I recently had the opportunity to interview a blogger whose beautiful home had caught my eye. Her name is Holly Baker, and she and her husband Sean have accomplished a heroic renovation of their dream house (check out the comments section for the "before" pictures and you won't believe it's the same house). Their blog, Life in the Fun Lane
, is full of valuable
advice for those of you who don't know where to begin decorating, loads of practical D.I.Y. tips, and lots of inspiration.
First of all, please tell us a little about yourself and the path that led you to blogging.
I would best be described by friends and family as the lady who always has paint on her hands, which is usually true. But I am also a 26 year old wife, mom (of 1 lovely toddler), and a self proclaimed Trash-onista. I have an obsession with reinventing furniture and odd bits and bobs.
Our blog started one week after we moved into our dream-fixer-upper. At the time I was five months pregnant
and looking back I am certain it had something to do with that “nesting” compulsion they say expectant mothers have. But it was also a great outlet for me to day dream about our plans as well as document memories and the bigger change of our lives: becoming parents.
Please tell us about your “first meeting” with your house.
We had an appointment with our realtor to see a house across the street and saw the “For Sale
” sign in front of this one as well. After looking at the first house, which we agreed was close to what we envisioned, we walked into this house. The outside was typical of the area and by no means my dream home, but the second we walked in I just knew it was home. It was bright, light, and very open, and immediately we were able to look past the scary wallpaper and outdated light fixtures. I am certain it chose us as well because it already had another approved offer at the time, but somehow it fell into our laps and here we are today!
What was the very first step of your remodeling/decorating process?
There we no delusions of grandeur in our heads! We knew that the only way we could afford this house as well as renovating it would be to do it over time and with our own blood, sweat and tears. With that said, this was our first time ripping up floors, patching walls, etc. and we really didn’t have a realistic game plan. We went in with guns blazing, ripping out all the wallpaper and floors the first few weeks. And once the dust settled we were like “alright, now what?”. We were a little overzealous, not to mention six months pregnant at that time. But we learned how to install hardwood and got to work. It took us a solid six weeks of work to install the flooring in every room but the kitchen
and bathrooms. We are still so proud that we did it on our own!
Pleas tell us about the biggest renovation/decoration challenge you faced
I know we have yet to face our biggest challenge: our kitchen. It is getting close to happening but I am insistent that we tie up all the other loose ends around the house. I am also positive that we will be calling in some professional help for that job which is probably our next biggest challenge. After two years of tackling anything that comes up (and those of you who have renovated know something ALWAYS comes up!), I think our pride has gotten the best of us at times. There are a few instances that would have saved us a lot of heartache to just call in a professional. It’s good to know when you’ve been beat!
What are your favorite style and colors?
Our home is definitely defined more by color than by style. Any shade or white, cream or grey is welcome in our home, no matter the style. Although we tend to gravitate towards French country mixed with beach simplicity. I like to call us “Vintage Minimalists” because we love finding one of a kind treasures and let them tell their stories without a lot of accessories or clutter.
Where is a favorite spot in your house that makes you very happy/proud?
I am SO so so proud of our laundry room
. We still have a long journey in other rooms that I know will become my favorite spots, but for now it is nice to have a little space that would otherwise be pretty drab and feel like it has a little bit of everything you love. It is unbelievable to look back on what it used to be and how little is cost to transform it! If this fancy laundry room won’t get me to do laundry I don’t know what will.
Besides pets and photos, what would you grab in a fire?
Surprisingly I thought about this question for a solid 10 minutes and couldn’t come up with 1 thing. My business requires me to part with things I love on a daily basis, and I always find something new I love just as much. There is absolutely nothing that I would want to see go in a fire, but if it all did I know I would be ok with it. But it would be sad to see my new mirror go up in flames!
What is your next house project?
Our biggest yet, the kitchen! We have the appliances sitting in the garage and are picking cabinet samples right now, but this isn’t a job we want to walk into blindly. It needs to be fast (which we usually aren’t) and it needs to be relatively painless with a toddler running about. We will be knocking down walls, adding windows and doing new beadboard ceilings throughout the main floor so it will be exciting to see a few other rooms get their finishing touches as well.
Please give us your best tip for the remodeling/decorating beginner.
- Know what you love! So many people think a blank slate makes it easy to decorate, but really it makes it harder if you don’t know where to start. You don’t want to spend big bucks on a renovation only to doubt your decisions later on.
- If you think you can, you will! Every new challenge we come across just becomes an adventure because we know that we will find a way to make it work.
-Don’t feel limited by your budget. So many people think you need to spend a lot of money to get high-end finishes but you just need to be diligent and resourceful. We had our heart set on dark hardwood floors, but knew that we couldn’t afford doing 2,500 square feet at anything more than $3/ft. All the flooring stores told us we would have to consider engineered wood or laminate but after flipping through flyer after flyer for months before our move we found a supplier
who was discontinuing them for $2/ft! If you really really want it keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll find it!
What is your favorite source for home decor?
Garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores! I don’t want to have something that a million other people have. Nothing beats original art
, which there is a ton of at any thrift store, and with a little paint you can transform even the ugliest old furniture. And with the savings you can splurge on something you really love!