interior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: rachel saldaña

by anne

our second sneak peek opens to the door to the home of photographer rachel saldaña (aka buttons magee). she and her husband live in a 937 sq. ft. ranch built in 1956 in kansas city with their two daughters. their home is another great example of an extremely tight budget resulting in using mainly thriftstores, craigslist, and retail clearance sections (but not without a few treasured splurges). and, you’ll probably recognize her blue patterned wall as a finalist in the lena corwin printing by hand pattern contest. click here for more, full-sized images. [thanks, rachel!] anne

Master Bedroom- My husband is a resident who is frequently on call.  When he comes home the next day he needs a dark place to recover his sleep.  That is why we chose the Chocolate Brown wall color (BM). When the curtains are closed it is as dark as night in there.  I also believe bedrooms should be kept for rest, so we don’t need much more in there than a bed and dresser. The dresser was an antique from my childhood that I painted aqua and added the Anthropologie coral handles to give the room some pop.

Living Room: Paint color is Silvery Blue by Benjamin Moore on walls and Silver gray on ceiling (BM paint). The couch and vintage Eames lounger were both craigslist finds which I search frequently. Giant Lamp, easy chair, ottomans and most decorative items such as mid-century magazine rack were thrift store finds, none costing more than $20 each.  I group like items together, like the inexpensive milk glass collection on mantle to give the inexpensive items more presence. The linen pillows were sewn by me with Ikea down inserts. Coffee table was my first real furniture purchase in college at an antique booth.  We cut down the legs to make it more versatile.  The leaves can be raised to make it suitable for casual dining. The other lamps in the room all bought for $6 each at Target clearance with new shades purchased. The area rug is a carpet remnant we had bound at the edges ..only cost us $80 total for 10×12 ft. rug.

When moving in I decided on a base color scheme of pale silver blues to make the tiny house flow from one room to the next.  The unifying color is the silver gray ceiling in each room.

Kitchen eating nook with Rattan pattern accent wall was handpainted by me. Artwork- mostly my own photography, flower photo by Jen Causey, watercolor paintings by friend Heather Smith Jones,  bearded man Ashley G, keep calm srfgrlbybay.

Kitchen-  I am an avid cook, so I needed the kitchen to be able to handle three meals a day and plenty of space to spread out. Not to mention this is over a third of our livable square-footage. We remodeled the kitchen this summer completely by ourselves… even plaster work.  The entire kitchen was done under $4,000 including appliances.  Cabinets- Stock cabinetry from Lowes that I painted myself using Drabware from Martha Stewart paints at Lowes.  I was a bit afraid  the open shelves would feel cluttered, but after a bit of purging and switching to more attractive storage solutions like the vintage refrigerator containers instead of plastic, I find it much easier to keep the kitchen clean and organized. Granite counters- I installed them myself over a few days –  muranocollection.com  all for under $500. Stainless steel island from target.com. Linen curtains made by me.

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  • I love the colours of her bedroom + living room. I have a friend who is a resident so I know she’ll appreciate the colours in Mrs. Saldana’s home. Thanks for the “sneak peak” it’s lovely!

  • Ooh. I love this, espcially since if anyone knows 1950’s style ranches in KC, it’s me. I own one and have the EXACT same fireplace/mantle. I love seeing them fixed up differently, because that’s fairly rare around here.

  • I agree with your bedroom philosophy – resting is the #1 priority! I also love the dresser and the silvery blue color scheme throughout the house.

  • I’m so excited to see all of Rachel’s beautiful hand-work here! And I can vouch, her place is as charming and well organized in person as in her wonderful photographs. Hooray Rachel! I’m thrilled to see your home on design*sponge! I feel like celebrating for you :)

  • oh my – i just want to live in your house and curl up on all that comfy furniture! awesome mix of contemporary and traditional. this is inspiring for us small spenders!

  • I love the thoughtfulness behind the colors of the bedroom – and i have to ask – i am obsessed with the chevron pink knit throw – where is that from??!!

  • I’d also like to know where the lampshade/pendant in the dining room area is from! I love it.

  • I adore your dresser with those anthropologie handles!!!
    You inspired me to definitely paint my dresser!

  • Rach is my daughter and she has always had a flair. Not to steal her thunder, but she made that pendant with a lighting kit and a lampshade.

  • I love this sneak peek! I also own a ranch in Kansas City (Prairie Village) and love seeing the difference in design despite having nearly identical layouts. I applaud Rachel’s use of color. Very inspiring.

  • i too love chevron pink crocheted throw (i’ve even done a post on them) would love to know where you got it-pink is my accent colour and this would be perfect!

