The designer mixes her love of everything nautical with modern amenities in the home she’s carefully curated with her husband, Jim. Modern CLE Staff Report
Photo: Kayla Coleman Photography
When Rachael Koenig first stepped inside her 100-year-old colonial Lakewood home, she felt she had found a kindred spirit, a unique place “with a good soul,” as she describes it—albeit a house in need of a little TLC.
“It had a lot of potential,” Koenig says, but “we knew going into our search we wanted a house that we could slowly remodel and customize.”
Customize it they have: over the past six years, Koenig—with the help of her husband, Jim, and father-in-law, also named Jim—have ripped out and remodeled both their kitchen and bathroom, and decked every room in what Rachael describes as “modern coastal” style.
“It’s a mix of light and airy spaces with some rooms making a bold, more formal statement,” she says of the three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath home. “I love the variety, but I try to keep the overall feel of the house tied together with similar colors, textures, and furniture.”
Personal touches throughout the house make the space inviting. Of making a home feel welcoming, Rachael says that “it’s about including elements that you love, that have family connections, or that are brought back from your travels. [Those things] make your space uniquely yours—and I think people pick up on things like that when they enter your space.”
Koenig, the owner of Shore Society, a hand-drawn collection of nautical-inspired wear and wares, and a senior product designer at American Greetings, puts her design chops to work in the house.
“Having a design background helps me to plan the look and feel of the space,” she says, “and makes it different from what people expect in a Lakewood home.” Koenig’s own prints decorate the walls of the living room and guest bedroom, while driftwood from Lake Erie and a rope bowl bring nautical elements in. “We both love spending time at the lake, so I like to include some nautical touches here and there without going overboard,” Koenig explains.
She’s also inspired by travel. “Our trip to Provincetown, [Massachusetts] a couple years ago was inspiration overload for me,” Koenig says. “It’s such an eclectic seaside town, and I just loved everything about it.” She adds, “seeing how other places execute designs, materials, and styles helps give me a fresh perspective and adds more tools to my creative toolbox.”
When it came to remodeling the kitchen and bathroom, Koenig said they invested in quality fixtures that were built to last. “Homes from this time were built for quality and longevity,” she says, “and we wanted to match that and be respectful of it.” Koenig adds that, “It truly feels like we’re giving back to something bigger than us, and that also feels so rewarding.”
She says, “When we remodeled our master bathroom this year, we splurged on our faucets and shower fixtures—and they were worth it because they’re such a focal point.”
But the kitchen has become Koenig’s favorite room in the house. She explains, “Jim and I cook dinner together most nights. I also love to bake; baking cookies and listening to podcasts is my idea of a perfect lazy Sunday.” Pus, she says, “The kitchen was also our most dramatic remodel and transformation, and it still feels great to enjoy the newly refreshed space.”
DIY projects abound throughout the house, including a tortoise shell Koenig spray-painted gold and hung above the couple’s bed, and a replicable of the infamous Prada Marfa print, which Koenig painted herself.
Her advice for those decorating a new space? “Take your time,” Koenig says. “Be patient and don’t feel like you need to redecorate everything all at once. And wait for sales!”