This Home Holds A Beautiful Life

Dec 6, 2019 | Living Beautifully, Style

This Home Holds A Beautiful Life: Complete with five kids, two businesses and lovely intention – Noel Deeb, just before she gave birth to her fifth child.

It is after dinner at the Deebs’ house on a Thursday. Four children under 10 are upstairs playing video games. Shoulder-to-shoulder they stare at a giant screen, controllers in their tiny hands and tongues moving in concentration. From the downstairs kitchen, you can hear their little bursts of laughter and the pitter-patter of tiny feet. The table has been cleared and the dishes washed; everything is in order. The nighttime wind-down has begun.

Noel Deeb, 36, and pregnant with their fifth child, shows me to the dining room for our interview. The room doubles as her bread shop. Plastic bins are stacked on one side of the thick, wooden table. In the corner of the room looms a giant, gleaming bread oven, and above it, a giant Isreali tapestry. The room holds a faint aroma of yeasty baked sourdough. Noel, visibly tired at the end of the day, perches her elbows on the table, and a simple, block-letter tattoo of the word  “work” is visible on her arm.

The dining room doubles as a bread kitchen, featuring a giant bread oven, an Israeli tapestry, and baked sourdough aroma.

This one word, “work,” personifies Noel’s philosophy of what it means to live beautifully. Their home, a gorgeously renovated Old Louisville Victorian, is the hub of their family and work lives — a place where each coincide in busy, fruitful harmony. Tyler Deeb runs his business Misc. Goods Co. from there; Noel runs her home bakery business El Bread Shop from the table where we chat. 

“I love allowing my kids to see me work. They have an understanding of what work looks like. Papa doesn’t disappear for 8-9 hours a day to a mysterious place. They see us work and sometimes they get to participate,” Noel explains.

This past August, Noel and Tyler relocated from Shelby Park to their new live/work space in Old Louisville. When they purchased the home, it had sat vacant for 20 years but was already stripped down to the original studs and brick. For 16 months the couple renovated the five bedroom, 3.5 bath house. Today, everything inside is new except for the original doors, brick, and stairs. Each detail in the home is intentional — the eye of an artist (Noel) and a designer (Tyler) can be seen throughout. 

The upstairs hallway is a mixture of texture and light creating a lovely transition space.

A minimalist tan leather couch allows the giant window and plants to be the focal point along with the fireplace framed in azure tile.

In the entryway, a wood-burning stove framed in azure tile from Cle Tile out of Los Angeles nestles next to a custom-built cherry wood storage bin. A minimalist tan leather couch allows the giant window and plants from Forage to be the focal point of the space. The kitchen is clad in wood-grain tile, black custom cabinetry with variegated glass fronts, some open shelving, and a concrete sink from Hearthstone. In the center of the kitchen sits a wood-block island, where many loaves of bread have been mixed and kneaded. Upstairs, each of the children have a playful living space complete with bunk beds, cubbies, and a secret tunnel that connects the boys’ rooms. Deep blue tile, concrete floors, and cherry and plywood elements accentuate the original reclaimed wood and brick throughout the home. But, the most consistent design feature of the home is its functionality for work.     

The inception of El Bread Shop began in 2015. It was a difficult year for Noel: In the process of adopting their third child, she found out she was expecting. “We went from two to four children in a year — and our oldest was only 5,” Noel says. She had always been an artist and creative-type, but with so many children, she traded in her art for kitchen projects. “I would ferment and bake, but I was never that awesome.”

In the center of the kitchen sits a wood block island surrounded by custom black cabinets with glass fronts.

That is, until she stumbled on the book Sourdough by Sarah Owens. “I took a three-day retreat by myself and picked that book up on the way out of town. I fell in love with the book and came home ready to learn as much as I could about baking sourdough. I am a trial-and-error type of learner. I have to learn things the hard way. So, for a year, I baked all the time trying to perfect this craft. I thought, ‘In two to three years my kids will all be in school. What am I going to do with my life?’ I loved this bread thing; it brought me so much joy, so I decided to turn it into a business.”

Kentucky recently changed its laws allowing for home bakery businesses, so now Noel bakes around 30 loaves a week and sells them from her front stoop. Her business model is basically like a subscription service. On Wednesdays, people pre-order their sourdough and pick up their fresh bread on Fridays. Tuesdays are Bread Club days, and participants receive loaves of the chef’s whim. “I am the equivalent of the crazy country-fresh-egg-lady,” Noel jokes. “I romanticized the idea of chatting with all my customers on the porch, but a lot of times I just leave it outside on the honor system.”

This business model allows Noel to live a fluid and intentional family life. She is in control of how much work she’d like to endure each week, based on her family’s needs. The family can spend time together, and their home is the center of their lives. “I just want my kids to see the work we put in to make us, as a family unit, a priority. I want them to know what their mama and papa do — to teach them they can do what they love and still be with those they love.” 

Make sure to stop by Noel’s El Bread Shop booth at Louisville’s Made Market this Saturday, December 7th, at the Mellwood Art Center. 

P.S. Try your own hand at baking this for the holidays.

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