Tell us the story of your home. To you, what sets it apart or makes it unique aside from the fact that you and your family are the ones who live in it?
We hit the pavement hard to get this house! For almost 2 years, we sent out postcards to specific homes within our current neighborhood, asking them to please consider selling to our family, knowing that about 50% of the houses sold in the neighborhood sold in private, off market deals. Ideally, we knew that we wanted an off-market deal, an original owner (so as not to pay for someone else's upgrades), and a physical draw that would allow us to host lots of people. From the minute that we stepped foot into our house, we knew this was the one and it met every requirement. There was dark wood paneling and brown 70's shag carpet throughout, and we couldn't have loved it more! We struck a deal with the original owners who had previously raised their 6 kids in the house and began demo the DAY that we got the keys! Since then, we've done a complete interior remodel (prior to us actually moving in), ripped out our entire backyard landscaping to add a big deck that opens up to our community park, and now are in the process of the final phase of remodel by adding a bonus room and bathroom above our garage (so that all of our out of town family have a place to sleep!). It has been a DREAM to be in this house. We feel so blessed and encouraged to be exactly where we are at, and we don't let a day go by that we don't express gratitude for the gift that this home has been to us. It truly is our dream home.
How would you describe your personal home style?
If you walked in my home today, you'd for sure see predominantly a Modern Farmhouse aesthetic. As time moves on though, and these little people grow, I find I am drawn to the simplicity and clean lines of Scandinavian and Modern spaces. My brain craves the clean lines and simplicity in our spaces to counteract the noise level with three littles!
What is your favorite space in your home?
My kitchen hands down. We knew this would be the heart of our home with an open concept floor plan, and it is. Everyone sits and gathers around the oversized island and it's where just normal everyday life happens.
If you could share one thing about yourself with readers that you've perhaps never shared publicly or via social media, what would it be?
I am extremely indecisive when it comes to design decisions in my own home. If you ask me a question about your home, I'll give you a decisive answer no problem. Which color should you paint - blue or white? White, the answer is always white. But when it comes to choosing things for my own spaces, I become paralyzed with indecision. I think it's the Enneagram Three in me that wants it to look PERFECT, even though I know perfection is never a standard I want to impress. So there's an ongoing tension between what I want to really convey in my home and where my heart oftentimes leads me. In order to combat the desire to get it just RIGHT, I have found that when I regularly come back to our why for this home - which is the people that live within in it, and gather around our table - then I have much easier time making design choices knowing that in the long run, the people will make the space way more than the paint colors, furniture and tile choices.
When I first started in the creative business, I painted furniture. So in the beginning it was lots of lifting and schlepping in and out of my car, and I always surprised myself with my literal strength which felt liberating. Since then though, I don't DIY much anymore, but I did recently stain (ebony!) and swap out the hardware of an IKEA Tarva dresser in our entryway, so that it now fits my desired aesthetic so much better, and gives an easily accessible home to all of the kid's craft supplies.
What does home mean to you? What do you want others to feel when they enter/spend time in your home?
I want people to breathe a sigh of relief and feel known when they come into our home. We have an open door policy, and host people for a meal at least once or twice a week. Everyone is welcome in our home, and around our table. I also offer up Refrigerator Rights to anyone who enters the house! This means that if you're in our home, you are family. You are welcome to help yourself to beverages at your leisure, or additional items in the fridge without having to ask - the same way that family does. Our friends have become our family, and that's how I want people to feel when they walk through our doors. We are casual and imperfect and I want you to feel safe in sharing whatever life is throwing at you when sitting around the table.
Do you think you've learned to embrace your story? Your home? Why or why not?
For me, moving to a new town and being the sole designer on our dream house has helped usher me into such a greater understanding, and appreciation for myself. I am so much more confident in who I am, and who I was made to be - which includes my shortcomings. I think this translates into my home because I no longer am striving for perfection or seeking approval from others through superficial things, like perfectly put together homes. I have a higher level of contentedness in this home, that is displayed in spaces that I choose to leave as finished. Instead of constantly moving things around and switching things out, I've learned to curate a space that reflects my personal style, along with functionality that serves our family, and then letting that be. Finding contentment in my spaces has allowed freedom for me to pour into the things that really matter, and that will last much longer than our house. I want our home to have a legacy, but I know that the people who come in and out of it will be the ones that drive that, not the physical spaces.
If there was one piece of advice that you could give to others as to how to embrace their home and their story, what would that advice be?
Open your doors to your people regardless of the home that you are currently living in. Whether it's a rental, apartment, get-out-of-debt house, or just not your forever home it's important to live your life openly. People don't want perfection, especially in a space; they simply crave connection. This takes a great deal of courage and confidence, but I promise it will pay dividends for you in the long run. Regardless of your space, opening your home up to your people and your neighbors is going to be what gives you life. In the same vein, Do YOU. I am inspired by bohemian, hygge, farmhouse, modern and contemporary and don't necessarily fall under one label. In design, I think it's a both/and scenario; you don't have to fit perfectly into one style category. Let things that are genuine and sentimental to YOU speak and inspire you, regardless of label or category. Similarly, let your home reflect you regardless of the season of life you are in. Your story is not over, today is not your forever, and so my advice is lean in to your current today, learn to cultivate gratitude in it, regardless of what your home looks like today.
Ashley is a thirty-something mom of three kiddos and wife to one of the most amazing dudes ever. After leaving her dream job in order to stay at home and raise the said children, where she began a long journey and struggle to find purpose amidst the daily-ness of raising kids. Without a paycheck, clear cut goals and accomplishments, Ashley quickly began drowning in self-doubt feeling like her new fate was just diapers and snotty noses. She enjoys sharing th4 stories and telling the tales of how seeking (and ultimately finding) joy and purpose through the everyday monotony of motherhood can bring more life and fulfillment to the mundane.