Why decorating?

Monday, January 5, 2009


This is an antique German armoire we bought at Carl Moore Antiques in Houston many years ago.  We used to keep a television in it but now it is home to many of my old decorating magaizines and paint and fabric samples and files.

I figured people might wonder how and why I am so interested in decorating. So before I start posting my opinions, I thought I would give you some background. Growing up, my father was in the business (and still is).  So fabric samples and wallpaper books were a constant in our home. I did not really pay much attention to them at the time but they were always there. Words like pinch pleats, cornices and valances were tossed around in our house all the time. Except for the occasional filling in during college breaks, I did not work in the family business. At the time, I was not really interested.  My older sister worked for my Dad for a long time though and she was very good at it.

Instead, I went to graduate school and became a professor and later a speaker and marriage coach/counselor.  Then, when Dave and I married we owned an adorable little cottage in a great University neighborhood.  It is then that I started to yearn for a beautiful home.  I immediately subscribed to Traditional Home magazine (and still have every issue archived).  I went on home tours and bought an art journal to begin collecting ideas and figuring out my style.  Really, I would tear things out of magazines that touched me in some way.  If I felt an emotional response (positive) to a photo, I would save it and eventually it would make its way into my sketchbook.

We have moved  a few times since that cottage. In fact, this is our fifth house. Our third house was a 100 year old home that we partially gutted (kitchen) and restored.  That is when I really fell in love with houses and decorating.  We had so much fun choosing all of the options for our kitchen.  Our antiques and art fit that home.  I grew to really love that home.  I still do and I drive by her regularly.

Next, we built our home in Virginia.  I poured over hundreds if not thousands of house plans but none seemed like exactly what I wanted. So, I turned to my journal and we hired an architect.  We spent months and months going back and forth with my pictures (many in my head) and his skills.  Finally, we drew the perfect house plans for our family. I loved the fact that the house was completely unique and that no one in the world had a home plan the same as ours.  I had never in my life thought of myself as creative until then.

Next came the wonderfully exciting task of choosing every single detail from each toilet and handle and cabinet to paint colors, to baseboards and fireplaces and flooring and windows. It was a full time job and at times I despised it (because it was overwhelming) but mostly I really loved it. There were so many little things I learned and mistakes we made. However in the end, we created a fabulous home for our family.  You all already know how much I love(d) that home.  Now, someone else owns it. That was a very sad day for me (about two weeks ago).  I realized that my whole life I had never thought of myself as artistic or creative and that house was the most creative thing I had ever done.  And I succeeded at it too.  I have failed at many, many artistic endeavors in the past~trust me!

Now we have purchased a large new home in a city (on a very small lot).  It is Craftsman style (which was never really my favorite).  But this house has beautiful woodwork and moldings and beams.  It has so many details that are missing in today's new homes.  I need to put my touch on it and I know that will take a long time. Our much loved belongings of antique furniture and art don't look as good in this house as they did in our previous homes.  So, I need to find creative ways to make them work.  I will share much of this along the way.

I realized that this post is very personal but part of that is because this is a passion of mine. Decorating and art are very personal.

Please let me know if there are specific decorating topics you would like me to blog about.  I don't claim to be an expert but I'll share what I can.


  1. KIm, I so enjoy readign your blog and seeing your beautiul home your making. I had a chance to read some of your older posts and see your home you designed before the move and I am awe struck. There is no doubt in my mind this home with be just as beautiful and unique because I can see you put yourself into everything you do. Each shows in every detail. Happy new year to you my new friend.

  2. Hi Kim! I would love decorating ideas for fireplace mantles. We live in a 1970 home, and have remodeled most of the house. In the finished basement we have a red brick fireplace with a white craftsman style mantle my husband built. The walls are a deep brown but I am stumped, don't know how to "dress" the mantle. Any ideas would be great!!

