Stylist Meta Coleman lives with her artist husband, Nick, and two children in Provo, Utah. When we saw photos of their home, our jaws dropped. It’s such a playful, creative space. Here’s a peek inside…
On creating a gallery wall: When making a gallery wall, usually I’ll hang the biggest piece first, then work around it. When you do things, you want your eye to kind of travel in a circular motion. You don’t want it to get stuck in one place. So I’ll place the heaviest piece a little to one side, then try to balance the smaller pieces around it.
On saving the walls: As a stylist, I’ve discovered that Command velcro strips work really well. If you’re hanging something in a home, you just press it onto the back, and then you can lift it up and position it. It’s so easy.
Console table: The Green Aunt in Salt Lake City. Art: Bird painting, John Singer Sargent study of reclining woman and portrait of Maja by Nicholas Coleman; Yellowstone painting and Moroccan interior with blue door by Michael Coleman; portrait of Henrik by Jeremy Lipking; Madonna and child by Brian Kershisnik. Planters: Tomorrow’s House in Salt Lake City. Light fixture (above piano): One forty three.
On building your dream home: We’ve been living in this house a little over ten years. We built it when we were pretty young, so it was a steep learning curve. We always joke that if you can survive building a house together, your marriage is sound!
Blue sofa: One Kings Lane. Patterned pillows: Stig Lindberg fabric made into cushions. Black and white upholstered chair: vintage, upholstered with Pendleton fabric. Rugs: vintage. Woven coffee table: The Green Ant in Salt Lake City.
On marrying tastes: We’ve been married for twelve years. When my husband and I first met, our tastes were very different. I used to be into things that were very modern or very minimal, while his was more classic, but now I find I like things that are more rustic and a little beat up. Maybe because I’m a little more beat up! Now we love all different styles; I try to find the beauty in everything.
On adding colorful touches: Between the kitchen and the living room, there is this wall that supports the staircase. For awhile, it was a plain white wall, but since I look at it all the time — walking from one room to another — I wanted it to be playful and colorful.
Patterned wallpaper: Josef Frank Wallpaper from Svenskt Tenn.
On entertaining: It’s tricky finding the time for get-togethers with life and kids, but it’s always worth it. Every New Year’s Eve, we do a fondue party. My in-laws have a pool, so in the summer we’ll have pool parties there. Winter lends itself to entertaining around hearty meals.
On family mealtime: We always have waffles on Sunday. My husband makes really good Swedish waffles using a recipe from Nonchalant Mom. My husband handles breakfast and I’ll do dinner. Whenever we’re at the table together, we’ll try to talk with our kids about how their day went. We’ll also try to teach them manners while they’re eating, which is always fun. (Laughs.) It usually goes something like, “Stop using your hands. Don’t eat with your hands. Stop using your hands.”
On family photos: I love to look at these photos every time I walk up the stairs. Everything in our home is meant to spark joy or memories. One particular summer we went on quite a lot of family trips — to London and Portland as a family, and they were both very healing and magical. The year before we had suffered a devastating loss. So these trips were a much needed time for healing. Each time I look at those photos I think of that time we spent together and it makes me very happy.
On that amazing mural: My son loves to hike, because he wants to be just like his dad. I love the Matterhorn, and I thought it would make it feel less “little boy,” but still whimsical. I found this really cool Swedish company called Rebel Walls. I bought an old photo from 1900 on eBay and scanned it in really high resolution. If you look closely, you can still see the little dust particles! Then I took the measurement of the wall, and they made wallpaper out of it. They sent it to me within a week! It was unbelievably easy. It makes his room feel personal.
Custom mural wallpaper: Rebel Walls. Bed: custom; designed by Meta. Red shelving: vintage, from vintage whites flea market. Bedding: Christian Fischbacher, from the German store Betten Rid. Buffalo plaid blanket: Schoolhouse. Bedside table: thrifted. Antique Navajo rug: family heirloom. Badger rug: Molly Meg.
On creating a happy home: I want to make our home fun for kids. Their friends come to our house to play, and they love to draw or make sculptures out of clay. My kitchen is usually full of little clay figures. To me, their happiness is more important than stuff, so if things get ruined, it’s not the end of the world. I try to teach them to be respectful of things. But our dog ruins more than our kids!
