The Little House in the Mountains

Lately, I’ve been reminiscing about the past few houses we’ve lived in. What better place to start than the very beginning? Brandon and I got married fresh out of High School and moved from SoCal to Colorado.  We lived south of Denver for almost four years.  In that time we had two babies and my husband landed a job at Union Pacific Railroad.  He traveled A TON.  On average he was only home about ten days a month and our oldest daughter was almost one at the time.  After a year of that schedule I asked him to take any job he could at UP so he could be home more.  My only stipulation was I didn’t want to leave Colorado.

The Lord provided and he took a job in Bond, Colorado.  It was in literally the middle of nowhere in the Rocky Mountains, an hour south of Steamboat Springs and forty minutes northwest of Vail. We had four other families in town and had to drive about thirty minutes to get anywhere. It was the opposite of how I had ever lived in my whole life (I grew up outside of L.A. for goodness sake!).  It took a lot of adjusting to our little railroad  rental home that was over 100 years old (not in the charming way but in the please-don’t-let-the-ceiling-cave-in-on-us sort of way).  It was a three bed one bath 950 square foot house.  We thought it would be temporary little did we know we’d stay for five years and leave with me being pregnant with baby #4!  Honestly it was such a sweet time for us in our young married life.  It challenged us in so many good ways!

It challenged us in not having excess, fixing it up and cleaning it with the help of our family, and for me to be really creative about storage and organization.  I loved digging up the old pics and seeing how much my style has grown and changed.  Even how much a home can change in the course of five years with a growing family in it.  I hope you enjoy them too!

 

The girls’ room.  It changed a few times and then we went to bunk beds when we were expecting our son to arrive.

 

Our master changed a few times (Can you tell I get bored!? Haha!)

 

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The third bedroom and then our son’s room.  Funny fact: It was also where our washer and dryer were!  Hiding on the opposite side of the room.

 

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Our kitchen also was our eat-in dining room.  We had a rectangle table pushed up against a wall and four chairs on the sides.  Underneath the table on the side where we didn’t sit was a bench so we could fit guests for dinner just by sliding everything out from the wall!  Our family room was also the play room and the couch was a sleeper sofa!  See I told you I have to be really creative.  Everything served dual purposes in that house!  Under-bed storage everywhere too!

 

I hope y’all had fun walking down memory lane with me, I know I did!

xoxo,

Stephanie

Life After Loss and Grief

I was asked recently to fill out a survey on grief by a friend writing a research paper in Nursing School.  I’ve honestly helped several people in the past few years as they struggle with either a personal loss or someone they know or love has recently lost someone.  I’m not totally sure why but I felt the need to turn this into a Blog post in my own little corner on the web.  Loss is a hard subject for most but one we all must deal with at least a handful of times in our lives (if not more).  So here it goes.  It’s honest.  Raw.  You may need a box of tissues.  If this helps at least one person then I will be happy I put myself out there.

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Can you tell me about the death?

My Pastor just recently said “Death is a bully” in one of his sermons.  I couldn’t agree more.  It hits like a tidal wave.  Sometimes it’s completely out of the blue.  Sometimes it comes with warning.  But it’s never easy.  It leaves you in it’s wake and then the grief hits.  You’re left to pick up the pieces and it just doesn’t make any sense.  Then all of a sudden even when you don’t want to move on life just happens.  Before you know it-it’s been eleven years since you lost your loved one and the ebb and flow of grief still comes but it’s intensity is lessened.

What happened that day?

On September 19, 2006 I went in at 36 weeks for an ultra sound to check my growth.  I had been measuring small and they wanted to make sure everything was okay.  The tech left abruptly and came in with my Doctor.  I knew something was wrong the second she left the room.  Little did I know how wrong.  They told me and my husband that the baby no longer had a heartbeat and that they were sorry.  They’d give us a few minutes and then we’d make a plan.  He was our first baby.  I remember immediately going home and looking for stillbirth in “The Pregnancy Bible” there was one paragraph devoted to it.  ONE paragraph to sum up a life altering loss.

Do you recall what your initial thoughts or reactions were?

