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A Raleigh, NC Townhome Fosters Creativity & Personal Growth

by Garrett Fleming

A Raleigh, NC Townhome Fosters Creativity & Personal Growth, Design*Droits-Humains

When they were younger, you’d be hard pressed to find  and her husband Scott anywhere but perched on their motorcycles. Zipping around, the duo’s hair would blow in the breeze as they left one or another Northeastern town in their rearview mirror. They were never far from their next great adventure.

Six years ago, they embarked on an escapade with as many twists and turns as the gnarliest of back roads: parenthood. First came Eva. Creative and boisterous, their eldest daughter arrived paintbrush in hand. Without a doubt, she was a natural born artist. Soon after, however, Eva became something greater: a big sister to Elsie and Ethan. In the blink of an eye, Rachel and Scott had quite the full house.

A full house near Raleigh, NC to be exact. Technically it’s around 1,800 square feet on paper, but their townhome somehow seems to keep growing alongside the family. Perhaps they have the first floor’s open-concept floor plan to thank. It’s afforded Rachel and Scott the freedom to switch up not only the placement of furniture but how they actually use each area of the home. We’ve all seen how hard it can be to keep up with the needs of growing children, so having a space that is fluid and always in flux has proven to be a lifesaver.

The only thing that suits the family more than their home is the community it’s nestled within and how it supports Eva, who has Down syndrome. “We have seen so many families in the area that have helped grow our Down syndrome community,” Rachel shares. “We have so many families advocating with us to make our community a great place for children and individuals with different-abilities and Down syndrome.” Rachel and Scott couldn’t be more grateful for their home, inside and out. Scroll down to peek inside, and enjoy! —

P.S. To learn more, check out Rachel’s tips for Decorating for Your Differently-Abled Child, and to help those in need please visit  and .

Photography by

Image above: Eva is a budding artist, and she’ll draw on every surface she can get her hands on. After discovering one too many of her masterpieces on their rental’s furniture and walls, Rachel and Scott filled her room with removable chalkboard wallpaper so she can create to her heart’s content. 

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When Rachel walks in her front door, she says she feels like she can breathe. Only at home does she ever feel truly centered.

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Like the rest of the decorations in Rachel and Scott’s home, the placement of this print in the living room is purposeful: “After seeing a child (their daughter Eva) struggle with open heart surgery, chronic illness and the challenges that we/she face, your perspective really changes. What is most important in life? I have dedicated the last few years to advocating for a change in beauty standards. It is so important that art, media, marketing, advertising and the entertainment industry be inclusive to all looks, shapes, sizes, abilities, nationalities and genders,” Rachel says.

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“One of these days (and I hope it never comes), Eva is going to come home from school and realize that she may look different than others. We can only remind her of how beautiful she is and how beautiful being different is. That is why (this ) piece is so important to have in our home,” Rachel shares.

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The chalkboard wall is one of the first things visitors see when they enter the Kipphut house. It exudes just as much playfulness as the family that writes on it.

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A Mark Rothko print in the dining room.

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Rachel and Scott’s dining table was Rachel’s grandmother’s and has played host to three generations of children. When Rachel sits at the table, she says, “memories of birthdays and holiday dinners replay in [my] head.”

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“Our favorite thing about our home is that it is filled with love & the things that bring us joy! We play, learn, grow & work here. Most of all, we live each day to the fullest here.” – Rachel and Scott Kipphut

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The kids’ play area was originally the dining room, but the flow wasn’t working for the family so they switched things up.

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The play area.

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Rachel and Scott both love being behind the camera, and (like most kids) Eva, Elsie and Ethan love sitting still, so it’s rare to see the entire Kipphut family in one photo together. “This shot is going in a frame!” Rachel tells us.

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Last winter, Eva spent two weeks in the hospital with pneumonia. During the time the three siblings were apart, Rachel and Scott noticed Elsie and Eva each became more outgoing and goofy. While frightening, Eva’s illness helped Rachel and Scott realize it was time for her and Elsie to have separate rooms. The switch-up has helped them settle into their own unique selves. Elsie now shares her and Eva’s old room (above) with Ethan.

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When she was a teenager, Rachel brought this fake fireplace back to life by giving it a fresh coat of paint and removing the kitschy, light-up flames it housed. Its latest revamp comes courtesy of some homemade chalkboard paint and magnetic strips.

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Eva is usually timid when it comes to stepping outside her comfort zone, but the first time she saw a bunk bed at her grandparents’ house, she was on the top bunk in a second. She loved it so much, when it came time for Eva to get her own bedroom, Rachel and Scott bought her this pink option on Facebook Marketplace.

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Not only does it keep her “big girl” room feeling cheery, but the bunk bed also serves as a symbol of Eva’s growing confidence when it comes to trying new things.

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Eva’s swing is both fun and functional. Due to her condition, Eva’s core is weaker. Swinging back and forth is a fun way for her to continue building up her stamina. “It requires a little strength and a little balance, which is good for her gross motor skills,” Rachel explains.

