When Lexington, KY based photographer Hanna Salonen and husband Dustin Milan realized that they needed more space, they knew they wanted to find a house that they could turn into their dream home with a little bit of elbow grease. Their fixer-upper dreams were finally realized in a 2,600-square-foot house from the 50s. The family wanted to comfortably be able to accommodate Hanna’s parents, who frequently visit from Finland, where Hanna grew up. With three floors and four bedrooms, the new house offered the required space for visiting family, as well as an office for Hanna, a music room for Dustin and plenty of room for their daughter Eila to run and play.
In the two years that Hanna and Dustin have lived in their new home, the couple has taken on several projects to make the house look and feel like them. They have conquered everything from tiling and light plumbing to reworking vintage light fixtures. The most exciting thing for Hanna and Dustin has been to see Eila learn from them and pitch in, pretending to paint a wall or hammer a nail. Eila loves to be creative, and when peeking into this family’s home, it’s clear that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Decorating is Hanna’s big passion, and Dustin happily lets her work her magic.
Hanna has a special talent of scouting out vintage treasures that most people might not even notice. Plenty of times someone’s trash has become her treasure. She isn’t afraid of color or pattern, something that is evident throughout her home. She loves to use contrast when decorating, whether it’s between crisp white walls and funky patterns, or IKEA furniture and vintage pieces. There has never been one single vision, but as various projects have been completed around the house, the common vibe throughout has become something Hanna describes as “Modern English Retro Cottage.” Special and memorable pieces can be found around the house as reminders of what this family values most about their home — “It keeps all our most precious and loved people safe and secure,” Hanna shares. Click through to see how this loving family created a colorful sanctuary for themselves and their loved ones! —Sofia
Photography by Hanna Salonen