Tyler & Sarah's Primitive Modern Retreat

Tyler & Sarah's Primitive Modern Retreat

Tanya Lacourse
Dec 15, 2009

Name: Sarah & Tyler Matteson
Location: Stoneham, Massachusetts
Size: 1,900 square feet
Years lived in: 2, owned
Who else lives there: Oscar (Boston Terrier) and Stella (Boxer)

Walking into Tyler and Sarah's house is like walking into a sparkling refuge, especially during their annual Spruce Floral holiday party. They cater to their guests senses with a luxurious combination of visual enchantment, delicious bites, refreshments, and rare holiday music.

In every room, upstairs and down, there are wonderful soft glowing lights exuding a calm and serene ambiance. The delicate white lights against warm white walls help to create depth and sculptural interest. The uncomplicated décor consists of rustic farmhouse tables, modern plastic chairs, wicker, textural fur and woolen rugs, earthy tree trunk tables, unusual artwork, and window treatments in breathable, billowy cottons. The seating throughout the house is layered with casual white fabrics that quietly call you to sit and be still.

Tyler and Sarah's holiday gatherings are perfected with a crackling fire, a collection of red wine, homemade passion fruit and pineapple punch, original appetizers, and a selection of cheeses served with bread and jam. And of course the guests… a party is only as good as the company who visits.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our style: Eclectic and rustic.

Favorite Element: Right now we're really loving the sliding door we built between the dining room and kitchen.

Biggest Challenge: The kitchen layout — the room has two picture windows and four doorways! Very limited layout options!

What Friends Say: It's comfy, it's unique.

Biggest Embarrassment: Bathrooms! Ugh! — There is blue snowflake tile in the tiny bathroom upstairs and and black linoleum in the half bath off the kitchen. We dream about someday putting a claw-foot tub in the bedroom alcove and a steel French-door shower in the other existing bathroom.

Proudest DIY: Either the kitchen lights or the dining room door we built using sheet metal from old billboards.

Biggest Indulgence: Our commercial stove.

Best advice: Take your time growing into and decorating your space. Often times the desire to fully decorate rooms right away makes for bad decisions and purchases you'll regret later. Been there, done that …

Dream source: Sundance Catalog, Obsolete, Anthropologie.

Other Inspiration: Tyler grew up on a farm and I think there is a simple farm vibe inherent in the way we decorate. It's kind of farm-meets-mod.


Appliances: Stove: Vulcan; Fridge: Frigidaire.

Hardware: Some from Van Dykes Restorers and some came with the house.

Furniture: Living Room: couches: IKEA and Craiglslist; TV console: Craiglslist; lucite coffee table: estate sale; window seat: DIY; ice box: Craiglslist; hallway console table: DIY (old wood and IKEA legs); Dining Room: table: IKEA; china cabinet: Craigslist; lamp: HomeGoods; Kitchen: bar: DIY; Open shelving: old apple crates; lockers: IKEA; Bedrooms: beds: Craigslist; bed tables: vintage shops; old family trunks; chaise lounge: Craigslist, Christmas star: huge vintage ornament (turned into a light ): Louis, Boston.

Accessories: Some found, some purchased at HomeGoods, some made, some from artists.

Lighting: Ebay, DIY, IKEA.

Rugs and Carpets: Vintage Persian rugs and flokatis from Ebay.

Window Treatments: Burlab rolls and muslin, fabric remnants, and painters tarps.

Artwork: Local, personal and vintage finds.

Paint: After having lived in a very colorful apartment before buying this house, we opted to embrace white and haven't painted anything other than our bedroom which is also a shade of white (ha!), but with a little lavender in it called Venetian Marble by Benjamin Moore.

Flooring: Original hard wood.

Great party! Thanks, Tyler & Sarah!

Images: Tanya Lacourse

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