Interiorssneak peeks

sneak peek: carla & jack fahden

by Amy Azzarito

Carla Fahden and her husband, Jack, have lived in this Tudor-style house in St. Louis Park, MN (just outside of Minneapolis), for the past three years. Just this past year, they remodeled both the kitchen and bathroom. Carla loves an imperfect, mismatched style of decorating. Though it may look effortless, she carefully orchestrates each and every object. (She has maybe been known to wander around the house while brushing her teeth in the morning adjusting the placement of objects.) That attention to detail pays off in her daily work for two Minneapolis creative agencies, KNOCK and TREAT, where she’s done everything from art direction for Target to illustrating print and pattern work. In her spare time, she has her own interior design blog and business, Color Me Carla. Whew! Thanks, Carla & Jack! Images by La Vie Photography + Carla Fahden. — Amy Azzarito

Image above: This is our guest room. Our most frequent and favorite visitor is my mom. The paint is London Fog by Benjamin Moore, which covers the walls in most of our house. I love the calm, soothing color and the name, too. The vintage rug is from a dealer in St. Paul; the fuzzy rug is from Ikea. All of the bedding is from West Elm. I know most designers turn their noses at big box stores, but I find West Elm to be the cat’s meow. Almost everything else is from Hunt and Gather in Edina. When I’m 90 and living in a nursing home and only get to go on one field trip a month, it will be to Hunt and Gather.

Image above: This chair/horsie/rooster combo is next to the front door in our living room. The chair is from Urban Outfitters and comes in a load of cute colors. The black and white photo is my own work, and the wood rooster is something I “borrowed” from my parents’ cabin. My dad got it in Jamaica about 30 years ago.

Check out the rest of Carla and Jack’s home after the jump!

Image above: Here’s our living room. I wanted to keep it as light and airy as possible since we don’t get a ton of natural light. The sofa is Martha Stewart and the rug is from West Elm. All the art and odds and ends have been collected from vintage shops, Etsy and Goodwill. I won the little brass elephant (in the lower right corner) at a silent auction. She goes by Ellie and almost weighs more than me.

Image above: I found this console on Craigslist for under $100. I love it for its clean lines and warm wood tones; Jack loves it because it’s a working record player. We like to hook up our iPod and listen to Hall + Oates while eating steak and shrimp off the grill. The typewriter and antlers are from Etsy. The lamp is from Crate and Barrel.

Image above: Here’s our guest room vanity. I found the chair and desk at antique shops up near my parents’ cabin in Mercer, Wisconsin. They were both wood, so I spray painted them to give them new life. The lamp is from Pier One, and the friendly little sock monkey was Jack’s as a kid.

Image above: This is our newly remodeled bathroom, one of my proudest achievements. I’d show you before pictures, but you’d be scarred for life. The wallpaper is called “All Over Coral” by York Wallcoverings, and I love it because it looks like a collection of ferns. You can see a hint of the floor-to-ceiling shower curtains, which are 96″ window panels from Ikea. There is black penny tile on the floor and white subway tile in the tub. Sadly, this room is so stinkin’ teeny that this is the most I could capture in one photo.

Image above: This is where I kick it and work on my blog, Color Me Carla. The desk is from a furniture store in Uptown called Nadeau — they have awesome deals. The chair is from Overstock.com (another steal). The framed photo of . . . what’s-his-name . . . one of the Beatles, is from a former boss. While I can never remember which Beatle it is, I like the colors in his checkered shirt. The vintage tape dispenser, Swingline stapler, navy blue pillow and elephant pencil cup are all from Etsy. I have high standards when it comes to pencil cups. An old plastic cup doesn’t cut it at the Fahden household.

Image above: This is the corner of our den. The shelving units were $15 each from Ikea (score!). I’m a bit of a, um, Type A . . . I’m organized to a fault. The globe pouf is from Urban Outfitters. Our 4-year-old niece can point out her house on it.

Image above: Here’s our master bedroom. We live in a Tudor-style house, and the upstairs is actually quite huge. I love the slanted ceilings (Jack does not, as he always bumps his head). The cream pintucked pillows are from Etsy. Everything else in this photo is from West Elm.

Image above: Here’s the refrigerator I wipe down with baby oil on a daily basis (great trick for keeping stainless steel shiny). We redid our kitchen about a year ago and had all of the ugly oak cabinets painted a crisp, clean white. Hey, there are the Hunter booties I wear when frolicking in the snow with Fern!

Image above: This is our newly remodeled kitchen. The pendant light is from Velocity Art + Design. I’m obsessed with well-designed soaps and lotions and always keep a stash on display. The tiny little succulent on the windowsill is named Ernie and falls down at least once a week. The vintage rug is from a tiny shop near my work, and I can’t remember the name of it — d’oh! The tea towel is from Makelike and was a gift from my mom. My mom is awesome.

Image above: This is our dining room. In all honestly, most meals are eaten in the basement (not pictured) in front of the boob tube. But occasionally, we will grill a nice dinner, put back a bottle of wine and dine in this room like sophisticated adults. The rug is from Macy’s, table from West Elm, chairs from Overstock.com. The jug, antlers and branch are all found odds and ends from Northern Wisconsin. Oh, and the pendant light! Yet another score from West Elm. Credit to Jack for installing it (along with about eight dimmers throughout the house).

