Interiorssneak peeks

A Colorful Ohio Rental For a Vibrant Family

by Liberty Lausterer

On a wall in the Noel home hangs a very special piece of art. The painting is an abstract mixture of blues, green, red, yellow, orange, and black. It’s vibrant and compelling, much like the Noels themselves. Lauren, and her youngest son Keegan (age seven), created the painting together. Mother and son recently had an art show entitled “Us” at The Creative Clubhouse in Cleveland, OH displaying 20 of their collaborations. But the original that hangs on the boys’ bedroom wall, the very first painting they created together, is not for sale. It remains as a testament to this family’s colorful life and spirit.

The Noel family — made up of Lauren and her husband Rian, sons Dylan (age eight) and Keegan, and their “fur creatures,” cat Margot Tenenpaw, and dogs Edie and Mowgli — recently moved from Florida to Cleveland. Lauren describes the move as an act of faith. They left behind family and friends, year-round sun and warmth, and a house just minutes from the beach. They did it in hopes of getting Keegan more therapies and better schooling for his autism. Once there, Lauren says they “fell hard and fast for the city. It’s a place that’s underrated and a true hidden gem. It’s full of so much life and culture. I know Rian and I both feel like we can plant our feet here.”

And plant their feet they did. What Lauren, an artist, and Rian, who works in the hotel industry, have been able to accomplish through a mixture of paint and original art in the eight months they’ve lived in their Cleveland Heights rental is mind-boggling. Lauren says using lots of color makes their rental feel “homey” and is a way of bringing with them a piece of their Florida life. As Vincent Van Gogh said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Lauren and Rian painted the living room of the 1925 Colonial three different times with three different greens in their quest for the right emerald hue. Lauren also commissioned her friend and fellow artist Rachel Angelique Dewey to hand-paint flowers in the bathroom. And they’ve assembled a stunning array of furniture and décor from visits to thrift stores, finds picked up off the side of the road, and pieces passed down from family. This series of small things, brought together by a love of color, has resulted in something truly great. As Lauren says, “Color gives me life.” —Liberty 

