House to Home : Cozy Bedroom Retreat

When decorating a home, my own bedroom always seems to be finished last. After all, no one but me spends much time, if any, in the space. In some ways, I’ve always thought that giving too much attention to a bedroom hinted at vanity.

When decorating, I’m self-conscious to a fault that I don’t want my space to be “too girly.” This mindset meant that I avoided pink in any of my decor. Turns out, I regret that decision, mostly because I enjoy pink love the color’s versatility and vibrancy.

The bedroom became the remedy for that mistake. I decided I wanted to decorate with my three favorite colors—pink, green and brown—and let the design flow from there.

It turns out, I love this room. I love it because it is girly and feminine and completely me. I love the pictures of my family on the walls. I love the old radio re-purposed as a nightstand. I love the grungy, old brown box on my dresser where I keep my makeup. And I love the stuffed frog, a staple of my room since eighth grade.

And all of the pink? Turns out, I love that, too.

RESOURCES:
Bulletin Board: Pottery Barn
Flower Quilt/Shams: Anthropologie
Heart Artwork: Rifle Paper Co.
Lampshade: Target
Pink Coverlet: Land of Nod
Purple Blanket: Pottery Barn
White Frames: Pottery Barn

All other items are family heirlooms, found on the side of the road, or antiques.

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House to Home : Chicago Bungalow

What makes a house a home? What makes a home hospitable? Inviting and beautiful? These are all things I consider when decorating the three-bedroom bungalow I call home.

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Even though I am a visual artist, designing for print or web is very different from designing in three-dimensional space. Regardless, the same principles of my personal style—clean lines, composition, and color—still apply. I’m not sure how professional interior designers work, but I always start with color, and by that I mean I find something with every color in it that I love and match all other items to that piece. In this case, I purchased the rug and curtains with the same bright peacock pattern, hanging the curtains in the family room and using the rug in the dining room to tie the two distinct, but conjoined, spaces. I intentionally choose something with tons of colors to allow me to color my space with variety—and, if I get bored of one hue, I can always add another!

Perhaps the biggest challenge for me in designing my home was to select artwork for the walls. As an artist and photographer, I tend to be very picky with what I am willing to hang. I feel the merit of the artwork I hang in my house is a visual answer to the question “What is good art?” Deciding on something to hang on either side of the couch took the most effort and reflection. I wanted something to tie in with the books to create a library-esque feel. In playing off the trend of hanging vintage Penguin book covers, I created my own canvases, switching out the book titles for lines of songs or quotes that inspire me.

The rest of the space is, for the most part, a collection of family heirlooms, personal creations, and favorite items I’ve discovered on the side of the road discarded as trash, or at antique shops or garage sales. Among some of my favorite finds include the old tea box I found discarded outside a used bookstore and use as an end table. It’s made only of plywood held together by aluminum angles, but never fails to earn a compliment from guests.  The old phone is an antique from the early 1900s and would still work if only there were switchboard operators! Perhaps what I love most about the space is the bookshelves—or rather, the books themselves. If there is anything that I consider a “comfort possession” (something I don’t have to own but love to anyway), it’s my books. It’s easy for people to figure out who I am simply by looking through the titles of books I own.

Six years of collecting, curating and cultivating my own design style has resulted in a space I’m proud to call mine. How do you go about creating a space you love? Share in the comments!

RESOURCES:
Bird Rug and Curtains: Anthropologie
Calendar: Rifle Paper Co.
Green Chair: Jubilee Furniture
Orange and Green Kantha Blanket: Hand & Cloth
Red Pepper and Corn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Brimfield
Red Rug: Pier 1
Red Spotlight Lamps: Pottery Barn
Photographs and Vintage Penguin Artwork: Parisi Images
White Bookshelves: Ikea

PAINT COLOR:

Behr Navajo White

BONUS MATERIAL:
View the home office and Parisi Images’ Gallery, both of which are part of this same home, on Parisi Images’ blog.

Update (6/14/2013): I’m so pleased to announce that the bungalow has been featured as a House Call on the popular home design blog Apartment Therapy. Hop on over there to check out the post and leave some extra comment love.

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Why Farming?

When people ask me why I have a sudden interest in farming, I generally give the reply “I dated a farmer and the interest in farming lasted longer than the interest in the farmer.” While I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it is true that an attractive boy is what first attracted me to farming.

This farmer was a bona-fide corn and soybean farmer from small-town Indiana. Our romance lasted just a short time, but long enough for me to get a rudimentary crash-course in the realities of the farming lifestyle. For me, meeting someone my own age who was a real farmer—one who owned land and spent days out in the tractor planting and harvesting corn—was a culture shock. Even more penetrating was the realization that seemingly “old-fashioned” ideas of bequeathing the family farm to the first-born son, the consequences of family inheritance feuds, and the ever-increasing cost of land are ongoing realities for hard working American farmers. In short, farming became a real occupation and farmers became real people to me after meeting and dating a farmer.

As I got to know a farmer and about the work he did, it didn’t take long for my ideas about food to change. All of a sudden, I began to wonder if I knew the person who had grown the corn in my corn flakes (highly unlikely, but still a possibility!). I began to consider the logistical gymnastics required for a mango to arrive fresh from the southern hemisphere in the middle of December to the local grocery store. I began to listen for agriculture news and read the “buy local” labels at Whole Foods a little more closely. I’ve never been much of a foodie, but all of a sudden “where food came from” became a BIG idea for me.

Other, small things, also brought my attention increasingly to the world of agriculture. I’ve heard missionaries say that when they received their calling to the field, God places specific locations on their hearts. God then confirms these destinations by little “signs”—the country is mentioned in the news, a story they hear from a friend, a native they suddenly meet. Similarly, the idea of “farmsteading” sprung into everyday normalcy after my initial encounter with a young farmer. For instance, I randomly stumbled on a www.centralvafarms.com and discovered that a house with land in and around Charlottesville, VA (absolutely stunning country, for those who haven’t been…) is actually quite affordable. I read an article in Vogue magazine while waiting for my tires to be changed, of all things, about a young writer-turned-farmer. I learned that the local park district rents garden plots for a mere $25 to residents, all of a sudden making it possible for me to start growing food of my own.

Clearly, agriculture/farming/gardening etc. was top-of-mind as I sought the Lord in giving a vision for life. To some, that may seem I simply grabbed at what was my most immediate and recent fascination. To me, though, the Lord laid these things in my path in His own timing, uniquely aware of their greater significance.

As I’ve meditated and prayed about this entire concept/endeavor, I’ve come to additional understanding and appreciation as to “why farming.” Kristin Kimball writes in her novel The Dirty Life, “I think that in some way, human begins are hard-wired to be agrarians. This is what most people in the history of the world have focused their energy.” It’s this realization, and appreciation for agriculture’s necessity and normalcy in human endeavor, that enchants me as I move forward.