Our next guest is one of our long-time friends, Mandi Johnson. Mandi is here to share her amazing living area with us! "Last winter, I was ecstatic to find out that I was pregnant! But I was a little less excited about the thought of having a baby and living in a third-floor-walkup. So my husband, Phil, and I thought, hey, why not look for a house to buy? We looked at a whopping 3 houses before we found this small 1950s ranch that was just what we needed and even priced lower than our original budget. I loved the brickwork throughout, the two fireplaces (there's one in the dining room too!), and efficient floor plan. But probably my favorite feature is the large living room. We love to entertain friends and family, so we were lucky to find a small ranch with a large space we could fill up with our furniture and friends." "I've collected a lot of fun art and furniture through the years of thrifting and antiquing, but my most treasured possession in our living room is the blue stool that has magazines stacked on it right now. When I was a youngster, I spent lots of time at my Grandma Graber's house, and whenever she cooked for me, I sat on my favorite blue stool at her kitchen's bar. When she hosted large gatherings of family and friends and put a leaf in the dining room table to fit everyone around it, I still sat at the bar on that blue stool next to my cousins. I thought it was so much fun, since we didn't have a bar in our kitchen at home. My mom told me years later that it freaked her out when I always sat on that stool—apparently I would tip it about and wasn't too careful as a little one. Now, probably thanks to me, it needs tightening up, but I just use it as a plant stand or end table. It's something that I treasure and will never get rid of.
The hutch behind our sofa is also a family treasure. It was rotting away in my great, great Grandma Graber's fruit cellar when my dad rescued it and restored it as a wedding gift to my mom. I was so excited when they gave it to me this year, and I am currently utilizing it to store my fabric stash. Hopefully I'll have a grandchild to pass it on to some day." "Everyone thinks we have the coolest couch in the world! And would you believe a friend actually gave it to us? Have a seat on its sagging cushions, and you'll believe it—it's prettier than it is comfortable. But I do love the character it adds to our space! Back at our apartment we had it arranged as a standard sofa, but in this space, we figured out through trial and error of room arrangements that a sectional was best for social interaction. We haven't saved up the pennies for a new sectional sofa yet, so we rearranged this two-piece sofa as a sectional for now. I don't love it this way, because I think it looks out of balance without a corner piece. And I really hate that the beautiful coffee table I made is hidden. But we do what we can, and since debt-free living is important to us, we'll probably live with this sofa for a couple more years before we can get a new one and put the coffee table in the front so we can finally prop up our feet again." "Phil and I have lived in this house for almost exactly one year and one month. We're just now starting to figure out how we want to utilize the space, and have compiled a list of things we'd like to buy and changes we'd like to make. Since, as I mentioned before, we're doing it all debt-free, it's going to be quite some time before we're able to do everything we want. But the next project will probably involve changing up the flooring. I don't mind the terrazzo. It's easy to clean, and in the summertime it cools down our non-air-conditioned home. But I can't stop envisioning little Lucy taking tumbles on the concrete when she's learning how to walk or falling off the sofa and cracking her head! Not good. We're considering sacrificing our dream for hardwood in exchange for more affordable berber carpet with padding for the kiddos. We'll see what we end up doing after we've saved enough money to realistically make a decision." Thank you so much, Mandi, for sharing your lovely home with us! You can see more of Mandi over at her blog Making Nice in the Midwest or her vintage shop Fine and Dandy. xo.