Every year thousands of couples make the decision to take the plunge and move in together. The process can be both intimidating and nerve-wracking. There are so many questions to be answered and so many choices to be made. How should we design our new place? What kind of furniture should we have? What do I need to get rid of? What if I leave my socks around? Can either of us cook?
Now imagine that you are moving to a city you have barely visited, with a brand new fiancé, and that fiancé is that city’s newly christened sports savior. Meet Emily Wilkinson.
In 2018, Emily moved to Cleveland, Ohio with her fiancé, Baker Mayfield. Baker, a Quarterback standout at the University of Oklahoma and 2017 Heisman Award winner, was selected 1st overall in the NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns in April of 2018. A month later she announced that she was coming with Baker to Cleveland.
As the couple began to settle in the area, Arhaus had the opportunity to work with Baker and Emily on furnishing their home. Arhaus’ Director of Digital Marketing, Steve Bauer, had a chance to sit down with them to ask a few questions about moving in together, life in Cleveland, and their design style.
When did the two of you first move in together? What adjustments did you have to make?
Emily Wilkinson (E) Funny story…and a story that makes us sound completely NUTS. Baker moved in with me in LA roughly a week after we met. Aside from having to learn to share my space, there really weren’t too many adjustments.
Baker Mayfield (B): I’ve been trying all this time to adjust to putting my dirty clothes in the right place…..and I’m still not really doing that.
Did that precedent help establish what it would be like when you moved to Cleveland together?
E: We have essentially lived together as long as we’ve known each other so living together has always been part of it. In LA, we lived in a three bedroom condo, with my two younger brothers. So the biggest adjustment – and an exciting one at that – was adjusting to living together, just the two of us.
When you found out that you were coming to Cleveland, what kinds of plans did you make for your home?
E: As soon as Baker was drafted to Cleveland, we knew we would most likely buy, and we knew we’d want something nice, but manageable. Luckily, we have similar taste in style, so we had fun Pinteresting and starting to plan what direction we would take our home.
How have you been embraced by the Cleveland community?
E: We have been embraced by Cleveland better than either of us could have ever imagined. With me being from Omaha, NE originally, I know the kind of people that Midwesterners typically are, so we had high hopes of being welcomed with open arms….but everyone surpassed our expectations very quickly! Baker feels like it’s a much bigger stage (comparing NFL to college), however, the community feels a lot like Oklahoma as far as their welcoming demeanor.
When you think of home, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
E: It sounds so cliche, but home is genuinely where your family is. It’s where you can completely unwind and be yourself.
How do you unwind when you are at home?
E: When we unwind at home, it typically involves a glass of red wine, cooking, board games, good movies, Fortnite (for Baker), and just relaxing together.
What is the favorite spot in the house for each of you?
E: My favorite spot is probably the living room on the main floor. It’s cozy and welcoming, and there’s almost always a candle burning.
B: My favorite spot is probably the kitchen or upstairs loft which we’ve kind of turned into a mini man cave. But what I’m most excited for is when we complete the basement mancave, which will have a home theatre, bar, and other cool stuff.
Do you have guests come to visit often?
E: We have had AT LEAST 4 guests stay at our house for every home game this fall. We’ve had up to 14 people at one time. We’re lucky to have friends and family who are willing and want to come visit us for Baker’s home games!
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
E: I would describe our aesthetic as COZY first and foremost. We tend to go towards earthy tones, with statement walls, colors, and furniture pieces. We both like a lot of texture, and not a lot of clutter.
What about the Arhaus furniture in your home appeals to you most?
E: We both like that there’s a lot of unique pieces. For example in our bedroom, we were able to find several statement pieces like our headboard, mirror, and bench for the foot of the bed. It just appealed to us as being “different” than other furniture stores. Also, the staff is super knowledgeable about each piece, especially when there’s a story about its creation. We have several pieces in the living room made of petrified wood and they know the origin of where the wood came from, how it was made, etc. By choosing furniture like this, we were able to create a space that really felt like “ours” and eventually made it feel like home!