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Step Inside a Perfectly Imperfect Home Full of Color & Life

Step Inside a Perfectly Imperfect Home Full of Color & Life

You know that feeling when you see a home and feel instantly inspired? That's how we felt the moment we laid eyes on Audrey Leary's (the creative behind @homerunballerina) sweet and colorful home, bursting with vibrancy, personality, and warmth. From the hand-painted walls and portraits of her children, to the oh-so-delightful laundry room that makes you feel as if you're stepping into a field of flowers, this stunning New England abode will have you thinking of all the ways you can incorporate color into your own space.

Below, we asked Audrey to share more about her favorite DIY projects, and chat through the Schoolhouse pieces she chose for her space. 


Living room full of brightly painted walls and accent pieces.

Kitchen wall with red radiator and black clock.

Tell us about your home. How long have you lived here? 

We moved in nearly nine years ago. We actually made an offer on the house a year earlier and it was turned down. I was heartbroken, but Sam is much more pragmatic (and resolute) so we kept looking for another year.


Portraits of children hanging over couch in living room.


How did you know this home was the one for your family? Were there any design details that stood out to you? 

We had been house hunting for well over a year, and we really wanted to find something close to the bakery we ran in town. We looked at SO many houses, but none of them seemed quite right for one reason or another. We live in New England, so there are lots of old houses with old house problems that seemed too big for us to tackle. This one was half a mile from our restaurant and the previous owner had already done a bunch of work so we wouldn’t have to, and I just fell in love with the stained glass windows, the built-ins, the yard. It had so many quirks and so much charm.


Floral wallpapered laundry room.

Brightly colored kids room with alphabet print on wall above bed.

Could you tell us a little bit about your background? 

I grew up certain that I would be some kind of designer (an architect, a graphic designer), then went to art school for one year and realized it would mean a life attached to a computer, and I dropped out. I ended up going to culinary school to become a pastry chef, and my husband and I run a small dinner restaurant near the Berkshires in Northwest Connecticut.


To you, what makes a house a home? 

Imperfection. I aspire to a perfectly clean, perfectly painted, perfectly designed home, but with two little kids and a crazy schedule, there are always half-drank cups of milk on the table and not-completed house projects going on, but it’s warm and colorful and feels like us. I also love painting portraits of the kids (they're all over the house) so it’s unmistakable who lives here!


Colorful entryway with DIY bench and hand painted walls.

Colorful living room with wallpapered walls, green trim, and an orange sofa.

How would you describe your home in three words?

Colorful, cheerful, warm.


What are some of your favorite DIY projects that you’ve completed in your space? 

Does it count if my dad did most of the work? My dad is an English professor but a self-taught carpenter and an amazing home DIY-er. He built our entryway bench and retiled our entry floor. I also love the hand-painted walls in our living room and guest bedroom.


Hand painted blue bedroom walls.

Do you have any design tips to share? 

Embrace color! To me, it’s the most cost-effective way to make a huge impact and make things that you might not love seem more intentional. I picked the wallpaper in our kitchen to compliment our cabinet and floor colors since we can’t change those (yet!). Choosing colors that complement furniture that you might have inherited or maybe can’t afford to replace just yet is a great way to change things up. Paint is relatively inexpensive, easy to do yourself, and if you want it to be, completely temporary.


Hand painted blue walls in bedroom.


Last but not least, could you share a few of your Schoolhouse favorites and why you selected them for the space? 

I love the Plaid Wool Rug in our TV room! There’s so much color and pattern going on in there and the neutral colors are really grounding and graphic.


Shop Plaid Wool Rug


Plaid wool rug in front of brightly painted living room hutch.


The Flip Clock is such a happy, quirky piece. I love it so much that we have two!


Shop Flip Clock


Bed with colorful bedding and hand-painted walls behind it.


Same goes for the Teig Lamp, it's such a great shape and I love the quality of light it gives off. I love how all of these pieces feel like they could be from the '50s or yesterday; just beautiful, timeless design.


Shop Teig Lamp


Wooden dresser in bedroom with lamp on top of it and a circle mirror above it.


The Linen Check Pillows are just the missing piece I was looking for on our living room couch. Bright and cheerful, they're really helping an old gray couch feel fresh and modern.


Shop Linen Check Pillow


Linen check pillows on a gray couch.

Colorful kitchen with red stool in front of sink.


Shop The Home


Photos by Audrey Leary

Step Inside This Vintage-Inspired Abode Full of Color, Life, and Warmth
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Step Inside This Vintage-Inspired Abode Full of Color, Life, and Warmth

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