Date: November 2, 2018 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek |
A love of the outdoors and a desire for minimalist, uncluttered style led Lauren and Casey Cerrato to give this Craftsman cottage new life
“Organic modern.” That’s how At Home in Arkansas art director Lauren Cerrato describes her personal style and the vibe of the 1920s Hillcrest Craftsman cottage she shares with her husband, Casey, their pup, Hush, and the baby boy they’ll welcome this spring. However, this inspired-by-nature aesthetic is one she’s come to over time. “In our previous house, the walls were mint green and my office was yellow. It was all over the place; but I really like color. I remember talking about our dream house, and Casey would say, ‘Let’s just do gray and white and wood,’ and I would think, that sounds so boring and sad.”
As fate would have it, their “dream house” wasn’t too far in the future. In December 2016 they stumbled upon this home while visiting Casey’s brother and his family. “My brother-in-law and sister-in-law live right next door, so we knew about this house before it even went on the market. We liked that it was old and had character and charm and was a fixer-upper that we could get for a good price,” Lauren says.
Today, “boring and sad” are far from the terms used to describe the Cerratos’ abode. Their nearly yearlong renovation included a full kitchen remodel and the removal of several interior walls along with numerous cosmetic updates—much of which they accomplished with their own hands. Now, they are settling into a space that’s reflective of their love of nature—evidenced in elk sheds from their family trips to Colorado, deer mounts from Casey’s successful hunts, and wood pieces from a sawmill near Lauren’s hometown in Illinois. “My style has evolved, and I found a way to have warmth and color,” Lauren says, noting her use of muted tones throughout the home.
Aside from incorporating their love of the outdoors into the design, it was also important to the Cerratos to honor the soul of the house. The previous homeowner had lived there for 66 years, and while they were never able to meet her, they felt a strong tie to her and her family. “The previous owner’s children were very attached to this house, and we got to know them well. We were honored that they entrusted us with it,” Lauren says. To this end, they’ve incorporated subtle touches as a nod to them. For example, the Cerratos kept the trim, beams, and doors in the living room the same black hue; the light over the desk in the home office and the wooden box-turned-wall-art over the bar cart were relics they discovered in the backyard shed.
“The hardest part of the entire renovation was getting the nerve to go for it,” Casey says. “Once we did, it was full of ups and downs but was totally worth it in the end. It was fun, rewarding, and we learned a ton.”
“In our relationship, I’m the dreamer and he’s the realist, and that’s why we work great together,” Lauren says. “I push him out of his comfort zone at times and he reels me in when I need it. I saw character and potential in the house and he saw dollar signs and a lot of work. We were both right,” Lauren says. “We are going to hire a contractor for the next one, though!” Casey laughs.
Deep Dark Style
“I went with dark green for our base cabinets,” Lauren says. “We were thinking about navy, and I feel like that is a more obvious choice, but I wanted to do the hunter green because it’s reflective of the outdoors and was just another nod to our inspiration from nature,” she adds. She also chose matte black fixtures throughout the room. “It was hard to decide what metal wouldn’t go out of style, so I did a lot of black with little bits of gold throughout. I felt like matte black was a safe neutral.”
“Everything came down to the studs in the kitchen,” Lauren says. The beam in the center of the room is where the previous kitchen ended and a catchall room and laundry space began. The couple kept this original marker in place both for style and as a reminder of the home’s character. The connected mudroom space (above) provides an entrance from the driveway.
Warm & Inviting
In the living room, the couple used concrete to cover imperfections in an existing fireplace. A pair of bookcases had flanked the fireplace during the previous owner’s tenure, and the Cerratos decided to recreate this look with their own aesthetic, having Anthony Billingsley of Iron Paws create a set from white oak and black iron. The coffee table is a slab from a sawmill near Lauren’s hometown that was raised on hairpin legs, while the antique rug was a find from Little Rock’s Kahler-Payne Antiques.
“My goal is a cozy, inviting home. The best compliment you can give me is to curl up and make yourself at home.”
—Lauren Cerrato, homeowner
Know the Cerratos and you’ll know they want you to feel both comfortable and relaxed in their home. To this point, Lauren wants everyone to have a chair. “Casey makes fun of me because I just keep buying seating, but I always think of people coming over, and I want them to have a place and feel comfortable and cozy,” she says. Lauren notes they could’ve had even more seats around the table but she opted for padded armchairs in hopes guests would feel at ease and want to linger over dinner.
A church pew—which they received after Casey’s grandmother fell in love with it, purchased it, and soon realized it was too long for her office—offers another character-filled seating option. The “Tempest Waves” wallpaper is meant to mimic water, while the light fixture echoes the influence of branches moving in different directions.
While raw materials and organic pieces are ever-present throughout the house, you’ll also see hints of mid-century design influencing the style. Case in point, the master bedroom’s chest, which, along with the dining table and sofa in the living room, was a find from Article. The deer print is from Casey’s childhood room. “I decided it was now old enough to be a cool vintage print for our room,” Lauren says.
The home’s previously white siding was painted navy and columns were replaced with cedar beams for warmth and contrast. “I believe the exterior was the biggest transformation from when we bought the house,” Casey says. “I like the rustic, Colorado feel it gives.”
Art Lauren Cerrato, Iloh Design Cabinetry R&R Custom Cabinets Countertops Akel’s Design Center and The Countertop Store Fabric Evo Business Environments Furniture (bookshelves) Iron Paws by Anthony Billingsley Outdoor furniture Antique Brick Outdoors Painting Alexander Painting & More Plantings Hocott’s Garden Center Printing (artwork) Arkansas Graphics Rugs Kahler-Payne Antiques and South Main Creative Tile The Tile Shop Upholstery Cynthia East Fabrics Wallpaper (installation) Mike Mace
Before & Afters
Casey holds a light found in the home’s back shed. Now it hangs over the desk in the home office.
Looking back from the kitchen to the dining room.
See more renovation progress photos on Lauren’s Instagram (@ilohdesign) using the hashtag #ilohreno.