We were nineteen and twenty years old and had just celebrated our one-year anniversary.  We were in complete and total shock.  I knew about miscarriage; I didn’t know a thing about stillbirth.  I remember thinking “There must be something they can do”.  “Maybe they can check again”.  “How could this have happened”?  His heartbeat was fine only three days before.  They came back in and explained what would happen.  They would induce me the next morning and I would deliver my lifeless son.  With any “luck” we’d have an answer in the delivery room.  My body would experience everything as if I was having a healthy baby and they would help me suppress my milk when it came in.  They apologized and my Doctor was teary, he was truly incredible to me.  The next day it was only an eight-hour process.  He came out quickly and silently.  There is not a more deafening silence than that of a stillbirth delivery.  The only sounds were Brandon and I gut sobbing as we saw our sweet lifeless baby. He died due to umbilical cord torsion (a fancy way of saying his cord became tangled and clotted-like an old telephone cord it also was three times the average length at 120cm, for reference this happens in .01% of all pregnancies).

Can you describe to me how you feel you went through the grieving process? Was there a certain order in which you experienced “the stages of grief,” or re-experienced them?

Honestly, the stages of grief are right on.  I was absolutely in shock for about the first month.  Passing my due date was the first milestone and it kind of closed the pregnancy chapter for me.  However, Noah was delivered on September 20, 2006 and having the Holidays follow shortly after was a punch in the gut.  Denial came and went with his delivery.  Once we left the hospital with empty arms and picked up the tiniest urn from the funeral home it all sunk in.  Bargaining was the same.  I only bargained for about twelve hours pre-delivery.  I begged God to bring back his heartbeat before the induction (I knew God was capable; I didn’t sleep at all the night before), they checked one more time with the Doppler but there was nothing.  Depression and testing occurred I would say for at least a solid year.  Thanksgiving was awful.  Christmas was even worse.  My husband and I left dinner with a big group after I was asked “What was wrong and why I wasn’t smiling?”, we ate dinner alone together that year.  I have very vivid memories of my first two panic attacks that year.  They were awful.  I felt like I was dying and honestly I wanted to at the time I honestly wanted to.  Acceptance came with the birth of our second daughter (four years after losing Noah).  I remember being so overwhelmingly happy with my husband and my two girls that for that moment if nothing else in my life ever changed, if we never had another boy, I was totally content.  It was SO freeing.  I would say anger and depression are the stages I revisit most often, even still after all of this time (going on twelve years this September).  Every year his Birthday comes and goes.  The whole month leading up to it I am especially anxious about it’s impending arrival.  Then on the day we celebrate with our now four children usually with balloons and a cake.  I want them to know about their brother and see me be sad but I don’t want it to be a completely sad day.  Children can’t grasp that kind of grief they can only grasp small bits of it at a time.  The older they are the more they understand.

In what ways are you feeling differently now, as compared to the past?

I said earlier the intensity of it all is less.  Typing this has had tears streaming down my face but I am okay and happy to share my story.  It makes me feel as though his short life mattered.  All of the feelings are still there but I’m not as fragile or volatile about them as I once was.  I’ve walked along side several people now with various losses and it is so good to be able to help others navigate this new unchartered territory for them.
What would you like people to know about your feelings right now?

They are all still there but less intense.  I have the same grief I did the day I delivered him but so much life has happened in between now and then.  That minimizing, belittling, or taking ownership of someone else’s feelings is never okay.  My loss was mine.  My experience was mine.  No one else’s.  My journey was mine and no one else’s.  When people try to take that away from me or talk about their experience with loss it infuriates me.  Even my own husband’s journey has been different through this.  I would never look at him and tell him how to feel or grieve.  Yes, we lost our baby together but we also dealt with an individual loss.  Every individual is allowed to have their own feelings, validate them, and move on, do not make it about YOU.

Who has been the most supportive to you, and in what ways were they helpful?

Obviously our immediate family experienced this all very first hand with us and were great. There was one particular friend who had suffered loss in her life and just loved me through it.  She never judged me.  Never expected anything from me.  I felt free around her during that time.  She defended me when I needed it.  She never used her own experience with grief to undermine my own.  She just listened and wasn’t in my direct circle of relationships.  She was just what my heart needed during that time.

What were some helpful things family or friends either said or did to help you along in the grieving process?

