I’ve been in Plymouth, Michigan visiting the family, basking in the fall colors, wearing sweat pants, clocking in 10-hour nights of sleep. There’s something about being home that is so comfortable and I think it’s in large part to my parents’ super comfy, cozy, beautiful house. My mom is a wonderful home decorator and one of my biggest design inspirations. She’s been creating perfectly put-together-yet-still-livable rooms since before I was born. You know, the kind that look like they belong in a spread in Traditional Home, yet still beckon you to plop unto the couch with a cup a coffee and a book. She’s also my go-to source when I’m looking for advice on budget-friendly ways to spruce up my space. My ridiculously handy parents, Kathy and Frank, have been known to rip out carpet, sand and finish hardwood floors, paint every room in the house (even those with perilously high ceilings), replace a toilet in a single afternoon, and powerwash and stain the deck. My dad will catch fish at dawn and by dusk, there is a multi-course fish dinner laid on the table they refinished by hand. Sometimes I feel sad for my parents that they weren’t born in the 1800s. Their homestead would have been the envy of all the pioneers.
Dame in Spain: Mom, how would you describe your style?
Dame’s Mom (Kathy): Casual traditional. I liked traditional design, some antiques, patterned fabrics, soft textures. Put-together but nothing too formal.
What are your favorite spaces in your home?
The family room. It’s simple and calming. It’s a room you can refresh in. That’s why I like my bedroom too.
What are your top design tips?
- Cozy lighting. I tend to go a little overboard with lamps, but I like to put different lamps on at different times of the day to make the lighting just right.
- I decorate on a budget, so I like to keep the more expensive pieces neutral so they’ll go with anything. That way, you have more room to play with other (inexpensive) things. I have white dishes, but buy fun table runners, place mats, and other accessories. I’ve had my off-white couch in my living room since 1988, and an antique sofa table/sideboard for about the same time. They go with everything because classics never go out of style.
- My top decorating on a budget tip is don’t splurge on something that only goes with the current decor you have.
How does someone find their design style?
Find rooms in magazines, on TV, and online that you really, really love. Rooms that make you say “that’s the room I want to sit in and live in.” Then, try and incorporate elements from those rooms into your own home.
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To coming home,
The Dame in Spain