Carrie’s House

This is the seventh in a series of interviews with homeowners in the (East) Lansing area. The purpose of this series is to learn more about our neighbors and create a sense of community that can exist both online and out in the world!

Today’s post is with your hostess with the mostest — me!

Tell me about yourself, where you live in East Lansing, and who you live with.

I live with my husband, Phil, and teenage children Griffin and Bela in the Lantern Hill area of East Lansing — we are so close to Marble Elementary School that we can hear the bell ring during normal times.

What’s keeping you busy these days?

Besides this blog, I work full-time for a nonprofit organization. I have been there since 2008. Due to the pandemic, I am currently working in our basement. I also serve on the East Lansing Historic District Commission and write the Eye Candy and Eye for Design columns in the Lansing City Pulse.

What brought you to East Lansing?

Originally, I came here to study at Michigan State University when I was 18. My ex-husband and I lived here after college. After my divorce in 2009, I moved to a small village at the edge of Ingham County to get back on my feet financially (it was much more affordable). When I got engaged to my current husband, we decided to move back to East Lansing to be closer to the kids’ schools.

How long have you lived in your home?

We moved here in December 2013 – over seven years now!

What drew you to this house? Did you have the feeling of “this is the one” when you were house hunting?

Its location near both Marble Elementary School and MacDonald Middle School was a major attraction. Bela was in second grade so I knew we would be within close walking distance of school for her for many years. There was a nice moment when Phil and I were touring this one that we looked at each other and both knew that this was the one we wanted to buy. The house itself had a good feeling of space.

What’s one project you thought you would do before you moved in? Have you done it – why or why not?

I think we both thought we would enclose the carport to create a garage. Instead, we built a shed in the backyard, which has helped a lot with storage. If there were walls where now there is only open space in the carport, it would be so much harder to park both vehicles (as it is, we have to shimmy).

What has been your favorite project so far?

This past summer we removed ALL of the carpeting in the house to expose the hardwood floors beneath. It was a lot of work but it looks much better than the (previously beautiful snowy white) wall-to-wall carpeting after seven hard years of living with kids.

My favorite, though, is the replacement of our front and back doors. They provide so much more light now.

Before and After of the Back Door

How has the pandemic affected your daily routines? Due to the pandemic, is there anything you wish you could change about your home or where you live?

We are all home all the time now (although my son recently went back to in-person learning for his senior year of high school). I wish we had a bit more space overall, specifically a big pantry and a separate exercise room vs. machines in a guest bedroom. I also really want to build a patio in the backyard for socially-distanced get togethers. While I always wish we had a pool, it would have been super nice last summer when the public facilities were closed!

What are some of your favorite places to shop/eat/hang out in East Lansing?

I’m grateful for all the good options we have for grocery shopping including Campbell’s Market Basket, Fresh Thyme, and Whole Foods. I like the Tiny Target in downtown East Lansing. Flat, Black & Circular because I’ve started a record collection. Curious Books is an institution. The Broad Art Museum and MSU’s campus are wonderful.

How do you spend an ideal Saturday at home?

Wake up early, with everyone I love in one place. Drink coffee outdoors, read a book, maybe do some yoga and go for a walk in nature.


How many TVs do you have and what are you currently binging? Six (!) We just finished Ted Lasso and I LOVED it!

Are you handy, crafty, hostess, or cook? None of those, really, but I do like to decorate!

Can you fold a fitted sheet? Yes!

What’s your “at-home” equivalent of Inbox Zero? An empty sink

What’s a favorite simple or inexpensive treat? Flowers

What is your favorite splurge for your home? We bought Lovesac couches, which are super easy to put together and can be configured in different ways. They’re pretty comfy too!

Do you have an organizing hack to share? Use a paper yard waste bag for clothes and housewares that are going to be donated (I like the Goodwill on Lake Lansing near Groovy Donuts and the good liquor store for easy drop-offs).

When I say hygge, you say…. A fire in the fireplace, a warm sweater and wool socks, eating cake or chocolates and drinking coffee, after a walk in the snow.

What do you want to know about your neighbors? Everything! That’s why I started this series. 🙂


Thank you, me! If YOU would like to be featured on the Real Houses of East Lansing, please send an email to the editor, Carrie Sampson, at mrscarrsamp (at) gmail (dot) com with “Real Houses of EL” in the subject line. Thx for reading!

Published by eastlansinghome

Carrie Sampson is a longtime resident of East Lansing, Michigan. She has worked in nonprofit communications for over 20 years and in the last decade has become increasingly interested in interior design and issues related to the built environment. Carrie has served as a commissioner on the East Lansing Historic District Commission since 2018. She has written the Eye Candy and Eye for Design columns in the Lansing City Pulse since 2019. To learn more or to work with her, send an email to mrscarrsamp AT gmail DOT com.

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