The first house I designed for myself was a modern take on Craftsman. It was a simple house but completely designed for my needs at the time. I was recently divorced, sharing custody of my two young children with my first husband, starting a relationship with Mike, and beginning the journey of home ownership with the support of my parents next door. I was in a fragile state one day and feeling fearless the next. That’s when the Craftsman came to the rescue.

I have to say first and foremost that I am taking liberties with even calling it a Craftsman. I used rich earthy colors, warm cherry shaker cabinets with an arts and crafts vibe, and separated rooms with doorways instead of going all out open floor plan. While doing these things in honor of the beloved style, I broke so many other design rules on that house! The interior trim was heavily decorative. I added skylights for a completely light flooded dining room. I chose to mix light wood floors (a very modern aesthetic) with antique doors and glass knobs that were discarded from a bungalow renovation on “the Hill” in St. Louis. I knew I was breaking the rules and I didn’t care. I was putting things that I loved into the house and why apologize for that? I was finding my design voice (and still am!) by trial and error.

The finished home that started as a home for a single mom with two kids, became a haven for our blended family of six. The walls heard bickering and arguments, deep conversation around the supper table, game nights, movie nights, birthdays and so much more. We lived there all of ten years. The house became our friend. It grew with us, providing additional bedrooms, a theatre room, and home office through renovations. Eventually, it was time to move on and we sold to another young family so that it could become their friend.

The memories flood over me when I remember that house. My favorite place was the wide front porch with tapered columns and stone bases. We spent countless hours sitting there watching the rain fall, or the leaves change, feeling quite literally like the house had our back. The Craftsman of my dreams became a place where I could love where I lived.


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