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The downstairs’ open floor plan is a logistical dream for the family as it allows them to switch up their space as their needs change. Being able to see every room at once, however, sometimes becomes daunting for Rachel. “Being down there can remind me of all the things I have to do,” she says. During moments like these, she brings a craft to her and Scott’s upstairs bedroom where she can physically and mentally remove herself from the stresses of the day.

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Rachel found this old mirror in the basement of her and Scott’s previous home.

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The home’s floor plan.

SOURCE LIST

Living Room
Anthony Burrill print –
Map of NC coast –
Flower play mat –
Abstract shelf art –
Palmistry print – Form & Function
Black and white art – Eva
Removable chalkboard wallpaper –
White rug, coffee table, grid art, sconces – Urban Outfitters
Couch – gifted
Blue lounger, black glass shelf – Facebook Marketplace
Blue Eames chair, green chair, black ottoman – RESTORE

Dining Room
Dresser – Thrifted
Hanging light – Anthropologie
Print – Mark Rothko
Abstract print –
Beach photography – Pics for Promises
Removable chalkboard wallpaper – Livette’s Wallpaper
Mid-century chairs – RESTORE
Leather tablecloth –

Playroom
Vintage filing cabinet, green Eames chair – RESTORE
Teal kid’s chair – Handcrafted for Rachel as a child by her uncle
Round coffee table – Target
Drum light – IKEA
Wood chairs – Facebook Marketplace
Sconces, “Rock On” print, banana print, indigo bunting – Urban Outfitters
Picasso print – Thrifted
Self portrait – Scott Kipphut
Bee print –
Butterfly art – Form & Function

Elsie & Ethan’s Room
Sconces – Urban Outfitters
Removable wallpaper – Livette’s Wallpaper
Anthony Burrill print – Schoolhouse Electric
Play mat, jungle pillow –
Handmade play table –
Southern sky print, butterfly art – Form & Function
Terrarium –
Small Abstract art – Wink Wink Studio

Eva’s Room
World map –
Handmade clothing rack –
Butterfly art – Form & Function
Horse print –
Small abstract art – Wink Wink Studio
Doll house, swing – IKEA
Gold sconce – Urban Outfitters
Rag doll, first aid tin –

Rachel & Scott’s Room
Pineapple print –
Print above bed – Max Wanger Print Shop
Striped throw pillow –
Mudcloth pillow –
Small boob art collage, abstract artwork – Wink Wink Studio
Large boob print – Anna Gleeson
Medium abstract print –
Light sconces – Urban Outfitters

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Comments

  • Love, love, love this! It’s so wonderful to see a home that reflects the love it holds and supports the people inside with its design. As the mom of a son with Down syndrome it’s always exciting to see another kiddo out and about in an unexpected place (and several easter eggs that DS families will appreciate)! I definitely plan to try out some of these elements in our home. We are already a huge fan of wall sconces and chalkboard walls.

    • Hi Danielle,
      Thank you so much! I love that this is reaching other families in the design community with diffrently-abled children. How old is your son? With Eva at a Kindergarten age, we are finding it more and more nessisary to work on things with Eva at home. Not just acedemics, but anything she has an interest in. The chalkboard wallpaper has been extremely effective in being a visual aide for all our kids , especially Eva. You can never have too many drawing surfaces.

  • Lovely home and family! I really appreciate that the kids’ areas are stylish while still being fun and functional for the children who use them!

    • Thanks for noticing Shannon! When you have a child ( or even adult :p ) that can be overstimulated easily, you have to be selective when it comes to what is included in a room. I have a personal checklist that consists of: Is it aesthetically pleasing? Is it fun? Is it functional? Is it educational? I also re-access the items and even rotate them often in the house. Then, no one is bored!

  • How fun! great pictures and the home looks like one a family can actually LIVE in! Thanks so much for sharing….

  • Your family is so beautiful Rachel, you make being a mom of three look so easy. You are an inspiration & your home is a perfect reflection of your vibrant personality.

    • Hi Holly! You are far too kind! Thank you so much. It is definitely not easy being a Mom of three and one that needs additional support at times. To be honest, I had to hire a babysitter to keep the house clean to take these photos. That stays between you and me , okay? ;)

  • Rachel, I love your family even more after reading this! Your home exudes love, comfort, and style. I love all the thoughtful parts of your home- it’s so beautiful!

    • Oh Valerie you are so sweet . Thank you! I was always someone that couldn’t stay indoors long, until I had Eva. She had open heart surgery and therapists came to the house regularly on weekly basis, it felt like I could NEVER leave the house. It was challenging. That’s when I started buying myself fresh flowers to “change the scenery” and uplift my spirits. That later developed into a love of thrifting and collecting ( mostly art) so that I never got down or bored being at home all the time. I changed out art and decor often to keep things exciting. It’s just sort of stuck with me ( and us ) and now we both work from home everyday! The whole place will look different in another month or two, I guarantee it.

  • Great tour (really enjoyed all the details and the layout), and VERY well-written article. Loved this – thanks Garrett!

    • THANK YOU Katelyn! I really appreciate your words. Garrett and the D*S team does a great job directing and guiding us through the home tour process. It has been truly gratifying to see it all come together along side Garrett’s writing.

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