Creating a Cozy House

HGTV Magazine shows you how happy colors, plush fabrics, and crafty accents make this house feel like it's wrapped in a hug.
By: Megan Kaplan

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

The Coziest House on the Block

Winter in Minneapolis can get seriously cold and gray. But there's not a trace of drab inside the 1895 Tudor that Anna Lowenthal Walsh shares with her husband, Andy, a research scientist, and their three kids Ezra, 3; Isaac, 11; and Poppy, 7. When the family moved from the Bay Area nine years ago, the season's shorter days and harsher climate took some getting used to.

Bringing Warmth Inside

Anna is a stay-at-home mom who’s been a quilter and crafter since she was a kid. “We were craving hot California colors,” she says. So she filled the house with sunshiny hues, cheery patterns, and bright, homespun accessories. Every room has a warm and fuzzy vibe. “Sometimes friends come over, plop down on the sofa, and take a nap. I consider that a great compliment!”

Merry Mantel

Striped stockings and metal LOVE letters ($68, patinastores.com) deck the tile fireplace. The wall, up all year-round, was painted with handmade stencils, and the flowers were created from paper lunch bags!

Lacquered Bench

A burnt-orange antique bench originally intended for the mud room makes a cute coffee table. “We’re always rearranging, repainting, and repurposing pieces,” says Anna. “That’s what makes our house feel relaxed, not formal.”

Velvet Chair

Reupholstered in yellow velvet, this antique chair is supersoft.

Entryway

A red outdoor bench from an antiques shop, outfitted with throws and a pillow, is the first thing people see when they walk in the house. “You want to be able to sit down, take off your shoes, and drop your bag,” says Anna. The walls are painted buttery yellow (Blonde by Sherwin-Williams).

Yarn Wreaths

Colorful wreaths are made by wrapping yarn around wreath forms and tying off the ends. Felt flowers are attached with straight pins.

Family Room

“We’re in here with toys and board games all winter long,” says Anna. She covered the floor with durable red wool Flor tiles—so she can replace just one if an area gets stained. Anna made the circular-pattern quilt on the sofa from scraps of her daughter’s old dresses.

Family Photos

Smiley portraits make a space feel intimate. Anna used identical black IKEA frames in this grid-like arrangement.

Soft Accents

Toss a plush throw over a sofa arm for instant warmth. This ruffly one is from Macy’s. Anna sewed the XO pillow herself and balanced the patterned ones with a solid pillow from IKEA.

Kitchen

“When we moved in, I thought I would paint the maple cabinets, but then I decided I like the wood’s warmth,” says Anna. She pulled some of the doors off the upper cabinets and lined the insides with Orla Kiely wallpaper to make display spaces.

Fold-Down Counter

The hinged Corian top props up for extra prep space when the family is cooking. The counter-height chairs are from an unfinished-wood shop. Anna painted them Red Tomato by Sherwin-Williams. “Our kitchen is the busiest spot in the house,” says Anna. “I wanted it to be warm with whimsical touches.”

Dining Room

The table, a Craigslist find, was originally ivory. Anna painted it bright yellow (Sunflower by Benjamin Moore) and paired it with wood jurors’ chairs from a local antiques shop. The walls are rich brown (try Grounded by Sherwin-Williams) to help the double-height white wainscoting stand out.

Handmade Curtains

Instead of spending a lot on window treatments, Anna cut an Anthropologie shower curtain into two 30-inch-by-42-inch pieces, hemmed them, and then slipped rods through the tops. Voilà—cafe curtains!

Woven Rug

The round rag rug from Crate & Barrel picks up the table’s sunny yellow.

Dining Room Nook

A 5-foot-by-6-foot arched inset serves as a buffet area for drinks or treats. Anna added a sky blue desk from a local antiques shop. The matching stool is upholstered with a fun blue and green fabric (for a similar fabric, try fashionfabricsclub.com).

Message Board

Anna papered the nook with the same wallpaper she used in the kitchen cabinets, and leaves upbeat quotes on a wood-framed chalkboard that leans against the wall.

Crafts Room

Originally a sunroom, this windowed space is now the family’s crafts studio. Anna mixed apple green chairs from an antiques shop with a wood IKEA stool painted yellow (try Grapefruit by Olympic). Paper lanterns from Luna Bazaar are hung from clear fishing line.

Rustic Farm Table

“The kids are in here drawing and painting most days after school,” Anna says. Reclaimed floorboards make up this kids’ art table that she found at a shop in their old Bay Area neighborhood. For a similar look, try blueridgewoodworking.etsy.com.

Boy's Room

“Isaac says orange makes him feel happy,” says Anna, so the room’s designs started with tangerine walls (Serape by Sherwin-Williams). More citrusy hues—a lime green chair and vintage desk found curbside—give the room even more zest.

Low-Key Wall Art

Instead of a bulletin board, note cards and art are taped directly to the wall above Isaac’s bright yellow desk. An orange desk light from IKEA is mounted to the wall, and Anna painted the Pottery Barn shelf Gloss Apple Red by Rust-Oleum.

Girl’s Room

Anna chose a 3-foot-by-5-foot orange Pottery Barn rug to add color without covering too much of the maple floor, and she updated the vintage desk with white paint. Construction-paper-mounted art is taped to the wall.

Patchwork Print Bed

A quilt handmade by Anna makes the twin bed, found on Craigslist, feel sweet and snug.

Fun Decorations

Paper flowers from Luna Bazaar and a homemade strand of yarn hang above Poppy’s bed. The cardboard letters and the paper they’re covered with are from Paper Source.

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