Living With Kids: Saule Smariga

Just last week, we were lucky enough to tour Angelique’s happy home. Today, I’m thrilled to introduce the other half of the Silk & Burlap team, Saule Smariga. After a few really lovely email exchanges, I can honestly tell you that she’s as warm and as interesting as the home she shares with her husband and three young children. Enjoy the tour!

Q: The width of your home is 20 feet wide! Amazing. I do love seeing how you’ve overcome this little challenge. What’s your secret to making your spaces seem so airy?

A: Considering our last home was a 16-foot wide row home, this felt expansive to us! Trial and error has a lot to do with making the spaces work, but the abundance of windows and natural light along with the open floor plan, smaller scale furniture, and a lot of storage to hide clutter help make the house feel comfortable. This has by far been the most challenging feature in making our house into a home. People are always surprised when they see the inside of the house for the first time. It feels much bigger than they expected looking from the outside!

Q: How would you describe your style? Has it changed since you’ve added kids to the mix?

A: My style is always evolving, but the core of what I like remains the same: I like clean lines, organized spaces, pops of color, art, and comfortable rooms that are entirely kid-friendly. Although I have gained a better sense of what elements I should splurge on and what I can live without post-kids, it has been more of an awareness of what works for me AND our family.

My husband and I are always looking for ways to improve how we use every inch of our house, and that plays a big factor in our decision making. Marrying form with function has become something I have learned a lot about now that I have kids to consider. I pay a lot of attention to looking for elements I will want to keep forever — versus finding things that I will love for a season – that are also kid-friendly and allow us to live comfortably in our space.

Q: Your artwork is all so distinct and bold. What are your favorites, and what prompts you to buy a piece?

A: I have a lot of art that has been given to me or my children as gifts, and those are favorites because they are sentimental. That being said, I have never come across a piece of art I did not appreciate. As for the works I have purchased, I buy purely based on feeling; if a piece moves me, I buy it. I never consider where I will hang it or if it fits some “rule” of color or design. It is just an impulse. So if I love it and can afford it, I buy it.

Art is my jewelry. It is not something I will ever get rid of. I hope my children can someday adorn their homes with our art collection. I also love being able to frame special pieces my children create and love mixing that in with the rest of the collection in our home.

Q: What has been your favorite DIY project? Knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently?

A: Our counter-tops were probably the most significant DIY project we took on when we bought our house. It was a process, for sure, but a really affordable way to get a durable counter-top with a unique feel. The project cost us in total about $500, and they’ve worked wonderfully for the past nine years.


If I were to re-do my kitchen, I would consider concrete again, but I am not sure we have the energy to do them ourselves! I would probably find some concrete expert to form and finish them. I’d also consider other very kid-friendly counter-top options, some type of engineered stone that would be low maintenance. Marble is my dream material, but I cook all the time with my kids and I know its tendency to stain would make using the counters impractical.


Q: The open shelving in your kitchen looks gorgeous in photos…what about in real life? Are they hard to keep clean?

A: Good question!  Of course, the uppermost shelf has a tendency to collect the most dust. The lower shelves have the advantage of the upper shelves acting as “dust shelves.” For the most part, they stay fairly clean and provide an easy and organized place for a lot of our glassware. (Note: I am not the best duster, so take that with a grain of salt!)

Q: You’ve chosen paint colors that flow effortlessly, yet still look distinct in each room. What’s the trick?

A: If at first you don’t succeed…try, try again! And it helps to have a talented friend who gives brilliant advice. Angelique told me “If you would wear those colors together, then you can paint your walls those colors.”  This is a very wise analogy for a girl who understands fashion more than decorating.

Q: How much influence did your kids each have on their rooms? And what’s their favorite space in the house?

A: I took a poll at bedtime last night, and they each chimed in “my bedroom!” I anticipated they would say the kitchen since that is where we spend most of our time! My oldest children, Anton and Naomi, have been the most opinionated about color, layout, and accessories. I like them to each have a space in the house that reflects their personalities and ideas.


Q: You’re leaving a flea market in Paris; what have you bought?

A: Where do I start?! I’d buy some piece of vintage Chanel, a great piece of art, and any cool item from a french bakery or cafe to remind me of all of the delicious crepes I’d have been eating while fueling up for the flea market and to inspire me back home in my own kitchen!

Q: If you could trade one room with Angelique, which room would you steal?

A: I love her kitchen. It’s so open and inviting, and such a great gathering space. But I also adore her office; an organized, style-packed space to work in. Both inspiring!

——–

For the record, Angelique would trade for Saule’s great room! It’s a good thing they’re such good friends and business partners, so they can visit each others’ well-designed and charming homes any time they wish. Thanks so much, Saule, for sharing your home and your thoughtful insights on living with kids!

All photos by Leah Moss via Apartment Therapy. And remember: if you’d like to share your home with us in my Living With Kids series, drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you!

15 thoughts on “Living With Kids: Saule Smariga”

  1. Absolutely lovely…and I agree with her thoughts on artwork. I don’t have the “skills” to know how to properly arrange things. If I love it, and can afford it, I buy it. We also buy a piece for my son every year for his birthday.
    Best,
    Tina

  2. Great place!! I believe art is my jewelry too. I think the only way to make a home from any house is to put things together in a way that everyone living in it feels welcome. Kids should have space to play with each other, but to have their own world too. This home is a good example of that.

  3. Thanks all for the lovely comments.

    Rebecca, the paint color in the kitchen was a base paint color for a metallic paint from Benjamin Moore. It is base color PT210. I loved the basecoat, did not care for the metallic finish, so reverted back to the basecoat without the metallic finish! An accidental happy ending!

  4. Just lovely! I love your style and those pops of color, along with great artwork, make me happy just looking at the pictures! I especially love the chandeliers in the kitchen mixed w/ the industrial stainless cabinets and concrete countertops. Such a playful juxtaposition! Would you please share the grayish paint color that is in the great room?

  5. Now usually I feel like the houses look kid friendly. Not that this one doesn’t, it just has more of the magazine, less of the lived in feel. But a great staged picture can do that…

  6. Love the house tours on this blog!!

    I like the kitchen the best…the floor goes very nicely with the concrete counter-tops.

    I also really like the high backed chairs. I like the way they look, and how they feel when you sit down in them.

  7. HI Erin- Thanks for your positive feedback. It is nice to hear the perspective of those who don’t live in this space (it is easy to lose persepective when you get used to seeing the same thing every day!) The paint in the family room is Benjamin Moore Plymouth Rock (I highly recommend their Aura paint, worth every extra penny!)

    Thanks Gabrielle for featuring my home, although I think the last time it looked this clean was when these photos were originally taken! If I had any guts at all, I would send over a real time shot to prove it is truly lived in, WITH kids!!! I am really enjoying following your blog. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. That makes me laugh. Your lovely home normally looks like any other that is inhabited by a real family, I’m sure, but who wouldn’t perfectly stage it before a photo shoot for thousands?! Thanks for the paint reference!

  8. Hi there, I have followed your blog for a few years now and about a year ago when you prepared your family for your expat experience I held my breath fir you and asked myself why would anyone attempt such a thing. Now I find myself asking how? We begun exploring a move to Switzerland about a week ago through my husbands company and it has snowballed. Looks like I have 8 weeks to orchestrate the seemingly impossible. I know you are very busy and cannot respond to all your comments, but any info or advice on the process would be soooo appreciated. I have a 3 year old and a 18 month old. My biggest questions are on what to take and what to leave behind. And how to get it there. Or move will, like yours be temporary, but for a few years. Thanks so much. If you are able you can email me at amymarie.carpenter@gmail.com

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