interior designInteriorssneak peeks

Architectural Charm in the Suburbs

by Lauren Chorpening Day

Moving to the suburbs can be hard – especially if the home being left behind in the city is a 100-year-old house with incredible charm. The odds of finding a home with character in a newly developed area are slim. When Mark and Jami Nato needed to find a home quickly (Jami was eight months pregnant when their old house sold) in the suburbs of Kansas City, they were thankful to find a house they could make a month’s worth of changes to and feel at home in. They’ve lived in their 1980s Cape Cod colonial for just six months and have turned it into a refined, beautiful space with architectural personality throughout.

Mark works in surgical sales and Jami is a blogger and stays home with their four kids, Layne, Lila, Penelope and Pruett. “We moved from the city to the suburbs for our special needs kiddo to have a good educational opportunity. In the suburbs there is so much new construction,” Jami said. “We thought we would end up in something generic, but when we saw this home, we fell in love.” To get the home ready for the new baby, Jami and Mark narrowed down their priorities. Carpet removal, a kitchen update, and fresh paint on the walls and trim were the most important to get done first.

They’ve decorated and designed their home perfectly for the way they intend to use it. “We want to live here, really live here. I never want my kids saying they were afraid of certain rooms or that they didn’t feel welcome where they lived. Basically, we just wanted a home that exudes hospitality, for ourselves and for others,” Jami said. Each piece is special and loved by the Natos, complementing the beautiful structure it lives in. They have turned this unusual suburban house into the best of both worlds – what they need and what they love. –Lauren


white walls: Snowbound by Sherwin Williams
dining room walls: Owl Grey by Benjamin Moore

Secondary Dining Room
antler light fixture: Home Depot (painted white)
dining table: overstock store in KC

Living Room
coffee table: Urban Outfitters
couch: Restoration Hardware
rug: Home Goods
globe: DIY
yellow mantel artwork: Minted
black and white artwork: daughter

Primary Dining Room
long wooden table: garage sale
metal chairs: Overstock
light fixture: Crate & Barrel
artwork: Jaime Rovenstein

stools: Target
light fixture: Crate & Barrel
basket: T.J.Maxx

headboard: Amazon
pink pillow: Marshalls
stools: Target
side tables: Target
lamp: Target

shelves and black shelf boxes: IKEA
countertop desk: IKEA
couch: curb find
rug: Costco
globe: grandfather

The dining room is what Jami calls the "hub" of the home. The natural light, exposed beams and hardwood floors make this room stunning. The Nato Family's simple and significant decorating decisions in this room allow the space to be shown off.
This space is perfect for the dinner parties and impromptu dance parties that are frequently thrown here.
Keeping the existing cabinets was necessary for the Nato's timeline. They painted them white and added subway tiles and new light fixtures.
The spatial layout of this home is one of the perks of it being built in the 1980s. The large rooms and flow from one room to the next are incredible benefits to living in the suburbs for this family of six.
The architecture of the living room is pretty incredible to find in a newer home. The exposed beams, arched doorways, molding treatments and built-ins are all original to the home. Mark and Jami's touches of white paint and carpet removal make the space feel a century old, in the best way.
Jami and Mark wanted to keep things simple with decor for this home. It keeps things easier for them to manage with four kiddos and lets the chosen pieces say something about them.
Jami's styling details point to old world inspiration with a modern take.
"I kept the bronze fixtures because I am really into mixed metals. I love that they are original to the house - not everything should be thrown out," Jami says.
"In the shelves, I keep supplies and toys tucked away so we can pretend like we're sophisticated people after 8 pm when they all go to bed and put the house back together," Jami says.
The bay window is a favorite spot for good reason. Jami says, "I love the bay window. If nothing else, so that I can change out the throw pillows seasonally or with whatever trend speaks to me. But mostly because the light is magical." Yes, we agree.
"Our kids are young and messy and we jump on the beds and wear our shoes in the house," Jami says. "Our day involves getting ready for school, playing with the baby, running here and there to soccer practice or preschool, making dinner and hanging out in the evenings together."
Mark's office is a balance of playful and sophisticated. It is located right off of the foyer so it's easy for him to keep connected to the home's activity.
"We wanted this home to feel like it had been here for 100 years. The architecture is strangely unsuburbian. It's very classic," Jami says.
"The plates are from thrift stores and carry a location of a meaningful state or something that really spoke to me," Jami says. "Someone's 50 years of marriage anniversary plate? Well, that's inspiring."
The formal dining room is used for homework and crafts, more than eating.
"I took a risk in getting the deep velveteen peacock blue headboard, but it feels classic to me."
The velvet headboard, neutral palette and pops of pink make for a beautiful and relaxing space.
"This is my office off the master bedroom. It used to be a sitting room but I didn't understand the functionality of it. It seemed like it wanted to be a place to work. I am writing a book and so I needed a motivating place to shut myself into and dive into writing," Jami says.
Jami stores fabric and craft supplies in her office so that they are safe from little hands.
Jami's minimal and old world style even gets used with her office supplies.
"Hospitality is what we love most about this home. I do a lot of baking and find it both inviting and cathartic on days when I've been running around like crazy. There are always cookies on the counter for wandering neighbors or surprise visits from friends," Jami says. "Our motto is 'houses are for hosting'."

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  • Jami Nato! My favorite blogger – hands down. I recognized the beams right away. Great to see her place on DesignSponge!

  • Love Jami’s style! Would that I could commit to that much white! It’s beautiful

  • This house is a dream. A DREAM. I cannot believe four children live here! So fresh and clean and spare.

  • What a beautiful, welcoming, fresh, bright space. The walls in the dining room with the gorgeous Jamie Rovenstein painting are just so beautiful–I’m so glad you posted about this lovely home today. Thank you.

  • This is such a pretty place. I absolutely love the hardwood color with the white walls and the navy blue. Thanks for sharing!

  • This is an amazing house!
    (side note, I know this was changed a while ago, but as a reader via feedly, I’m sure you want me to come visit the site and view the slideshows, but it usually doesn’t happen. I resort to maybe catching the home tour photos on pinterest, or just looking at the one that comes through in the reader. I know I miss out a lot, but tbh it’s more work than I’m willing to put forth most times to come to the site and click through 21 times to see all the photos)

    • Allison

      I addressed this online today, but here’s a quick rundown of how the business of a design blog works. For us to provide free content to you, we have to find funding somewhere, and the easiest and most cost-efficient way to do that is through advertising. We don’t ask you to click or buy anything from those ads, but merely bring your traffic to our site so we can at least have evidence of that traffic to show advertisers people are near their ads. That is literally all we ask of you in exchange for 10 years of free content, ideas and downloads.

      Our team is made of up real people with real bills and rent to pay, so we pay them a fair livable salary and/or wages. We have to keep income/ads going in order to pay those people who write the posts, end of story. If clicking over to the homepage is too much work then I understand if you want to read somewhere else. But pretty much every other lifestyle site on the web use slideshows and ask people to come to their website. Websites live off of traffic, pure and simple. If we lose that (like to a feed, which we do not profit from in any way or receive much traffic from), we lose our ability to provide the content we love.


  • Wow, their home is lovely! Jami’s blog is awesome, too! I was lucky enough to team up with her on an art prints giveaway from my Etsy store. She rocks big time and as you can see, has amazing taste!