On older toys: Some of my children’s toys are heirlooms, like the Steiff Iiere, German stuffed animals that came from my mom in the 40s. I’ve also passed some of my own stuffed animals down to them. I think it’s important for things to have a little bit of a soul, a little history. It sounds kind of cheesy, but that’s why I enjoy collecting vintage.
Desk and chairs: vintage, from Treasures Antique Mall.
On keeping traditions alive: My mom is German, and I’m trying to carry on German traditions for our kids. We’ll sing German songs and I’ll read them books in German. For the holidays, you put your shoe out on December 6th and St. Nicholas will come. He’ll bring Christmas pajamas and some chocolate. We also make an advent calendar, which can sometimes get out of hand. The kids take turns opening up a little something each day leading up to Christmas. Every year I’m like, “What have I started? This is a lot of work for me!” But I get so much joy out of watching them enjoy it.
White dresser: custom. Fox print: Frankonia. Skeleton: Tomorrow’s House.
On encouraging kids’ hobbies: I try to keep my kids’ interests in mind when making decor decisions. My daughter loves to draw, so I made this entire wall a chalkboard wall. That way, she can draw to her heart’s content!
Daybed: Antique Danish child’s bed that Meta slept in as a child. Chalkboard paint: Valspar, from Lowe’s.
On teaching kids responsibility: I have a bit of an OCD personality. I teach my kids that they have to pick up after themselves, but when they put their own clothes and things away, it’s not great! Things will be hung up wrong; things will be put away and it will still look messy. But that’s how they learn responsibility. I can’t be too particular with how they’re doing it! I’d rather them have a creative mess than have them worry that they can’t make a mess.
Chair: vintage. Toys: Shleich animals on top shelf. Wooden animals by Ostheimer. Montessori doll handmade by a friend. Sewing House from Cath Kidston.
On nighttime rituals: Sometimes the kids stay up later than we’d like, and we’ll just pass out in bed at the end of the day. But we do like to watch shows — we love Peaky Blinders and all the BBC shows. I especially like period pieces — the lighting and the costumes are so inspiring. My husband watches The Walking Dead, and I’ll look at Pinterest whenever it’s really scary. When I have a moment, I’ll read. Right now, I’m reading Angle of Repose.
Bedframe: Ikea, painted. Bedding: Belgian Linen from West Elm. Nightstands: from The Good Mod in Portland, Oregon. Framed painting above bed: Mosse Stoopendaal, purchased at a Swedish online auction. Black light fixtures: Amsterdam Modern. Carafe: Treasures Antiques Mall.
On keeping plants happy: I’ve learned the hard way which plants prefer neglect. With succulents, you can water them even less than you think. When you do water them, you soak them a lot and give them plant food, and then they’re happy. Once a month, they’ll look kinda dry and I’ll be like, “Oh, I have to water them!” It’s great. Every now and then, you’ll get one that died and you’re like, “Aw, sad. What happened to you?”
On the world outside: We live in central Utah. Our home is nestled right against beautiful mountains, near a trail where my husband I go running almost every day. There are deer, rabbits, foxes and quail in our backyard a lot of the time. It’s cool for our kids — sometimes while we’re eating dinner a whole family of deer will walk by!
Armoire: antique. Lambskin throw rug: Costco.
On a great find: I found the sofa at an estate sale. At the time I had no room for it, but the bones were so great and it was cheap — just $15! When I went to Svenskt Tenn and saw all the beautiful sofas upholstered entirely in Josef Frank fabric, I knew exactly what I was going to do with that $15 sofa. I asked a long-time family friend, who is an upholsterer, to do it. It was not an easy job, but I’m so happy with it, and I hope to pass it down to one of my children.
Sofa: vintage, upholstered with Josef Frank Primavera fabric from Svenskt Tenn.
Thank you so much, Meta! Your home is so beautiful.
P.S. More house tours, including a Brooklyn family’s apartment and a Williamsburg loft.
(Photos by Chaunte Vaughn for Cup of Jo. Additional photos by Meta Coleman. Interview by Caroline Donofrio.)