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Step Inside a 100-Year-Old Colonial Home Full of Character + Color

Modern kitchen with pendant light.

Interiors are our passion, which is why we're always on the lookout for inspiring, yet real, lived-in spaces to feature. Last year, we ventured to the home of Dansk's VP of Creative, Elizabeth Spiridakis Olson, for her kitchen renovation reveal. And this week, Elizabeth was kind enough to give us a tour of the rest of her character-filled dwelling. Scroll below, to see how she transformed her 100-year-old colonial home into a colorful + pattern-filled space for their family of three. 


A beautiful wallpapered kitchen with a green wall sconce above a sitting bench.


Tell us about your home! How long have you lived here and how did you know it was the one for you?

I live in a hundred-year-old brick Colonial in South Orange, NJ, with my husband Preston, our 7-year-old son Zephyr, our dog Oscar and hamster Creamy. We moved here in 2016 from San Francisco (for my job) when Z was only 8-months old, so all of our house-hunting was done online.

We sent my sister and dad to preview homes and towns for us, and flew out one weekend to see a few homes in person. My sister already had a feeling I would love this house, and she was right. It ticked all our practical boxes (enough room for family to visit, home offices for Preston and me, new windows, central air) while being an older home with character, which was just as important to us.


"There’s an odd little coat closet built into the landing of the stairs that someone wallpapered in blue stripes sometime in the 70s, and I love it so much. As soon as I opened that door I said…this is our house."


colorful kitchen.

Wallpapered kitchen nook.

If you had to describe your interior style in three words, what would they be? 

Colorful, eclectic, lived-in.


What are some of your favorite design details of the house? 

All of the molding everywhere, the kooky coat closet on the stairs, the giant arch we had built between the dining room and the kitchen.

Dining room archway. Modern kitchen with red pendant light over sink.

What makes this house feel like home to you? 

There are a few pieces that have moved with me throughout multiple apartments and houses in my life (thrift store paintings from when I was in my early 20s, a huge wild silkscreen print I inherited from my grandmother, a bookshelf shaped like a dollhouse that we got at a flea market, to name a few)—having those things around me where I see them every day always makes a place feel like home to me. 


Which room is your favorite to spend time in?

I spend all my time in the kitchen or bedroom. Both rooms make me so happy for different reasons. My kitchen is very joyful to me—calm, organized, and full of great light. I sit on the bench for morning coffee, take a lot of meetings there, make dinner + tea and do all the things!


Cozy bedroom.

mix and match bedding.

You have such a knack for mixing colors + patterns. Could you tell us a little bit about your design approach?

I do a lot by instinct, but I seem to always gravitate towards the same colors and patterns. I don’t have a very systematic approach to be honest! I’m a bit of a collector. I buy what I like and add as I go!


"My design philosophy is, if you like it, it’s good."


Kid's room with lots of colorful patterns.


Last but not least, what are some of your Schoolhouse favorites?

Schoolhouse Utility Stool: I will rave about this until the end of time. It’s in my favorite shade of orange (which you will see a lot of in my home) and a multi-use stool for everyone in our family. Preston and I use it to reach the top shelves, and my son uses it as a seat or just to stand on to help me out in the kitchen. 


modern colorful kitchen.


Miller Utility CartThis cart is perfect for so many things, but I love it as the bar in our dining room. It fits everything you need to and more. Plus, its the perfect shade of green. 

Isaac Desk Lamp: As I have said, this color of orange is one of the signature hues in my house. I feel like it looks good paired with almost any other color. As soon as the sun goes down, I turn this lamp on, and it gives the room a cozy glow. 


Desk lamp on a bar cart.


Everyday Trays: I have so many of these trays. We use them in my house for everything—I organized all the bottles for the bar with all different sizes and colors, we use one to corral our dog’s food and water bowls, and I use a variety of sizes and colors for my son’s snacks (keeps the mess contained and makes it easy for him to carry back to the kitchen when he's done). 

Velvet + Wool Circle Pillows: They are so cute and look good in every room. I will probably order five more in all the colors!


Modern living room.

Shop Elizabeth's Picks


 Photography by Thomas Leonczik

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