There’s No Place Like Home: Part II



You know, Birmingham never really felt like “home” to my husband and me. We were always (and still are) very thankful for our house there (especially since we’d previously lived in a 350 square foot studio with a murphy bed), but we always planned to eventually move somewhere different, so it always felt temporary- like an “in-between-here-and-there” kinda place. Because of that, (and the fact that we were moving to a place with beaches and palm trees) I thought that leaving the old place would be a breeze and that we’d have no emotional attachment whatsoever. It was just a house to us, a cute little cookie-cutter house. That’s all. Nothing special. Boy was I wrong…


As moving day neared, I felt myself getting strangely emotional. “What in the name of Jesus is this about? Am I really sad about leaving this place??” I asked myself. “Surely not. We’ve wanted to move to Florida for a while now and we’re excited! Beaches! Palm trees! I must just be anxious and wound a little too tight with all that’s going on…” After convincing myself I wasn’t sad about leaving this house, I decided to go through and take pictures and video of it, just so we’d remember what it looked like. Oh yeah, and because I am a mushy, sentimental sap. But seriously, this was our first house together. I’m actually getting a little choked up now just thinking about it…

As I walked through, I thought about all the things that had happened in that house. The fights, the laughter, the happiness, the chasing of cats with squirt bottles…



(It’s fun. Really. Try it next time your cat misbehaves.)

I remembered carving jack o’lanterns together and setting them on the porch to greet all the little trick-or-treaters…Photo0317_001

the rare snows we saw and played in (ok, that I played in)…snow

(me. in the snow. with blonde hair. very excited. people get that way about snow in Alabama…)

the stupid boobie lights that I hated and never got the chance to replace…


(told you they looked like boobies. big ol’ lit up boobies…)

I thought about the Christmases we spent there, the hauling in of the tree we’d cut down ourselves, the cursing as my husband tried to get it upright in the stand and to stay that way. The fun we, no…I, had putting up decorations and how my wonderful, patient, understanding hubs learned to let me do the bow on top of the tree, flouf it, straighten the lights, and make sure all the ornaments were evenly spaced and balanced (because I’m anal like that). I remembered the walks we took through the neighborhood,…100_5130 100_5132

grilling all summer long while having a few beers and watching the game, my poor little dog dying and the morning my husband told me and held me as I cried,…image 

and the night my husband proposed to me in the living room on our old red sofa and how surprised I was. You know, I went from someone who was afraid to chop strawberries to someone who is passionate about cooking in that kitchen. I taught myself how to cook there. And that wacky fridge of ours- I remember the night the freezer door went crazy and started shooting ice and peeing water everywhere… even after my husband unplugged it! Life happened in that house- good and bad - and over a fairly short period of time, without us really realizing it, that house had become home. It was never our intention to get so attached to that place, we certainly didn’t expect that we ever would, but we shared a lot in that house, we grew together in that house, we fell deeper in love with each other in that house, and that, my friends, made it special. That made it home. And it wasn’t until we started to leave it that I realized how much it really meant to us.

The last morning there with my husband, a couple of suitcases and an air mattress, as he was getting ready to leave, he snapped a picture of us and titled it “last morning at the house”. It’s one of my favorite pictures of us, even if my nose was all red and my eyes a little puffy. I stayed a week to supervise repairs and so on, and on my last day there, after I’d said all my goodbyes to my family, I drove back for one last look and it had started to rain. I cried like a baby. I was really excited about moving to Florida and I certainly missed my husband, but I was/am really going to miss our first house, our first home.

I drove ten hours by myself to Tampa and rejoined my husband and our new townhouse of boxes. When I talked to him later about it and told him how I hadn’t expected to get so torn up inside, he admitted to having gotten a little emotional himself when he drove away that morning (and trust me, that’s very unusual for him). He said he even teared up just a little. But after I cried a little as we sat on the sofa in our new apartment, talking about the old house, I realized it was less about the actual shell of the house, and more about the memories and experiences that made it home. So as we embark on this new journey here in Florida, I will enjoy turning our new place into a home. A nice, beautiful, comfy home…



There’s No Place Like Home: Part I


In one of my first posts, A Style to Call My Own, I talked a little about the role that “home” plays in our lives. Understanding the vast importance of home is one of the things that drives me to help people turn their house shell into a place of beauty, function, comfort, and meaning. Just stop for a moment and think about what “home” is to you and your family. Think about all the experiences you’ve shared and the memories you’ve created. What would life be like without home? How would things be if you didn’t have that refuge to come back to at the end of the day? If you hadn’t had it growing up? The significance of the home has really been on my mind lately and I just wanted to share with you how that comes into play with why I love doing what I do and why I feel so strongly about it…why it’s so important and so valuable.

hiwthi  (home is where the heart is sterling silver necklace from etsy shop JDavis Studio)

As you all know, I just moved from Birmingham, AL to Tampa, FL. Like I mentioned in my last post, my husband left a week ahead of me. Well, the morning he left was the day the tornadoes started that wrecked so many lives. It was a terrifying experience, to say the least. Crunched in a downstairs bathroom with my parents and one of my brothers, we watched the radar on our phones, listened to the weatherman, and texted and called friends and family back and forth, making sure everyone was still ok as we watched this mile-wide monster tear through our cities. For the next week or so we spoke with people we knew and watched the local news, hearing stories of loved ones who were injured or dead and homes that were completely gone. Thankfully, my family and their homes made it through safely, but it is really overwhelming and heart-wrenching to see what so many others are going through.

chrlstnsqr (Here’s a photo of my old apartment in Tuscaloosa- I lived on the second floor. You can see the actual apartment space I lived in, with only a floor and a couple of walls left standing. In the center is the pool and what used to be where I did laundry.)

