Influenced and Inspired: My mom

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I've decided to start doing a section on my influences and inspirations, both in decorating and in how I live my life. This will include people, places, and things. The first subject of this series is my mom, who has influenced and inspired me beyond sufficient words or explanation. But I'll do my best.

Even as a young girl, I was super interested in houses and the stuff in 'em. I loved a play date with any friend, but certain houses were especially fun, because I could look at how their parents arranged furniture and set up rooms to make life work for them. Seriously, I could list out some people who even at a very young age started molding my desire to decorate. Of course, at the time I didn't really even know decorating or design was a thing, but I did know I liked house stuff. I would go to bed decorating rooms in our house, as I still do to this day.

At that time I didn't appreciate the very house I was living in as much as I do now. I had a ridiculously happy childhood, but I was a kid and unfortunately was not immune to the occasional "grass is always greener on the other side" attitude. My mom has told me that once I came home from a play date and started telling her all about this friend's home, which included stating longingly that "their house is so clean and nothing is broken." What a little sh*t I was, right?! Ugh, sorry mom.

When Jaron and I were first married, we lived in this wonderful duplex with beautiful wood floors, a fairly open floor plan and lots of character. I was ecstatic to be able to decorate my first place with my new husband. We got these couches from Jaron's grandmother that had wonderful style and shape, but the fabric was a little old-fashioned. We absolutely couldn't afford to reupholster them and didn't want a slipcover to take away from the awesome lines that they had. So we embraced them, painted our living room a golden yellow and made it work. We still have these couches, one we keep in our guest room and I just love that fabric now! I love too that we were able to get great use of some furniture that was passed down to us from family. Once, our dear friend Kristin was over at this house in Fort Worth and said it reminded her of my parents' house. At first I thought it was kind of odd. After all, my parents didn't have a yellow room. But it was so much deeper than that, and Kristin saw it before I did. The more I thought about it, I realized how right she was and that fact became so special to me -what a compliment. All the places we've lived since we've been married have held similarities to how my mother has set up and organized her home and I wouldn't have it any other way.

My mom has always been one of my biggest advocates in encouraging and fostering my creative outlets. You know Dana... she's a "girl power" kinda mom, so whenever I express an interest in something, she's there to let me know she believes in me. In middle school and high school, she let me express myself in how I decorated my room. Well I guess, actually even younger than that, I was able to set my room up as I pleased. She helped with some big time work in our garage to turn it into the "garage of good taste," where I did homework, watched recorded Friends episodes (on videotapes, hellooo!), played old school Nintendo (nothin' better! who's with me??), had friends over for study sessions or to watch movies and spend the night. My mom and I shopped for the paint, wallpaper, and other accessories together, and she taught me how to use power tools, stain furniture, and appreciate getting my hands dirty and building a sweat. Some of my earliest house projects!

An important lesson I learned from her is that if you want something, you can make it happen. She was the original DIYer in my life! She's incredibly hard-working in all aspects of her life. Here are some similarities we hold in design and style: We share a love of color and pattern (paint and fabric), an appreciation for old and new, a desire to fill our homes with things that make us happy, and with treasures from friends and family. And although I am not the avid reader she is, growing up with my family instilled in me a belief that "a house ain't a home without books... on top of books... on top of books." My mom has enforced a new rule at her house that if they buy any new books, they have to give away the same amount. I really appreciate a beautifully decorated set of bookshelves that combines books, plants, frames, tchotchkes, whatever. But as soon as we saw the house we now live in, I knew that if it became ours, I would want to tightly fill the bookshelves on either side of the fireplace with books, like a library or study in an old house.

The paintings hung on the bookshelves were in my home growing up- they were my dad's great aunt's and I've always admired them- and I convinced my parents that they were really meant for me when we bought our house. They add to the old library feel, huh? (photo by Hannah Kate Photography)

So maybe our house wasn't always spotless and maybe a few things were broken, but it was such a happy and comfortable home (and still is). And truly, so lovely. Hope I give Emmitt the flexibility to explore his interests and express himself as my mom did.


  1. I love your house, and your mom's! This series is a great idea :) I love the paintings on your bookshelves, especially with Emmitt underneath them!

  2. :) Smiling and teary! I am always wishing my house looked like yours!

    Those painting really are cool. They are reverse painted--on glass. Really cool technique.

    Also, I WISH I were enforcing the "one book in-one book out rule" but compliance has actually left quite a bit to be desired...

  3. Clearly, you got your style and elegance and craftiness from your mother. I feel like the two of you see a living space in a way I don't really get, as a place of mystery and opportunity, like Shangri-La or Timbuktu or Idabel.



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