  3. i have two much needed topics!! Our living room is very read and orange. The walls are really orange. we can't change the paint for a few years so what decoration can i use without it all being red or orange? (we also have UGLY blue carpet in there that will have to go eventually...)

    my second topic is: what types of decorative things go in the bedroom? my husband is for some reason against pictures of the family, but i don't want some large impersonal picture from ikea over the bed or anywhere that matter...nevermind. i really need some ideas for the bedroom rose/cream color on the walls and floor.

    i am so excited that you are doing a decorating blog. i always loved the pictures with glimpes of your house. it is/was so nicely done.

    hope you're well!


  4. I am really interested in what you have to say. It has been so hard for me to take my sense of style and apply it to a whole house. Will enjoy whatever topic you choose!

  5. I'm so excited you're blogging about decorating!! I have a huge passion for this too, in fact it was my major in college. I'm struggling with wall color right now, we have a huge living room/dining room that extends up to the second floor. It really needs some warmth. Do you have any wall colors that you love? Happy New Year!! Love the new blog! :)

  6. Kim,

    I look forward to your upcoming decorating posts and to be along on your journey into turning your house into a home.


  7. I need your opinion on the placement of my drapery rod over my living room window. The window is just a plain, regular double window, but then there is a little window right above it. I don't know if I need to hang the rod above both windows or in between the two. I wouldn't mind sending you a picture of the window if you wouldn't mind looking at it.

    Also, I am VERY interested in how you are going to incorporate your style into your Craftsman home. Our home has a lot of craftsman features (moldings, mantles, special touches), but the outside isn't in a craftsman style. It is a stone exterior. Can't wait to see what you do.


  8. I can;t wait to see what you do. I think this new topic on your blog will be awesome. I know I am looking forward to your tips and opinions.

  9. I'm so excited that you are going to blog about decorating. Anything you put out there for the rest of us will be great. I lack any decorating ability so just maybe you will inspire me.

    I love your blog and am looking forward to the decorating aspect as well.

    P.S. I'm the person who bought the penafores from you. I will have to send you a picture of my own little Asain cutie in them.

  10. I love that you are doing this on your blog. I love to decorate and we love to remodle houses we buy. I seem to struggle with my tables, like arrangements on the dinning room and breakfast or what to put there? Right now on the breakfast table I have a antique very large bowl that is beautiful and I am liking it but would like some things to change it up with and the dinning room since I packed up all my mercury is empty! Help!

  11. I love that you are doing this on your blog. I love to decorate and we love to remodle houses we buy. I seem to struggle with my tables, like arrangements on the dinning room and breakfast or what to put there? Right now on the breakfast table I have a antique very large bowl that is beautiful and I am liking it but would like some things to change it up with and the dinning room since I packed up all my mercury is empty! Help!

  12. Can't wait to read your decorating posts....
    We are in the process of totally remodeling the home my hubby grew up in.
    I too have kept a scrapbook of ideas for years! Some of the things in it get tossed and others I still love after years.
    I love fabrics and paint colors!!!

    And like you I have a huge passion for photography...

  13. I love this and can't wait to follow along! Thank you!

  14. I am glad you will post more about decorating on your blog. I always loves those posts!

    That cabinet reminds me of one my husband's step-mother bought for their tv. With the key and tassle too! About a year before she passed away, they moved from a Victorian home that she lovingly revitalized and decorated with strict adherence to the era to a downtown condo. The condo is modern and industrial with exposed ceilings. It was hard to imagine her French antiques in the space, but she really made it work. When I look at your decorating posts, I always think of her. You have that same great flare for small details & I am sure before long your home will be just the way you want it!

    (Also, a while back, you posted your favorite parenting books & I've been meaning to ask if you have favorite marriage books?)

  15. Hi! We're in the midst of remodeling our home so I look forward to your posts. From your pictures, I can tell you have very elegant taste (I especially loved the pictures from the baby shower you hosted - everything was BEAUTIFUL!).

    Our furniture is a mix of old and new. I inherited my gradparents one-of-a-kind dining room set, which I love - I've been looking for the perfect lamp to hang above it.

