Bristol homeowner Jen Sedam confesses that she is known to pick up curbside furniture and fix it up; she also enjoys being outdoors and arranging flowers once back inside, so it’s no wonder that when she pivoted from having a private practice in psychotherapy and counseling to being an interior designer, she would name her business Forage House Design Co. “I decided to take the leap to a new career that I have always wanted to follow,” says Sedam, who completed training through the New York Institute of Art and Design, and has been working on residential projects ever since, starting with her own home.
Since 2017, Sedam, her husband Joel, their three children, and English springer spaniel Sylvie have made their home in a snug three-bedroom Cape nestled in the historic town. Says Sedam, “It’s not a huge house, but it is located on a quieter downtown street close to the bike path, school, and baseball fields.” She notes that the home’s original wood floors were a big selling point, as was the first-floor footprint and backyard. Over the years, various updates have been made, including a complete basement renovation where Sedam served as designer.
“The trick [for the basement] was taking a smaller home that needed cosmetic updates and making it functional while also warm and inviting for my young family. We kept the walls light overall so that we could showcase and bring color in through artwork. We also used a lot of wood items for warmth and a sense of neutral to balance the darker rug and stairwell.” This sensibility of layering neutrals with textures and airy artful compositions are signature elements of Sedam’s style, which she describes as layered, collected, and eclectic. “I blend heirloom pieces and kids’ artwork with modern and mid-century modern alongside traditional elements; I tend toward a historic and organic feel with colors on the neutral side and add in splashes of color in artwork or small accessories.”
Among the homegoods that make her happiest are family-made heirlooms from her great grandfather: a farmhouse table used every day, a “really unique floor lamp,” and a tall blanket chest in the dining room that holds a record player. “These items are just really special,” she says with a smile. “I feel happy when I see my kids sitting and doing puzzles or reading books in the living spaces. The whole point of creating these spaces is to see them enjoyed and used.”
Ideas and resources for making the most of living in the Ocean State.
Around town, Sedam buys birthday gifts and cards at Paper, Packaging & Panache, makes quick stops at nearby kids’ consignment shops like Just Ducky, and enjoys breakfast at Sunset Cafe. Continuing onto Tiverton, Groundswell Table + Provisions, and The Art Cafe in Little Compton are go-tos. Regular antiquing haunts across the state line are Four Echoes in Seekonk and Antiques at the Cove in New Bedford.
Sedam’s advice for achieving authentic waterfront style is to “stay away from the typical coastal look and think in terms of natural woods, deeper colors, and blues and greens you see around you in the ocean and foliage of the area; rather than cobalt blue and stripes and seashells, think of being in an old house on the water with wide plank flooring and a farm table with fresh cut wildflowers. Add in some wicker here and there and a vintage rug for a layered, more true Ocean State vibe.”
Sedam gravitates toward natural wood furnishings, nautical maps and prints, earthy fabrics, and glasses and bottles is a sea glass palette. Learn more about her style at ForageHouseDesign.com
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