Honestly, just being there.  People loving us through it.  Laying aside expectations and letting me navigate on my own.  When people take ownership of your loss it’s not okay.  People don’t know what to say and so badly want to relate.  Don’t.  You can’t.  Every individual is going to experience their loss uniquely.  No one has a greater loss than the Mom and Dad.  Period.  End of story.  The family grieves too but not on the same level.  The person that carried the baby and the spouse trump everyone else.  Let them have that at least if nothing else.

What were some unhelpful things family or friends said or did?

Unfortunately, this list could go on for a while.  Probably because they leave such a scar.  People want to say something because they don’t know what to say.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  Keep it brief.  “I’m sorry.  I’m praying for you.  Let me bring you a meal.  Babysit (if they have other kids).”  That’s it.  That will keep you from inserting your own foot in your mouth.  Also, keep in mind that the loss lingers for months and years after.  Awful things were said to me.  I was asked if I had unconfessed sin in my life (I am a Christian).  I was told to be thankful for the time I got with him and that I could get pregnant.  I was told that maybe I was spared him dying in childhood of an accident or disease, so maybe I should be thankful.  I was told about countless miscarriages so they could relate to my own loss (I am not belittling ANY loss but merely stating that anyone trying to compare losses is not usually well received. – For example, today I met another Mom of four who told me she had experienced six miscarriages along the way.  I honestly didn’t even mention Noah because I didn’t want to even chance coming across as someone trying to compare, relate or top losses).  I was told it was God’s plan.  I was told it would be okay.  Someday I would understand.  Are those things all true?  Yes.  Are they helpful to hear in the midst of grieving? No, no they are not helpful.  Not even a little bit.  Again “I’m so sorry” “I love you” “I’m praying for you”. That’s it.  Stick to those and you will most likely never be on someone’s “What not to say list”.

What kinds of things did you do to help you through the loss? What was most helpful? Least helpful?

The most helpful thing I did for myself was find a support group.  It was life changing while I was in the fresh season of loss.  The group ranged from miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss.  It was such a safe place.  We could all openly share without judgment.  It was so freeing.  We could all relate to one another but were very respectful of each individuals feelings being different.  We could talk about our spouses, families, friends, things that hurt us.  That was a gift.  I would highly recommend going to a support group for anyone.  I was part of the group until I was about halfway through my next pregnancy.  The women were gracious and said to keep coming.  Out of respect to newly grieving moms I stopped going.  Seeing a pregnant woman after grieving a baby is so hard.  I needed it for only a season but it was an indelible experience for me.  The least helpful things I did were probably hold tightly to anger and bitterness.  There is a reason why the divorce statistics are high for couples that lose a child.  My husband and I fought a lot initially because we were hurting so badly.  It wasn’t until we were intentional about coming along side of one another that things got better.  We were able to help each other grieve in a healthy way and that was a gift to each of us and our marriage.

Well, there you have it.  I hope this single voice may help you understand better the grief someone feels after pregnancy loss.  Show them grace if nothing else.  Lots and lots of grace. Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo,

Stephanie

Why Sparrow?

I get this question a lot…What does Sparrow mean?  Why did I name my business Sparrow Design Co.?

Honestly, I thought about it for a while.  I started daydreaming for the first time in YEARS.  My husband and I met when we were twelve.  That’s right TWELVE.  We didn’t start dating until were sixteen.  We decided to get married right after High School.  We were both eighteen when we got married.  That’s right eighteen.  I would have friends see our wedding picture and say “You look like you should have been going to Prom not getting married!” and they were right.  While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going that route and getting married so young, it has worked out for us so far ; )  Everyone’s story is different and that’s ours.

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Also, not apart of the plan having babies young.  Really young.  Our story there is more complicated than most.  We got pregnant four months in with our first son, Noah.  He ended up being delivered stillborn at 36 weeks because of a cord accident.  We were shocked and will be forever changed and will always miss him. I could go into more detail but for these purposes I think I will keep it to that.  After losing him we struggled with a diagnosis of infertility that would make it harder to get pregnant but not impossible.  Then over the next seven years we added four sweet babies to our family after high risk pregnancies,  hospital and home bed rest, pre term labor, flight for life, and two NICU babies (one for a month and one for two weeks). It’s all such a blur.  I’ve been some form of pregnant, nursing, or in the baby stage for YEARS.

