Last week I mentioned a new addition to Swoon … but today I would like to formally introduce you to Kristy Sweeney and give you a peak inside her fabulous home which she completely renovated in just 8 weeks. I am so happy to partner up with this sweet, talented and funny lady, and by joining forces we are excited to be able to take on even more and bigger projects here at Swoon Interiors, Inc.!
First, I’ll let Kristy tell you a little bit about herself …
It’s amazing how sometimes life’s little unexpected detours can end up taking you down a road and into a life that you might not have ever known otherwise– a blessing of some sort. This is exactly how this love of mine – home decorating – got its wings to become not just a passion but now a newfound career that makes me swoon!
So what’s my story … well life currently finds me nestled up with my two sweet babies in a quaint little 1940’s Cape Cod … the end (for now at least) of the long road show I’d been on. But where did it all begin … and how did this intense desire to create, compliment & transform begin you ask?
Let me first say that I credit loving The Hunt (something I’ll refer to often) from having grown up in a small town in central Illinois from very humble beginnings … to be exact my first home was a trailer – just my sweet momma and me. Spending most of my childhood in IL, but encompassing many moves, set the stage for the “road show” I was about to go on during my adult life. It was then that my true love for decorating really began to blossom! After leaving the country for “the big city” at 17 – I found myself in my 1st place … a“ Jr. 1 Bdrm” – “Jr.” being the key word here. I could literally lay in my “bedroom” and touch all four walls – but it was mine and it was home! I was proud of this tiny place and swiftly ransacked Target and Bed Bath & Beyond trying to make it as sweet and homey as any “Jr. 1 Bdrm” could be! After all – it’s all about the heart you put into it!
After some time – my life was transitioning and I was moving out of IL. Here we go! Our first little house was my 1st real “project” … a 1920’s colonial located in historic Morriston, NJ where we were literally butt to butt in the kitchen – the charm was undeniable but it was definitely in need of some TLC – and so began the transformation. It was so exciting seeing the new kitchen & one and only bathroom take shape. Updating while staying with the integrity of the original home was the challenge – something I was excited to take on! About the time that this 1st project was almost completed – it was time to move again! But soon we were off to sunny
and into the “typical FL spec house with a pool”. This was a definite change but an exciting challenge! From choosing the maple flooring & cabinets, desert gold granite, oil rubbed bronze fixtures, warm paint colors to name a few… having this blank canvas to work with was like sculpting a piece of art! But soon enough … we were off to SoCal … now this sounds like a plan!!! We bought a brand new – unfinished (yeah!) – Mediterranean style “front home” … just across PCH and a few blocks to the beach … this seemed like the perfect answer to moving to this gorgeous location … but par for the course – now life found us moving back to Chicago. It was bittersweet leaving the sunny CA lifestyle – but our daughter was a newborn and it was time to be back near family. Tampa, FL
This time we bought “the typical city house” – tall and deep with a bowling alley-like entry leading to the back of the house. Another fun “project” and being unfinished we could make most of the crucial design decisions! This time it was all about dark cherry cabinets, Baltic brown granite, ss appliances, seagrass wallpaper in the powder room, vessel sinks and a huge soaking tub in the master bath … maybe leaving SoCal wasn’t so bad after all! Ha! By this point we had bought & sold & stored furniture to accommodate each space – and now it was time to buy again. This was the first time that I was introduced to The Merchandise Mart … let me just say Baker and Holly Hunt and I were having a SERIOUS LOVE AFFAIR!!! It was then that I learned a very valuable lesson … purchasing those “key pieces” that would inevitably set us back a bit but be an investment and make us swoon and then bargain hunt for the other items that would complement them was the ticket! I love The Hunt! Don’t get me wrong – being able to walk in The Mart and custom design the most exquisite pieces everyone wishes for is something that gives me chill bumps to this day – but there’s also something very exhilarating about finding that perfect light fixture at Z Gallerie for $69 where at a lighting store the original would cost $3000.
