Sara’s home is gorgeous and charming, curated and stylish. Best part? She’s a big DIYer and has done a lot of the work with her handy husband, Steve. They live in a little town outside of Indianapolis, and their home is full of traditional pieces with modern finishes, and gorgeous colors throughout. Sara is also an entrepreneur, a blogger and a former greeting card designer. Her positive attitude and her welcoming digs are going to make you want to pick out some DIY projects to tackle in your own home. Please say hello to Sara!
My husband (Steve) and I met here in Indiana at Anderson University where we attended as undergrads. We were both Marketing majors (I also doubled majored in Art & Design), and we met in our “Principals of Selling” class. We saved our textbook from that class and have it in our library — obviously it was the most rewarding class either of us has ever taken! We were married soon after graduation, and Steve went on to law school while I worked at a greeting card company as an art director.
After law school, we bought our first home in the suburbs of Indianapolis and brought all three babies home to that house. We loved our neighbors and it was the perfect place to raise our young kids. However, as they started getting a little older, we wanted more space and more land. The area where we were living was growing like crazy, and we were worried about how large the schools were becoming.
We moved to our current home a little over 4 years ago after living in the suburbs for almost a decade. My husband took a job outside of Indianapolis, so we knew we wanted to move closer to his job. We landed on the little town we’re in now because it was closer to Steve’s job, the schools were good, we could still attend our church and we could get SO much more home for our money.
We live in a small town northeast of Indianapolis called Pendleton. Since I grew up in a small town in southern Illinois, the last thing I ever wanted was to move back to a small town. Now, from my perspective as a mom, I realize how amazing small towns are. We love the sense of community. You absolutely cannot go anywhere without running into someone you know — but it’s nice. We celebrate everything in Pendleton, and there’s a parade almost every other weekend during the warmer months.
They’ve just recently made the interstate three lanes to our little town’s exit, so unfortunately I know it’s a matter of time before we’re discovered. However, for now, I love our small town life.
When we looked at our home, I saw it for what it could be. At the time, it was being lived in by a single dad and his three kids and had been on the market for awhile. It originally had a pool table in the dining room and the home really hadn’t been updated since it was built. The outside is what I absolutely fell head over heels for. It’s a French chateau style – sophisticated, with painted brick. I loved how timeless it looked. Unfortunately it was the only home I wanted in the area, and my husband still teases me today that we lost all bargaining power because I was too in love.
We’ve done a ton of remodeling. Some of it was a result of big-time home issues and the other was a result of partnerships thanks to my blog. The first major remodel was our master bath. When we first moved in, we knew there was a huge leak in the shower. In fact, our inspector warned us the shower wasn’t useable. But we knew we’d rather wait to fix the leak until we could do the complete remodel. Turns out, it was over three years later that the remodel actually happened.
Before we even thought about remodeling the bath, we had to tackle some of the less visual projects — fix the roof, put in a new a/c and furnace, replace the water heater, replace our pool liner and buy a pool heater. Thankfully we did eventually get to the master bath remodel, and we love it. We hired everything out, so it was done in a little over a month. Although I didn’t love the workers walking through our bedroom all day long, it was worth it.
Our kitchen was the other room in the house we dreamed about remodeling. The layout was terrible, and we wanted to open the space more. Last summer at Haven Conference (a DIY home décor blogger conference), I pitched my kitchen remodel to The Home Depot. I won, and as a result we were able to remodel our kitchen.
Part of the pitch was that my husband and I would DIY the kitchen. What I didn’t tell The Home Depot was that we had never done a DIY project of this size. We had built some wall treatments and small shelving projects, but we definitely didn’t know how to remodel a kitchen.
We agreed to a 9-week timeline (which looking back was crazy), and we got to work. We called a bunch of friends to helps us demo a kitchen, and a few hours later I was completely panicked as I looked at our demolished space. We had already reached our first unexpected issue in the first two hours: There was a water line behind the wall we wanted to tear down.
We didn’t have the budget or time to deal with moving the water lines, so we ended up building the wall back (but only made it half as long).