Image above: Here’s our teeny little hallway. This is where the guest room, den, bathroom and dining room converge. The little table was my Grandma O’s sewing cabinet. The vase is from Patina in Uptown and the dried flowers were ordered online through a florist in Brooklyn.

Image above: Well there’s our adorable little fluff-ball, Fern! I’ll give you a minute to soak in how cute she is. (And this Christmas, we are getting a second doodle — little Rosy.) Okay. As for the rest of the room, this is not the best photo of our wingback, but I am proud to say it was a $30 find on Craigslist. I had it reupholstered this summer and feel like a proper lady when I sit in it.

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  • The master looks positively cosey. Too bad your hubs is always bumping his head.

    Do you really baby oil your refrigerator every day? That makes me feel positively sloppy!

  • this home is SO lovely. I feel like we have a lot in common! We have a doodle named ziggy who looks so much like Fern (except smaller) and are also West Elm hoarders (it’s true! their stuff is great looking and affordable). I’m inspired to find some antlers to accessorize with now…

  • I love Craig’s List too! I’m always searching for another treasure I can add my personal touch to. Your home is so bright and white. How do you do that with a large furry dog?

  • i love your style! definitely adding your blog to my list of daily reads! i think my favourite element is that fern wallpaper in the bathroom – love!

  • George Harrison, perhaps?

    I recognize the fabric from the chair but can’t remember the name. Looks like Madeline Weinrib. Do you recall what it is?

  • I love the mix of patterns, colors and shapes! Your house is so cozy yet modern. And is filled with so many unexpected surprises. You have a great eye!

  • Simply adorable. Love the combo of stuff you have combined together! Also…you said you got the eames chairs on Overstock…? How did you locate them….particular seller…? Thanks for sharing your lovely home!

  • @ Molly, i saw some similar fabric by annie selke while i was fabric shopping this weekend. i’m not sure if it’s the same stuff, but very similar.

  • beautifully done. It’s simple, cozy and shows off your personality. I love the guest bedroom! That rug is divine. Can’t wait to see more cool stuff on your blog.

  • I agree with Karen on who’s in the photo. George Harrison was WAY cuter than Keith Richards…I think that would have to be a truly terrible photo of George!

    Love the vintage rugs.

  • that is a great style! everything looks so cozy, that’s what i think is most important about our homes. i think you did a great job with the colors and you chose great furniture. i especially love the dining room!

  • I like how the sock monkey (a total DIY project) is perched on a desk. It keeps things not too serious and besides, it’s totally easy to make. I think maybe knitting one. Maybe in a different colorway…or maybe that would be too radical? Sock monkeys seem to be mostly brown and white.

  • I get to hang out at this lovely house all the time and know all the hard work that went into it, props to Car Car and Jack!

  • I love the creativity and imagination that is quietly revealed throughout every room in the house! I love it!

  • WOW… What talent…Fun to look at… Eileen would LOVE to stay in your guest room!

  • Thanks for the comments!

    Answers for ya:

    @Rebecca, Yes, the wall sconces in the master bedroom are from West Elm (‘Drum Sconce’)!

    @Paint Colors, Luckily Fernie doesn’t shed, so it’s not too hard to keep the joint clean.

    @Molly (in DC), The name of the fabric is ‘Links’ in Slate by Annie Selke.

    @Kristen, The chairs are called ‘Wood Leg White Accent Chairs’ from Overstock.

    And lastly, now I know it’s Keith Richards in the photo and will never forget. Like, EVER. ;)

  • I love your elephant. I also really appreciated the way your personality shone through your descriptions. It was a delight to read. :-)

  • we live in st paul–i’ve heard good things about hunt and gather and seeing these pictures makes me want to visit asap!

  • I love hunt and gather so much I have to NOT go there otherwise I would go BROKE. It’s in Minneapolis, btw, not Edina.

    Love that paint color. It’s the perfect grey, not too blue, not too beige. lovely.

  • Loovveee IT! Did you use the same dolor throughout your house? I love it.. Such a beautiful gray.. Would you mind sharing?

  • This is a great example of small space interior design then welcome to this bright and well planned Tudor-style house that exudes peace and quiet. The house is beautiful. I like the master bedroom and the bathroom the most.

  • This is a great example of small space interior design then welcome to this bright and well planned Tudor-style house that exudes peace and quiet. The house is beautiful. I like the master bedroom and the bathroom the most. You designed your really very well.

  • I love how beautiful AND practical this home is. It can be discouraging to see a beautiful space and then find out it all came from super high end places. This speaks to the spirit of the “*Sponge”- accessible design. So lovely and bright. Love it.

  • @Andrea, The paint is London Fog by Benjamin Moore!

    @Sarah, The bed frame is called ‘Stria’ from West Elm.


  • you have convinced me to move our bed in front of the window. Love the look you have established.

