • Floral skirted storage ottoman — The Inside
  • Chandelier — original to the home
  • Floor lamp — thrifted
Credit: Wing Ho

FAMILY ROOM

  • Sofa — One Kings Lane
  • Coffee table — Lulu and Georgia (glass top added separately)
  • Marble side tables — West Elm
  • Floor lamps — Mooielight
  • Red rug — Nordic Knots
  • Sisal rug — Safavieh
  • Throw pillows — Lyndsayrebeccashop on Etsy
  • Wood cabinet — thrifted
  • Mirror — antique
Credit: Wing Ho

PRIMARY BEDROOM

  • Wallpaper — Cole & Son
  • Bed frame — Lulu and Georgia
  • Sheets — Parachute
  • Nightstands — vintage
  • Lampshades — handmade
  • Credenza dresser — CB2
  • Tan woven area rug — Safavieh
  • White area rug — The Loom & Company
  • Ceiling light fixture — Frontgate
  • Mirror — IKEA
  • Wood dresser between the windows — vintage
Credit: Wing Ho

GUEST BEDROOM

  • Wallpaper — Sandberg
  • Rug — Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
  • Ceiling light fixture — thrifted
  • Green lamp — thrifted
  • Dresser — thrifted
  • Wood chair — thrifted
  • Blue chair — thrifted
  • Nightstand — Target
  • Nightstand lamp — thrifted
Credit: Wing Ho

HOME OFFICE

  • Wallpaper — A Street Prints
  • Rug — ECARPETGALLERY
  • Desk — thrifted
  • Desk chair — thrifted
  • Table lamp — Safavieh
  • Lounge chair and ottoman — Eames
  • Side table — thrifted
  • Ceiling light fixture — Mooielight
  • Settee — Jennifer Taylor Home
  • Floor lamp — Mooielight
Credit: Wing Ho

KITCHEN

  • Pendant Light — MENU
  • Kitchen island — Iron Roots Woodworks
  • Bar stools — CB2
  • Tapestry — Studio Ruyee
  • Floor tile — The Tile Shop
  • Sconces next to range — Regina Andrew for Lulu and Georgia
Credit: Wing Ho

DINING ROOM

  • Dining table — antique
  • Dining chairs — thrifted and painted
  • Rug — Chairish
  • Seat cushions — DIY-ed with fabric from SR Harris
  • Art — Gail Holland
  • Mirror — thrifted
  • White chair — One King’s Lane
  • Console table — Crate & Barrel
  • Wood stools — Article
Credit: Wing Ho

FOYER

  • Table — vintage
  • Swedish kilim rug — vintage
  • Side tables — Modsy
  • Chandelier — original to the home
  • Gold mirror — thrifted
  • Wood dresser — vintage

Thanks, Kate!