Frankly, I’m surprised my husband and I are still together after that project. We spent late nights and weekends working on that remodel. It was absolutely exhausting, but it is so amazing to look at our kitchen and realize that WE built it!
I was created to create. It’s what makes me tick. As a little girl, I was always entering coloring contests and making homemade gifts for our family. I went into college with the intention of just earning a business degree, but felt like I was drowning. I added a second major in art and design and suddenly I felt like I was doing what I was made to do — creating!
After college, I loved working for the greeting card company, but quit my job to stay at home with our firstborn. I was absolutely miserable those first few years. I completely lost myself — which I now know is not unusual for new moms. However, once I began using our home as my canvas, I came alive again.
When my youngest was two, I created Sincerely, Sara D. It began as a custom invitation and card company, but I realized I love decorating and sharing DIY tutorials more than creating stationary. So, my DIY home décor blog, also called Sincerely, Sara D. was born.ƒ
I wish someone had told me to be confident in my abilities as a designer, and I wish I had realized it’s okay if not everyone loves my style. When we were selling our first home, it was a roller coaster ride. We had three offers that fell through and close to 100 showings. Although I received so much amazing feedback, all I could remember were the few mean comments.
I had only been blogging for about a year when we sold our home — I made some crazy décor decisions and was still searching to find my design style. However, I shared my blog with the buyers at closing and a few months later heard they had started their own blog where they were not so kind about my décor projects and choices.
My heart was crushed and I was ready to quit my blog. Luckily my husband encouraged me to not quit, and I’m so thankful I kept going. (Happily, their blog fizzled out pretty quickly.)
I believe my mom superpower is creating a pretty home — both with décor and by keeping it clean and organized. I can’t rest until the home is picked up.
Now that I think about it, I’m not sure it’s really a mom superpower, because my kids have to deal with my need for cleanliness and organization. When they were younger, I would have to work really hard to allow them to be creative. I would only allow myself to pick up before naptime and bedtime — which was SO hard for me!
I am a terrible cook, so I hope my kids appreciate a pretty home and all the effort it requires.
I hope my kids look back on their childhood and have happy memories. We entertain a lot and want our home to be open and inviting for our guests. I hope my kids remember how much we value our family and friendships. I do worry that my kids will only remember me working. They see me building and painting and assume most moms do that.
I hope they see me working hard, but I do worry I don’t take enough time to just be. I’m not one to sit and watch tv with them and I really don’t love games. I worry I get too wrapped up in accomplishing something. I can’t handle a pile of laundry or a messy kitchen.
My absolute favorite things about living with kids is the laughter they fill our home with. I love their happy and carefree nature. They don’t worry about a to-do list. They just live for the moment.
Thank you Sara! There are so many lovely details in this home that it is hard to choose just one. But the color choices and the light fixtures throughout are spot on! So stylish and yet so classic and simple. I also love the dreamy library with a ladder for the book shelves.
When I read about Sara’s path from graphic designer to stay-at-home-mom to entrepreneur stationary maker to DIY blogger and designer, it made me wonder: When you achieve a goal, do you ever find it hard to change directions and focus on something else? Like you think: But this is what I wanted for so long, I need to stick with it a bit. Even though once you achieved the goal, you realized maybe it’s not exactly what you wanted? It can take real guts to change and modify your dreams into something different and bigger, but I love when people are brave enough to do it.
Are there goals you have worked towards that once you achieved them, you no longer wanted them? Do you have trouble letting things go and moving on to the next set of goals? Are you the kind of person who can change directions midstream, or do you like to sit with things a while before you change and evolve?
LIVING WITH KIDS SOURCES
Sara’s gorgeous kitchen cabinets came ready to assemble in that amazing color
Living Room Rug
Dreamy Master Bathtub
Photos credit for many of the photos pictured here: Carpenter Photo. See more of Sara’s beautiful work on her website or on Instagram. Living With Kids is edited by Josh Bingham — you can follow him on Instagram. Would you like to share your home in our Living With Kids series? It’s lots of fun, I promise! (And we are always looking for more diversity in the families we feature here. Single parents, non-traditional parents, families of color, LGBT parents, multi-generational families. Reach out! We’d love to hear your stories!!) Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.