Finding the perfect home can be a long and arduous process. But for a lucky few like Erin Sheehy, a dream home can fall quite literally into one’s lap. This Cincinnati-native and her husband, Henry, have shared this quaint 1916 craftsman home for just under 2 years. With its historic character and a prime location in the Oakley neighborhood of Cincinnati, they can still say they are just as in love as they were on day one. Perhaps most surprising about this dream circumstance, however, is that they were not avid house hunters at the time of buying their home—they weren’t even seriously looking! Instead, Erin stumbled upon the home’s listing while casually searching Zillow one day, a daily habit acquired while dreaming of one day abandoning the renter’s life to be a home-owner. When she spotted this charming, sun-drenched home that was the perfect size—around 1,000 square feet—and the right price, she knew it was time to finally take the plunge.
Erin is a 26 year-old creative working in communications and spends her weekends scouring Instagram and Pinterest to satiate her creative appetite. She considers the design of her home, like many of us do, as an ever-changing project. With no formal design background, Erin represents the majority of first-time homeowners who look to social media for inspiration in curating the perfect space. Erin’s favorite aspect of their tiny Craftsman happens to also be the most challenging part of designing it: its quirky old-world character. For anyone who’s ever lived in a pre-war space, it comes as no surprise that the home has warped wood floors and trim, uneven (and stubbornly thick) plaster walls and laughably few electrical outlets to work with. For Erin, this is a small price to pay for something truly unique.
Erin drew upon the two west elm pieces she previously owned, her dining table and sofa, to set the tone for the space: classic, clean, and timeless, with a hint of Mid-Century. “Overall,” she says, “I wanted to create a space that felt like home. I wanted it to be a space that we could walk into and feel comfortable, not focusing on making sure everything was perfect. While this space is certainly not complete, it’s our home now. And we are excited that this space will be the perfect place to start our family.” Take a tour of this homey, charming space and hear from Erin about what she loves most and what inspires her creative vision. Read on below!
Photography by Lauren Neal.
“My husband Henry and I purchased our first home together in December 2016 in the Oakley neighborhood of Cincinnati. Oakley is a vibrant neighborhood—just a few minutes away from the downtown area. It’s bustling with restaurants and shops (be sure to check out Oakley originals like Rooted Juicery and Kitchen and Sleepy Bee Cafe if you are ever in Cincinnati). We love exploring our neighborhood and city on the weekends, often spending our mornings running through the quiet streets of Hyde Park and Mariemont and frequenting our local farmer’s market.
“By day, I am a communication specialist for Luxottica Retail North America with the Sunglass Hut brand. I spend my day crafting communications for store associates and team members. Henry works for an economic development non-profit called Cintrifuse, which acts as a “catalyst” for tech-based startups and entrepreneurs in Greater Cincinnati.
“My passion definitely lies within the creative space and I spend countless hours surfing Instagram and Pinterest to gather inspiration for my home. With no formal design training or background, I enjoy following designers on social media to understand the process. I hope to one day be able to use my passion for interior design to invest in properties to flip to sell or rent.”
“After walking through this too-good-to-be-true craftsman in the perfect location—nestled between Hyde Park Square and Oakley Square—we decided to become homeowners.
“I was excited to finally have a space where I could dictate the design and bring my visions to life. My design aesthetic has always been about clean lines and minimal design, which I feel comes through in the design and decor of our home. I spent two years after college working for Madewell, a women’s clothing brand that focuses on timeless, effortless styling with vintage inspiration, which reflects my own personal style. I feel that my time with Madewell played a great part in my interest in interior design/styling. The overall vibe of the company seeped into my personal life—my home being no exception.
“I wanted to incorporate Mid-Century pieces, but didn’t want to take on the stress of finding authentic pieces that were expensive and/or needing extensive refinishing. Thus, the west elm Mid-Century Collection became my starting off point for the design and style of our home. We do have a couple of authentic Mid-Century pieces, such as our bar cabinet in our dining room, thanks to Hank’s dad who operates a Mid-Century restoration business, Mid-Century Modern Rescue, as his weekend hobby.”
“I wanted to design with a minimalist mindset, giving thought to every piece of furniture in our home. Most of the furniture in our home was purchased after moving in, allowing us to make design decisions that made sense for this space. One thing we needed to consider was the size of our home. With just barely over 1,000 sq. ft., I wanted to be sure I wasn’t buying furniture that would feel heavy and large, overwhelming the rooms. I wanted to keep the walls minimal as well, choosing art pieces and wall decor I feel makes sense for our space, a process that is still ongoing (because let’s be honest – it’s EXPENSIVE).
“When we bought our home the most areas in need of immediate attention were our fireplace and trim throughout the first floor. The fireplace was a dark wood with a brown, white, and blue mosaic tile. The very first thing we did was paint the trim white to brighten up the space and remove the tile from the fireplace, replacing it with a classic white subway tile. This alone made our (very small) living room feel much brighter and larger—it’s amazing what paint alone can do!
“Aside from paint and the fireplace renovation, we have yet to tackle larger design projects. Our goal in 2019 is to focus on updating our bathroom (I have my eye on converting the west elm Mid-Century 3-Drawer Dresser into a marble top vanity) as well as the exterior of our home. Later projects include our kitchen as well as finishing our basement.”
“My favorite thing about our home is how light and bright it is. We have two large southwestern-facing windows that catch sun from the sunrise to sunset and it fills our entire first floor with boundless energy and life.
“Painting the walls white upon moving in definitely helped, but our home also sits on a corner lot. Even the non-south facing windows are entirely unobstructed and the whole space usually glows brightly with the sun. We like to decorate with greenery, so having such a light-filled space allows for our house plants to thrive!”
“One of my favorite parts of this project was working closely with my friend and photographer, Lauren Neal. She’s been an inspiration not just for the way we photograph our home, but also the way I style small shoots in everyday life.
Even with a prompt as simple as a home photography shoot, Lauren was thoughtful and really brought our small (but vibrant!) space to life.”