Rachel Saldaña of Buttons Magee: Show & Tell Home Tour

Rachel Saldana, Buttons Magee, home tour

Rachel Saldana of Buttons Magee

Back today with our third, yep third!, Show & Tell Home Tour from Kansas City, MO. We're popping in on photographer mama Rachel Saldaña of Buttons Magee.

I guess I have a not-so-secret crush on Kansas City.

Come on inside...


Who knows when began staring wistfully at Rachel Saldaña's photos and color palettes (in her photography and in her home...)? It's been awhile. But after Rachel gave us a sneak peak into her home for our Nesting & Nurturing series, I had to see more. Rachel has a real talent for taking humble and thrifted finds and bringing them back to life in her lovely family home. She also has a glorious personal touch: handmade goodies, repurposed furniture, creative reuse. She's completed a beautiful kitchen remodel (with an hand-painted wall for her art collection that I dreamily covet), and her home is one that's filled up with pretty and useful things. I think you're going to love taking a look around. Let's go.

Rachel, tell us a little about your family and your home.  

I live in Kansas City with my husband and two daughters, ages 3 and 6, in a 937 sq.ft. home built in the 50s. We will only be here in Kansas City for four years before we will be moving again.

How do you approach decorating in your home? What's the most important thing?

Well, the most important element of decorating my home is that it be both beautiful and comfortable. Since I stay at home with my children, it is so important that the things I use and surround myself with provide a sense of happiness. If it is going to get used every day, it might as well look nice.

dresser, bedroom, furniture

Master bedroom: Rachel painted this dresser, which used to sit on her great-grandmother's sleeping porch, and added coral handles (from Anthropologie). Vases and bowls from around the house contain frequently used items like favorite earrings or loose change. 

bedding, master bedroom, bed

Thrifted bed linens: chenille coverlet was a steal at $4 and sheets were a $3 garage sale find. Nothing's softer than vintage sheets although in winter, Rachel switches to Garnet Hill flannel sheets.

You have two young daughters. How do their opinions, tastes, and STUFF influence the look and feel of your home? 

On one hand, I decorate according to what makes me happy. I really do believe you can teach your children to respect a space while still feeling comfortable. So if I want a breakable vase on the coffee table, I put it there knowing they aren't going to knock it off the table. 

On the other hand, I don't want to constantly be worrying about stains on the furniture and such so we have a thrifted sofa that hides stains and a bound carpet remnant as a rug that can easily be replaced if it gets stained. Honestly, my girls don't have a ton of stuff. Because of my husband's job, we have had to move quite a bit. Throughout those moves, I have discovered what really gets used. For us, that means a lot of art supplies that I keep in a cabinet in the kitchen and a lot of books, which live in a bookshelf in the hallway.

The girls share a bedroom, and I pretty much let them do whatever they want in there. When their room gets messy, I figure it means they are having a good time. We try to clean it about once a week.

girls bedroom, shared room

The girls like flowers and frilly stuff: beds, nightstand, and quilts found on Craigslist.

Great design can be expensive. How do you get the most bang for your buck? 

I try to not get too focused on one specific item. If I really want a new table for the kitchen, I think more in terms of the dimensions rather than the exact look of the table.  We just can't commit the space in the kitchen solely for a large table since square footage is so valuable in this little house. We decided to look for a skinny drop leaf table with a pedestal base that would be very compact and allow us to use the space as a sitting area when we are not eating. This table was found on Craigslist for $50 and fit the bill exactly. I think you really have to be flexible when working within a tight budget.

kitchen, table, dining

The drop-leaf table allows for this nook to be a dedicated sitting area with a settee and comfortable chair, as well as a place for family dinners.

Tell us about the best deal you have gotten lately for your home. 

That would have to be the coffee table and side table I bought on sale. I love the look of a Campaign table, but they are usually so expensive. These tables were from Pier 1 for a total of $80 for both tables. The glass tops really helped open up the space and are extremely easy to clean after the girls have finished with their markers and glue.

living room, home tour

Besides the glass tables, the living room is comprised of second-hand furniture, discount accessories, and handmade pillows.

Tell us about one DIY project you have taken on recently and love. 

That would be the shelving system I installed in my studio. I love having everything up on one wall. It opened the entire room up, and I find it easier to remember where I put things. It was such a fast project and gave such a great payback. Actually, I would love to do this to all of our closets.

studio, fabric organization, shelving

Rachel's studio: the shelving system holds all of her fabric, painting supplies, cameras, and computer equipment.

studio, home tour

In her small house, Rachel can work in her studio and still keep tabs on the girls: thrifted blanket and another pillow made by Rachel.

studio, home tour

Comfy corner in Rachel's studio where the girls can bring their books. The wall art is the last two years of Polaroids she has taken.

Do you have a favorite decorative item in your home?

Well, it's more of a collection of items. It would have to be my hand-painted lattice wall with all my favorite art hung up. I really do think this wall kind of makes the entire house and sets the tone for the design. Plus, it is something I look at constantly while cooking.

We completely renovated the kitchen last summer all on our own. I really think in a small home, it is important for each room to have a voice. The new kitchen is so bright and open. It still makes me smile each time I walk in there.

kitchen, wall art, display, artwork

The hand-painted wall in the kitchen holds Rachel's photographs along with those of friends and other artists such as Abby Powell, Heather Smith Jones, Ashley Goldberg, and Sandra Juto.


More of the renovated the kitchen.

You're a photographer and blogger. What household chore do you tend to back burner most so you can tend to your creative life? 

Oh that's easy. Laundry. It is hardly ever done, and even when we have washed the clothes they end up piled up in the basement because I don't want to take the time to put them away.

What is your most important everyday ritual at home? 

I think it would be any family meal. There is something about cooking together and eating that food that really brings families closer. We try to eat at least one meal every day together at the table. Right now we are able to take our meals outside, which is heavenly.

girls, kids, outside, yard

Picnics are a frequent occurrence outside Rachel's small house.

In your home, what is one indulgence you give into?

That would be nice fabrics. I only make things for the house out of natural fabrics like dupioni silk, linen, and cotton. Every six months or so, I will make new pillows and switch up the accessories to keep our tiny house feeling fresh. Since I am saving on the cost by making the pillows and curtains myself, I am able to splurge on quality textiles. Being of nicer quality, they not only make a bigger impact to the design, but they will also be more durable in the long run. If you are on a budget, I highly recommend learning how to sew.

living room, home tour

 Bright bursts of color in every room with neutral walls makes it easy to change at whim: more pillows handmade by Rachel

What are your favorite stores to shop for home? 

Honestly, I would have to say my favorite stores are thrift stores. Some of my favorite things have been found for a few dollars at thrift stores and garage sales. For fabrics, I shop primarily at fabric.com. They have great deals on linen and dupioni silk. I will also scope out the discount stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls for things like picture frames and Le Creuset cookware. When all else fails, I seem to always be able to count on Target for great design at an affordable price.

What Home & Garden blogs or websites inspire you the most? 

Design*Sponge is constantly a great source of inspiration. I also love Desire to Inspire. It's like looking at a bunch of design magazines all together grouped by theme. I always leave that website with a new idea for my own home.

I love your home, Rachel. It's so warm and wonderful, and it looks like some place I could settle in for a cup of coffee with a mama friend.


Keep up with Rachel Saldaña on her blog Buttons Magee. You can find her photography on Rachel Saldaña Photography and buy prints of her work in her Buttons Magee shop.


Don't miss our previous Show & Tell Home Tours:

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