  • Thanks so much everyone! To answer your questions, the pendant lamp was a lamp cord and shade both purchased at Ikea a year ago. The chevron throw was a thrift store find for $2.

  • lara and bethany – i have this shade as well, i got it from IKEA three or so years ago. i haven’t looked lately but it’s probably still there! it looks great in person.

    wow, i love your bedroom. we just don’t have the space right now to make ours an uncluttered haven, but someday we will! i love the orange/brown throw in the dining room.

  • Love it all, great colors and very calm environment. It is just as wonderful in real life. I have been lucky to have Rachel take our family portraits and she is a true artist.

  • I just wanted to thank you for including your counter information, I think it’s the solution I’ve been scouring the internet for! How did you find out about that company? Also, I’m from KC and I just wanted to say I’m so happy to see such great design in my hometown!

  • Oh my god, I LOVE this. I love the dark rooms (I feel like we rarely see that lately) highlighted by the bright pieces, and I love love LOVE the way she unites a room with its own color palette. Absolutely awesome.

  • Listen, Rachel is my daughter in law and she is absolutely the most creative magic making person I know and this just proves it! Here’s a high five to you, Rach!

  • Thanks so much everyone! As you can tell I have a terrific support system. Elizabeth, being in KC I can tell you that Sullivans carries the granite and will deliever it for a nominal fee to your home. And all of my crocheted throws are thrift store finds :)

  • wow!!!

    congratulations rachel . . . you’ve done a BE-A-U-TIFUL job!

    ceci ; )

  • You are my hero Rachel. Installing granite counter tops yourself, not to mention the hand-painted rattan wall. Wow. Just beautiful.

  • This home has tremendous poetry and warmth. Thanks for showing an example of someone who cares for their home without sacrificing the security of their children. Decorating shouldn’t be so expensive….. Would love to see more examples of this type of ingenuity up here on DSO.

  • How inspiring. I’m in the midst of decorating on a budget, and this puts some wind in my sails. Really beautiful and warm. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  • I love the couch in your kitchen! My perfect kitchen will one day include a couch, I love being in the kitchen, reading or surfing online while the food is cooking.

  • Am I the only one who is sick to death of that Keep Calm and Carry On poster? I swear every other house tour we see has it….

  • Chiara, I completely understand your feelings regarding the poster. It has been popular indeed. Being a mother of two girls I look at this print daily as a reminder to stay calm and not let life get the best of me.

    Also, decorating on a budget means that when I have chosen something for my home it has to stay there for some time for it to be a worthwhile purchase. In addition, I kind of enjoy the idea of knowing there are so many other people out there looking at the very same mantra in their own homes. Thank you though, for taking the time to tour my home.

  • I like how the paint color is “Chocolate Brown wall color (BM)”. That made me laugh out loud. But it is a beautiful apartment.

  • As a young professional renting in NYC and therefore unable to create my own bubble of a world as you have, I just want to say this is my dream home! Beautiful.

  • Lovely house. Not to rain on your parade, but that is not a chair by Eames. A nice knock-off, though.

  • Yes, I know it is not an original Eames chair, as I obviously can’t afford a $3,000 price tag. This is a vintage reproduction made in the 60s of the original Eames design.

  • This post reminds me of the old Design Sponge posts! I love when people manage to make their homes beautiful and personal with creativity and thoughtfulness rather than simply spending money.

    My favorite part of the house is the contrast in the kitchen between the all white kitchen perimeter and the colorful island! How unique!

  • Beautiful place!! What kind of floors are in your kitchen? Are they original or part of the renovation? Thanks!

  • Thanks! They are vinyl composite tile. We had original vinyl tiles underneath that couldn’t be removed, so we just put these over top. For only .87 a sq. ft. it was the most economical solution, and it is easy to maintain.

  • i love everything, especially the kitchen! and i love how you did it yourself, including installing the granite countertops!
    we are gradually renovating our home too, and don’t have the $ to farm out the work, so we’re doing it all ourselves too! there have been many surprises along the way, but the result and knowing that we did it all on our own is worth it.
    such a beautiful home rachel!

  • I love your kitchen. I can’t find the island on target’s website. Have you had it for long?

  • What’s with the Keep Calm and Carry On? I AM GETTING INFURIATED JUST LOOKING AT THIS!!!!

  • Wow! amazing living room. I was looking for a silver/blue color scheme, your room is a true insipration. Thank you!


  • Um, late comment here, but very curious as to where you sourced your wall mounted open kitchen shelving. I’m also in KC, nice to see a homegirl featured!