Flea Market Fab (and learning about the “Lifestyle Lens")

Flea Market Fab | Studio 7 Creative Interior Design - www.studio7creative.co

It seems like ages ago when (my now dear friends) Amy Yetman and her husband Doug invited me to their home to help them with some design work. I remember walking in and thinking, “what the heck do they need me for - this place looks great!”. 


Before we ever toured their home, Amy shared their story with me. About ditching her past career to follow her passion for all things vintage and starting The Horseshoe Market (I got goosies). And about becoming pregnant with twins while mothering a barely 7 month old (I was floored). There was a warmth and friendliness in both of them that drew me in. These are “my people” I thought. 

Then there was their house. A charming turn-of-the-century white farmhouse with character to spare. Inside color and texture exploded yet was grounded by the barely blue walls and creamy white trim. 

Flea Market Fab - Studio 7 Creative Interior Design | www.studio7creative.co

What could possibly be the problem? Turns out, there were two. 

In the main existing living area, there was a non-working fireplace which they wanted to repair and “make pretty” and a dining room that felt cluttered by an assortment of furniture they had acquired over the years. 

BEFORE

BEFORE - Flea Market Fab - Studio 7 Creative Interior Design | www.studio7creative.co
BEFORE - Flea Market Fab - Studio 7 Creative Interior Design | www.studio7creative.co

The other was the area off their kitchen. At the time it was taken up by an Is-it-safe-to-walk-in-there mud room shed type thing.  They were already working with an architect on plans for an addition, but were hoping I could bridge the gap between what the architect was providing (structural drawings) and what they ultimately wanted - a multi-functional space that would act as a family and entertaining area for indoor-outdoor living, a playroom, mudroom, and wet bar. Ahem…in a 400 sf. footprint . That wasn’t too much to ask was it?! 

So what did we do? 

Let’s go back to the original interior - the living and dining rooms. 

My suggestion was to do a bank of built-ins that spanned both rooms so they felt connected. Tile the fireplace and give it a kick ass mantle. After reviewing the possibility of removal, we also had to work around “Big Gold” as we affectionately called the monstrous radiator found on one side of the fireplace.  And of course, there was the obligatory assortment pipes and vents ever present in any old home. 

Flea Market Fab - Studio 7 Creative Interior Design | www.studio7creative.co

My process for creating built-ins is simple. I start with inspiration images as a conversation starter. Then I sketch over photos of the space to visually imagine the end result. Once we settle on the design direction, I detail it out showing dimensions and measurements to provide the finish carpenter to build. 

Flea Market Fab - Studio 7 Creative Interior Design | www.studio7creative.co
Flea Market Fab - Studio 7 Creative Interior Design | www.studio7creative.co
Flea Market Fab - Studio 7 Creative Interior Design | www.studio7creative.co

In the end, we went with a simple hand-glazed brick tile for the fireplace. The classic shape and the handcrafted quality perfectly suited the vintage/handcrafted vibe already going on.  For the mantel, we took a fieldtrip to a salvaged wood lumber yard.  The visit turned up a large slab of wood originally from a railroad car floor. However, parts of it were a little too clean for Doug’s taste so he took to it with a chain and a hammer to give it an even more worn in look. 

Flea Market Fab - Studio 7 Creative Interior Design | www.studio7creative.co
Flea Market Fab - Studio 7 Creative Interior Design | www.studio7creative.co
Flea Market Fab - Studio 7 Creative Interior Design | www.studio7creative.co
Flea Market Fab - Studio 7 Creative Interior Design | www.studio7creative.co

"The Lifestyle Lens"

Now back to the addition.  I lost count on the number of revisions, but I worked with Amy and Doug to review the Architect's drawings and look at them through the “Lifestyle Lens”.  What the heck does that mean?! I’m so glad you asked. 

People often ask how I fit into the picture of working with other professionals like architects and contractors. The specifics can vary but what I always tell them is we all look at the project through our own specialized lens. Is it relates to the interior, an architect and/or engineer will look at a project through the structural lens.  How will it get built? i.e. How does the wall connect with the floor and ceiling?  And the contractor typically looks at it through the cost and time lens. And then there is me. The Interior Designer. Perhaps you are like many and believe an interior designer only looks at a project through a "style" lens. 

 
 

Function + Budget + Style = Lifestyle Lens

In fact…I look at interior design through what I call a “Lifestyle Lens".  Yes “style" is part of what I do. In fact, it’s one of the most fun parts of my work. I DO want your home to be beautiful and fun and an expression of who you are. But it also it has to function well for you, your family, and your lifestyle. Otherwise is it actually beautiful? The third factor is making sure to provide design options that fit in your budget. When you combine home style, function, and budget, you get the "Lifestyle Lens”. 

Amy and Doug got that. They knew after the interviews and conversations, I could help them bring to life their vision for the new space. But not on my own. The architect and contractor were also going to provide them with design direction through their own specialized lenses. 

The Lifestyle Lens in Amy and Doug's case meant whatever we did, it had to work for a super cool vintagy busy family of five including 3 kids under 3  + two giant old dogs and and some chickens and small business owners and…are you exhausted yet? 

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We’d have to look at finishes and furnishings that were both stylish and supremely durable, and furniture layouts that worked for entertaining guests, doing art projects with kids, family dinners and more.  

I reviewed drawings, sketched out new ideas, asked questions like, “Wouldn’t it be better to swap the location of the sofa (which is lower) and dining table (which is higher) so people sitting at the table can overlook people sitting on the sofa to view the backyard (where the kids are playing). And after dinner, you/guests naturally gravitate toward the sofa to linger and open the double french doors and enjoy the view for hours while the kids play?” 

Eventually through several iterations of design, the architect and contractor determined it would be possible to create a basement for the playroom in order to get everything they wanted in the footprint that had to work with. Bonus! They got a guest bedroom and bath too. I can’t take any credit for that decision, but I was over the moon when I learned that was where they landed. 

Inside, I helped them finalize decisions on finishes, create the perfect layout, and select furnishings that would not break the bank while still meeting the durability and style factors. Perhaps my favorite design decision we did together was reupholstering this vintage sectional sofa in an emerald green velvet. 

It looks and feels luxe but it’s a “performance” fabric meaning, you can spill anything…wine, coffee, juice and instead of absorbing into the fabric, it will shed right off. Also, because it was a “solution dyed” fabric, it was UV resistant meaning it wouldn’t fade in the sun like real velvet. The fabric was a splurge, but we found the sectional frame on Craigslist for $100 making the decision a no-brainer. 

In the end, the Yetman house turned out to be one of my favorites to date. The neutral backdrop and simple finishes allow Amy to show off her impressive collection of vintage art and family photos.  I’ve been to a few gatherings since they moved into the new space and can honestly say that I see how people feel right at home and move about effortlessly whether they are visiting with a new friend, grabbing a bite or making themselves a drink. 


If you enjoyed this post and are interested in working together, I'd love to hear from you.