Havenly’s Design Editor Takes Us Inside her Downton-Abbey-Meets-Free-People Home

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WORDS BY Kelly O'Reilly

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Published on June 10, 2021

As Havenly’s Managing Editor of Design Content, Heather Goerzen is the curator-in-charge behind the design goodness of the Hideaway Blog. As she describes her resume, “a lifelong obsession with beautiful and inspiring things.” It comes as no surprise, then, that she takes the same sharp eye for style to design her 700-square-foot condo that she shares with her husband and their baby girl. Add in a German Shepherd, dueling design styles, and a whole lot of home love, and you end up with an eclectic space bursting with personality.

Heather has managed to pack every last square foot not with stuff, but stories, so we asked her to take us through the thoughtful design choices that led to her enviable, intimate abode.

How did this space come to life?  

My husband and I had recently moved into our first home together. Although small in space, we wanted it to feel big in character, coziness, and hospitality. For this home to feel like us, it was important that the design was both inspiring and functional. That meant “looking-good” had to pull double duty with “adds precious-storage-space,” like incorporating reclaimed open shelves in our kitchen to display our—ok, my—collection of assorted plateware, or opting for an antique trunk as a coffee table that could also store games, blankets, and an antiquated DVD assortment (from Never Been Kissed to Lord of the Rings).

"Although small in space, we wanted it to feel big in character, coziness, and hospitality."

How would you describe your design style?

In true non-committal fashion, my design style is ever-evolving. Like our personalities, my husband’s and my approaches to home could not be more different. He considers himself a “functional minimalist” while I am of the “storied maximalist” genre. I like to think of this iteration of our space as Downton Nomad: an eclectic blend of global textiles (hello, The Citizenry) and European-inspired vintage finds (think chinoiserie, brass candlesticks, and all the crystal glassware) for a distinctive space filled with soul and story. 

PS: if you need tips for how to blend you and your partner’s styles, I know some Havenly designers who can help you…

How does your space function for your family?

With only two bedrooms and a little kitchen and dining area, our living room functions as the heart of our home—it sounds a bit cliche, but it’s so very true. It’s where we spend a majority of our time inside, whether entertaining friends (remember those days?), lounging on lazy weekends, playing with our daughter, or enjoying a pizza-and-wine movie night (a frequent ritual). 

When the pandemic struck, this space also had to double as our joint office, with my husband at the desk while I commandeered the sectional as my workspace. Thank goodness for noise-canceling headphones as we tackled Zoom meetings in the same room!

What inspired the design?

One of the values my husband and I both share is a love of travel, and we wanted that sentiment to come to life in our space. In some instances it’s more literal, like with artisan crafted textiles, or it’s simply a stylistic nod, like our Parisian-inspired pedestal dining table. 

Perhaps one of the most precious things to us in our home is our artwork. Our bedroom features a gallery wall of pieces we’ve gathered on our trips to Paris, Scotland, Nepal, and beyond. And a framed scene from our honeymoon in Portugal hangs above our desk. (BRB… need to go research flights now that we can finally travel again!)

What's your mantra when designing a new space?

My best design advice is to give yourself freedom and permission to curate your home over time. Yes, it’s important to start with the layout and define the big pieces up front. But when it comes to decor and accessories, leave room (literally) to see what sparks your imagination – whether traveling, scouting a local vintage shop, or enjoying some late night online shopping (just me??).

What’s a favorite element in your home?

Perhaps one of my favorite little corners in our home is our mini-bar area. I’m a big believer that special glassware can help set the right “toasting” mood—whether you want to feel a little fancy with your girlfriends, unwind on a Friday evening, or have a romantic date night. So when deciding how to use our existing built-in, I wanted a practical way to display our glass collection as well as add sparkle and style to our space. Bonus: it makes after work happy hours really accessible.

What has this space taught you?

Did I mention we have a small home? We would have it no other way. My husband grew up in Indonesia where only his parents’ bedroom had air-conditioning. That meant most nights found the whole family gathered on their bed, hanging out, reading, playing games, and simply enjoying being together. That experience was our hope for our home: that close quarters would draw us even closer together—and it certainly has! 

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Words by Kelly O'Reilly