An Unlikely Valentine: A Heart, a Home, a Life Together

Sara and I met because of a dog and a disaster.


In 2006, Sara was still directing a major international NGO’s response to the 2004 tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands in Southeast Asia, while I was working in Lexington as an artist-in-residence, facilitating creative learning opportunities for disabled adults. These employment realities brought us together, my needing to supplement my measly artist’s income by pet sitting and Sara’s needing to travel while at the same time caring for her dog.

Sara, Kathy, and Ralph in 2006

However, I didn’t fall for Sara right away, as least not until I dreamed I was in love with her a couple of months after we met and woke up the next morning with a passion for her that has yet to wane.

Sometimes things are meant to be and lives are linked in strangely synchronistic ways.  For example, neither of us was aware of when we first met, that our mothers had been dear friends for a number of years before either of us knew anything about the other.  We never met in the context of that friendship.

But sometimes love is meant to be.  Sometimes there’s a cosmic rightness about a relationship—even about the house one lives in.

Sara and I are proud to make our home in a downtown neighborhood, rich in cultural diversity.  We live on a street where everybody knows our names, but in a house most folks of sound mind would have forsaken long ago.

Too large a task?

Yet neither Sara nor I is entirely sane, neither willing to throw up our hands and abandon any shelter as entirely hopeless.  Sara is an architect by training, schooled in developing blueprints for better tomorrows sometimes even building on a foundation of urban decay.  And together we epitomize the trash to treasure mentality, especially when it comes to housing.

Undaunted, we have made our home, even as we have built our relationship, out of the unlikely love for a dog, in the wake of natural disaster.  Admittedly, our house might be more rightly characterized as an unnatural disaster, but what we have made from that disaster, even with very limited funds, has been nothing short of miraculous.

So, to the degree that home is where the heart is, today, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we share our home with you.  We’ll include images from Sara’s Photo-a-Day Project, some from the past three weeks, as well as other photos we’ve added to supplement this post.

We hope you enjoy this photographic tour through the home so close to our hearts.


Colanders and garlic (12 February 2012)

Cookbooks (5 February 2012)

Downstairs Hall

Chimney sweep light fixture

Downstairs Bathroom

1 February 2012


Hickory and Thai vase (4 February 2012)

Buddha (30 January 2012)

Maaster Bedroom

Kathy's drawings (6 February 2012)

Driftwood and shells inside bedroom fireplace

Chiang Mai Bedroom

Bedspread purchased in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Paint ladder as night stand

Guest Room

Kathy’s Studio

Magnets (25 January 2012)

Dining Room

Tibetan prayer bowl (7 February 2012)

Living Room

Hungarian eggs (11 February 2012)

We’d like to thank Chrissy from “Silver Fin of Hope” for suggesting we do this apartment-therapy-esque post.

Does Valentine’s Day make you think of home or something else equally special?

93 thoughts on “An Unlikely Valentine: A Heart, a Home, a Life Together

  1. I loved your home the moment I walked into it. It is full of warmth, beauty, love, creativity and passion. The fact that it is old adds to the charm. And, I love you both as individuals and as a couple. Happy Valentine’s Day!


  2. Your home speaks of love, not only for each other, but for the thousands upon thousands of people whose lives you all have touched.
    One of those is mine and I thank God for our friendship.
    Love you. Happy Valentine’s Day!


  3. You have such a beautiful home Kathy – I can see your artistic touch for sure. You have quite a few items I would just love to have in my bush cottages. You inspire me to keep going and get my place looking good.


  4. I LOVE your beautiful, bright and colorful home! You both are such great decorators. What a fun post Kathy! I don’t think I could capture my he in pictures like you did! Thanks for sharing !


  5. I absolutely love your home. And, I’ve gotta say, that hickory Thai vase would make quite a useful weapon against an intruder. You know, in case the dog doesn’t scare him off in the first place. 🙂


  6. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us Kathy, I can’t tell you how much I love it! The way you have done it up and filled it with art and treasure from your travels gives it so much colour and brightness and eclecticism…..and I’m sure visitors in your house would have the pleasure of seeing something cool and interesting in every nook and corner.
    Happy Valentine’s day to you and Sara!! ❤


  7. Gorgeous home, Kathy! Thank you for sharing the story of how you and Sara fell in love, too.

    You wouldn’t mind if I invited myself over and became a permanent fixture in your guest room, right? 😉


  8. As if I needed yet another reason to love Ralph, the furry little matchmaker! I adore the home you two have built as well as your bravery with color! I am, alas, a boring white and cream colored walls kind of girl. I will live vicariously through the two of you! Happy Valentine’s day to the two of you. May you have many more years of love and passion to share with one another!


  9. I was getting teary-eyed with the first photo–oh, a love story, such a love story!–but then became fascinated with your house photos. That is an accomplishment, because I am usually not very interested in house photos. However, your house is one that I’ll bet most of your readers would love to just settle in and watch you and Sara and feel the love between you. Sigh…Happy Valentine’s Day to you both.


  10. Is there a Love button? Cause “like” doesn’t suffice.

    First – thank you for sharing your “how we met” story – It gave me chills to read and not because it’s 31F here. Beautiful, beautiful photo.

    Your home is so cozy, colorful and inviting. It’s like a dream with nooks and places to just “be.” I’ll bet your guests never want to leave!!

    Hugs .. and Happy Valentines Day to you both 🙂

    PS killer dog on the prowl in the hallway made me giggle !!


