For photographer, therapist, and mama of four, Olivia Metzger, making a house a home is a form of creative expression. The 1924 brick colonial where she and her family reside is chock full of thoughtful details and calming textures inspired by the natural order of the outdoors. Beyond a natural knack for interiors, we’ve always been enamored by her authenticity and grace while documenting life as a mother to four boys under eight (an impressive feat!). Below, the creative behind the beloved IG account @livviejane takes us through her idyllic Illinois home and chronicles a day in the life of the Metzgers.
Tell us about your home. How long have you lived here + how did you know it was the one for your family?
Our house is a brick colonial that was built in 1924. It’s small for a family of six, but has so many charming and cozy features, beautiful natural light, and some amazing old trees on the property. When I walked through it for the first time I felt such good energy — like I could imagine my family growing up here. We’ve lived here since 2019 and have already made lots of updates to make it our own.
Could you tell us a little bit about your background? Have you always been drawn to interiors?
My Masters is in counseling psychology and I’m fortunate to practice part-time so that I can also be home raising my four boys. That being said, I’ve always had a creative side and a passion for aesthetics. No matter what I’m doing, I feel most satisfied when I also have my hands in something creative whether it’s through style, interiors, photography, DIYs around the house, or baking.
If you had to pick a theme for your interior aesthetic, what would they be and why?
I tend to favor uncluttered spaces, warm tones, and natural materials for our home. I love elements from so many different styles of design — Scandinavian simplicity, mid-century ingenuity, and the timeless functionality of Shaker pieces. Regardless of style, everything in the house was picked because it’s beautiful to me.
To you, what makes a house a home?
That cliche about the kitchen being the heart of the home is absolutely true. It’s where our day begins, where we hang out and talk, and of course where food is prepared and eaten. This house feels most like a home when everyone is gathered around the table in our kitchen sharing a meal.
“The overarching theme of our home is: chosen with intention.”
Could you share a few of your Schoolhouse favorites and why you selected them for the space?
As we transition to fall (and eventually winter) there is nothing like lamp light to set a cozy mood. I chose the Arbor Floor Lamp for our living room because of its minimal design and use of warm wood and natural linen. It fits perfectly beside the couch where I envision curling up with a good book after tucking my kids in bed. I also couldn’t resist the Studio Desk Lamp which adds a fun pop of color and retro vibe to the boys’ desk area where I know they’ll spend plenty of time thinking, creating, and problem-solving after school.
Do you have any design or life philosophies you abide by?
When it comes to design philosophy, I adhere to the William Morris adage: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” I’m especially drawn to things that are both: vintage baskets, wood handled cleaning brushes, linen tea towels, and other beautiful organizational tools that create calm and order. The idea of elevating everyday life is very appealing to me.
“I adhere to the William Morris adage, 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.'”
What does a day in the life of the Metzger family look like?
I really enjoy the weekend mornings with no obligations that start with coffee and pancakes and lead to playtime in our yard, a walk through the neighborhood, or a bike ride to the beach. My kids are age eight and under so getting outside is so important for all our well-being. Around here a typical day involves a lot of play and music and meals being prepared — all with the sound of the washing machine humming in the background.
Often, the slow mundane moments are the most memorable. What are some ways you practice slowing down at home?
I couldn’t agree more. I live for the slow, mundane moments: my first sip of coffee in the morning, watching the leaves on our ash tree turn from green to vibrant red, and cuddling with the kids on the couch while a fire crackles in the fireplace. I think the key to slowing down is being present, putting away devices and to-do lists, taking some deep breaths, and purposely noticing the little details unfolding all around you.
This season, we’ve been talking a lot about returning to routine, past hobbies, and things that bring us joy. How have you been staying connected to your creative side these days?
I feel most connected to myself and my creative side when I carve out time for daily meditation. It’s a practice I’ve developed over the years that helps me create headspace and tune in to myself and the world around me with more care and intention.
I also draw a lot of inspiration from changing seasons. I love routines that are connected to the natural world and the seasons provide a perfect rhythm to the year. This fall I’m looking forward to our annual apple orchard trip, collecting leaves around the neighborhood, lots of baking projects, and the fun that goes into Halloween.
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