After almost five years of sharing countless homes on Design*Sponge, I’m excited to have the opportunity to open the doors of my own home today. As Lauren said in her peek, when Grace first approached the team about editor home tours, I was excited — but a bit overwhelmed. A home is so personal, and to share it with the world made me nervous. But that’s what I’ve loved about featuring homes on Design*Sponge over the years: the fact that it is so personal. We are initially drawn in by the design, but we stay for the stories.
Not that long ago, my husband Mark and I made the tough, yet not uncommon, decision to move out of Brooklyn. We loved the city, but yearned for something more (or less, depending on which way we looked at it). We discussed this possibility off and on for a few years, tossing around different cities, initially as far away as Paris, then kept it U.S. specific: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia…maybe Minneapolis? Mark is from Minnesota, and when we considered why we wanted to move (more space, closer to family, better cost of living), Minneapolis started to make a lot of sense. We were still dragging our feet, until the day almost three years ago when my mom suddenly passed away. Immediately, everything was put in perspective. It was on that day that we decided it was time to move closer to Mark’s family in Minnesota and my father in Wisconsin. Thus started the arduous process of moving as a grownup (much harder than as a 22-year-old, I learned!), saying goodbye to friends and extended family, finding jobs, moving to a new and unfamiliar city (I’m originally from Connecticut), and driving again after a 12-year hiatus, all under a cloud of immense grief.
The whole process took a full 12 months, but by December 2013, we were in our new home in South Minneapolis. Settling into our apartment was one of the easiest parts of our move. With a backyard, room for visiting guests, and extra storage space, it was such an upgrade from most New York City apartments. It was hard not to love. Filled with our favorite art, travel artifacts and reminders of our old New York life, we’ve spent the last two years making this space feel like home. Similar to previous apartments we’ve lived in, we love melding the existing, traditional architectural details with our collection of new and vintage furnishings to create a casual yet considered home. As renters, we are limited as to how much we can alter the space, of course, but it is also fun to work within those parameters. We love living in Minneapolis, with its balance of urban living and green space, art and design scene, and overall quality of life. Mark is an artist, and I work as a design director during the day, so it is ideal to come home to a space that allows us room to create. It has been nice to stand still for a minute, feel settled and have a fresh start.
I once read that a person should try to avoid going through more than one life change at a time because of the stress it causes. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out that way. But of the many things I learned through a few years of tumultuous transition is that change is good, time (slowly) heals, and home isn’t always where you expect it to be. ––Shannon
Photography by Canary Grey