Growing up in Indiana, we often created out of necessity: either we had little money, or we didn't have ready access to the stores that had what we wanted. For me it was both. Something I heard a lot growing up was, "If someone made it, we can make it, too." I grew up with exposure to some very creative and enterprising people who inspired me in many ways. I learned a lot from each of them.
When I was little, I redecorated my room all the time, whether it was new bedding for a birthday or Christmas or rearranging my furniture. I also rearranged our living room a lot growing up. My mom would come home from work in the summer, and the furniture and tchotchkes would be completely different. She never got mad at me, bless her heart, even when I applied wax to the stairs at nine so they'd shine. Of course, it only got "worse" as I grew up.
As I progressed, people started noticing, including friends, landlords, and bosses. My first “real” job saw me decorate my cubicle and my boss’ office. To me, it was always normal to create a home - it’s what we did in Indiana. Though it was only a temporary residence for two poor college students, our first apartment was where we were starting to build our life together. It was our home. Using inspiration from my childhood, I got creative with thrift stores, paint, spray paint, and “crafting.” My mother-in-law always said I had “a knack for creating something out of nothing." The goal, I think, for any home is to be a warm, cozy refuge that wraps its arms around you and comforts you when you’re done with the daily grind.
When we bought our home, I became a “Handy Annie” and took on various home remodeling projects. Despite being gainfully employed, I couldn’t bring myself to pay what people were asking when I know how to do it because I grew up around people who did this exact thing on their own. It wasn’t intimidating to me. I would sometimes drag my husband into the mix to help me with furniture or heavy lifting, but I worked hard to make our home a reflection of who we are as a couple and individuals. Our settlement agent when we refinanced our home encouraged me to open a store, contractors would compliment my work, and employees and shoppers at stores would notice what I was gathering and creating. When I hosted a bridal shower for a very dear friend of mine, everyone loved our home and asked why I didn’t do this for a living. That got me thinking … why DON’T I do this? I spent a few years selling in a booth-format in markets or antique stores, and then we opened on Maryland Avenue. The Annapolis Mall asked us to open, followed by National Harbor, which is where we are now. The journey to get here has been full of encouragement and self-reflection.
I love low-color high-texture design, so rooms are often neutral and simple, but I always add a touch of fancy or two here and there to satisfy my need for the pretty. If I like it, I make it work. I always grab hold of family heirlooms when given the chance, though I don’t always keep them in their natural state. I’ll never forget how horrified Adam was when he came down the stairs to see the guts of my grandpa’s organ all over the living room while I was making it into a desk. I remember him asking me how Paw would feel about that, and I promised he’d be okay with it. He was very practical, as was my grandmother, and if it didn’t bring joy, it needed to be made over or leave.
I worked as a paralegal for fifteen years, and I grew increasingly miserable for a variety of reasons. I started dreaming of making something of this hobby and passion of mine. It wasn’t until my dad died, however, that I decided to truly go for it. When he died, I realized life was too short to be miserable for one more day, and I quit my job for an easier one closer to home. I didn’t enjoy it there very much, either, and then I was blessed, truly, with an amazing opportunity that allowed me to have a job with an income while I built my business on a mostly-flexible schedule.
I am committed to providing inspiration for people to make their homes beautiful while not breaking the bank. I don’t believe a beautiful home is only reserved for the wealthy or elite, and I try to make my price points accessible to everyone. My products will always be reflective of my style and my interests because I want to remain passionate about what I’m creating. I derive ridiculous amounts of happy from the things I create and the joy it brings people to walk through my store. One of the best compliments I received, almost daily, at the mall was that someone felt relaxed after walking through the store and could go about their day feeling recharged.
I am very thankful for this opportunity and this journey. I hope you come visit us in person or online regularly to see what we're up to, and, more importantly, I hope we inspire you to make your house a home, reflecting your inner beauty, a touch of fancy at a time.