Building a new home is exciting. Building a new home that doesn’t have that generic, showroom feel is a challenge.
Lea Johnson and Michael Crockett rose to the occasion with their 4-bedroom family home in Fridley. They’ve infused their shiny new house with vintage pieces and personal flair to make it feel more like, well, home.
Be sure to check out our photo slideshow for the full tour.
Who: Lea Johnson and Michael Crockett
How long you've lived here: 2 years
I think this is the first home we’ve toured that’s a new build.
It’s funny. We weren’t looking to build. We actually were looking for an older home in Minneapolis. We just kept getting outbid, it was crazy. Then you remember those tornadoes hit? It opened up a bunch of lots and we tried really hard to get one of those. One day we were driving by here and saw two or three lots available. I didn’t even realize when I was growing up, the family that adopted me, our first home was in Fridley. So it’s kind of funny to come full circle.
That’s such a sweet detail! Did you design the home?
I did! I tried to make it look older. I love that classic 1920s home that you find in the city. So I tried to bring that in with the piano windows and the floor and the simple molding and cabinetry. Just to add some character into new construction is kind of tough.
It's probably also why you love to go thrifting.
Yeah, most of the art in here is thrifted, the prints and the paintings. But then the chairs are Target and the sofa is West Elm and that table is just Ikea.
So it's a solid mix. Where do you like to shop?
Golden Age Design is my favorite. I love Schoolhouse Electric in Portland. And of course Ikea is another favorite of mine. I can’t ever knock Ikea.
You’ve got a nice blend of high and low, old and new.
I love not trying to stay in one style. Sometimes I feel like people walk in and think “What the f? This is a hodge-podge of stuff.”
No way. Not a chance.
If something looks cool to me, I’ll grab it, but I try to find pieces that have some kind of meaning. (She points to an intricately carved wooden object.) Like I loved these when I was growing up. It’s a German nativity set. The candles, when they’re lit make the fans spin around which in turn makes all the little people move. They’re so expensive when you get a new one, but I found that one at a thrift store for 8 bucks.
Nice. What about this painting? It’s beautiful.
I found that on Craigslist! A friend put a picture of this part of the house on Instagram the other day and someone direct messaged her and said “My wife used to have a painting just like that and she sold it on Craigslist a few years ago!” And I said, “That was me! I bought it!” My husband hates it. My son and my husband. They think it’s creepy-looking and threatened to throw it in the neighbor’s bonfire.
I, for one, am glad they did not. What’s your favorite thing about your home?
Really making it ours was huge. Instead of moving into a space and making it yours, we created a space that works for our family.
What’s your least favorite thing?
I wish I’d done a bigger laundry room. We wanted to put a deck off this back door, but once we got the washing machine in, we realized we couldn’t even open that door.
Oh no! The washer/dryer juts out and blocks the door from opening!
It’s one of those things you don’t realize until after the house is built – I didn’t account for the space we needed behind the washer and dryer. We’ll probably take the door out and put in a tall window. And then we’d put in a door in the garage that leads to the backyard.
What’s one of your fondest memories in this house?
It took a long time to build, but getting the input from our family and knowing, “This is it, this is our forever home.” Knowing that someday our kids can take it and we’ll downsize and we’re not just going to keep hopping around.
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