 

Our youngest is three and a half now and I am out of the fog of it all!  So about a year ago I started to think about ME and what would I have fun doing in addition to being a stay at home mom.  That’s when I landed on home decor.  I’d helped a few friends and had honed my decorating skills in my own home for years.  I thought “I can do this and see where it takes me!?”.  Of course in the middle of doing this we relocated to Texas (but that’s a story for another time). I doodled in a journal a business plan, manifesto, goals, and had to come up with a name all before debuting myself at our MOPs small business day.  I found my inspiration for my name in Luke 12:5-9  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.  Worrying has never been something I’ve struggled with but anxiety, that’s a whole different subject.  This verse stood out to me.  If God cares so much about the sparrows how much more does he care for me (or all of us)?  And my dreams?  Sparrow Design Company was born.  A reminder that He cares for the little and big in all of our lives, the tiniest detail to the infinite.  I had my name.  My goal is to ultimately bring Him glory no matter what I do, so naming my business after a verse felt like the most natural thing to do.  

Sparrow Design Company Manifesto

We believe in a life well lived and loved.  That beauty can be seen in the every day and that every day has the potential to be extraordinary.  That hard work is the manner in which we provide for our families but that integrity is how we live our life.  That a beautiful home is one filled with laughter, memories, and the people you share it with. Home is the most important place; a place of rest.  We believe beautiful design doesn’t have to cost a fortune but can make a lasting impact in every area of your life.  We believe design is a well-loved, comfortable, peaceable space that welcomes others in and leaves them better off for having come.  We believe home and design is more about a feeling and less about decor.  We believe miracles happen big and small every day and pray we have eyes to see them.  That slowing down and doing less means so much more. That relationships and people matter more than anything else.  We believe that today is a gift and that is why it’s called the present.

 

I believe that with all of my heart.  The five people I share my four walls with are my “why”.  I’m also sure you have people you love and are your “why” too!  I would love to bring your vision to life for your home or business and your “why”.  So that’s the story of how Sparrow Design Company came to be and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

xoxo,

 

Stephanie

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Rustic Mountain Wedding

This past summer I had the opportunity to be apart of a gorgeous wedding in Vail, Colorado.  The bride was the daughter of one of my closest MOPs friends and mentors.  We served alongside each other in MOPs for eight years! They asked me to help with creative direction and bring it to life on the wedding day so the Mother of the Bride could be apart of the day and not need to do anything but be with her daughter.  Brooke (the Bride) and Lynn (the Mother of the Bride) were incredible at coordinating and finding vendors.  The Bride knew the look she was going for and I just helped implement it.  It was such a fun process and I’m so thankful they let me be apart of it!

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This is the family of the Bride.  Aren’t they gorgeous!?  Lynn and Rob have four kids and three daughters and one son (same as me with a different order).  The siblings are so close and give me inspiration for my four kiddos too!

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The venue was the Donovan Pavilion in Vail, Colorado right at the base of Vail Mountain. Absolutely stunning location!  The date was June 9th so for the area it was a perfect night to get married!

They had a peek before the ceremony at the top of Vail Mountain so they could have pictures done.  The Bowles had lived in the mountains for years so the sentimental value of the location was especially sweet.  carolinebauerphoto.com did an AMAZING job on the photography and is local to Denver, Colorado. I highly recommend her!

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The ceremony took place out on the patio over the river and was stunning.  The flowers were done by a friend of the MOB who is now a retired florist.  They seriously made the wedding!  John David and Kirsten Webster did the music and the Officiant was the Groom’s (Jason) Childhood Pastor and a dear friend of his family.  The love poured into the wedding was especially meaningful!

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My baby was the reception and getting the room to look like Brooke had dreamed of for months.  When she walked in she cried and I couldn’t have been happier!  Making her dream a reality and helping my dear friend was really the whole reason I wanted to be involoved.  It was truly such a pleasure and I’m so glad they trusted me with their special day! Brooke and Jason I wish you a lifetime of happiness today and every day of your married life!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Design Done on a Seriously Tight Budget

This year has been full of firsts and lots of change and here are the before and after of my first full service design client.  The Gray’s were friends from church and really wanted to add practical design and cohesion to their home.  The wife and I had been on staff part time at our church together and I jumped at the chance to help this part time working Mama love her home.  They had bought it four years prior and still had boxes they had yet to unpack.  There were challenges along the way but I am so happy with the final product.  The challenges mainly being trying to blend three distinct styles together seamlessly and on a tight budget to get it all done.  The wife has a vintage eclectic taste, the husband sleek modern with some rustic, and their home is an ultra traditional.  Here are some before to give you an idea of what I had to work with.

