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Interiorssneak peeks

In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter Construction

by Garrett Fleming

When purchasing your first home, you oftentimes want it all. Your laundry list of must-haves tags along to every showing, a reminder that the potential house has to be in the right neighborhood, look a certain way, and be the perfect price. Finding a needle in a haystack can be challenging, though, and when push comes to shove, sometimes being flexible ends up working out in ways you never imagined. Such was the case in 2013, when interior stylist and blogger Heather Jorde and her husband Connor set out to buy their first home together. Letting go of their hope of owning a quirky, older home in Indianapolis, IN led them to a dream in disguise: new construction.

This disguise came in the form of bland furnishings and little personality, but those aspects actually served up such a rare opportunity that the couple gave it a shot. The home was a blank canvas where they could let their imaginations run wild. Heather and Connor’s greatest out-of-the-box thinking comes to life in the entryway and their daughter Charlie’s nursery. The “cookie-cutter” entry sings thanks to a snazzy, hand-painted graphic. Its modern shape and rustic decorations both combine Connor and Heather’s styles and set the tone for the rest of their Scandinavian-inspired abode. Follow this stylish entryway’s staircase, and you’ll find more one-of-a-kind surprises, including Heather’s DIY pièce de résistance: the stenciled wall in her daughter’s room. This fun tree design is accompanied by a DIY hanging clothing rack. It simultaneously solves the room’s storage issue and gives the home yet another enviable, custom touch.

While this Midwestern home boasts endless pretty moments, it’s the sentiment behind each one that truly makes this house special. Every tweak was designed to bring the family closer together, creating a space that keeps them smiling and laughing. Click through to see exactly how Heather and Connor have made this newly-construced home work for their family and stand out in a sea of sameness. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Heather Jorde

In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter New Construction, Design*Sponge
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The living room's stellar chair almost didn't make it home with the Jordes, but they pushed through Chicago rush hour traffic with a cranky toddler to snag the Craigslist gem. Behind it hangs a photo the couple took on a hike in Norway.
In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter New Construction, Design*Sponge
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Heather, her husband Connor, and their two daughters, Reese and Charlie, have lived in this Indianapolis, IN home for two-and-a-half years.
In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter New Construction, Design*Sponge
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Many of the home's changes took place while Heather was carrying her second daughter, Charlie. Luckily for her, Grandma (Heather's mom) is a handy gal and she helped bring some of Heather's grandest decorating visions to life. One of her projects involved reupholstering these side chairs. Their new, streamlined look ties in seamlessly with the rest of the living room's crisp design.
In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter New Construction, Design*Sponge
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The dining room's abc carpet & home chairs were a big splurge for the family, but it was to be expected. Ever since she saw them, Heather couldn't get the set out of her mind.
In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter New Construction, Design*Sponge
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The dining chairs ate up Heather and Connor's budget, leaving them with little cashflow to dedicate to lighting and a table. To help keep the space's overhaul affordable, Heather crafted this interesting fixture out of gold straws for $10 and Connor made the dining table himself.
In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter New Construction, Design*Sponge
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The staircase that leads to the bedrooms is spiced up by an abstract wall mural. Heather has always been eager to try one on for size, but she only recently got the courage to follow through with painting one. She couldn't be more thrilled with the result. To give it even more character, Connor whittled these faceted hooks from a tree branch, and then the two paired them with a rug from West Elm and a hanging banner from White Horse Home.
In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter New Construction, Design*Sponge
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You never know when inspiration is going to strike. For Heather, the idea for a grey accent wall unfortunately came after Connor had painted their bedroom's walls white... three times. She felt the original hue looked "... more unfinished than bright and airy" and wanted something that would make the room sing. More secondhand finds and H&M throw pillows add texture to the space.
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This corner of Heather and Connor's bedroom is particularly sentimental to the duo. Here, in this West Elm armchair, Heather soothes and settles down Charlie for the night.
In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter New Construction, Design*Sponge
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"We drove all over Indiana, Chicago and Michigan for items I found on Craigslist," Heather tells us. That includes her daughter's bed frame, to which she has given new life through white paint -- paint that her daughter can't seem to stop picking off during nap time. The Jordes don't mind, though. The bed frame was such an affordable find, they haven't been too upset by its slow demise. Artwork by Caroline Wright, a piece by Eleni Paper Co. and a secondhand dresser complete the space.
In Indiana, A Stylist Jazzes Up Cookie-Cutter New Construction, Design*Sponge
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One of Heather's favorite rooms in her home is the nursery. When she found out she was pregnant, she quickly got to work making the room function on a budget. "I did not want to spend a lot of money on a nursery since I hoped our girls would share a room at some point, but I also wanted to make it a beautiful space to welcome my little girl. I worked with what I had, and only bought a few things," she explains. Cash-saving techniques like this DIY hanging clothing rack and Craigslist rug helped keep her under budget.
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The wall behind Charlie's IKEA crib proves how impactful a bit of stenciling can be. The project was a huge undertaking for pregnant Heather, so her own mother helped out and actually ended up being a secret, master stenciler. You can recreate the look with the help of StenCilit.
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"Our favorite thing about our home is the memories made in it, and since most pieces are secondhand, they each have a story behind them," -- The Jorde Family
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Initially, Heather wasn't too keen on her home's "cookie-cutter" look and layout, but over the years she's come to realize the 2,800-square-foot space is perfect for her young family.

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Comments

  • I’m so glad to be introduced to Heather and her home. I also live in Indy and struggle to make a builder boring home into a custom design space :)

  • Really love what Heather did here. It expands my definition of “dream home” too. I appreciate the effort to make whatever canvas you have…uniquely yours. Well done.

  • Your place looks great! I really like your DIY dining table. Did he use plans to build it from or did he come up with the design himself?

  • I love this home! We also bought a new, cookie cutter house after thinking we’d be buying something with more character and charm. It has been a work in progress to put our own style on it, but it has been a fun challenge and we’re loving every project that moves us toward a unique space that speaks of who we are as a family.

  • So many great details! I love the combination of the dining table, chairs, and chandelier. I just started a blog about customizing our builder basic house. We are in the process of turning our office into a mudroom, and I think it will look anything but basic! We are also in the Indy area. I hope you’ll check it out! ourcorneroftheworldblog.com