The heart of the home
How an award-winning home builder merges class and comfort
(As seen in Queen of the Castle Magazine)
When you walk into Molly Filipczak's home, you feel like you're walking into a TV show on dream home design. Molly's signature look is expertly sprinkled about their entry and comfortable living room, and then you start to feel yourself drool as your gaze shifts to the kitchen, where the décor eye candy explodes.
When you take in the perfectly placed feathers and burlap, the antiques and adorable vintage banners hanging from just-right-jute and the pops of glitter and gold, you feel like you're standing in the middle of a real-life Pinterest board.
Molly Filipczak is the "M" in C & M Home Builders and Real Estate. She and her husband Cody (the "C" in C & M) started the custom home company in 2005. Their own home in Eau Claire was their first parade of homes contest entry. They won best in show and have many times since, including in 2015. Molly said that gave her the confidence to continue on the home design path. "It's a great dream job, for sure," Molly said with a smile. "I would not want to do anything else!"
If you rewind to the time before she was a custom home designer, Molly was training to be a teacher in college. She said looking back, she's not surprised this is her true calling. "As a kid I would decorate for Christmas. That was my job out of the four sisters. That was my job. Decorating the mantle over the fireplace and putting out the Nativity set."
Her eye for home design comes naturally, but she's been practicing for years. "It started slowly, where I would help people pick out their countertops, cabinets and flooring. Then it morphed into more like doorknobs and the exterior. Now I do interior doors, trim, everything. I'm involved in it in every part." She is always watching to make sure their beautiful homes also function for families. Her best tips come from being a working mom of two boys. "Put in the pantry. Make your laundry room separate, or put a door on it. My laundry is on the floor, so I can just shut the door. Men don't think about stuff like that!"
Molly gets to know their custom home clients quickly and guides them through the process of picking out all of the finishes. She loves to help them find just the right look for their personality. "I'm a people person. I really like meeting with people and making them happy." When it comes to her own happiness, it's all about comfort.
"I know for me that I've really learned over the years that my house is really the foundation of my sanity. If the house is in chaos and disorder, it seems like everything else is in chaos and disorder," she added. "I like it to look nice, but it has to be comfortable. Comfort for me means that it's organized and clean. I don't want to walk in and feel like 'ugh, there's more work for me after I just got home from work.'" Molly said her favorite thing to do is to throw on leggings and grab a blanket. "I love laying on the couch. I'm a big couch layer."
From the looks of her gorgeous home, it would appear no one ever lies on the couch, but Molly said the key to pulling off simple elegance is to keep it simple.
"Sometimes it's like, just take everything out. Start with your blank canvas. Bring in that one thing you really want to showcase. Bring that in first and slowly pick and choose. Less is more. You don't need a ton of stuff everywhere. Simple, clean and fresh is for the most part pretty easy."
Molly prides herself on finding bargain decor and integrating special pieces into the rooms she creates. She said one custom home client is having them integrate a stone from a loved one's fireplace into their new fireplace. Molly said, "It doesn't have to be an overwhelming process. Find one thing that you love and bring that in and you can kind of just spread from there." In Molly's home, she has a sign that honors her Finnish roots.
She said that old saying that "a gallon of paint can do wonders" is true. She said that's a cost-effective way to make big changes in your home. "If you just put in the elbow
grease for it, can really give you a fresh start." Molly said she stores and reuses most of her décor, but if she's craving something new, she doesn't spend a lot to do it. "I buy new silk plants, new ribbons, ca
ndles and just change it out. I can make a whole new scheme just by moving furniture around and changing out the arrangements."
If you get stuck, Molly said her go-to solutions are plants, clocks and mirrors. "Mirrors are huge! I could have 80 billion mirrors. It's not something you'll get tired of. It brings in extra light." She said she also loves gallery walls with family pictures because they are timeless.
Her best advice for creating a beautiful home you love is to surround yourself with comfort and sweet memories. "I really don't think you can underestimate having your home base really be your sanctuary. Whatever it takes to make it that way, it will make you happier and energized and ready for anything outside your home."