Before & After: “MOHO” Style in a Colorful Family Home

Before & After: “MOHO” Style in a Colorful Family Home

“I call my style MOHO,” says Kari Firak, a writer, social media manager, photographer, stylist, and blogger. “Modern boho – like equal parts Stevie Nicks and Devo.” She hates clutter, but at the same time, wants her home to feel lived-in and loved. “I’m talking white walls filled with vintage artwork. IKEA furniture on Moroccan rugs. There’s a fine line between mid-century and middle-aged cat lady, and I want to walk that line,” she jokes. Alongside husband John (“With his last name making mine into a palindrome, we knew it was fate!”), a photography teacher, and their small kids Max and Lola, Kari spruced up their 1,700-square-foot, 1910 Victorian in Crystal Lake, IL with stylish and functional solutions. Though she loves color, Kari “has a thing” for white walls. “It always feels crisp and clean to me, refreshing,” she offers. “It also opens up the small rooms we are working with, making them feel larger. White walls create a blank canvas; I can go as crazy as I want with everything else in the room.”


Before she even began working on it, the house had good bones with its original wainscoting and crown moldings. The biggest adjustment was made to the living room. The previous owners used half of the long space as a living room, and the other part as a sitting room. “We just aren’t formal enough to have a separate dining room,” Kari explains. “With small children, and since I work from home, it made more sense to make the formal dining room into an office and playroom.” They then turned the other portion of the living room into the perfect family table spot around which to share meals. New ceiling light locations and fixtures were added to made the space adaptable to different purposes. “A combined living room/dining room makes entertaining more friendly, and the office/playroom gets much, much more use than if we had left it as a formal dining room,” Kari says. In the laundry room, oak cabinets and countertops surrounded the old washer and dryer. Their bulk filled so much of the tiny area that the homeowners removed them immediately after moving in. Custom shelves feel airier, and provide the open type of storage the couple prefers. Though there are still projects left to complete, Kari appreciates a home that is always in need of a little improvement. “It keeps things interesting!” –Annie


Photography by Kari Firak



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