A Neutral Denver Home Full of Texture and Cool Antiques
How two photographers make their rental feel totally custom.
Published May 25, 2018 5:00 AM
For all her expertise in crafting a home that looks perfectly put together and cohesive, Sarah Lawrence is less confident with one part of the design: describing it. The photographer, who runs photography studio The Lawrence House with her husband Hunter, outsources this question, relying on her friends to do the describing for her.
Their responses are a mix as varied as the pieces in the home itself: One friend calls it “traditional old English with Scandinavian touches,” another dubs it “organic, vintage, and collected,” and a third friend describes the home as “eclectic collector with a focus on subtle tones.”
This is a choice that’s significantly easier to make when the bones of the home are as good as this one—gorgeous hardwood floors, an old brick fireplace, tons of natural light streaming in, and an open floor layout that makes everything feel breezy and more spacious.
“There’s the sun room, which is the room that has all the brick in it,” says Lawrence of her favorite part of the home. “We wanted to turn it into a second living space; it’s the place where we spend our mornings drinking coffee and eating breakfast. It’s a unique space with incredible lighting, because it’s surrounded by windows.”
That isn’t to say Lawrence doesn’t have a wishlist. She has items she’d love to change, like the kitchen countertops and light fixtures, but those are projects for the future. For now, the neutral-toned apartment, full of texture and sentimental mementos, is more than enough. With each piece carefully chosen, the couple’s house is brimming with cool finds they’ve collected over the years.
“We have this one rug from our first trip to Morocco, and we’ve used it as something different in each of our homes,” says Lawrence of one such piece. “[We went through] this small door and walked in, and it [turned] into this huge room with thousands of rugs in it. This man wanted to charge us way more than we wanted to spend, so we kind of awkwardly stood there for probably 20 minutes trying to get the price down. It’s meaningful because my husband went to school in Morocco for a semester, and it was on our first trip together that we found this rug.”
Read on to discover the story behind the home.
Stylistically, what was your inspiration for the place?
I love neutrals, but I feel like I’m still trying to find my style. I’ll see so many different things that I like, but when it comes to thinking about what I want in my home—it’s like, “I love that for their home, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to live in that space.”
Because we own our own photography and marketing company, we get to travel a lot, so a lot of our rugs and paintings are from other countries. I value having things that are really unique pieces that aren’t super typical.
Did your creative background inform the way you designed the space?
I try to collect decor books, or I’ll see something in our travels or on Pinterest and think, I love how they put this together. Then I try to put my own spin on it within our home. I call it a disease because I’m constantly rearranging things. Friends will come over one week, and come back the next week and be like “What did you do?”
Where do you source your more unique-looking furniture and decor pieces?
All over! Our kitchen table was a wedding gift from one of our friends. I found the chairs on a walk one day; they were just sitting beside a dumpster in perfectly fine condition. We took them [home] and I repainted them.
I’m also really into raw, natural wood. The side tables in our bedroom are actually just wooden stumps that we found on the side of the road and sanded down.
What are your tips for antique and vintage shopping?
I look forward to going to the Round Top Antiques Fair in Texas every single year. I’m not a big spender, so I’ll try to find the cheapest thing I can or I’ll wait around for a birthday or Christmas to ask for something nicer. Be willing to search and not settle on the first thing that you see. You may see something that’s really pricey, but if you’re patient you might find something later that’s similar at half the price.
Also, some people might be opposed to this, but find something that’s a little bit messed up. For example, our coffee table has a little chip in the corner, but the [vendor] took almost $100 off.
Any red flags to watch out for?
I would be aware of trends. Botanical prints, Moroccan pillows and rugs… vendors are aware [that] they used to be a lot cheaper and since have gone up because people know they are in demand.
What’s your best antique find?
The coffee table—it’s from Round Top. I had been at Round Top one day and seen it, and I knew I was coming back to Round Top a few days later so I waited. I went back and ended up running into this lady who’s an old family friend and also an interior designer, and she told me she had just bought all those coffee tables.
Then the [vendor] told me that he had another one that was chipped, and I got that one. It’s a special piece I feel like I’ll keep for a long time. It’s marble, but it has these cool brass legs.
Can you tell us a bit about how you used texture in the space?
I did it through rugs and pillows we’ve gotten in Morocco or on Etsy from Turkey. [I like] turning rugs into wall hangings instead of just using them on the ground.
Also, paintings give more texture than just a flat framed photograph.
How do you keep clutter to such a minimum?
We have a basement which is really nice. And I wouldn’t say we’re minimalists by any means, but I do value purging and getting rid of things you don’t use anymore. If you haven’t used it in six months, you’re probably not going to use it in the next six months, and you should probably throw it away.
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