“We both like to be stimulated in our home in the best possible way,” he says Sarah Kate Smigiel, who lives with his fiancée Hannah (and their three dogs) in Chestertown, Maryland. Their house is full of color, art and the famous hash for breakfast Sarah Kate. Here, she peeks inside i tells us about her recent top-notch operation …
At a new beginning: In April we moved from Pittsburgh to Chestertown. Chestertown is where my grandparents live and 30 minutes from where I grew up. It was a place for us to start fresh, but still be close to family. We moved right at the start of the pandemic. Creating this house in Chestertown, being able to edit and spend all that time, was cathartic.
In a cold city: We wanted him to feel in a small town. Being queer, we wanted to feel safe. Chestertown is this little gem. It has that cozy atmosphere, but here we feel so welcome and accepted.
In a playful routine: We work according to the opposite schedule, but when we have days off, we hang out in our living room. We play video games on a vintage Nintendo, which is very nostalgic for us. And we deal with reality TV RuPaul’s Drag Race.
On repurposed curtains: Our curtains are from Mexicali Blues, which recycles silk saris. They take panels from parts that are not damaged or worn and patch them to make curtains.
On the inheritance table: This table was in my house from childhood; I practiced arts and crafts, every family dinner I grew up with was here. It has notches and scratches. Our parents wanted us to have him for their family. My mom comes to dinner once a week and sits here, and it’s really great. Although it is only a tree, it is an important tree.
During the meal: We are getting closer to perfecting some of our favorite meals – salad boards, taco dinners, red curry, hash for breakfast. I like to try different parts of the world’s food and cuisine. But I can’t bake at all. I can’t make brownies in a box. I leave that to Hannah.
About decorating a dishwasher: We found a sticker for the dishwasher Etsy – the best place for unusual decor!
On a vintage look: Our room is in the 70’s. A lot of people, when they see it online, say it reminds me of their teenage daughter’s dream room, which is funny.
About frugal tips: The flower piece above our bed was $ 2 or $ 3 at Goodwill. I once heard this quote – the room should feel collected, not decorated. And I just love it. Everything we have here is from savings stores or travel. I tell people, if you buy things you love, you can make them work in the room. During the pandemic, we switched to online savings at Facebook market i Good will. Goodwill online is now a thing that many people do not know about. You can buy goodwill anywhere in the country and it arrives at your home.
On three dogs: We have two Boston Terriers named Louie and Clark, as well as Salvation. It was named after Maui of Moana because we knew it would be big and strong. Everyone is really fun. I can sit and watch them all day.
About the color celebration: There are currently so many grays, beiges and whites in interior design. In a small act of rebellion we tried to add as many colors as possible. It’s also a display of the rainbow, which I find pretty cool.
Hannah (left) and Sarah Kate (right)
In a life-changing operation: I identify as non-binary and use the pronouns she / she and they / they. It was a recent discovery, about four years ago, when I began to realize that it was even an option. I was raised in a very strict binary gender. I was also raised as a dancer – ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop – and that world is very gender connected. But after I graduated from college, even though I recognized myself as a lesbian, I didn’t feel it was the end of what I was and how I wanted to express myself. So I started researching the online community of non-binary people and that seemed right to me.
I started thinking about top-notch surgery. At first I thought top-notch surgery was simply for people who were transitioning to the opposite sex – I was born a woman, I want to be a man – but top-notch surgery is for anyone who is uncomfortable having a breast.
My surgery happened last summer. Now I’m really the happiest I’ve ever been my whole life. It was an outpatient operation – recovery was a breeze – I had to do it to be what I am and be happy and I don’t regret it, it was the best decision I ever made.
(My parents now accept this very much, for which I am very grateful.)
Everything felt like the first one after the top operation. I remember trying on a T-shirt without having to wear a sports bra, and it was the coldest thing in the world. Buying a swimsuit. The feeling of clothes. How things suit me now. I had no idea I could feel so good and confident in my body.
I am constantly asked the same questions, so I documented my recovery Instagram and started a YouTube channel. Now I’m comfortable in my body, I’ve opened up my vulnerability online and I can be completely honest with people.
I found that even by sharing interiors online, I had many people who came to my social networks and who would otherwise never follow a transgender person. It’s really okay to share something I love about design and share what I’ve been a person connecting these two worlds. It allows me to reach people I would not otherwise be able to. That was really helpful. I hear it more than anything else, ‘I came for your interiors and I’m staying because of the unusual education.’
Thank you very much, Sarah Kate!!