It’s times like these where it really hits you just how much our lives revolve around home. Home is everything. It’s where we live, love, and learn, where we share the good and bad, the ups and downs. Home sees our blood, sweat, laughter, and tears. It’s where we learn to cook or teach others how, where we have big family meals or intimate dinners for two. It’s where we go through pregnancies and bring home brand new little ones, where we raise them and watch them grow into adults, all creating memories together. It’s where children will remember finding comfort after their first day of school, having their heart broken, and getting the chicken pox, it’s where they will remember sharing their joy after making straight A’s, being asked to prom, and getting their driver’s license. Home is where we want to be after a bad day or after receiving bad news, where we want to be when we’re sick, it’s where we feel safest and happiest, where we create memories with friends and family, memories that shape our lives…


Home is where our lives are centered. It’s where we recharge, where we want to be, where we experience true, unconditional love, support, and comfort. Think about it- When you’ve been on a long trip, what’s the first thing you think on the way back? I can’t wait to be home. When you’re stuck in 5 o’clock traffic? I can’t wait to be home. When you’ve had a long, hard day at work? I can’t wait to be home. When you’re recuperating from surgery in the hospital? I can’t wait to be home. When you’re fighting a war overseas? I can’t wait to be home. Hell, with most soldiers, home is the only thing that keeps them going. It’s what they live for, what they fight for, and what some die for…



These are the reasons I do what I do. It’s so important to me to help people create beautiful, functional, comfortable homes so that everyone who is there will always want to be there and always want to come back. I enjoy helping people create a place where cherished memories can be made. What a wonderful thing to be able to do for someone! I want people to feel wrapped in joy and warmth from the moment they step inside, and I want that to be a feeling they attach to home and carry with them always. Home is the foundation for living and it should be a haven for you. It’s vital that it work for you and with you, that it be all that it can. It should cradle you like a mother does a baby when you desperately need comfort, it should support you when you’re busy and stressed, uplift you when you feel run down, and be a place of joy and happiness that you can always count on.

I have my own fond memories of home, as does the rest of my family; my husband has his fond memories, as does the rest of his family. I’ve seen people’s homes wiped from existence and seen the devastation, the pain, and the hopelessness that it causes. I’ve seen the anxiety followed by delight in people who just finished having a brand new home built. I’ve experienced the sadness of leaving one home, and the joy of creating a new one. I believe in the power of the home. It’s a place that is truly precious and sacred. That’s what makes what I do so fulfilling and so valuable. You see, for me, designing homes is about so much more than just making things look pretty. It’s about working with you, understanding you and your family’s lives, your wants, your needs, your goals and your dreams. It’s about helping you create that place that will forever be near and dear to your heart and the hearts of your loved ones, helping you mold and shape a house into a wonderful place, a place that is and will become a very important part of your life, a place you call home.

*After you read this, say a little prayer/keep in your thoughts the people who have lost their homes in the recent natural disasters and then take a moment to really appreciate your own home and what it means to you and your family.*


I’m Back!


Whew! It’s been a crazy ride over the past couple of months… My husband went ahead of me to meet the movers and get his big new job started in Tampa while I stayed behind to run the circus of workers beautifying the house (so it could be put on the market) and tie up all loose ends. It felt chaotic- being apart, trying to process such a huge life change, and everything happening so fast- but thanks to some good planning on our part, in reality, it went fairly smoothly.

Now we’re here in our new hometown, and after weeks of unpacking boxes and getting things in order, we are starting to feel a little more settled and at peace. We’re living in a townhouse while we learn the area so we can start looking for a house- yay! And I must say, I am really enjoying being so close to sand and surf, tons of great new restaurants (and fresh seafood!), the beautiful weather, and big design opportunities!


Although I don’t feel at home quite yet, I know it will come, and I am so excited about building my design business here! (So if you know anyone that needs some help, hook ‘em up with my blog and email address listed on my profile!)

Florida is such a beautiful and inspiring place, especially for someone like me who loves to incorporate nature and a crisp, fresh feeling into their home. (I have already started a seashell collection!)


(top two room photos are of India Hicks’ home in her book Island Life; bottom, left to right- etsy shop leapinggazelle- glass bottles photo, room from Kelly Wearstler’s The Tides South Beach resort, and unknown)

Over the past couple of months some things have happened that have really inspired new topics for me to write about and discuss with you, but for today, I just wanted to hop back in and let you know it’s back to blogging for me in my new home of the sunshine state! Can’t wait!