“We both like overstimulation in our homes in the best possible way,” says Sarah Kate Smigielwho lives with fiance Hannah (and their three dogs) in Chestertown, Maryland. Their home is filled with color, art, and famous Sarah Kate breakfast hash. Here, she gives us an inside look and Tell us about her top recent surgery …
New start: We moved from Pittsburgh to Chestertown in April. Chestertown is where my grandparents live and 30 minutes from where I grew up. It was a place for us to have a fresh start but still be close to our family. We were on the move right from the start of the pandemic. The creation of this house in Chestertown, which can be decorated and spent all the time together, is so exciting.
On a cool town: We wanted a small town feel. As strangers, we also want to feel safe. Chestertown is this little gem. It has that cozy vibe but we feel very welcome and accepted here.
About a playful habit: We work out of schedule, but when we have days off together, we hang out in the living room. We play video games on a classic Nintendo, which for us is very nostalgic. We also participate in reality TV, like RuPaul’s drag race.
On replacement curtains: Our curtains are from Mexicali Blueswhere silk saris is recycled. They took panels from parts that were not damaged or worn and patched them together to make curtains.
On an heirloom table: This table is from my childhood home; I did arts and crafts on it, every family dinner that I grew up with was here. It has scratches and scratches. Our parents want us to have it for our families. My mom comes to dinner once a week and she sits here, and it’s really cool. Although it is only wood, it is an important wood.
At take-out meals: We’re getting closer to perfecting some of our favorite meals – steaks, taco nights, red curry, minced breakfast. I love to try different foods and cuisines around the world. But I can’t bake ALL. I can’t make canned macaroons. I leave it to Hannah.
About the dishwasher decoration: We found this dishwasher sticker on Etsy – The best place for quirky decoration!
On the classic interface: Our room is very similar to the ’70s. Many people seeing it online say that it reminds me of their teenage daughter’s dream room, which is so funny.
About savings tips: Our bed flower panels are $ 2 or $ 3 at Goodwill. I’ve heard this saying once – a room should have a feeling of gathering, not being decorated. And I just love that. Everything we have here is from thrift stores or travels. I tell people, if you buy things you love, you can make it work in one room. During the pandemic, we have turned to developing online savings at Facebook marketplace and Goodwill. Goodwill online is one thing now, that a lot of people don’t know about. Goodwill can buy products anywhere in the country and ship them to your doorstep.
More than three dogs: We have two Boston terriers named Louie and Clark, as well as a rescue. He is named after Maui from Moana because we know he will be big and strong. They are really funny together. I can sit and watch them all day.
About commemorative colors: There’s a lot more gray, beige, and white available in interior design right now. In one small act of rebellion, we tried to add as much color as we could. It is also a representation of the rainbow, which I find quite cool.
Hannah (left) and Sarah Kate (right)
About a life-changing surgery: I define it as non-binary, and I use the pronoun she / her and them / them. That was a recent discovery, about four years ago, when I began to understand that it was even an option. I was raised in a very strict binary sex. I also grew up as a dancer – ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop – and that world is very sexual. But when I graduated from college, even though I identified as a lesbian, I didn’t feel it was the end of who I was and how I wanted to express myself. So I started looking at an online community of non-binary, and that’s absolutely true.
I started looking at top surgery. At first I thought that top-notch surgery was simply for transsexuals – I was born a female, I wanted to be a male – but cutting edge surgery is for those who are uncomfortable having breasts.
My surgery took place last summer. Now I am truly the happiest person I have ever had in my entire life. It was an outpatient surgery – very fast recovery – that’s what I have to do to be who I am and to be happy and I have no regrets, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
(My parents are currently very accepting, for this I am very grateful.)
Everything was like the first time after the top surgery. I remember trying on a T-shirt without having to wear a sports bra, and that’s the best thing in the world. Shop for swimwear. How the clothes feel. The way everything suits me now. I don’t know how comfortable and confident in my body I can feel.
I was asked the same questions over and over again, so I recorded my recovery Instagram and a start Youtube channel. Now that my body is at ease, I have opened up my holes in the net and can be completely honest with everyone.
I also found that through sharing my furniture online, I had a lot of people coming to my social network who would never follow a transgender person. It’s great to share something I love about the design and to share who I am bringing these two worlds together. It allows me to reach people I normally cannot. It really helps. I hear that more than anything else, ‘I’m coming for your interior and I stay up to weird education.’
Thank you very much, Sarah Kate!