Interview: Beneath My Heart

I “discovered” the lovely Traci from Beneath my Heart about a year and a half ago, and was immediately drawn to her kindness and grace – and her craftiness! Traci was kind enough to answer some questions, too!

What does style mean to you?
Style to me is whatever makes your heart smile! There are so many different decorating styles out there. I love them all. But there are certain styles that make me say, “aahhh…”, and I feel like I am “home”. When you find colors, or fabrics, or pieces of furniture that make you happy, surround yourself in them. Fill your home up with them, then you will find your style, and your home will represent “you”.

What do you think are your signature touches around the house?

Over the past two years of blogging, it seems my “signature touches” seem to be the colors I use when decorating. I tend to work with tans, whites, browns, and blacks throughout my house, with pops of red. Sort of like the colors in my blog design. 🙂 I also think I add touches of a “cottage” feel to my home through older pieces of furniture and vintage finds.

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t quite know what their style is?
Funny you ask! About five years ago, a friend of mine asked me what my decorating style was. (This was way before my blogging days.) I had no idea how to answer that! I don’t think I even had a style. However, my mom had always told me to tear out my favorite home decor pictures from magazines and put them in a binder. If I saw a picture of a kitchen that I loved, I would put it in my binder. If I saw a piece of furniture that I wish I could own someday, I would put it in the binder. Over time, I realized that my “decorating eye” was always drawn toward the same types of pictures. They tended to have elements of cottage, french country, and traditional in them. I have decided that my style is what I like to call “modern cottage”.

What do you see in 2011 for home decor?
Well, the color for 2011 is “honeysuckle”, which is a beautiful shade of pink, but I don’t think that is going to happen in my house full of boys this year! 🙂
I’m not really good at making predictions, but it seems like light, bright, airy spaces are all the rage. Combining the old with the new is always beautiful, like modern chairs around a old rustic table. And lots of textures in your decor is wonderful too.

What do you think can make the biggest change in a room – paint, moving furniture, pillows, etc.?
Definitely, paint. It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for a room. It instantly makes everything in your room look fresher and newer.

How do you want your home to be seen by others?
I want my house to be seen by others as a place of love, a place of beauty, and a place of fun. l want others to feel at home when they come to my home. I love using old furniture in my home, because if it gets a little beat up by others, it still looks great. And I do not want to have a lot money in my decor, so if something gets ruined or broken by a guest, no big deal! It can easily be replaced. I always hope my guests know that they are way more important than the “things” in my home!

Name one color you can’t live without – decorating wise.
Can I say, “neutrals”? 🙂

What matters to you the most when you ponder a major change – bathroom remodel, bedroom redo, tearing down a wall, etc.
Easy answer…money! Every decision I make in completing a makeover in our home depends on money. Our finances are extremely tight, so if we can’t do it inexpensively, then we just can’t do it! But that is the fun part to me! I love creating a beautiful space for a fraction of the cost others would do it in. It is amazing what you can do with very little money. That is what I try to share on my blog every day.

I should add as a footnote that I found out just how kind Traci is after my dear dad passed away last July. I had read in her blog how Traci had handled her dear mom’s passing and in my desperate grief I reached out to her, someone I had never met, to ask her advice on dealing with my pain.

If you know Traci, have read her blog, or have even just heard of her, you know how she responded. She was all kindness and support, grace and encouragement, she even emailed me later to check up on how I was doing. To those who say “online friends” don’t mean as much as “real friends” I say, to quote my youngest, “you so wrong!”.

It was fun reading Traci’s answers to my questions, I hope you have enjoyed getting to know her a little bit more!

Interview: Parisienne Farmgirl

I will readily admit that I first clicked on Parisienne Farmgirl‘s blog because of her blog title. I absolutely LOVE Paris, and I am obsessed with having a little farm right in my own backyard. I figured Angela would be someone I’d like to get to know better.

And she is! She is outspoken, stylish, and likes Carla Bruni’s music. All good. I decided to throw a few questions at her; she was game, of course, so here’s our little chat for your reading pleasure:

What does style mean to you?
Oh my. I don’t even know where to begin. Ok, “style”… hmmm….one of my favorite words is “chic.” So a discipline I have when I am styling something whether it is a room or an outfit is to ask myself, “Is this chic?” or “What about this is chic?” Which I suppose begs the questions – “What is chic?”
I think style/chic is a certain sense of refinement. Say accessories for example, I personally feel that a collection of old bottles, even some with a bit of dirt still stuck for eternity down in the bottom are more stylish than some trinket from the Home Accessories aisle at HomeGoods. Those stores are fun to wander thru but they can wreak destruction on any sense of refinement.
I do feel there are those out there that are paving the way in the world of style. Top of the line designers in the interiors and fashion world are phenomenal artists and I don’t think it makes you less of an individualist to mimic or be inspired by them. Their work is a great measuring stick for what is stylish. They are pro’s and it’s O.K. to acknowledge that. Their work, be it a new black suit on the runway or the latest spread in Traditional Home can be phenomenally inspiring and exposing yourself to that work really, really, really, sharpens your eye.

What do you think are your signature touches around the house?

Old furniture. I am blessed that hubby does not require big, lounging, furniture. We don’t watch T.V. but you will find us snuggled up in our king size bed with the laptop and a movie.
Mirrors. I love old mirrors. Did I mention I love old mirrors? It’s not vanity. TRUST ME! It’s visual space. I am addicted to it.
Chandeliers. I have twelve I think. I still need a few more for the “one in every room” dream.

What is it about French style that attracts you?

The gathered look. That’s it. Whether it’s a bedroom or an outfit French style NEVER looks like a showroom or mannequin. ‘You know what I mean? There is a look of things and wardrobe pieces having had been gathered over a period of time. I love that.

What do you think can make the biggest change in a room – paint, moving furniture, pillows, etc.?

Oh boy. I think it’s probably paint. Color creates a backdrop for which to display the rest of the room.

How do you want your home to be seen by others?

Cozy. Old book, family photos, throw pillows, quilts. I think it’s pretty but I want people to be comfortable here.

Name one color you can’t live without – decorating wise.
Turquoise. All shades from Robin’s Egg Blue to Teal. Maybe it’s passé… I know so many girls are obsessed with white these days but I can’t shake Turquoise.

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t quite know what their style is?

Get a three ring binder, a hole punch and a GIANT stack of magazines. Rip out everything that inspires you and put it in the notebook. I mean TONS of paper – what themes begin to develop? Is painted furniture in each photo? Crystals? Big comfy suede sofas? Florals? Toile? Neutrals? Bright colors? You can use the internet too – simply print and hole punch.
This works with fashion too – say you make your notebook, you feel it’s pretty developed. You find yourself attracted to sleek lines, simple constructs… every third page is Jennifer Aniston with her simple, uncontrived, non-frilly outfits. You begin to fashion your wardrobe around this style and you feel great – then you see a gorgeous, frilly, lacy number on someone’s blog… you can know, that it’s probably not for you. It may be lovely but it’s not your personal style.

What are you planning for the “farmgirl” part of your life – any new veggies you’d like to grow, more Jane Austen character chicks, new flowers, etc.?Last fall we dug up every last bit of grass in the garden, expanded the Potager and put up a fence. This spring we have to finish that project, pouring the pea gravel for the courtyard that will be the entrance to the chicken run and hopefully building an outdoor bread oven. Can’t wait.


Parisienne Farmgirl is currently writing a series on having your own potager, or vegetable garden – go check it out!