There's a reason why so many have turned to Dani Colding, the creative behind @thecoldcraftsman for inspiration. A blogger, DIY expert, and mother of three, Dani documents life with her family with grace and refreshing honesty.
Full of character and playful personality, the Colding family's charming 1940s brick bungalow achieves that coveted balance between luxurious and lived-in. Finding ourselves enamored by her dreamy dwelling, we caught up with Dani to chat through her creative approach and Schoolhouse favorites.
Tell us about your home. How long have you lived here?
My family and I reside in an historic area of Jacksonville, Florida, where the majority of the homes were built between the 1910s to the 1950s. We have lived in our 1941 brick bungalow for three years.
Like most large cities, Jacksonville real estate market was booming after the 2020 pandemic began. In this neighborhood, homes were under contract in less than a week, but this home needed a ton of major updates, so it had been sitting for a little longer.
How did you know this home was the one for your family? Were there any design details that stood out to you?
I was instantly drawn to the high, wood-paneled ceilings in the living room and the vintage blue and white check tile in the sunroom. These features paid homage to the character of the neighborhood, while making the space feel slightly larger than the actual square footage (1,500 sq ft).
My husband is also extremely handy, so I was the dreamer in this home deal—instantly thinking about all we could do to make it our own...the rest is history!
"Our home is filled with heirloom, vintage, and thrifted pieces, with a few modern details throughout."
Could you tell us a little bit about your background?
My educational background is in early developmental psychology. After graduating with my Masters's degree, I worked in the field for a few years. Eventually, I transitioned to being a stay-at-home mom, where I enjoyed the art of homemaking.
Have you always been drawn to interior design?
There's a part of me that has always been drawn to the industry, as my family is in real estate. My uncle’s company, where my mother and father work, exclusively lists million-dollar homes! I grew up visiting these estates just to enjoy the elaborate finishes, lavish details, and unmatched views. I know this subconsciously inspired my love for homes, interiors, and design.
To you, what makes a house a home?
My family is simply the best part of my home! It would be a quiet and boring place without them! I have an almost 7-year-old son, a 5-year-old daughter, and a 22-month son. Aside from their shenanigans scattered throughout the house, a welcoming and functional space is at the top of my priority list.
We love to entertain and usually host at least one family or friend each week for dinner or cocktails. Our home may be on the smaller side, but I'm a firm believer that a good layout and mindful use of space can go a long way.
"I'm a firm believer that a good layout and mindful use of space can go a long way."
How did you balance function and form in your current home layout?
We have tons of seating; a large sectional in the living room, bar stools at the kitchen peninsula, a dining table that can fit eight, and a sunroom that can seat up to eight people. In each room, we're mindful of storage—whether it's baskets, peg racks, or drawers, they're all filled with toys, craft supplies, games, puzzles, and clothing!
You have tackled some amazing DIY projects and crafts on your IG! What have been some of your favorite projects?
Thank you for those kind words! I love creating with my hands and getting my children involved. We love to bake and make little cards and gifts for our friends—a good holiday craft is our jam!
My favorite projects usually include collecting elements from nature to turn into art. For instance, painting rocks, creating a paper garden with flowers, or transforming the kid's room into a U-Pick strawberry farm or pumpkin patch!
Do you have any design tips to share?
It was important for me to create a home that met our needs and complemented the era of this 1941 home. One of my favorite tricks (living with three young kids) is to have a generously sized basket by the front door for hiding and storing their shoes.
I keep the kid's socks in a console by the entryway so they can make a quick(ish) exit out the door! Anyone with children knows it's an experience to leave the house on time...
Last but not least, could you share a few of your Schoolhouse favorites and why you selected them for the space?
The TON 33 Bentwood Caned Armchair in Persimmon: this modern chair is an ode to a timeless piece—the craftsmanship is exquisite and the pop of color is perfect for brightening any room!
The Stillwater Floral Quilt: I have been slowly adding details to complete our primary bedroom for the last year. I wanted to elevate our bedding and this quilt is truly unique. It's heirloom-quality with a classic floral pattern!
The Linen Check Pillow: I have had this pillow for years (a Schoolhouse staple, in my opinion), and I would buy it a thousand times over! Something about the contrast of colors used makes it a must-have. It's simply beautiful and has held up so well!
The Abrams Sconce 2.25 with the Straight Bell Shades: I dreamed up my entire bathroom renovation around these lights and our hand-painted sink. These lights are showstoppers. They are truly elegant and made with so much attention to detail!
Shop the Space
Photos by Sindy Gonzalez