    Happy decorating!

  16. I love, love, love this post!!! I have been obsessed with my dream house since I was a little girl. I can remember us getting a new TV when I was around 4/5 and my parents gave me the box to play with. For a small child it was huge, and I took my crayons and created a black and white checkered floor and a dressing table with lots of perfume and lipstick :P I have been ripping stuff out of magazines ever since. I have a brick ad for a home that I would love to recreate, and my dream kitchen came from a jenn air appliance ad in Southern Living 6 years ago :) I haven't quite figured it all out, but I love trying!!!

    I'm just now checking back in. Looks like y'all had a wonderful Christmas! Happy New Year!!!

  17. I am open to any tips you can give. We live on base military housing so we can't really do anything to the house. But I would love to know how we can decorate our walls and what colors we can use for the rooms. I don't want to overdecorate, I just want it to look nice and homey.

  18. I, too, love decorating. It is another creative outlet for me. And since we have moved many times in our 14 years of marriage, I love moving into each new house and tackling the challenge of making our house a home. You and I seem to have very similar tastes, so I look forward to seeing your decorating posts.

  19. Well you are a girl after my own heart with decorating. I'd love to see you talk about color(which I love), namely color for walls. Our house is new too and the only room we've painted so far is the kitchen. I'm getting ready to have the rest of the house painted in a few months, so I'll be deciding on colors.

    Also, I have 2 children adopted from China and I'm doing a post this week about incorporating Chinese or Asian style and items in our home. It's important to me for my children to be proud of their birth culture and include some of it. I mean it doesn't have to be entirely that style, and it's fun to mix it with the things you already have in your home. My style is very eclectic, antiques, old, new and very loved items.
    Anyway, Kim I look forward to future posts!

  20. Kim,

    I'm looking forward to your posts on decorating. It is very obvious from pictures of your home(s) that God has blessed you with a gift. I got so many ideas just from your pictures on your Christmas decorations so I can't wait. Just make sure to include the Peanuts a lot too, I enjoy seeing all 3 of them, but especially Kate's beautiful little smile!


  21. I can't wait to read more. Thanks for sharing!!

  22. You are certainly gifted and before long, we will all be sending you pictures to get your advice.

    I would love if you could talk a little about religious items in bedrooms. I grew up with a cross hanging over my bed so that I could kneel at my bed and say my prayers. I don't know how to incorporate this into my adult bedroom.

    Please help!

  23. I am so happy you are going are going to blog about designing and your style! I absolutely have loved all of the homes you have lived in (that I know of) and I love your style! I am excited to see what is to come!

    BTW, the babies are a little sick (they have RSV) and Joel and I have sinus infections (which probably caused their RSV). Hopefully it does not get any more serious; I would hate to have them back in the hospital so soon after they finally came home. Other than that, they are absolutely wonderful!!

  24. You know I am so excited about this topic!! I had no idea that this was the business your family was in....it obviously rubbed off on you, because you have a great eye for decorating and fashion!!

    After reading this post, I now fully understand how hard it was to say goodbye to the "old girl".....I never knew the house in VA was designed from your sketches and ideas...that is incredible!! Can't wait to see what you do with the "new girl"


  25. I will have to read this post when I can focus.....stop by....my prayers have been answered! ;)

  26. What an inspirational post! I love beautiful homes. I have no talent at decorating though. I cannot wait to follow your journey as you make this house your home.

  27. I am excited to read about your decorating ideas as well as your sweet family. I love decorating too! I am a color freak and generally like bright colors--I need to pull in the reins on that. I would love to hear your ideas on decorating mantles. I live in a 70's ranch on 2 acres (good thing about the ranch) and hate the brick fireplace/mantle. I have never been able to find a decor than can be a stand by when it is not Christmas or Halloween!! Love to hear your ideas!

  28. I would love to hear what house plans you do like??? I'm no surprised that you hired an architect for your last kitchen..I covet it! :)

  29. Kim, I like you have always kept magazine pages and have tons of decorating magazines! I keep a notebook full of things I love marked in black ink.

