Interior Designer Elkhart Goshen Indiana
Almost 30 years ago, we purchased an old farmhouse built in 1900 that was a blend of turn of the century charm and bold 1960's mid-century modern style....but I'm not talking an iconic Eames chair but instead...
there was dark, knotty pine kitchen cabinets and paneling, harvest gold shag carpeting and busy linoleum (is that even a word) flooring. And do you see that large, scabbed on room on the right of the main structure? That was our furnace, laundry room & mud room combo that accounted for almost 1/4 of our square footage! The original open concept?!?!
Pretty scary right?
For your viewing pleasure:
Do you remember this (I hope not)? And all the wallpaper and yes the dreaded.....textured......
busy, linoleum floors (sorry ignore the cute kiddos dressed up in Halloween costumes and look at that ugly flooring--and what's that hideous black rubber line on the wall--is that supposed to be trim???)!
The tiny farmhouse was only 1300 sq ft, of which 300 was a back porch. That's almost 1/4 the size of the house! It was basically a giant utility room for laundry, storage and for the large outdated boiler (that's a furnace sweetie).
But I saw an old home full of character and charm that can only be earned by experience that was hoping that a family would love it. And I could envision and imagine the possibilities and potential of the home and the life I wanted to live there.
Because of love, our family grew. But, this growth brought new challenges to our already tiny, ugly duckling farmhouse.
Some of our friends recommended that we sell the home or even tear it down and build new instead. And sometimes that does make good sense. I mean, do you remember the Money Pit?
But we loved the character of the home and the simple life we lived in all eight rooms.
We raised our four children here - mostly outside (because inside it was too tiny).
Because of that, I'd have to say, they really gained an appreciation and curiosity for science and God's good creation (and yes, even the Amish buggies would slow down when passing by on days when naked kiddos played happily in the garden).
And all the kiddos were able to enjoy the responsibilities of raising and caring for pets.
Both large ....
They also learned some basic engineering and physics principles. Like how things work.
And what goes up...must come down.
And because I knew that my house was my canvas for creating beauty in everyday moments for others, I did so whenever and wherever I could. Sometimes in the oven for my lovelies or for others.....
..... and sometimes on the mailbox which I painted for my handy honey (p.s he loves tractors)...
...but mostly in the yard and gardens which became extensions of our tiny house
The moments & memories we created here are priceless....
And so is a home that nurtures and restores you.
You see, our love affair with our home is not just about the size of the house, or the money, or the floor plan, or the gardens or the cooking or the decorating--they are all just pieces of the puzzle--instead, a home is part of a much bigger picture.
So, we decided to love our family by loving the old house as much as it was loving us.
But this meant change and change is a good thing but getting there isn't always easy and without stress.
I was already busy in a successful creative career as well as being a wife and mom and the thought of a home renovation was overwhelming especially thinking about all 1500 design decisions that needed to be made. And because I'd made some poor choices in the past, I decided it was better to create and follow an intentional plan this time so I would not regret my choices and let the 'if only's' divide my thoughts.
So, I started my design research by asking for 'free advice'. I thought this would be an easy answer to my design challenges as I had plenty of ideas and had redesigned, staged and flipped other homes earlier. But this time it was difficult and stressful. There were more variables, people to please, boxes to check and options to consider. And everyone I talked to had different opinions and points of view that either didn't make sense, feel right or fit our style, goals, values or budget.
You see, there was no one qualified to answer my interior design questions, provide me with reliable interior design knowledge or to shepherd me through the process without sales pressure or a long term commitment of time and money.
So I returned to college to learn and acquire the information & skill needed to create a successful interior design plan that would check off all the boxes for our family.
This simple change of direction was a game changer and got me 'unstuck'
Empowered and equipped with the right knowledge and skill, I changed my mind about whether I had what it takes to design (you can read about my first massive design failure here).
I also learned how to think about design elements differently so I could coordinate the decorative layer while problem solving the space. It's just a life-sized jig saw puzzle in color!
And after the 'think it' process of design made sense and was practical for our space and goals, then the pretty process and the design decisions became so much easier!
We created a design map to get us to where we wanted to go and knew exactly what to do next and why. This helped us focus and quickly and efficiently communicate our goals and intentions with others. This made things easier for us and removed the guess work, style assumptions and trendy, typical design solutions everyone was trying to sell us. Because of our research and planning, we were able to obtain apple to apple quotes from general contractors and equip them to quickly do what they were good at - build structures while avoiding missed deadlines, second guessing, misunderstandings, surprises & disappointed clients.