 

Here are the before of the entry and office:

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And the before of the dining and family room:

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We had discussed a vision, pricing, feel for the home and now it was time to space plan.  The Gray’s have two young daughters and both work and trade being at home with their girls’ on their rotating schedules.  They never use the formal dining for anything so I had the idea of making it a playroom for the girls’.  They loved it and I loved it too!  Use your home for YOU and think outside the box!  It allows a space to corral all the toys littles have, it’s on the same floor of the house as most of the activity, and it gets them out of the family room (Boom!).  Time to get started!

Here’s the exterior of their home to give you reference to it’s style.  (Ignore the part of my car window). Um hello, GORGEOUS!!! Now let’s get the inside to match!

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Working to make the playroom fun for the girls’ and also appealing since it’s right off of the entry was a fun challenge.  It spurred me to do the entry as a surprise for them so there was cohesion at the front of the house.

Here are the after pictures:

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I reused pieces they had and rearranged the room, new lighting, added curtains, and more toy storage.  Their three year old absolutely loved the room and would not stop playing in there (which is the highest compliment I could receive).  I love the result!  It’s girly but in an appealing way with all of the blue.  I hope it’s room they enjoy for years to come.

Here is the redone entryway:

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I used the blue to tie into the playroom and it’s calming and welcoming as you enter their stately home. Now let’s take a peek into the redone office which is on the left of the entryway.

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This is really a space that the couple both use and occasionally for guests as well.  I wanted to bring in a touch of rustic mountain chic in here (they live in Eagle, Colorado so mountains are a must).  The husband is in law enforcement so guns and hunting are a hobby of his.  I really wanted this space to speak to him.  We reused a rug with blue tones in it and I accented with some yellow/gold that it had to warm up the space.

Lastly the family room:

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Isn’t it beautiful!? And so calming!  This is a mountain lodge feeling family room.  This is where they unwind and watch TV every evening.  I wanted kid toys gone and for it to be a place where they would connect and relax together at the end of every day.  I am so pleased with the outcome.  I painted over the orange wall and found a TV console that filled the space better.  We grabbed a trunk the was the client’s Grandmother’s from upstairs and used it as the coffee table.  She said she loves it!  People ask about it all the time now.  It’s a statement and sentimental piece that now steals the show instead of being hidden upstairs.

I am so thankful they trusted me with this project and can’t wait for the clients that continue to come my way.  Thank you for stopping by!

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Our Colorado Home Tour

Well, it’s been almost three months since we said goodbye to the first home we ever bought in Gypsum, Colorado and headed 1,000 miles South to Rockwall, Texas.  Here are some pics from our first home. I can’t wait to show you all the work we’ve done in our new home!

Warning:  pictures were taken during real life one night quickly before the mayhem of packing started so I apologize for bad lighting, dog beds, dishes, socks, etc. but hey that’s life, right!?

First we will start off downstairs in the family room, kitchen, dining, and powder bath.  Right now I’m missing my white kitchen!  But with some hard work after we finish flooring my now maple cabinets will be painted white : )

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Now let’s head upstairs and take a peek! My awesome hubby worked hard and did the white faced stairs for me and needless to say he is thrilled our new home is a one story ; )

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Living in 1,500 square feet as a family of six meant being creative and having an “office” in the upstairs hallway and it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the house!
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The kids bath.  That herringbone tile was one of my favorite elements and I have a room with the same pattern in the new house!  Aah it brings a smile to my face every time I’m in there which is A LOT (hint: laundry room).

Below is Asher and Paige’s room.  Getting a cute gender neutral room pulled together is a tricky task but I fell in love with this space hard and fast!

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Now for my big girls room.  Ella wanted pink walls and Hope picked out the light and bedding.  I see some future designers possibly!

