stephmodo: Real Life Home - "Aunt Patty"

Real Life Home - "Aunt Patty"

• 08 November 2011

Today I'm thrilled to share with you several images from a home here in Seattle lived in and decorated by Patty Groesbeck, who is lovingly referred to as "Aunt Patty" by good friends and family.  She is a real estate agent by profession, but she clearly has a designer's eye.  Her light-filled, modest home is well-curated and mixes memorabilia, antiques and secondhand furniture in the most tasteful way.

For those of you just tuning in, this series showcases living spaces decorated by people who are not formally-trained interior designers; people who mix new finds with antiques and secondhand pieces from Craigslist (or the like). People who have figured out, on their own, what looks and feels good in their living space, be it a free-standing home, an apartment, or in one particular case, a tower :)

An overview of the living room...lots of detail shots come next.  I think the very first thing I noticed about her living space is how well she displays objects in such a tasteful way.  That pretty circular window is a real gem--it adds charm and visual interest to a room full of calming neutrals.

Here's an interesting tidbit: her niece mentioned that Patty used to own a lovely vintage furniture and clothing shop in a previous life, hence the gorgeous mid-century pieces here and there! 

This little display on her fireplace mantel is my favorite detail in this room.  So simple.

This colorful work of art, so proudly displayed, was painted by her son when he attended a montessori school in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle (which apparently has an amazing art teacher). 

More simple, meaningful displays of objects d'art...they are like little treasures just waiting to be discovered. 

I appreciate the low-slung art over the guest bedroom nightstand and the framed, exotic masks picked up during a trip abroad.  Also, the simple placement of framed art in the hallway adds warmth and interest to a part of a home that typically feels like dead space.  

The china cabinet was a gift from her parents and appropriately steadies several family pictures taken over the years.  Interestingly enough, the dining room table is actually constructed from an old church door.  And the painting behind the table was done by her daughter while in college (lots of artistic talent in this household!).  The pretty new light fixture hangs high as to not obstruct Patty's gorgeous view of Puget Sound.  If you're lucky enough to have a view, you must protect it!

A pretty bathroom with her personal collection of shells from the nearby beaches.  Again, Patty's style shows that souvenir-type personal items can be displayed in an artful way without appearing cluttered--I love seeing this in action!

...and the kitchen. Prepare yourself for serious kitchen envy :) 

Gorgeous off-white cabinets and stainless steel appliances accented with texture and details make this recently-renovated kitchen my favorite space in her home.  Oh and do you remember when we discussed displaying original art in the kitchen awhile back?  This is the first "real life" example I've seen since the magazine image I shared; and I have to say that I'm completely sold on the idea.  Framed, original art in the kitchen definitely adds warmth and personality to a room full of lots of cool tones.  

J'adore the marble backsplash (swoon!) and the little tray of essentials (I love that a tomato made the cut) and the cozy, sisal runner.  Have I mentioned I'm very much a fan of hardwood in the kitchen?  And that butcher block countertop is causing me to change my mind about the material as a counter top material.  It looks pretty amazing in real life. 

A stunning countertop vignette featuring the simplest of things--a couple of onions, a few pieces of fruit and silver spoons.  Don't you think it's pretty how she places ordinary objects/food in vases to dress them up a bit?

Lots of windows and light make this galley-style kitchen very bright and cheery.

Family photos sweetly displayed in a place they can be viewed daily alongside a delicate tea cup which serves as a catcher for the window cord dangling from the roman shade.  Isn't that a clever idea?  You could really have fun with this one.

A catch-all basket strategically placed next to the backdoor and another teacup/cord catcher.  The beautiful autumn leaves in the background should be given some attention as well :)  Isn't that a pretty tree?  I think it might've been a Japanese maple...they are the prettiest trees come Autumn. 

Feel free to peek at other "real life homes"--they are all very different from each other style-wise, but all fantastic:

Real Life Home No.11 - Rubyellen - (flea market finds with a French flair)
Real Life Home No.10 - Julie (elegant whites + reclaimed materials)
Real Life Home No. 9 - Petra (living in a tower w/kids)
Real Life Home No. 8 - Kayce (southern + sweet)
Real Life Home No. 7 - Sara (colorful + eclectic)
Real Life Home No. 6 - Amy (calming neutrals)
Real Life Home No. 5 - Lynne (whimsy + details)
Real Life Home No. 4 - Emily (whites + woods)
Real Life Home No. 3 - Kirsten (clean + textural)
Real Life Home No. 2 - Maria (white kitchen love)
Real Life Home No. 1 - Cherilee (mid-century modern)

images by Stephanie Brubaker for stephmodo


  1. Wow, this home has so much character.

  2. This home is really lovely. Simple, interesting and achievable.

    I love your series.....

  3. Beautiful, beautiful home. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Love it. Beautiful.

  5. Patty it looks gorgeous as always. Hey.....I want that china!! lol

  6. Wow. Perhaps the best "home tour" I've seen on the web. Effortless and incredible style, original, peaceful and modest. Thank you for sharing.

  7. The bathroom and living room are my favorites. Especially the simple bookshelf and vase of shells.

  8. what a gorgeous home. thanks so much for sharing. i would love to see more photos of the kitchen. what color are those cabinets?!?!?!?!

  9. So pretty! I love the simplicity of everything. This is one of those homes that probably always looks clean because it's so uncluttered! It also makes me want to display more of my kids' art.

  10. Elizabeth, that's a good question...let me see if I can't get Patty to chime in :)

    I'm so glad you love this too--I was dying over her space! I feel like I learned a lot just by being there to photograph. See, this is exactly why I love this series, because we all learn from each other.

    p.s. I love how we all have different favorites in her home...a good sign that it's all incredible!

  11. I enjoyed your photos and comments about "Aunt Patty" and her home. Patty is my sister. I just stayed with her a few days ago and so enjoyed being in her home. There is something very special about my sister's home, however, that is more than furnishings. There is a feeling that comes from my sister that is pure love. A spirit of warmth and joy wraps around house guests, family and friends whenever they visit Patty's home. I left her home wanting to return as soon as I could.

    David Bellessa
    Midway, UT

  12. i adore the teacup cord catcher detail! it reminds my of my mother who always has charming little details like that around the house :) when i was growing up, the spaces between the wooden interior window and the outside storm in our old New England home were always filled with our treasures from the nearby beaches: shells, sea-worn rocks, and seaglass.

    I sent the teacup idea along to her!


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