    In this house, not built by us as the last one, I have nevr felt my things look at home, cozy or beautiful as they did before. I am puzzled because I can never get things right here. the house is too modern, to angled, too not in my taste for a house, though it is a lovely home. People never quite get what I don't like about my things here, but I get this post!

  30. Kim, I too love decorating but money and time limit what I can do. I am all about making a house a home and I share your cooking passion as well and I think that is a huge part of a happy home.

    By the way, I went to Disneyland with your friend Karen and Becky today. Karen is a blast and I totally think we can be good friends. BEcky is adorable and just the cutest little thing in the world. Anyway, they were great and we found eachother on your blog-- I saw you mentioned that she lived in CA and then I posted a comment asking where in CA and then KAren read my comment and contacted me. Today was the first day we actually met-- with 4 other China moms-- and we had just a perfect time. Thanks for kind of hooking us up :)

    Christy :)

  31. I really look forward to being on this journey as you turn your house into a home! You have such beautiful taste, I just can not wait to see the end result!!

    Big Hugs!

  32. Kim I knew we had a lot in common (I think you said that to me once before). I used to keep a book on decorating. I get Better Homes and Garden. I also buy kitchen books, bathroom books etc...Any time I would see something that I liked in one of my magazines I would tear out the page and put it in my special book. When Livi came I fell behind on my little book. I have quite the collection of decorating magazines. I refer back to them often. I also collect garden and landscape magazines.
    We built our home 10 years ago. There were a lot of things that I didn't like about the house but I knew I could change them. I have been enjoying decorating our home over the past 10 years. I know that our contractor really appreciated that I had pictures of everything I wanted when they re-did the upstairs a few months ago.
    I am really looking forward to your decorating post.

  33. I look forward to watching you feather your new nest!!

    (And I, too, use pictures in my remodeling/decorating endeavors)

  34. Looks like you have a lot of suggestions above!! But I'll add that I would love to see simple / affordable window dressings for longer windows.

    I thnk it is wonderful that you found your passion in your home. And you should think of it like a great painting that was bought by somone else to enjoy. It is yours but you are "sharing."

    Can't wait to see what you do next!!

  35. I will admit that I am always looking in the "background" of your beautiful home(s). You could make a trailer beautiful!! I am really looking forward to more - I will have to think of some specifics, but I know I will love whatever you post about!!

    Thanks for your sweet comments about Mya. She is really fitting in well with our family, we couldn't love her more!!

  36. What a great post, you have such an interesting background and an obviously love and talent for design. I'm always in awe when I see photos of your home. I can't wait to see/hear more!

  37. My kids didn't know that most families do not sit around on holidays and look at decorating magazines and pull out fabric samples. One SIL is an artist, the other had an interior design business and I always say I have half of a degree in interior design (before switching to journalism), so basically that's all we do when we get together....chat, look, share, plan and brainstorm. When J1 was in middle school she went trick or treating with friends in their neighborhood, and when she came home she said, "why don't people in Xxx's Crossing decorate their houses?" I thought that was a funny observation for an 11 year old.

    Creating a comfortable home isn't easy, but most people don't realize how difficult it really is to make it look "effortless".

  38. I love this post. For many reasons, one of which is because I also enjoy decorating and coming up with just the right touches. SInce Rob built our home, it is a very unconventional Victorian and we know financially we need to stay here, so though it is not necessarily completely functional for us, I am always looking for ways to make it more user friendly:)

    The other reason, is I enjoy your eye and sense of style - it is so fun to watch something become the essence of the people who live there.

    Can't wait to see what you will do in your new space, look out HGTV, we want to see what Kim is doing!


  39. How you do store all of your magazines, clippings and ideas? What time of filing system do you have to keep track of it all?

  40. I'd love to hear your decorating ideas regarding accessories. We have built-in bookshelves and although I've filled some of the shelves I'm still not loving the look.

    PS: Gorgeous armoire!



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