  • That, my young friends, is George Harrison! It’s an odd pose, but it’s George. Love your home and style :)

  • You home is really lovely — just how I’d like my home to look and feel someday. I was surprised and pleased to see your penny round back splash. We’ve been considering the same thing, but I’m on the fence between penny rounds and…you guessed it….subway tile. How did you decide on penny rounds? Are you happy with your choice? What color grout did you use? (we were thinking white glossy + med. gray grout)

  • I love your home!, but what I love the most about this post is your commentary. It is hilarious and charming.

  • Thank you Donna for your voice of reason. It is DEFINITELY George Harrison!!
    My Dad is a HUGE Beatles fan so I grew up with images of them all over our home.

    Beautiful home. I love the way you’ve mixed West Elm pieces with personal finds to create a truly unique and beautiful home. Well done Carla!

  • This was such a fun read in addition to being a lovely sneak peek! It gives me great satisfaction to know I’m not the only person who names plants. Thank you for sharing your home!

  • Gorgeous! So calm and refined thanks to the perfect shade of grey used throughout.It’s all perfect!!

  • This is by far my most favorite sneak peek of all time. Hope they don’t mind me making a knock off version !!

  • Love it. Love the style and color palette and mix of Etsy/vintage finds with commercial items (west elm does rock). Not sure how I found your blog a while back, but I’ve followed it and it is equally as charming and inspiring as the post here. Most blogs I just skim for the pics, but yours I actually read. :)

  • Beautiful home and I loved Carla’s descriptions, you really get a sense of her affection for her home. I’d love to see other angles of bathroom though – I’ve a similarly tiny one to deal with!

  • Can anyone tell me more about the yellow dried flowers? What kind are they, or what florist are they from? I love the whole house, but I keep thinking about those flowers!

  • @Temple Morris: We love the penny round backsplash. We used the white glossy with white grout but I can see medium gray grout looking awesome.

    @Donna: The bathroom is from… drumroll… IKEA!

    @Marie: For some more pics of our teeny bathroom, check out my Flickr album:

    @Jenny T: The dried yellow flowers are called Craspedia (aka Billy Balls) and can be ordered online. They’re perfection!

    Happy Turkey Day.

  • Keith Richards for sure– take it from one who was a teenager when he looked like that!
    As for the rest of it, what a fabulous home you’ve made! Love it. And love Fern… how cute is SHE? Thanks for sharing all of it.

  • I love your home. About to have my third baby and going through the non stop cleaning phase. Just baby oiled my fridge, dishwasher and oven. They look flash now. Thanks.

  • This home did things to me… it made me go all squishy. It’s now at the top of one of my all time favourites. I just adore everything you have done in your home! Thank you for sharing :)

  • It’s George Harrison of the Beatles. I’m sorry to say I am old enough to remember when they had their first hit.

  • Upon looking and again and zooming the screen, not so sure that it’s George Harrison as George was much better looking than that.

  • Rad. Just so, so rad. One of my favorite house tours, between the super appealing decor and the down-to-earth, funny commentary. Can I just have this place?

  • correction: this does not look effortless. there is alot of effort here. some nice unique features but oddly the design style looks very familiar to other spaces we have toured. i think its because so many people are following this type of style trend – to choose to follow the “it” design template of mis-match mid-century modern, vintage/etsy eclecticism we see so often on design sponge and elsewhere. its nearly a cookiecutter cliche and doesnt fully emulate individuality when the overall design style appears so forced and formulaic.

  • I won’t lie. I just Pinterest-ed your home like no one’s business. GORGEOUS. You are amazing. Seeing this makes me want to give away all my old things and work towards a goal of a beautiful home.

  • Love, love, love your home. I’m using it as inspiration for my Minneapolis-home. :) Where did you get the kitchen bamboo shade? Thank you & Merry Christmas.

  • Hi! We ordered the shade from Overstock.com for a mere $30. They are called “Burnt Bamboo 24-inch Roll-up Window Shade” and we chose the “Natural” color.

  • Carla! I love everything you’ve done. I’m inspired! Would you mind giving me a description of the dining room rug from Macy’s so I can search for one? Thanks!

  • Hi Lesley! Gosh, I bought that SO long ago. But I’ve seen similar ones at West Elm, Crate + Barrel, etc. It’s wool and very nubby/high pile. If I come across one similar, I’ll leave another post for ya :)

  • everything is so bright and airy~!! i love it… may i ask what sheen u used for ur bm london gray paint in the living room? and what trim color is that? i think it’s a perfect white to go with that soft gray color…!! ur home is so beautiful…~~ :)

  • Oh gosh! I love everything! Where did you get the lamp and nightstand that are in the guest bedroom? Also wondering about the white shelves in the bathroom? Thank you!

  • wandering around design sponge as i try to figure out what to do with my first real home. so many beautiful ideas! i was wondering if you should share where in town you took the chair to have it reupholstered? (thanks for humoring the extremely late question!)

  • beautiful home… hoping to find a color name for the walls in your kitchen?? thank you, thank you!

  • Hi! Where did you get your throw pillows in the living room? Love your house, amazing job :)

  • Hi, love the bathroom wallpaper. I found it online, but it’s listed as black and silver. Is it black and white or black and silver?

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