Leah Gaeddert lives in a small town in Kansas, USA, with her husband, David, and their three children. Nestled between farmland and a retirement community, the family moved into their current home over two years ago as they wanted to upsize for their growing family. With a wooded backyard and a walking trail behind their home, Leah’s cosy corner on a quiet cul-de-sac is her ideal location for raising her family.
“It is really important to me that our home is comfortable for us to be in, functions well for every member of the family, and that it’s beautiful,” says Leah. “We consider our kids in a lot of the functionality of the space: are they able to access their art supplies independently? Do they each have their own hook for their backpacks and coats? Where will they keep and display their special things? We want our kids to feel at home in our space too.”
Homeliness for all ages comes with time and Leah’s approach to renovating their home is a step-by-step process. So far, they’ve converted the main floor office into a bedroom, refurbished the fireplace, added peg rails in the entry way, and created a mudroom closet in the laundry room. Outside, they spent a considerable amount of time clearing out overgrown invasive species and building an A-frame tree house for their children to play in.
Their home’s interior style has a pared back simplicity and a sense of utility and craftsmanship. A neutral colour palette is offset by pops of colour, mostly through seasonal and handmade décor, such as garlands or wreaths. “It’s a little bit Shaker style and a little bit mid-century modern,” says Leah. “I try to consider my husband’s opinion as much as possible. He definitely leans a little more to mid-century modern and clean lines than I do, so I try to tie that in.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a designer of some kind, I just didn’t know that was a real thing someone could realistically do! I used to draw room designs when I was little and I rearranged my room almost weekly. Creating cosy spaces has always been important to me.”
For a home with children ranging from seven to three years old, the trick of making the most of artful displays in a shared space is down to Leah’s favourite interior feature: peg rails. “I love peg rails and almost every room in our home has a peg rail of some sort, or will do by the time we’re finished. I love finding things that are both beautiful and functional and displaying them by hanging them up.”
Leah’s favourite interior items include two-toned quilts, a Jenny Lind-style bedframe, and antique wardrobes, which she has styled throughout their home. “We thrift and shop second-hand as much as possible, so that definitely plays a role in our style,” she says. “We only have what we have been able to find – which can be such a thrilling hunt.”
Leah’s creative background gels well with her appetite for creation and play. “Right out of college, I was an art teacher for a few years before deciding to stay home with our kiddos. From home, I do content creation for my favourite brands, design kids’ rooms for clients, and a few days a week I run the social media for our family’s specialty food grocery store in town.”
“I’m loving the current stage we’re in because it allows me to dabble in a wide variety of creative projects,” she says. “I’ve always loved trying out new mediums so getting to do photography, design work, quilting and painting weekly has been so much fun. No two days are exactly alike and I love the challenge of it!”
Follow Leah on Instagram: @leahfayegaeddert