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PofR Visits // a growing family in downtown Raleigh

4 min

A short series from 2017/2018 celebrating the Port of Raleigh community. Our customers welcomed me inside their homes and shared a slice of life via their favorite things and spaces. Photography by Ana Maria Muñoz

Seth, Leilani, and Emerson were one of the first families to visit Port of Raleigh when we opened in December 2015. Their welcoming spirit and shared enthusiasm for our community left an instant impression and lasting connection. We love getting to see their daughter, Emerson, grow up (check out her framed artwork) and are honored to play a tiny part in the beautiful home they’ve created. Through thoughtful design plans and intentional purchases, they have perfected their space with a seemingly effortless balance of the things they love, want, and need.

How long have you lived in your home and why did you choose to live here?

Seth, Levi (the four legged furry one) and I moved to Effie Way in the late summer of 2014.  I was 7 months pregnant with Emerson so we were cutting it close!  After living in Boylan Heights for close to 3 years as renters, we met a builder who had the wild idea to cram a handful of shotgun-style row homes into an empty lot nestled between Dix Park and Boylan Heights proper.  Both Seth and I loved the first Raleigh apartment we ever lived in, located on Jones St., that also happened to be a true shotgun style home and the idea of owning and designing our own was very appealing.  On top of this, we were thrilled to stay close to the neighborhood we'd come to love that is centrally located near plenty of parks and green space for Emerson to enjoy as she grows up.

How did you approach designing your home and each space in it?

After we signed a contract to buy our lot, the build timeline slowly got pushed further and further out as our builder wrestled with various infrastructure issues before breaking ground.  However, this gave us plenty of time to come up with a plan for designing the details of the house, specifically, the interior.

Seth and I lived in six spaces around downtown Raleigh over the course of five years so we had plenty of experiences to inform our design decisions and more specifically what we "needed" in the way of a functional space. Of course, we also spent hours poring through magazines and blogs trying to focus our budget on things that mattered and would have a lasting impact on our day to day use of the space.

We love clean and minimal design, but also felt compelled to give a nod to 1930s historic roots of the shotgun style homes that would soon surround ours. Oddly enough, Seth and I both started out loving the low country style historic "Charleston" aesthetic when we got married in 2008 but, after living in various tiny apartments in Raleigh, we began mixing in elements of minimalism to our style maybe more out of necessity than anything.

With these various space transitions, we found ourselves loving the "less stuff" mentality but still enjoyed the charm of a transom window or the warmth of unfinished reclaimed floors.  Funny side note: when we were finishing construction, several people asked when we were going to finish the floors and what color we were going to paint the all white walls!

What object/piece do you enjoy using most on a daily basis?

As far as large objects go, the giant island with inset stool space and crushed quartz top that runs the length of our open kitchen is easily the best decision we made during the design process.  We cook here, serve drinks to our friends, naturally congregate during parties, make pasta with Emerson and do late night work via laptop all in the same spot.  We were very nervous about plopping down this big permanent object in the middle of our house but we've never had a single regret about having a central object to hold the entire first floor together.

A fun movable piece we really love are the WAAM Industries wooden milk crates that neatly hold Emerson's weekly haul of library books as well as her choice of downstairs toys.  We've come to love pieces like the milk crates for their ability to neatly and affordably solve messy storage issues without having to build permanent installations and run the risk of not being able to switch things up when we want to.

Fill in the blank and share why: “We always have/keep ___ in our home”

Papier d'Armenie' incense paper -  you will never find our house without a book of these.  No one wants to smell whatever we cooked for dinner long into the evening, and with a kitchen that sits in the middle of the living space, these are must have!  On a slightly less exotic note, we also always have magic erasers on hand to keep our walls and counters (mostly) white with a toddler who has yet to grasp our same appreciation for a clean home.


Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home with us, Seth and Leilani!


Their PofR finds can be found here, too.

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