Monday, March 10, 2014

Real Home Inspiration - My Parents'

Before we get started with the real home inspiration series, let me lay the ground rules:
- No pictures.  I will not post pictures of the homes... not ONLY because I haven't received consent from the home owners (I'm so tacky, I know) but because I'd like to get back to the days when you read and used your imagination to create your own version... it's beneficial in this case because, if you choose to incorporate qualities or ideas of these homes into your life, it will be by no one's visual interpretation but your own :)

- Mini Series. I'm going to keep the series short and only share a few of the homes I love.  I try to take the best from every home I visit so this series could go on for weeks... with me just blabbing about random places I've been... you're right.  That would probably get boring.  We'll keep it to five posts, deal?

I'm so excited to introduce our first home in our series!  I've loved on these four walls for 20+ years.

My Parents' Place

Their home is near and dear to my heart for several reasons.  It's my childhood home (as a military brat, that's huge)... it's the same porch my dad sat  and waited for my first date to arrive... the same front yard I took Homecoming and Prom pics (as my dad cried)... the backyard has the tree we planted when I was 10... the same tree that is huge now and held the piñata at Munchface's first and fifth birthday parties.

Sure, there's sentiment on my part.  There's also, however, a great home behind my memories.  I've truly come to appreciate a lot of things my parents have changed in their home since I moved out 10 years ago.  Here are a few of them:

Home: In-Process

For the past 10 years, it's felt as if my parents' home was a construction zone in one way or another.  They've made some major changes over the years!

My dad doesn't claim to be a handyman but when my mom mentioned that she wanted to remove the wall that divided the kitchen and dining rooms, he got into action... literally.  He decided to save money and handle the demo himself.  He *literally* walked into the kitchen and kicked  through the wall.  We (the kids) cheered him on to DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!  We also got SO excited by the kung fu demolition fun that we wanted to help... despite my mom's mini heart attack during the demo, I believe that change karate chopped her brain into action.

From there, the projects never stopped!  They've installed hardwood floors, a concrete patio, gutted their kitchen for a complete re-design, (to include installing a wine chiller/fridge), purchased all new furniture throughout the house, professionally painted a number of times, installed new tubs/showers, re-landscaped, got some amazing light fixtures and chandeliers, built and replaced the steps to their balcony, paved (and re-paved) their driveway, pulled up unwanted trees, added a fence, replaced their porch, installed French doors and more.

I love the in-progress home.  I also love how, if there is something that will make their home function better for them, they do it.  Word.

Design: A Healthy Mix

I've told you of my mom's professional thrift shopping skillz in several posts. I've even shared their seaside family room (here).  My mom has designed their spaces to incorporate a healthy balance of antique, thrift and who-cares-what-the-price-tag-says-because-I-want-it items.  The unique pieces found throughout their home are a direct reflection of them.

Since we've all moved out, my parents have a lot of space for just the two of them.  Most rooms don't get used in their everyday life.  As a result, my mom designs each room to make a statement... she makes each piece (and resulting room design) matter - she never takes her spaces for granted and has a clearly defined purpose for every room. 

I love how the pieces that have character aren't necessarily found in the common stores.

Storage: An Inventory Room

Mom keeps a room dedicated to storing housewares.  You have to know her to understand why.  See, she changes her mind very often.  She is always moving paintings and pictures... changing her pillows and such.  Rather than get rid of pieces, she's created a space to store her out-of-rotation items.  It's the former guest room and it's got a section for pictures, statues, floral arrangements, pillows and vintage goodies (like the antique typewriter and camera she hasn't displayed yet).

What a great way to freshen up your space and ensure that you enjoy the things you love... even if they don't fit your space right now.

Space: Caters To How They Live

My parents have a family room but that's not where we have family time.  Family time happens around the kitchen table and that's by my parents' design.

My mom bought a ten-foot (maybe) dining room table and she's surrounded it with 6 large custom-designed wingback chairs.  People come in and take a seat.  More times than not, they never have to move from that spot!  Dad is in the kitchen cooking, the t.v. is going, a card game might start-up, Mom's got some baked treat ready to serve and, the best part?  All of this happens around the kitchen table.

It might sound weird but, once you're there, it just feels right.  My mom's designed the spaces in her home to fit how they entertain.  Why force everyone to travel downstairs for family time when Dad (an introverted guy who will focus on food preparation and pull away from social settings in large groups) is most comfortable in his domain, the kitchen?

The comfortable chairs are a bonus.  They're made for chilling more than eating so there's no surprise when people fall into food-induced comas right at the table :)

Candles: Scents & Ambient Lighting

My parents have three dogs (one of which is our old dog, PeePuppy) and their home never smells like... well, dog.  My mom cleans with bleach-based products which has a very distinct scent.  She also, however, burns scented candles.

These candles smell great and can be found burning in just-about every room at all times.

The candles really make the home feel welcome and inviting.  Sometimes, we'll go into the family room with a candle burning and just talk.  It's a great opportunity to relax your mind and your eyes! 


I just love my parents' home.  Their approach to creating a welcoming place true to their taste but with visitors in mind makes their house feel like a home.  My mom is the kind of person who hugs you when she meets you and their home is the same way.

Like their in-progress home, I've come to love the stages of my new place's design.  I might have paint swatches taped up on the wall but it's a sign that my home is alive and growing to be a space we love.

To touch on the idea of mixing thrift and chic, I love the unique finds in our neighborhood thrift/antique shops.  Strategic incorporation of these items into our home has allowed me to put my own spin on the "aged to perfection" trend, lol.

Just like mom, I have an area in my craft room dedicated to party and home décor items. I love having a selection of items to give me an instant change when I need it.

I applied the concept of using space to fit our needs in our second guest room.  After all, who says you should only have one?

Candles?  O, candles. I love candles!  I especially love to light them as one of the last steps in my cleaning process.


We'll continue the series tomorrow with Tammy's house.

See you then!

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