    • Love your comment, MJ! Isn’t Lucy a hoot? She thinks shes tough sh*t–emphasis on “thinks.” So glad you like our home. It may be that folks like to come and stay, but we love to have them, as well! Happy Valentine’s day, my friend! Hugs————


  11. Hi, just wandered over from Dana’s blog….I hope I’m not intruding – I didn’t expect to be peeking in your home! I feel Peeping Tomish, but gosh, your house is lovely — the use of color and texture is just stunning.


  12. It’s obvious your home has been put together with love. I would imagine everything in there has a story! How awesome is that.
    Thanks for allowing us a peak into your relationship and home. It’s been extremely interesting following your story.


  13. I love hearing stories of how couples met. It’s amazing to see where paths cross to bring two people together.
    Thanks for this lovely tour of your home. You and Sara have collected so many eclectic pieces from your travels. They’re all beautiful. I love the bright colors and the wall of magnets. I have such a small apartment, I don’t have room for a lot of extra things, so I bring fun magnets back from my travels and they remind me of the places I’ve been.


      • Oh, thank you so much for thinking of me! I definitely noticed that photo. I’m impressed with how many magnets you have and now I have something to shoot for. I hope to get a really cool one from Amsterdam. 🙂


  14. Your house and all the interesting artifacts you and Sarah have collected are fascinating. Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos Sarah took with us.

    I love the picture of you three. Ralph looks like a larger version of Arthur. And Sarah’s goodness of heart shines through in the photo.

    That’s a funny coincidence about your mothers.


  15. Very nice, Kathy! Colourful and very interesting! Happy Valentine’s day to you and Sara. Valentine’s day brings back childhood memories of giving and receiving little valentines cards to school friends. I wonder if kids still do this these days or is it all digital now. Hmmmm….


  16. Lovely home. Scene stealing hounds. Although personally I’m not a fan of color unless those colors are black, white or all shades of gray in-between, whenever you share images with us of your home, like so many of my fellow RTH readers, I am impressed by the vibrant use of color gracing each room, as well as your distinctive decorating skills. It looks like a lovely place in which to reside and have what I hope will be a wonderful Valentine’s Day interspersed with a few attention craving canine comedians.


  17. Your colourful and eclectic decorating reflects your personality perfectly – beautiful and vibrant.
    Valentine’s Day always reminds me of my father, a wild romantic, who made me homemade valentines every year. This sweet memory eases some – but not all – of the cynicism I hold for this day…


  18. Kathy, if you have ANY interest in redecorating my boring, little house when you’re in town, I AM SO IN. Love that just by looking at photos of your home I can tell some fabulously creative and lively ladies live there!


  19. Oh my goodness–I absolutely love your house! It looks so warm and inviting and can I just come over and curl up in your library???It looks so perfect to me!!! Thanks so much for the sweet comments over at The Idiot’s blog today—I am loving meeting all of his faithful followers and getting a chance to check out even more blogs!! Love what you wrote today and it filled me in on who you are in a nutshell!!! Awesome!! Happy Valentine’s Day!!!


  20. Hello Kathy and Sara,
    What a wonderful, colorful and comfortable home you two (three) have. I love the fact a dog brought you together. I’m an animal lover and I have three. The eclectic blending of the new and old, culture and art, design and placement makes my artist’s heart soar. It would be fabulous to have you brightening up any neighborhood. Thank you so much for sharing your delightful home with us readers; it’s an honor. I’m sending you love and long life together wishes this Valentine’s Day.


  21. I have been WOWED!! by your home Kathy. Beautiful and eclectic , it was a pleasure viewing. Thank you for sharing and i hope the two of you remain blessed in your love for each other….xxxx


    • Ah, you are a sweetie to say this. So happy you like our home and wish us more blessings. I love that. I also have to thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. It was great having you. Hope to see you again soon.


  22. Your home is so vibrant! So creative! So colorful! So Beautiful! And you say this was accomplished with limited funds? From the photos, it appears so full of life that it nearly brings tears to my eyes. (I’m not kidding!) I wish I had a fraction of your ability to give each piece of the home its own personality.

    Thank you for sharing your home with us. It is beautiful!


    • Thank you so much, Terri. Yes, it was done with VERY limited funds, and what work has been done we’ve done ourselves–sweat-equity, I suppose you could say. I’m delighted our home has moved you. Thanks again, my friend!


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  24. I am intrigued by the “thing” underneath “Kathy’s drawings”. What is it? It looks like some kind of wooden shelf with doors. Is that what it is?
    Your place looks gorgeous! I really love the colours and the way you have put it all together. Also: amazing photography.


    • I’m so glad you enjoyed our home–and the photos. That is actually an old, old door that I found in the basement of a place I once lived. We hung it horizontally, so what look like “doors” are actually the panels of the larger door itself. When hung on it’s side the door creates a kind of shelf for my drawings to lean on. Does that make sense?

      Thanks so much for taking a look and taking the time to leave a comment! Hope to see you again soon——-


    • Sara will be so happy to hear you like our hall. It’s been her special project. Hasn’t she done an amazing job? You should check out her photo blog at BlipFoto–link in the left sidebar. She’d love to hear from you!

      There is a street in front and a yard in the back. I haven’t included any yard photos here since it was winter. Sara is responsible for the garden’s success, as well.

      Thanks for this sweet comment.


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