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Laura and Derek Distin's dining area

Laura Distin says the kitchen and dining room area of her Sun Prairie home is her family's "command central." "We spend a lot of time in here with our little family and we just love it,” she said.

The owners: Laura and Derek Distin. Laura is a blogger and entrepreneur who is opening a studio, The Ironstone Nest, in Sun Prairie Saturday and will be teaching furniture transformation workshops. Derek is an independent sales distributor.

The home: A split-level ranch built in 1967 in Sun Prairie.

Favorite home feature: The kitchen, dining room and new built-in desk are part of one long galley-style room where the family spends most of its time. “We designed it to be functional and comfortable, yet pleasing to the eye,” Laura Distin said.

How you did it: They created the space little by little over the past seven years as they could afford it, Distin said. “We began by painting the walls and the cabinets, then added the granite countertop and new appliances,” she said. “Derek installed the subway tile and the butcher block countertop to complete the kitchen. But the pièce de résistance in this space is the buffet we found on the side of the road. It fit perfectly with our style, provided much needed storage, and once it was painted, set the tone to tie in the design of the rest of the room. We topped it all off with our DIY farm table and, most recently, our built-in desk area. It all just works for us. We spend a lot of time in here with our little family and we just love it.”

Distin said she is a habitual re-decorator who likes to transform trash to treasure. “I can take what is unloved or unwanted and see its potential,” she said. “I’ve been dragging home curbside finds and transforming hand-me-downs for over 15 years but never thought anyone might care about what I was doing in my home. Then I discovered the blogging world. So I started a blog a few years ago to share my trials and tribulations of decorating our home on a budget, and it has since turned in to a business that I’m very proud of.” More information is at www.theironstonenest.com/services.

Why it’s a special place: It’s command central, Distin said. “Most of our lives are lived in this room from family meals to business to family meetings to important chats to birthday parties to play time. It all happens here.”

Advice to other homeowners: “I say go with what you love,” Distin said. “Find what you like, piece by piece. It doesn’t matter if it all matches, one style versus another. All that matters is that you love it and it pleases you. If you do that, your home will all come together in the end and will be a beautiful reflection of who you are.”

Have a Favorite Space idea? Email features@madison.com.

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