A Modern Loft in Indiana

by Grace Bonney

Over the past 11 years of living in NYC, I’ve lived in seven different apartments. I tend to love change and the chance to pare down my belongings, though I know that moving isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. But I love when I meet other people who embrace moving in the same way. Leigh and Joshua Savage have moved four times in the less-than-five years they’ve been married, but the change of location hasn’t stopped them from creating welcoming and beautiful homes each time. Their most recent move, as of four months ago, was to South Bend, IN, where Josh, a law student, is finishing his Juris Doctorate at the University of Notre Dame. Leigh and Josh knew they wanted to be close enough to campus to have a short walking commute to class, so they picked a small but airy loft in a new building. While the narrow, 625-square-foot space was a challenge, Leigh and Josh did a great job using area rugs to create rooms within rooms and give the open floor plan a homier feel. Their mix of do-it-yourself design and lovely hand-me-downs from family and friends makes what could be a cold space feel warm and inviting. xo, grace

Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
The Living Room: Leigh says that the living room is the soul of their house. "We are always gathering here to watch football, snuggle up for a movie, entertain company, read, or even eat dinner here most nights." The copper wall light fixture is a DIY project that Leigh (a graphic designer and artist) made and the buffalo print is from The Animal Print Shop. The American buffalo is Leigh's favorite animal, "I love having him overlooking all of our entertaining and activities. During Christmastime, I always stick a little stem of greenery in his mouth to look festive."
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
After a series of hand-me-down couches, Leigh and Joshua bought their first couch at Urban Outfitters and have been "beyond" happy about it. Leigh loves the subtle tweed of the grey fabric and the frame's wooden legs. The crocheted pillow is from Proud Mary and the striped pillow behind it is from The Citizenry.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
What a loft might lack in privacy and doors, it more than makes up for in open, airy space. Leigh loves that no matter where people are in the apartment, they feel a part of what’s going on.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
Leigh is, "constantly rearranging the bookshelves, but it’s normally some configuration of our books, pottery and some of my various (weird) collections, such as driftwood from different places we’ve traveled. The black block printing was made by me and the robin’s egg blue vase was thrown and glazed by a family friend."
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
The tiny hummingbird driftwood carving that hangs on the living room wall was a gift to Leigh from Josh when they first started dating and was made by an artist from Sedona, AZ. They loved it so much that when they visited Sedona during their honeymoon, they tracked down the same artist and bought a second piece, which sits on their bookshelf. The ladder against the wall was Leigh's grandmother's.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
This chair and cushion are two of Leigh's favorite pieces in their home. The chair was Leigh's "only Craigslist find EVER" and cost a mere $10. Though the plan was to change the upholstery, Leigh grew to love the orange and kept it. The cushion was made from an old sweater Leigh decided to upcycle as a pillow cover.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
Leigh used cinderblocks to raise her plants up to get more light.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
Leigh and Joshua couldn't find a media console that was in their price range and didn't take up too much space, so they decided to make one themselves using hairpin legs and pine from Lowe's. The teeth models are Leigh's and were cast by her father who is a dentist.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
The entryway and kitchen: The painting is a color study Leigh recently made. Barely visible in the corner is one of the couple's favorite pieces — a gramophone from Restoration Hardware that naturally amplifies their iPhones (a Christmas gift from Leigh's parents). Leigh and Joshua opted to forgo having a dining table and they enjoy eating meals at the island or on the floor in front of the TV. The retro barstools were thrift store finds that Leigh recovered with fabric that she block printed herself.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
Leigh's favorite detail in the apartment: "While we love the modern touches of the exposed ductwork, it also tends to be somewhat of an eyesore, so I came up with a creative way to make the vents more visually interesting by making miniature worlds around the edge, using the tubes of figurine toys from the dollar store and cut-out paper. I’ve always had a fascination with miniatures, which I think stems from my childhood love of dollhouses and Legos. It has the same whimsy to me of a carousel and they also add an element of fun whenever we have guests over, sort of like a subtle game of I Spy. The living room features Western World, and the kitchen has Dinosaur Land. I haven’t figured out what should be in our bedroom yet, but I’m having fun brainstorming ideas."
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
The Bedroom: This room doubles as Leigh's workspace, so she's glad it gets such great light. The Swiss dot bedding is from West Elm and the throw pillows were a DIY project Leigh made using Pendleton wool scraps her mother-in-law found at a flea market. The portrait above the bed was thrifted and then later dipped in acrylic, a method Leigh adopted from the work of Oliver Jeffers.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
Leigh "hacked" their IKEA dresser by painting the fronts of the drawers and replacing the hardware with DIY leather pulls. The glass jewelry display box is from West Elm, and the wooden case beneath is actually a pastel organizer that Leigh purchased from an art store. The Commune wood ball hooks on the wall are great for hats and jewelry and the photograph is one Leigh took on a family skiing vacation in Colorado.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
Leigh purposefully chose to have a minimal bedside table to keep any tendencies toward clutter to a minimum. This chair does the trick and there’s just enough space for necessities and a few colorful trinkets.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
Since Leigh works from home, it was important to have a functional space for her office. She also wanted it to be visually appealing since it's the same space the couple sleeps in. The gallery ledge (from IKEA) helps showcase Leigh's prints. The Mountain ABC print is from Coco L, and the fern print was taken on a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest. The leather magazine holders are another DIY project Leigh created. The desk and lamp are also from IKEA and the clear organizers are from The Container Store.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
Leigh and Joshua's bathroom houses their closet and laundry. The driftwood wall hanging was a DIY project Leigh did using some of her driftwood overflow.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
To break up the big, open space, Leigh divided up the room for some added visual interest and more seating for guests. The Herman Miller chairs were an Overstock.com score, the side table is from Urban Outfitters and the rug was an eBay find.
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
Leigh and Joshua love to entertain, so they always make room for a dry bar. Leigh explains, "On Friday evenings, there’s nothing I enjoy more than mixing up a cocktail either with friends or just the two of us, and toasting to the weekend!"
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge
Leigh and Joshua Savage's Indiana Home on Design*Sponge

Suggested For You


  • wow- the light in their loft is gorgeous, and I LOVE the chair pillow combination in pic #6. Love the whole eclectic vibe they’ve created. I can relate to moving and sort of loving it. I have moved 5 times in the last 6 years, I love to see my furniture and art take on different personalities with each new space.

  • So cute! Sometimes small spaces are the best because you have your constraints right in front of you. You’re forced to be conscientious with your choices, and some of the most creative solutions come out of the situation.

  • We have the same chair in mustard yellow! Does anyone know its origins? Ours is also thrifted.

  • Oh, your orange chair makes me nostalgic! I used to have a pair exactly like that I got from Craigslist. For a while, they were the ONLY living room furniture my husband and I had. Unfortunately, we didn’t have room for them once we got a proper sofa – I miss them to this day!

  • I live in South Bend too! And my husband just finished his j.d. at Notre Dame as well! It’s so cool to see something featured close to home, reminding me that beautiful homes aren’t only found in big cities.

  • Thanks for featuring a couple living life (if temporarily) in the Hoosier State! Born and raised not too far from South Bend and a military spouse with seven moves under my belt in the past seven years, I can completely relate to this couple and their needs. I love how they addressed those needs so simply and beautifully (without going to drastic expenses) in this home!

  • This is a nice space. Does anyone know where the sofa is from? I’m currently shopping for one.

  • Very inspiring! Leigh, you should add interior design to your resume :). Where is the rug by your couch from and is the pattern grey or black? I also have a grey couch and have been looking for a similar rug.

  • Hello! Did you guys design the whole place yourself, or did you have any help from a designer or design firm?