If you’re a fan of interiors, chances are you’re already familiar with artist, DIY expert, and mama of three Leah Faye Gaeddert—the creative behind the interior account of the same name.
Inside her magical midwest home, Leah blends her love of traditional design with playful whimsy to create a home that is both beautiful and functional. The perfect mix of old and new, every detail has been carefully curated to form a thoughtful and inspiring space full of winsome design details. Below, we asked Leah to give us a glimpse into her creative process and chat through her Schoolhouse favorites.
Tell us about your home. How long have you lived here and who do you share the space with?
We moved into our current home in the Summer of 2021. Our family of five was living in an 800-square-foot house, and while it was cozy, we kept waiting for the perfect home to pop up in our neighborhood.
Our house is on a quiet cul-de-sac in a small town (right between a retirement community and acres of farmland). We have a lot of adorable, friendly older neighbors who love our kids, and we have access to beautiful open fields with amazing sunsets.
How did you know this home was the one for your family? Were there any design details that stood out to you?
We almost didn't look at this house! The listing didn't quite do it justice. I had also always dreamed of living in an older home with lots of character, and this house was built in the 90's (it seemed pretty plain in the photos). I reluctantly ended up going to the open house and immediately had that gut feeling everyone talks about. With a little imagination + some renovation, I felt like it would be the perfect space for us to move into as our kids grew older.
From a design standpoint, the space doesn’t have the character I wanted, but it does feel very modern while still having traditional details and in a way that feels very much our style. Plus, as an artist, I loved that this home felt like a blank slate!
“I felt like it would be the perfect space for us to move into as our kids grew older....as an artist, I loved that this home felt like a blank slate!”
Could you tell us a little bit about your background?
I went to a small liberal arts college where I was an art major with an emphasis on ceramics and education. My husband and I met while we were attending college and got married shortly after out on the Kansas Prairie. We have three kids; Emmet, Henry, and Eleanor, and a dog named Moose!
I taught elementary and middle school art for three years and eventually started my own small illustration business on the side. Sometime during that time I decided to separate my personal life and photos of our home & children from my business Instagram account and started posting on @leahfayegaeddert. While I don’t currently do illustrations or ceramics I would love to get back into it in the future!
If you had to describe your interior aesthetic in three words or less what would they be?
My sister once described it as “very Kansas,” and that made me laugh. If I had to use only three words, I would describe it as: vintage, modern, shaker.
To you, what makes a house a home?
I feel like a house becomes a home once it tells the story of the people who live inside it. When someone walking in can look around and know who lives there, what they like, what makes them feel comfortable. Once it is filled with family photos, art work, quilts passed down over the years, and carefully selected furniture pieces collected over time. That and, of course, once it is filled with love.
"I feel like a house becomes a home once it tells the story of the people who live inside it."
How did you balance function and form in your home while raising three kids?
To me, it's important that our kids feel comfortable in all of our living spaces—that each piece of furniture we pick or project we take on works for us and them too. Can they sit in a chair without it tipping? Can they reach the hook for their backpack? If they touch the couch with Cheeto fingers will it be impossible to clean? I think it is possible to find pieces that function well for kids and also look beautiful too!
You have such an eye for color + pattern. How do you add fun moments to a room without “overdoing it?”
I tend to keep my walls and furniture more neutral, so I have more room to play with color in accessories! It’s fun to try out different pops of color in noncommittal ways to see what works together and feels right in our space. I also love to switch out shades seasonally. For example, during the holidays, I swap out quilts, and our home fills up with reds and greens. In the spring, we add more flower-inspired decor with yellows and greens. It’s fun to switch things up!
"I like to think that every piece in our home has a story—where we found it, how we made it, who made it for us, and what era it came from."
Do you have any design tips or philosophies you go by?
I try not to worry so much about tips or rules and try to go more on what we love and what feels right in our space. I like to think that every piece in our home has a story—where we found it, how we made it, who made it for us, and what era it came from. It makes for a more eclectic feel, but keeping colors and wood tones at least semi-consistent helps pull it all together!
Could you share a little bit more about the dollhouses on your IG feed? When did your love for them begin?
Renovating an old dollhouse has always been a dream of mine. I found our pink dollhouse on Facebook Marketplace a few months before my daughter’s second birthday. It felt like the perfect excuse to start!
My husband’s aunt picked it up for me, and I started buying miniatures and fixing it up shortly after. It was finished on the inside, so I mostly changed a few paint colors and added some wallpaper here and there.
I had absolutely no intention of doing another one after finishing our pink house, but then this giant blue dollhouse popped up for sale, and I fell in love with it. The inside was completely unfinished, so I got to start from scratch! I added as much character as possible and had so much fun (editor's note: we were so enamored, we asked her to share more images for a miniature home tour—coming soon!).
Inside Leah's Dollhouse:
Please tell us more about your wallpaper! What inspired you to hand paint the design?
When we first purchased our house, the budget for projects was pretty tight, but our daughter’s room had this large blank wall that just needed something special. My mom purchased the paint for me (to paint the wall as a birthday present for Eleanor), and I got started!
I added a coat of green and painted daisies first (they were the first seeds I sprinkled in our new yard). I’ve been adding new sets of flowers little by little over the past two years. What started as a budget-friendly project turned into a mural with so much meaning that I hope she enjoys it for years to come.
Last but not least, could you share a few of your Schoolhouse favorites and why you selected them for the space?
I go through the website and catalogs often and drool over everything in them. Every item you carry is so thoughtfully made and selected. Plus, the colors are incredible! I’m especially in love with the Stillwater Floral Quilt—it has to be an all time favorite of mine.
I love a good two toned quilt, but the floral pattern and symmetry in this particular design make it so special. I need it in every color. We also added the Union Pendant and Traditional Schoolhouse Shade over our dining room table. I love that it adds that vintage schoolhouse touch in such a beautiful way and centers the focus in that room right above the dining room table, where we spend time together everyday.
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