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Last but not least is the master.  I loved all the pops of color in here and how warm it felt when it all came together.  I’m normally a neutral kinda girl but the color in here makes me happy!

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I am obsessed with gallery walls and the meaning behind them.  You’re personality and what’s important to you on a wall!  This next one was off the kitchen table and I’m not sure yet if it will appear in the new house but it sure was a fave of mine!

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Well, that’s it you just took a tour of our first home!  Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Visiting Magnolia

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We went to Waco, TX a while ago and I’m finally getting around to Blogging about it.  We road tripped from Vail, CO to central Texas with four kids (yes, we are crazy!).  It was so much fun and everything I hoped for! We got to Waco on a Thursday night and then had Magnolia Market on our schedule for first thing Friday morning.  We got there at 10:30 on Friday and it was really pretty quiet since they open at 10.  But then the shuttles started dropping people off and it got super busy.  I definitely recommend a weekday and as early as you can get there, do it!IMG_7440IMG_7445IMG_7448Hey, are those cute kids for sale?IMG_7453IMG_7456IMG_7461IMG_7534 (1)The pictures speak for themselves. It was so beautiful and the attention to detail throughout the Market was evident.  Doesn’t anything and everything the Gaines’ touch seem to turn to gold!?  Or in this case A LOT of classic black and white.  By the time we made it through the Market my husband and kids were done but I wasn’t even close.  They went out to the lawn for lattes, hot cocoa, and play time while I shopped in the Market (you can tell Joanna is a Mom of four, there is something for everyone! Although, my husband is usually the least patient with my slow shopping).  By the time I was done shopping the Market was packed and I needed to get out of there.  It’s a little like Disneyland.  Busy and stimulating.  A tourist destination.  Some things were overpriced but overall I will keep going back.  Although, shopping online for my business really suits me best!  When I was done I joined my family on the lawn and had a latte from Common Grounds (featured on their show-it was so good I had two there and one the next day). IMG_7465IMG_7469From the swings, to the historic barn, food trucks, and yard games this place has a little something for everyone.  The Seed and Supply was closed for the season.  The Silos are stunning and SO MUCH taller than I ever pictured!  They really do add to the skyline of Waco.  It was finally time to leave the Market (my family had been super patient with me). IMG_7478On the way out I peeked in the Bakery but we didn’t wait in line (it was really long at that point and they can only let a few people in at a time for Fire Regulations). Next time I will have to check it out for sure! On our way out we went to The Findery which is an adorable home and clothing boutique right down the street.  I honestly wish I had went there first! Some of their price points were much more reasonable compared to Magnolia.  They also had some adorable Texas specific souvenir items.IMG_7490IMG_7530IMG_7529Then we went to Harp Design Co. from there and it was so cute! Clint Harp’s handmade goods are truly gorgeous.  I have a new cutting board displayed on my counter and still haven’t gotten up the nerve to use it.  The Harp House which is a home you can now rent nightly is right next door and it is absolutely stunning!IMG_7511IMG_7499We spent the rest of the day driving around, ate dinner, and then went back to the hotel for swimming.IMG_7538IMG_7528Waco is truly a pretty town and has a lot to offer.  The next morning we went to Common Grounds for coffee (for us) and Heritage Creamery for ice cream (for the kids).  Both are owned by a couple featured on Fixer Upper in Season One.  After we got our sugar and caffeine fixes we headed over to Laverty’s, an antique shop featured on Fixer upper from time to time.  It’s only open sporadically so getting to go was fun!  They have rooms filled with architectural salvage and unique pieces.  We have nothing like that here in the Vail Valley so it was especially fun to check out!IMG_7546From there we headed north out of town and took the kids to Homestead Heritage a little self sustainable community outside of Waco a bit.  It’s like going back in time and was really fun for the kids.IMG_0872We continued North and spent time with some of my family and ate some good ole’ Texas BBQ for dinner and got settled into our new hotel in Garland, TX.  On Sunday we woke up and went to one of our former Pastor’s church in Rockwall, TX.  It was such a sweet time to catch up with him and his wife for lunch.  They’ve known Brandon and I since we were kids!  We continued on that afternoon out of the Dallas area and made it home the next night.  It was a fun and whirlwind trip to say the least.  I hope this helps if you are planning to go to Magnolia anytime soon and especially with kids!  I forgot how much I enjoy writing and have some new ideas for more posts in the near future!

