Tag Archives | Beauty & Purpose

Current Inspiration

So I haven’t blogged in a while. But I’m still around, I’m still here! And its actually because I’ve been working more!  You may remember I took last year to kind of decide where I was headed with this design business thing. I took a class that led to all sorts of inspiration. I was doing lots of small consults, one room at a time kind of work.

This year I find myself with two big full house projects happening at once and a couple more waiting in the wings. They are both with dream clients and I’m learning so much as I work, pushing my boundaries further and further into areas that have intimidated me in the past. I’m loving it and finding the courage that I can do this.

The community of support I found in taking that class has really helped, along with a few more connections I’ve made since then.  I think I felt isolated a lot last year, wondering if I was actually doing this thing the right way.  Its nice to have community.   Plus, Paul is my constant encouragement and support- he has always believed in me and never once doubted even when I’m doubting myself.  Its amazing to have support like that.

Anyway, that’s enough for now about where I’ve been. I thought I’d share today a bit of what’s inspiring me lately for these projects…

First up this beautiful shot of a project by Marie Flanigan Interiors.  I love the contrast of light and dark.  All the different textures, wood tones, subtle pattern.  Its modern and traditional at the same time.

marie-flanagan-interiors

Next, are you familiar with Addison’s Wonderland?  She has an incredibly unique older home that they renovated and it is just bursting with pattern and color.  I love how she uses white walls to balance her love of color.  I also love all the brass and the black vent hood and ceiling in the living room picture below.

kitchen-white-marble-calcutta-gold-open-shelves-gold-black-vent-hood-blue-gray-cabinets-shaker-style-black-chevron-tile-subway-white-backsplash-decor-ideas-8-of-32

addisons-wonderland

This kitchen is majorly inspiring me for a project I’m working on.  Especially that deep green cabinetry.  Green is the thing right now and Studio McGee does it right in this gorgeous kitchen.  I also love all the mixed metals and warm wood tones.

mcgee-kitchen

Here’s another beautiful use of a deep green in this bedroom from Traditional Home.

trad-home

And lastly, if you follow my Instagram stories, you saw that my old kitchen faucet broke last week. We’ve replaced it temporarily with a $17 one from Home Depot while I research and figure out what the permanent solution will be.  Meanwhile I’m all eyes for the art in this kitchen from Domino.  And you know I’m talking about that faucet:

domino

So that’s what’s up for now.  Follow me on Pinterest if you’d like to see more of the inspiration for these projects!

xoxo

Bethany

Continue Reading

My Winter Living Room

The House of Figs Winter Living Room

We’ve been busy trying to stay warm and get back to routine over here. I shared on Instagram last week that I always struggle with getting back to regular life after the holidays.  We’ve just spent so many days cozied up with our little family and then to see them all spread out in their separate directions again is tough.  It won’t be long before we’re stretched thin again and running around in every direction and I don’t like that.  Paul said its because its been easy to do the good stuff of life- to slow down, get a good night’s sleep, to read a book, to love our kids well, have great and deep conversations, play games and laugh together.  We’ve been anticipating and then celebrating God with us.  We’ve been giving gifts and receiving gifts with love and thankfulness.  We’ve been easily enjoying the very best and most important parts of life lately and now we have to go back to fighting for them.

I love how he put that because it reminds me to fight for those things.  To not just go back to the sometimes status quo of busy-ness and endless activity filled days.  To continue to fight for rest, laughter, joy.

So for these south Texans, these last few icy days have been just what we’ve needed: to huddle up and stay in for a while.  To sit around the fire under some blankets.  I’m not quite ready to jump back in to real life and am happy to enjoy the warmth of the fire a little while longer.

The House of Figs

While I did already put away the Christmas decorations, I’ve left up our greenery on the bookshelves.  It adds a little winter coziness and I always love bringing the outdoors in.  They are totally crispy and dry, but up so high that no one is bumping into them or causing needles to fall.

The House of Figs Winter Living Room

I found the blanket you see above at Target. Its actually meant for a twin size bed- which means much bigger and cozier than your average throw.  Perfect for afternoon napping and movie-watching cuddling.  I’m keeping books and magazines out in hopes that we’ll all keep reaching for them, and then I still have my morning spot that I love so much.

The House of Figs

The House of Figs

A comfy place to sit, lots of layers & textures, a big cozy blanket, and good books to read: that’s a recipe for a great winter living room in my opinion.

The House of Figs My Winter Living Room

The House of Figs

The House of Figs Winter Living Room

So that’s our winter living room.  Not a huge change, but just little ways I cozy it up to encourage continued rest and togetherness after the holidays are over.

Here’s a list of the sources in my living room:

Coffee Table: West Elm

Sectional: Unavailable, but find similar ones here.

Rug: Rugs USA

Blanket: Target

Pillows: Target & Pottery Barn & Etsy

Shelves behind couch: Ikea Hemnes

Pouf: Amazon

Paint Color: Olympic Willow Springs

Shades: Select Blinds

Curtains: Ikea Ritva

Do you change up your living room in the winter, after the Christmas decor comes down? Do you struggle with going back to routine like I do?

