While the space and light you see throughout the Cole’s house is what might first draw your attention, one of the more intriguing details is the use of sentimental belongings and pieces that fill each of the rooms in their home.
When we asked Jennifer about how their kitchen came to be, she shared some helpful restoration details, as well as some other interesting quirks. The original 1920s kitchen was small, with an attached butler pantry. Sometime in the 70s, the owners turned that small kitchen into another small kitchen — galley style. This did not appeal to Jennifer, clearly, because she tore down the wall that separated the space, and created the large, open space, you see here. In order to keep with the original designs of the cabinetry in the dining room, Jennifer sought out someone to do custom cabinets to match, for the kitchen. We couldn’t help but notice the amazing paint color of Jennifer’s cabinets. When asked, she told us that she wanted a color that wasn’t bright white, but that didn’t have a yellow hue either. She hit the nail on the head with this color. She also went ahead to share a tip — Jennifer recommends choosing a neutral color and using it for the trim throughout every room of your home. She said, at least for her, it made life easier and it flows throughout the house. Plus, it makes touch-ups much simpler! The beautiful red hutch in the kitchen is the first of the family heirlooms we find and fall in love with in this home — it was Jennifer’s Grandma Carolyn’s, as are a lot of other things in the home. And the baby shoes — those are Jennifer’s dad’s.
Sometimes people are quick to tear old things out and replace them with new, or not at all. Heather’s favorite thing about Jennifer’s home is the old, original pieces that, while not necessarily functional, are still visible throughout the home. The incinerator. The not so hidden, but way too high cupboard, that was used to hide things during the depression. Or the old electrical boxes, cool keys and all. As well as the laundry chute and maid’s quarters. These are things that while may no longer be needed, are what keep this home true to its original life. It’s refreshing to know that not everyone just wants to rip these pieces from homes, and some value the importance of keeping them around. That’s one of Jennifer’s favorite parts of being a Realtor, being able to see the restorations of homes.
From the kitchen there are two doorways into the dining room. The original corner cabinets are what sparked her desire for matching cabinetry in the kitchen. Jennifer shared her favorite thing about the dining room — “my cabinets are not full of fine China, but things that my kids have made over the years; the things that I want to look at everyday.” These cabinets are filled with these adorable crafts and trinkets. Some things have come to her from grandmothers and other relatives. She said her favorites would have to be the little figurines that she has collected from her grandma. See, sentimental things everywhere.
While wandering through Jennifer’s home, Megan taking pictures, and myself (Heather), sitting anywhere I can hear Jennifer talk and still hide from Meg’s photos, I finally noticed her ability to wallpaper rooms and them still look amazing! Let’s be real, I’ve never decorated a home, but I’m sure wallpaper can be a very fine line to walk. She told me that she thinks “wallpaper is generally a bad thing, but it’s traditional.” And this family has done a wonderful job in keeping the traditional charm alive in this home, while also sticking with a more modern feel. This was one of the first things they did when they moved in, is wallpaper a small half bath and the dining room, and they are both magnificent! In fact, they just wallpapered an upstairs bathroom too. It is the coolest — the Day Designer bathroom, as Megan would call it.
In the main living room spaces, were some wonderful touches. A wall of pictures that Megan absolutely loves! A lot of the pictures were her father’s-in-law from a local shop in Angelica, NY. Jennifer says, “I saw the idea somewhere and thought I’d try it. I got ambitious with a hammer and nails one day.” Friendly piece of advice from her — they don’t always stay level, so she may take them down soon. That’s her thing though. She says you should always “try things out and live with it for a few weeks; sometimes it sticks and sometimes it doesn’t.” Really though, what could it hurt? This China cabinet, from Jennifer’s childhood home, is now in their living room, filled with toys and other neat items from Rob’s childhood and from his family.
As we peek through the kids’ rooms, we see some adorable furniture! One daughter has vintage Henry Link furniture, which Jennifer is still on the hunt for more of! Another has Jennifer’s old bed from her childhood home. These things look perfect in the spaces they’re in and I couldn’t imagine the furniture anything else. Jennifer shares that her kids have always had hand-me-down furniture because between stickers, paint, and kids in general, things like that can be destroyed. “I love everything old and most people don’t appreciate it as much as I do.” This is so true of Jennifer; everything she has that we ask about is either a family heirloom, found at an estate sale, or is rummaged and rescued from a local thrift shop! Like Jennifer says, “nothing in our home is especially valuable, just interesting, unique stuff. It should be used and enjoyed, not put away in a box.”
These little trinket shelves are the cutest! From miniature figurines and toys from parents and grandparents, to costume jewelry and a key to every car the Cole’s have ever owned, Jen keeps the mot sentimental of things in this cute little decoration.
Jennifer’s Tips and Tricks:
- Don’t run back and forth to the paint store trying to decide colors. Spend the twelve-ish dollars and buy the fan deck. Especially if you plan to paint several rooms, several colors.
- Paint the closets throughout the house the same neutral color. Then when you change paint colors in your children’s rooms 8 times over the years, it’s really not a problem in the closet, because that will always be neutral.
- Dog Tip: Has your dog ever been bored on a rainy day and just gnawed a hole into a piece of furniture? It happens, and Jennifer says, “just cover it up with a pillow; a pillow that no one in the house is ever allowed to move.” Perfect!
- If you have children or pets, or if you’re a human person, just get leather. Save the upholstery for rooms you never use.
We enjoyed getting to know Jennifer’s house a little better, and truly admire the detail to this home. What did you love about it? We would love to hear!