Photography by Heidi M. Rolf

Lauren Noel's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The bathroom was originally painted yellow. Lauren commissioned her friend and fellow artist, Rachel Angelique Dewey, to hand-paint flowers on the walls. Rachel first worked up a sketch for Lauren and then set to work creating what Lauren describes as "pure magic." "There's nothing like having beautiful, original art painted directly onto your walls."
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
Lauren and Rian with sons Keegan and Dylan. "Rian and I met young and had both boys at a young age. I feel as though now approaching our thirties we have been able to feel secure in what we are building as a family and who we are as people."
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
Last May, Lauren gave herself three days to house hunt. The list of homes was endless. On the last day, with her prospects looking dim, she stumbled upon this 1920s Colonial. The property had only been listed for an hour and Lauren was the first to look at it. Upon seeing it she declared, "This is the one." The home retains its original charming details, among them, a number of secret spaces. "There are literally hidden doorways and closets in several parts of our home."
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
Lauren is always on the hunt for new pieces of furniture to paint. "I'm pretty sure that china cabinet has been painted by myself at least four or five times." Because of this, what you see here today may be gone tomorrow. Lauren says she's the sort of person who changes her mind several times a month. Her home, like her studio, is a canvas onto which she casts her ever-evolving creative vision.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
Almost everything in the dining room is thrifted. The chairs are from Habitat for Humanity. The lamp and table are from IKEA. The large nude painting is one of Lauren's.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
This room is currently used as a guest room, though Lauren and Rian have plans to revamp the attic and turn it into a guest suite. Currently, the attic floors are a not-so-attractive deep emerald green. "As much as I love a good color on the walls, I'm not so much a fan of it being on my floors," Lauren admits. As for the incredibly soft rose paint used on the guest room walls, it was purchased from Walmart. The headboard was thrifted and painted. The nightstand is from IKEA.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
The guest room is by far Lauren's favorite room in the house. "When approaching this room I wanted it to be something that went with my love for Wes Anderson films and his color scheme." On the left above the dresser is an embroidery piece done by Lauren's grandmother in 1938, when she was 16. The painting of Margot Tenenbaum is one of Lauren's.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
The Wes Anderson skateboards hanging on the guest room wall were given to Rian and Lauren by a friend in Florida. Back before Lauren and Rian had kids, Rian used to "live, eat, and breathe skateboarding." There are several more skateboards around the house, including "stacks upon stacks" in the basement.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
Lauren wanted Dylan and Keegan's room to reflect who they are and what they love without being overly decorated. Dylan, yet another artist in the family, created the drawing in the yellow frame. Other pieces of original art include Margot and Richie prints (from The Royal Tenenbaums) by kwanalee and a small portrait of Dylan by family friend Pascal Parker of Toil and Trouble. The ABC fruit poster and Wes Anderson print are both Lauren's. Simpson toys are prizes from a trip to Universal's Islands of Adventure. The retro fan was purchased at Marshalls.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
One of the things Lauren is most grateful for is that each person in her family has a space meant specifically for them. "We have been so blessed to have a home where you don't feel like you're constantly on top of each other." The spaces above the boys' dressers have been individualized using unique art, books, and toys. IKEA beds are covered in bedding from Target, Cotton On, and IKEA. The rug is from Ross and the lamp from Target.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
On the left is the collaborative art done by Keegan and Lauren. "I couldn't bear to sell it, it just means way too much to me," Lauren shares. The shelving is from IKEA and the bear print is by Ashley Percival. The Bob Marley print is one of Lauren's.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
"I wanted our living room to be a place that was aesthetically pleasing but also a place that is inviting and cozy. A place that the kids felt comfortable to be in, to draw, or do their homework." Lauren says she keeps her son Keegan, who has autism, in mind when decorating. She strives to keep the space from being "too overwhelming," while also giving Keegan the room he needs to be active. "We have gone through five couches in the last four years and it is the result of our little man needing the stimulation he requires from jumping." And yes, this self-proclaimed "rambunctious" family also has an indoor trampoline. Pillows are from H&M and the rug is from Rugs USA.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
One of the things that's particularly special about Rian and Lauren's home are the pieces they've kept from their childhoods. A vintage pink locker used to be Rian's as a kid. Lauren painted the portrait hanging on the wall in sixth grade. Next to the velvet couch from Craigslist sits a hanging seashell planter from AmpersandCLE. The wall color is Hemlock Green in satin from Walmart.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
The sitting room is one of Lauren's favorite places in her home. Not only for the gorgeous windows but also because she's able to fill it with plants from the Lakewood Plant Company in Cleveland. The peacock chair is half of a matching set (the other one is in the master bedroom). The rug is from Rugs USA.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
Lauren decorates the built-in shelves with books, art, and knick-knacks passed down from her grandmother.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
"So I have been searching for a shelf like this for ages and snatched this up for literally next to nothing. I also had to hang my newest and one of my favorite Frida [Kahlo] pieces." The macramé plant hanger was made by Lauren's dear friend Cree Ryan.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
"The walls were painted this beautiful yellow tone before we moved in and at first I was hesitant about the shade but have since grown to love it so much. You would think it would be overbearing or just too much, but I feel like it's what makes the room so inviting." The vintage suitcase was a gift from Lauren's mother. Lauren scored the peacock chair from OfferUp. A thrifted rug, baskets from Tuesday Morning, and a macramé wall hanging from Paige & Roy complete Lauren's inviting look.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
Some of the bedding in the master bedroom was once in Lauren's late grandfather's old room. The space is made special not only for its cherished objects but also because it's where Dylan and Keegan love to wrestle and play. Vintage throw pillows on the bed are from AmpersandCLE.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
Lauren says not having family close by can get a bit tough. Because of this, she makes a point to have little things around the house that remind her of them. Two vintage perfume bottles that belonged to Lauren's grandmother sit atop a dresser that was thrifted and repainted by her mom. The painting of Frida Kahlo is one of Lauren's and the wall print is from Society6.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
"My sanctuary! This is the space where I can release and grow and experiment as an artist." Lauren chose to keep the walls white, wanting a blank canvas as a backdrop to her colorful work. A vintage rug adds a touch of color to an otherwise bright and serene space.
Lauren Noel's Home Tour for Design*Sponge
Lauren's paint palettes hang above a drafting desk from Michaels. "I started my business several years ago and it has been a dream fulfilled getting to create from a place of comfort as well as be the mom my kids require me to be."

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  • This house is so warm, inviting, and vibrant! The perfect space for a creative young family.

  • I too fell immediately for this beautiful home with great light, many windows, many extras (look at those door frames!) and simply the space (I wd have rented it just for that gorgeous bathroom!!)….
    I don’t feel it is ‘too colourful’ – I expected a riot of colours, to the contrary, most of the rooms to me seem to ooze either calm or joie-de-vivre. I personally couldn’t live in a curry-coloured room but I painted a toilet room yellow, had it tiled half-up in period-style white with a yellow band of smaller tiles, hung it with themed pictures – all in thrifted yellow frames and it makes me smile every time I go to the loo – so I have every understanding for the joy their room gives them.
    But most importantly, I deeply admire the family to uproot themselves to go to a place which provides better help for their son! THAT is LOVE – I live abroad with Hero Husband and missing the family is one of the hardest things even though we have fantastic communication means at hand. THANK YOU for doing that for your child. You are wonderful :)

  • Thank you for introducing me to so much art and a beautiful family home I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

  • What a beautiful home !The colors are amazing!I wish your son great success in his new environment.

  • Love the pink flowers in the bathroom, however don’t think my hubby would feel the same way :-\ Very beautiful home though :-)

  • Loving the flowers painted onto the wall in the bathroom!

    I am hesitant to put original art (which is all I have) in the bathroom because of the damage that the moisture can cause so this is an eloquent solution.

  • What kind of paint do you find best for painting furniture? Love the chine cabinet!

  • I really enjoyed looking at this post again in one of the Best of 2017 editions. Lauren, if you’re still reading comments, would you reveal your favorite thrifting spots? The four (!) near me in CH all closed within the last 6 months or so. I noticed the chairs from Habitat for Humanity, and I have gotten some things there, too. Where else do you go? Thanks! Your house is beautiful.