The Gift of Home

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For every season, Wendell and Robin Niewenhuis decorate with refurbished and minimalistic elegance.

Wendell and Robin Niewenhuis have long been brave, DIY types. Case in point: they painted the ceiling in their family room black. Unconventional? Perhaps. But it’s also stunning against the light-colored walls, not to mention the part of their house that gets the most compliments. “It was something I had wanted to do, and we just went for it,” Robin says.

The Niewenhuises rarely buy anything new when it comes to furnishing and decorating their home. Most everything they own is a thrift store find that they brought back to life by adding a coat of paint or the touch of a sewing needle. The couple works well together. Wendell has completed much of the remodeling projects, while Robin has done everything from painting furniture to turning table linens into curtains.

This year, their home underwent one of its biggest transformations yet when they had a commercial kitchen installed in the lower level for Robin’s business, Sweet Pea Cakery. Robin started the bakery almost two years ago and credits her beautiful new workspace to her father. “My dad passed away last July, and he always wanted me to do something like this. I wouldn’t have probably spent the money on a kitchen, so this is just such an amazing gift from him.”

During the holidays, the Niewenhuises keep their decorating simple and adorned with repurposed treasures, like their Christmas dish set from the Salvation Army. What is their absolute favorite thing about their home? “It’s that our grandkids love to come over,” they say. Possibly the best gift of all. // –Jenny Roth