Sara's Handcrafted Home

Today we're going to get to know someone who has become near & dear to the StyleMutt Home family. You've probably seen us praise Sara, the macrame genius behind The Forest Fern, and her work before; but today, we're getting to know her.

Sara and her husband purchased their traditional / mid-century combination ranch over a year ago and spent much of that time making the space inhabitable. From Sara: 

This house was such a mess when we moved in! We had no flooring in our main living spaces for the first six months, and my husband and I slept with our son in his room for three months until ours was livable. From broken windows to a leaky roof, we had it all.

But Sara used what seemed like a major inconvenience, if not a nightmare, to figure out what was most important to her. And tap in to her gift that we're all so lucky to witness. 

But really, this was a blessing in disguise. I was forced to get creative and started frequenting our local flea market and scouring Ebay for unique and affordable finds. I wanted to fill our home with plants and started making macrame plant hangers and soon moved to large scale wall hangings. Our fixer-upper opened up my creativity and helped me to create a home that really feels like ‘us.’

Now, I hope you're not thinking that Sara is a one-trick creative pony. If you are, I'm going to change that immediately. Sara's creativity can be seen all over her home - and even seems to be in her blood.

My favorite piece in our living room is probably the desk that I refinished. I found it on Craigslist for $10, stripped the original finish and then waxed it to seal it. I wanted to give the very traditional desk a bohemian edge, and I think that the raw wood paired with the clean brass knobs accomplishes that. The portrait above the desk was actually done by my mother when she was in high school and I just love it.

And I bet the same creative streak will continue in Sara's daughter, who gets to grow up in a bedroom that I would fight over even at my age. It's whimsical, bohemian, but still full of the color and stimuli that children so dearly need. And that adorable little desk? Another thrifty find. 


And last but not least, Sara splurges in a way that not only serves her and their family but also fellow makers. 

I think that quality really matters when it comes to textile choices. I’m not saying that you can’t find lovely vintage textiles for a steal, but in general, I’ve found that you get what you pay for. I love really love my handmade pillows from The Modern Farmhouse Co. and vintage Kantha quilts. They might be a bit more expensive but the finishing work is perfect.

And Sara, we think your finishing work is perfect, too. Thank you so much for letting us learn a bit more about you today! And style mutts, if you're not already following along with Sara, you now have no excuse not to! Mark her Instagram as a favorite as fast as you can.

See you all next week,

Reader Design: Katie's Colorful Home Refresh

Welcome back, StyleMutts, and happy Friday! Today, I want to introduce you to Katie Banks, of CMB World Designs. She is another talented DC area native. I promise I'm not just selectively featuring DC area people - but I guess the best food city of the year is also a hot spot for designers! 

Before I jump in, I need to tell you all something about Katie's home: it used to be a fraternity house. And an unofficial one at that, which means no regulation! Bless the soul (looking at you, Katie!) who saw the potential through the Animal House leftovers. 

From Katie:

An unofficial fraternity house. Need I say more?! It was TRASHED! We couldn’t move in for weeks. The first thing we needed to do was get a clean new bathroom (gross). We did most of the work ourselves, from refinishing the wood floors, tiling, framing, new windows - you name it!
Our style is a mix of mid century, Hollywood Regency, and industrial. Obviously very eclectic, and color makes me happy. I have always been obsessed with bold color and patterns. I’ve also never been a trendy person, so the fact that bamboo and rattan has made a comeback is working out pretty good for me right now.

Based on what I know of Katie, this living room is a perfect representation of her: the macrame, made by Katie's sister who owns Sealily Designs. The chairs are Craigslist. The couch is made for cuddling. What else do you need?! 

I feel like 99% of the photos I see of Instagram are of these beautiful, bright white spaces. And, real talk, when do you guys think that trend is going to end? Those spaces are the perfect source of art, but that make you ask "could I actually live in that space?" Katie's home is not one of those places. And I assure you, in no way is that a negative thing. 

We are a super casual family, so comfort is a must; no fancy rooms in our house. I honestly have found that the best things in my house have come from Craigslist, yard sales, or are made by my super duper husband [like the dining room table]!
This hallway makes me happy. My theory is ‘if you have kids why would you ever pay for art?’ Framing all these pics was my Mother’s Day project a couple of years ago. Across the hall is the wood wall my husband made, which doubles as a photoshoot place for some the pieces that I refinish for CMB World Designs.

Something else I love about Katie's house? SO. MUCH. GREEN. They say decorating with green has seriously restorative properties - perfect for a busy and lively family home! Both the bathroom and the front porch would make my top two locations in this house for some serious 'me time.' 

And, finally, my favorite spot: my bathroom. Well, my tub area in my master bath. The green mosaic tile, with the skylight and plants, makes a great place to relax. At night I can see the stars.

Follow Katie along on Instagram at @cmbworlddesigns and check out her incredible furniture designs! We love to support our StyleMutt community! Check back next Friday for the next #stylemuttspace