Growing up near Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana – literally surrounded by cornfields – I always had a sense that home was a safe place. Perhaps it was the small-town rural community or the deep family roots, but really I think it was my mom’s touch that made our house a home. Little bits of beauty surrounded my three younger siblings and me – from the front porch swing to the overstuffed chair in the keeping room off the kitchen (a stack of books never far from reach) to her infamous chocolate chip cookies cooling on the counter. Looking back, I can see that it wasn’t a perfect set of furniture or the most modern conveniences that made this space so special – it was the fact that my parents kept relationships at the heart of their home. It was where we gathered. Yes, there was a certain loveliness that came from the thoughtful pieces collected by my parents, and the space was carefully tended. I believe those aspects matter. But they lent themselves to a greater purpose where relationships were nourished. A home where rooms sit empty is unable to fulfill its purpose. But a home that thoughtfully takes into account the people who inhabit it becomes the springboard where essentially we are blessed in order to bless others. We extend our tables. And in doing so, we extend our lives.
I do not have a degree in interior design. Yet as long as I can remember, I’ve loved home design. In college I painted our apartment – only to be found out by the landlord and required to paint it back the following week! That didn’t keep me from making it the coziest spot in the building, though. After graduating from Purdue University, I landed a job teaching eighth grade English for seven years at The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs. I loved teaching but continually found myself devouring blogs about decorating and do-it-yourself projects. Some of my favorite dates took place in the aisles of Home Depot as my husband and I dreamed up the home we hoped to someday own. Several years later, we found ourselves in the thick of remodeling our downtown bungalow in Colorado Springs. It was truly trial by fire, but the refinement process brought us closer to one another and produced a darling little home where we started our family. Since then, I’ve helped stage many homes for a local realtor, and we moved into another home that needed some more love to really fit our family. Ultimately, I love finding the redeeming qualities in a home and drawing them out.
While I enjoy everything from mid-century modern to farmhouse to transitional design, I continually come back to these ideas when decorating:
- Editing out is as important as adding in. When a space is clean, simple, and fresh, it’s much easier to think, create, and enjoy your space.
- Mix old and new. This keeps a space from feeling like you stopped at IKEA and purchased a room directly from their showroom. A collected space tells a story and feels curated over time. Modern conveniences are embraced alongside patina.
- Neutral is not boring. Layers and texture add interest to a space without overwhelming it.
- Style is attainable on any budget. In fact, sometimes these lovely limitations can lead to the most interesting and inspired spaces.
- Beauty is not in the stuff, but the relationships that are cultivated within our homes. Yet our surroundings certainly affect us – energizing, inspiring, calming. These spaces tell parts of our story and invite others to share theirs. Our most sacred moments take place within these walls as we rock our babes, break bread round our tables, offer a listening ear over a cup of tea, engaging one another in the midst of the mundane moments that make up the glorious mesh of life.