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simplify in 2017

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know
to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. 
-William Morris

 

 

I have already been to several clients homes in the past month since starting my business and one of the resounding questions I keep getting is “How can I stay more organized?”.  The answer is…It’s hard.  As a family of seven we have a constant influx of things coming and going in our home.  Simplifying, having less stuff, and putting things away keeps my home and mind less cluttered.  I can breathe and rest at home. It doesn’t happen overnight and it takes time.  It’s also a constant process.  BUT it can be done!  Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years.  I’ve already realized my design business for most clients will be a two step process.  1. Making a functional home 2. Making it pretty.

1. Donate- Pick a room or start with a smaller area in your home one day and start going through your things.  Have a trash and donate bag handy. And get purging! Don’t overthink it or else you’ll become emotional.  It’s just stuff!

2. Fill up those bags-  My kids keep trinkets and toys from restaurants and so many odds and ends.  THROW. IT. OUT!

3. Label Items- Even if you’re not organized by nature a label maker will become your best friend and make you FEEL really organized. It also helps your spouse and kids know where you want things and take ownership of your home together!

4. Up and Down or Catch All baskets-  If you have a two story house having a basket upstairs and downstairs for transferring stuff makes it so easy.  If something needs to go up or down throw it in and take it where it needs to go at the end of the day.  Or a catch all basket in the kitchen.  Do your best to keep it as small as possible and once it’s full it’s time to take the fifteen minutes you need to go through it.

5.  Try to keep up-  If you can have designated areas you go through once a week it gets easier.  Mail, pantry, fridge, closets, kid backpacks, etc.  If you fall behind it gets overwhelming.  I clean my fridge every other week when I bring home fresh food.  It helps keep me sane! And now I don’t have science experiments growing in the deep recesses of my fridge.

6. Make it fun-  I play music in the house and if I’m doing kid stuff I try and get them to help.  A tangible goal is a great start, like getting rid of two toys or stuffed animals. That way it doesn’t overwhelm them and every little bit counts (especially with multiple kids)! Also, let me share one method I use to get the kids involved. I tell them that if they don’t help then I will be getting rid of pile “A” or they can help and make pile “B” with what they are willing to part with.

7.  Live with less-  How many towels do you really need?  How many extra sheet sets?  Think through clothing.  What do you always wear?  Your kids?  It could be because she’s my fourth but Paige has two baskets of clothes.  One for shirts and one for pants.  Less clothes means less laundry.  Less laundry means I keep up on it a lot easier too.

8. Paper-  I hate paper!  I’m trying to go paperless with most bills. Mail I categorize in keep, file, and trash.  My kids school papers go into their own files.  I try to keep 2 pieces per week and trash the rest.  We each have a keepsake box for sweet and sentimental memories as well.

9. Be grateful-  No matter how messy or clean your home is I believe it’s all about perspective.  Being grateful for what you do have instead of what you may not have.  It’s truly an issue of the heart.  We are abundantly blessed and I for one want to live like I know that.

My goal is to simplify and stay simple and clean in 2017!

 

 

 

Why I am starting a business

After eleven years of practicing in my own home with intentional design I have started to take my work outside of my home.  In the Vail Valley we have a wide range of homes and families.  I have yet to find an interior designer to work the average family in the area.  After going to multiple friends houses and helping with ideas I started to think “Why not me?”.

When our daughter accidentally flooded our upstairs three months ago, it forced us to move out and remodel.  Even in the high stress situation it was to live with my in-laws for six weeks with our four kids, I came alive in a way I haven’t in years.  The creativity was flowing.  Getting a renovation done on a tight budget was fun and exciting.  I definitely feel  in that season God was preparing me for a calling.  To help others.  To be creative. To design.  To get outside the house for the first time since I had our first daughter almost nine years ago. To me inspiration is in the everyday.  Living with four kids has taught me that a home can be beautiful and functional.  A place where you want to come home to and everyone feels at home in the fullest sense of the word “home”.  I would love to come help you with your home!  Below are some photos of design I love.  Now to really be a good designer being challenged is what I need.  I would love going out of my comfort zone and style to help you with yours!

 

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