Design + Decor Home

A Storybook Home to Let Imaginations Run Wild

August 6, 2019

The Schneiders’ Clarkston home spurs creativity, imagination and play for their three young kids.

By Susan Peck

Photography Sarah Schneider

Power couple James and Sarah Schneider give us modern family goals, with their Clarkston designer kid-centric home that doesn’t forgo personal style.

An idyllic place to raise their three young children, the 6,900-square-foot Cotswold storybook-style, five-bedroom, six-bathroom home sits on an expansive meadow that allows for fishing in the pond, playing a pickup hockey game, exploring and running free. These are the kinds of childhood pastimes the Schneiders say they dreamed of for their two daughters Willa, 11, and Tallulah, 7, and son Peyton, 10.

“The interior of our home is completely open to the kids as well,” says Sarah Schneider, a blogger and social media influencer for retailers including Anthropologie, Nordstrom and Target. “Encouraging creativity and imagination is something we value, and the kids are free to express themselves through their art, sports and play.”   

Sarah Schneider's Clarkston home

After moving into the residence owned by builder Mike Lorimer of Lorimer Homes in 2012, Sarah — an art and design enthusiast — took on the task herself of modernizing their dream home. The transformation included lightening the dark woods, putting in Australian cypress hardwood floors throughout and carefully curating each room to reflect her sense of timeless, ethereal style. It’s her eclectic combination of the historical and contemporary that weaves an unforgettable Instagram worthy, warm and welcoming space for the family of five.

“My parents were both artists so I think that’s where I get my eye for design, textiles and color,” Schneider says. “If you were to label my interior design style I like to think it doesn’t fit neatly into any one category. It’s Moroccan inspired, with global elements layered over a foundation of contemporary textures in neutral palates of cream, nude and blush, and brighter accents in colors that I love. I wanted every room to flow from one to another, filled with meaningful pieces we’ve collected from family trips, experiences and my time spent living in California.”

Kids play room inspiration

Sarah Schneider's Clarkston home

Area rugs are very important to anchor and bring a room together so Schneider puts a lot of effort into finding something unique for every room. “I’m not afraid of light colored carpeting or furniture, even if you have young children,” she says. “Just make sure it’s durable fabric and then layer pieces with throws and pillows for added protection.” 

Art brightens every room of the home, and the children’s handmade paintings decorate hallways, bedrooms and the craft room. “We turned a remodeled room over the garage into their craft studio and playroom for all of us to make art projects, put up teepee tents, and just let imaginations run wild,” Schneider says. The Schneiders have a no — or more accurately low — screen rule, opting to have their kids spend time playing inside and outdoors, instead of engaging in video games.

Sarah Schneider's Clarkston home

The chef-style kitchen is the heart of the home — with professional Wolf appliances, plenty of workspace and granite countertops, you’ll often find the kids helping Schneider preparing breakfast or baking. “We gather as a family to eat at the island and hang out,” Schneider says. The kitchen also has a cozy sitting area for reading or studying, with a stone two-sided fireplace that is shared with the living room. 

Bedrooms all reflect the spirit of each child — Willa’s room has a wall filled with her favorite art and books, Tallulah’s room has two antique wrought-iron beds and a contemporary metallic flower wallpaper, and Peyton’s room has a more masculine feel with raw wood walls holding his favorite sports banners.

Kids bedroom inspiration

The family’s favorite space is the renovated carriage house turned guest retreat that includes a kitchenette. “The kids love to spend the night there, because it feels like a magical getaway,” Schneider says. Another gathering space is around the large stone fireplace outside, perfect for entertaining and eating outdoors. It flows from the lower level that includes a kitchen, bar, movie theater and game room. “I always wanted to be the home that all of the kids came to play and hang out, and we are that place, so it’s perfect.”

Bohemian decor inspiration

Sarah Schneider's Clarkston home

Another dream fulfilled, in 2017 the Schneiders renovated and opened The Fed restaurant in Clarkston, in a 100-year-old bank building on Main Street. Executive chef Jakobi Voorheis prepares a hyperlocal menu, and the vibe is an extension of their Clarkston home.

“I hope we can be an example of having a vibrant family with young kids, but not giving up your vision of style, or the life you’ve imagined,” Schneider says. “You have to take a risk to make your unique dreams happen — that’s what we hope to be teaching our children.” 

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Correction: An earlier version of this story credited the wrong photographer.

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