Playful, Cheery and Collected in Ohio

Andrea Cardinal and Graham Johnson were charmed from the original details of their 1929 house in Toledo, Ohio. “We absolutely adored the hardwood floors, original glass doorknobs and drawer pulls,” says Cardinal, a graphic designer and lecturer at Wayne State University. Using secondhand finds, art from local designers along with also a bit of DIY handiwork, the couple outfitted their insides with playful touches that improved the early-20th-century window trim, hardwood floors and pointed archways.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Graham Johnson and Andrea Cardinal, along with brothers Drew (age 3) and Emese (1)
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Size: 1,477 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 1 bath
Year built: 1929

Jeff Jones Snap It Photography

The full family stinks in the bottom of the stairs. The orange shelves make it easy for the women, Drew and Emese, to get their books and toys. “We could not live without books,” says Cardinal. “They’re piled up in every corner of every room on every floor. Same goes with musical instruments. We have cheaper ones and much more costly ones, but they are all accessible to the women all of the time.”

Shelving: Ekby Mossby, Ikea

Jeff Jones Snap It Photography

The sash windows were left handed, exposing their period trim. The walls were painted a soft grey to bring a light, airy atmosphere to the main living space. The couple refinished the original wood floors when they transferred in.

The bull’s woodblock print hanging above the couch is just one of Cardinal’s prized possessions. It’s a limited-edition print signed by the art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto.

Wall paint: Modern Gray SW 7623, Sherwin-Williams; carpeting: CB2; leather couch: Karlstad, Ikea

Jeff Jones Snap It Photography

Close to the entrance to the living room sits a Grinnell Brothers piano the couple discovered on Craigslist. “The women have been banging the piano since they were just tall enough to get their fingers on the keys,” says Cardinal.

The framed art is a typography silkscreen of all of the areas in Detroit, in which Cardinal’s design studio is located and where she teaches.

Jeff Jones Snap It Photography

Johnson chose a bright orange color to the dining room, in honor of the Cleveland Browns, whose team colours are brown and orange. At the corner is an Ikea toy kitchen, in which the women like to play home.

Wall paint: Mandarin SW 6891, Sherwin-Williams; toy kitchen: Duktig, Ikea

Jeff Jones Snap It Photography

An Ikea Expedit unit in the living room organizes Johnson’s record collection; toys and cloth diapers are stored in colorful bags. Johnson’s stepmother discovered the yellow chair on the side of the street.

Baskets: Critter Storage Caddy, Container Store

Jeff Jones Snap It Photography

Bold stripes of chalkboard paint add a dramatic touch to 3-year-old Drew’s bedroom. Johnson’s stepmother constructed and installed both the drawers, which Johnson topped with illuminated bookcases out of Ikea to make an integrated appearance. The unit houses Drew’s toys and books, in addition to dress-up clothing and accessories neatly tucked away in ornamental boxes.

Table: Lätt, Ikea; Automobiles: Billy, Ikea; baskets: Zig Zag Strapping Baskets, Land of Nod; hooks: Bästis, Ikea

Jeff Jones Snap It Photography

Drew’s bedroom is painted a soft blue with feminine details like floral-print pillows and bedding. The three framed pieces of art above her bed are lyrics her parents published out of Stevie Wonder’s song As to share their love to their kid. The side table is a curbside find that was initially green, repainted a cheery yellow.

Wall paint: Soar SW 6799, Sherwin-Williams

Jeff Jones Snap It Photography

This silkscreen print adding punchy colour to Drew’s room is by artist Leslie Taylor. The term “Not there yet” signifies for Cardinal how she is always in the process of working toward perfection. The green rocking chair is another lucky roadside locate.

Jeff Jones Snap It Photography

Baby Emese’s nursery is painted pale yellow, to give it a happy and calming atmosphere. Cubbies keep her toys organized.

Wall paint: Fun Yellow SW 6908, Sherwin-Williams; bookshelf: Expedit, Ikea

Jeff Jones Snap It Photography

The master bedroom is decorated with Cardinal’s beloved postcards, collected on her trips to art museums, flea markets and concerts. The patterned seat is a vintage thrift store find.

Jeff Jones Snap It Photography

One wall of this master bedroom shows artwork with sentimental significance to Cardinal. The acid-etched metal bird art (lower right) was made as a present for Cardinal’s grandfather. After he passed away, she made it as a means to recall him. The art in silver frames appeared the very first time Cardinal and Drew painted and drawn together. The pink duvet is a family heirloom handed down to Cardinal from her own grandparents. “It has been in every room at some point and is my favourite blanket to sleep with,” she states.

Dresser: Malm, Ikea

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