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Handmade home: House tour encourages owners to ‘tell their own story’ with décor

The Schiltz family’s dining room features mismatched vintage table and chairs. Carrie Snyder / The Forum1 / 3
The 87-year-old Eighth Street South home maintains its original character with touches of Katie Schiltz’s vintage-modern style inside and out. Carrie Snyder / The Forum2 / 3
Emma, the Schiltzes’ dog, lounges in the family’s living area, which features a vintage map, bold-patterned furniture and built-in bookshelves. Carrie Snyder / The Forum3 / 3

FARGO - Katie Schiltz’s clothing is usually decorated with paint splatters.

In early August, the color was mint green from painting the exterior of her vintage camper.

Schiltz, who owns The White House Boutique with her sister and mom, rehabilitates old, pre-owned furnishings into attractive, functional decor.

Her 87-year-old Eighth Street South home is brimming with eclectic vintage objects of the sort, and she says they make her home “handmade.”

“Everything in here is thrifted with a bit of me. I add something to it,” says the 32-year-old Fargo woman.

Schiltz’s home is one stop Saturday on Unglued’s first-ever Handmade Homes Tour.

“We get inspired by homes that have been done differently and creatively and feel lived in and show personality,” says Unglued owner Ashley Morken. “With the rise of Pinterest and DIY blogs, it’s obvious others do, too.”

The five-home tour also has a summertime spin – attendees are encouraged to ride bicycle from house to house and stop to chat with each homeowner.

“We want people to leave inspired to create a home they want to live in and tells their own story,” Morken says.

The two-story home inhabited by Schiltz, her husband, Lance, their two children and two dogs has remained mostly unchanged since it was built in 1927.

The pristine original wallpaper, wood flooring, Italian brick fireplace, large dining and living areas and old chandeliers were chosen by the banker who built the home. He had an affinity for entertaining, and it shows in the design.

Every room can be closed off to create more intimate spaces and hide distractions like food preparation or cleaning.

“It’s different than walking into a brand-new home. The story it tells, the different appeal – it has vintage charm,” Schiltz says.

Her husband’s grandmother lived in the house until five years ago when she downsized. Schiltz was thrilled to take on the task of making the Eighth Street house a home.

“For a while, I was really struggling with my decorating and my sense of style. My mom said, ‘If you love it, use it. Who cares what other people think? Build your surroundings by what you like,’ ” she says. “I took that and ran with it.”

Mixing modern with vintage, Schiltz created a warm, dynamic environment where her family and friends can “really live.”

“Here, when somebody walks in, I know it’s crazy, but it speaks to our personality. It’s livable. If something breaks, you laugh,” she says. “My Grandma Donna was always changing up her home – it was her pride. That’s probably why I play musical furniture so much and enjoy decorating.”

Her favorite furnishings have sentimental value, such as her grandmother’s hutch in the dining room, or her mother-in-law’s piano.

“When you can use these pieces, it means so much more than buying new,” she says.

Some décor is purchased brand-new, though, like rugs and pillows. But, if she can, Schiltz buys old furnishings and updates their look with a coat of paint.

And inevitably, some of the paint ends up on her clothes, reminding her that her house is now a handmade home.

Anna G. Larson

Anna G. Larson is a features reporter with The Forum who writes a weekly column featuring stylish people in Fargo-Moorhead. Larson graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in journalism and joined The Forum in July 2012. She's a Fargo native who enjoys travel, food, baking, fashion, animals, coffee and all things Midwestern. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @msannagrace 

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