It was a massive remodel but we decided to invest in the details that reflected the old farmhouse's original warmth and character and use the space to better fit our family's lifestyle.
Here's what our floor plan looked like before...notice that giant utility room outlined in green....
.....and here's what our floor plan looks like now.
You'll notice we tried to maintain the original footprint of the house but make better use of the space.
In addition the kitchen was gutted and rebuilt according to my drawings and specifications (which were determined by my lifestyle goals for the space).
Have you ever had something custom built for you? This kitchen fits me like a tailored suit and has inspired and motivated me to extend hospitality in new and creative ways!
Because we live in the middle of Amish town USA, custom built cabinets were attainable and affordable.
And I turned an unused bedroom dresser into a stylish focal point for one kitchen wall by designing a coordinating hutch to display Grandma Nellie's antique dishes.
And even though we had a plan and a process, it was still stressful at times. Like when we caught Joe and Ben on a ladder trying to help out!
After we got the space planning and canvas correct, we were able to save money for a few years before we tackled the decorating using what we loved without overspending.
With an old barn, acreage and four outbuildings on our farm, we've decided God's strategy for change is best... "little by little" (Exodus 23:30).
Preserving not only a piece of our history but a piece of our future as well.
And that's okay because the best therapy ever is to live in a home you love...
and love to come home to.
A peaceful place where you feel safe and loved and everyday moments are made - a beautiful place to recharge after a stressful day. A place where you belong.
I have found that such a place makes you want to live up to the expectation.
In such a time as this, it is so important to share your home and hospitality any and every way we can! Because home nurtures, inspires and influences the way we live, which changes us and the world we live in. Do you agree?
So, in your quest to design a beautiful, soul-satisfying legacy home or commercial space, do you feel overwhelmed, confused or stuck? It could that you're stuck because whatever you are doing isn't working.
I've been there and I believe my early design challenges and struggles actually prepared me for what I'm doing today - helping others design soul-satisfying homes and spaces with what God puts on their hearts and in their hands as much or as little as they need me - big project or small - across the street or across the nation.
And what i learned about how to get 'unstuck' applies to you too - if what you're currently doing isn't working, you need to do something different. This could be as time consuming and as expensive as another four years of college learning how to figure it out yourself. Or it could mean spending hours on the internet trying to piece together bits and pieces and then hope the result doesn't look like Frankenstein's monster. Or it could mean picking the brain of everyone you know asking for free design advice. How has that been working for you?
Or you could put your mind at ease, reduce the learning curve, and get some actionable steps by calling me. This could be the best and most rewarding design conversation you ever had!
Then pour a cup of hot coffee and tell me about your project, design dilemma and your ideas. I'll listen and help you move forward based on your goals, timeline and budget.
Interior Design is a beautiful puzzle of science & soul, personalized into a reality of what's important to you - meaning there is no one size fits all answer. But you don't need to figure it out alone. Today, because of technology, Interior Design Coaching (problem solving) and Concepts (pulling it together) can be done worldwide via internet, telephone or in person.
Are you ready to gain more clarity and move forward with confidence on your project?
Would a 15 minute phone call with a professional, award winning interior designer who has your best interests at heart help you get unstuck and move forward with confidence?
Then here's your next step: Contact me!
Until next time,
Hugs and blessings!
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About this blog...
I began writing this blog in May 2016 after discovering that my mother always wanted to be a writer. She had Alzheimer's disease and never realized her dream. Sometimes in our deepest grief we are motivated to encourage others to fearlessly be themselves so that their gifts and stories are shared. I mean, how else can we change the world? So I began to record the things that reflect who I am and what is important to me, because one day my memories too, may be gone and what would that mean to the people God gave me to care for and the good works He gave me to do? So, here is where I share the important stuff so that you can learn real design, not decorator tricks, but fundamental and salient concepts to apply so that you can create your own exemplary home and so that my family and I can remember the life we lived and created here in our home, our sacred place. Because my work is important, this is also where I share my favorite design projects and how good design enhanced their lives as well. I hope you're inspired and encouraged as I share my memories, my work, my mission & my life. Hugs & blessings, (Numbers 6: 24-26)