So surely we’ve settled in now right? Really – who are you kidding! It’s time to make the move to THE BURBS!
was the next stop on this road show. How I loved transforming a “newly built to look old” brick traditional home into a very transitional space inside. At this point – it topped out as my largest project – and another bump up in space – a big bump – sooooo back to The Mart and The Hunt! Grey blues on the walls, espresso wood floors, a damask print wallpaper that I designed in the powder room, soft roman shades and plantation shutters complemented this space. I must say, however, that the black dining room was my favorite feature … before it was completed some questioned my crazy idea because this trend hadn’t yet hit the magazines– but alas – it turned out to be a hit! Definite swooning was going on during this house transformation! Hinsdale, IL
It was a couple of years later that the detour came into play. I found myself moving not once but twice in the next 8 months. Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun? Well actually it was … let me explain. It was at our
Hinsdale house that the buyer’s realtor asked “Who decorated this house” … and I simply smiled & replied “I did.” Like Amy – it gave me great pleasure to say this and be proud of the work I’d done. This lead to my first stint in actually working in the design world … I became her design consultant – helping her choose the finishes of the homes that she and her husband were building. I loved it – but could I really do this? I didn’t have a decorating/design degree but it was coming so naturally and now I was actually getting paid to do it. This was feeling right! So I moved us first into an apartment (of which – I know – maybe I shouldn’t have but I couldn’t help myself) I had them renovate before we moved in – knocking down walls, painting, new carpet, new appliances & light fixtures. It was so fun having tenants that had lived in the building for 20+ years say “Wow – it’s amazing what you did to this place!” Maybe I was onto something here?!? All the while – I was on THE SERIOUS HUNT for now yet another “project” – this time a much smaller project that would again be “my own” (of course now sharing it with my 2 sweet babies).
This search took some time … and some more time … and even more time … but I finally found it! Back to the simple life! No, it wasn’t a trailer … but it was the end of this long road show I’d been on … it was our home. This little home quickly became my BIGGEST “project” yet. The bones were great and much loved by previous owners … but I’ll admit – I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! Everything changed – knocking out walls to arch them, opening up ceilings, gutting the kitchen to transform it into a very transitional space with custom built 42” white cabinets and an island housing 4 barstools to create that easy access breakfast area, a designer pearl glass mosaic backsplash, crown molding, gutting the upstairs bathroom to now accommodate a soaking tub and shower and custom built utility cabinet, putting in a fireplace, ripping out – installing & staining wood flooring, painting everything inside and out, custom closets, new doors & hardware, a new fence outside – and the list goes on and on … and on! This was not just a “project” but a true love affair. After just 8 short weeks – we were moving in! I had made this sweet space into a place that my little ones now call home. Aaaaah!
I will say that had my life not taken me around the US and back – and had this little detour not come my way – I may not have ever had the courage to take this passion and love for transforming a house into a home to the next level. I have many people to thank for giving me that gentle nudge to make this a reality – from that 1st realtor who believed in me while not knowing me from Adam – to another realtor friend who at one point spent almost 2 hours convincing me to “just do it” … but I must give credit where serious credit is due – and that goes to my first client who was brought to me organically the day I threw a coffee at my house. She was the one walking around my home lending the sweetest compliments – and she took a leap of faith with me – a leap that I’d longed for but was hesitant to take – so for that I’m very grateful to her. She said that she’d call me … so when the phone rang later that day it was game on! No turning back. The initial project was to help her choose pendants for her kitchen bar and window treatments for her front windows … well within a matter of weeks her entire main floor was transformed – complete repurpose of her current furniture, walls re-painted, custom rugs, some new furniture and new window treatments in every room – etc. etc. etc. Needless to say – I am enormously grateful for her faith in me and at times her patience as we made it all happen together.
From there things have grown … and grown quickly! It was shortly after that that I met Amy. And here we are … two moms with two kids trying to fill up their creative bucket – while also turning this passion into an actual business. Could this be? Thankfully – yes. She also took that leap of faith with me and I’m so thankful! Together we feel that we will offer a much more full service business for our clients.
I am settled – I am now at home – not only in this little abode we love so much – but in my life and now with this business. I wake up knowing this was the road I was supposed to have taken – and I’m grateful to be on it! Yes – I have a lot still to learn but with the help of many amazing people in my life that believe in me, nights perusing every design magazine & website known to man and some of the most fantastic contractors that the Chicagoland area has to offer– life is good – very good!
I hope this gives you a little peek into my world … now I hope you’ll let me take a little peek into yours. Together we can take your already beautiful house and turn it into the swoon worthy home that you too have always been dreaming of! Hope to see you soon!
And now for a look inside Kristy’s lovely home …
As you can see, Kristy has a great, sophisticated sense of style. Do you have project you’d like Kristy and I to help you with? We are ready whenever you are!