Happy New Year!  Stay warm, my friends!

xoxo Bethany

 

Continue Reading

Gettin’ Down to Bidness

a-holly-mathis-office

Saturday I drove to Brenham for Holly Mathis Interiors’ Creative Business class.  I spent the day in Brenham at her studio and then at her home for some serious inspiration and education from Holly herself.  I met a ton of other women at all different stages of doing this decorating/styling thing and the whole thing was EXACTLY what I needed.  It was like encouragement, inspiration, and a kick in the pants all wrapped in one.

First of all, walking into her studio space is inspiration in itself.  I couldn’t stop taking pictures of everything.  She’s dabbling in retail as well (her words) so it doubles as a cute little boutique: designer pillows, candles, local art, etc.

a-holly-mathis-pillows

And now I’m kicking myself- why oh why did I not come home with one of those designer pillows??

a-holly-mathis-gallery-wall

We sat down at chippy farmhouse tables with perfectly imperfect mismatched chairs to scones & pastries on blue & white china with mimosas and coffee.  We each (there were about 15 of us) had our own spot with a hand written name card that was actually the envelope for a letter from Holly and then our notebooks chock full of info and space for note taking.

a-holly-mathis-table

After introductions and a first session, we carpooled up and headed to Holly’s house for lunch.  We got to tour her house and also it was a great time to chat and find out how others in the business are doing things.  What program do they use for moodboards, how do they address pricing, how do they access “to the trade” sources, etc.  My big question was “What is the Dec Center and how do I get in??” Some of you may be laughing at me and some of you may also have no idea what this is.  It was just great because I could totally be myself and open about what I do and do not know about this business.

I’ll show you a few pictures of her house.  Of course it was adorable in every way.  It was recently photographed for a magazine due to come out in the spring I think.

a-holly-mathis-living-room

a-holly-mathis-kitchen

a-holly-mathis-boys-room

a-holly-mathis-porch

Here we are in the kitchen, spilling out into the foyer as Holly prayed before lunch.

a-holly-mathis-prayer

I loved how open she was about her faith.  If you’ve ever read her blog, you know this about her- that its a big part of her business. It was just great to hear her encouragement- to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and to pray, pray, pray.  She was also incredibly authentic and down to earth.  I loved that so much.

After lunch we headed back to the studio eager to learn more and ask a million questions.  For me, the best part was the information about making myself a “real” business.  I’ve struggled with fear and intimidation about a lot of that and have just sort of taken things as they’ve come rather than going about this in a proactive, intentional way.  I’ve got some goals for The House of Figs.  And that doesn’t necessarily mean growing and being busier… for now at least.  It just means getting some things organized and made official, not being intimidated by the whole “to the trade” thing, and starting to see myself as a real business owner.

a-holly-mathis-studio

a-holly-mathis-workspace

a-holly-mathis-selfie

So in the words of Holly’s brother (did you know he’s Jimmy Don from Fixer Upper?  He makes all of Joanna’s metal signs!) It’s time to “git down to bidness!”

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

xoxo Bethany

Continue Reading

My Yearly DIY Post

I’m not a crafter and I don’t do much holiday decorating.  But there’s something about the crispness of fall that has me itching to create.  And I don’t mean creating gallery walls or moodboards or furniture layouts. I mean actually with my hands creating something.  Maybe it has something to do with being outside more?  I miss being outside so much during the oppressive heat of summer.  Lately I’m gazing at sunsets, watching the kids play in the yard, and hanging out on the porch.  Maybe that’s it?

watercolor-leaves-fall-diy

So I’ve found I’m in the kitchen more often, baking goodies that I normally would never be stirring up myself (my husband has the love of cooking in this family).  And last week I actually wandered around on that crafty aisle of Target looking for something fun to do with the kids.  I picked up this pad of punch out paper leaves and had no idea where it would take us.

watercolor-leaves2

My daughter LOVED it.  She worked on painting and coloring leaves for over an hour.  My littlest guy painted a few leaves.  I found myself painting leaf after leaf.  My oldest couldn’t have cared less.  Oh well, to each his own.

I didn’t have a plan for the leaves when we were finished with them, but the colors were so pretty and fall-ish that I was inspired to make a banner for the living room.  I roped some twine up there and used some masking tape to attach the leaves.  I love the organic color of the watercolor paints and how it just brings a little bit of festive whimsy to the room.  I’m sorry to say that this pad was on sale so I can’t find it online to share with you.  Maybe they still have it at your local Target if you’re interested. If not, you could use this template to print out your own, though that would involve a lot of cutting (not quite as fun and easy.)  Here are a few more simple/minimalist fall garlands that would be fun as well.

watercolor-leaves-fall-diy2

I totally get how decorating for the seasons creates this cozy atmosphere and builds a sense of excitement, especially for kids.  But as a sort of minimalist and practicalist (I know that’s not a word), I often forget that.  I don’t like to have little vignettes of scarecrows and plastic pumpkins and hay bales around even though I LOVE the coziness of them when I walk into other people’s homes or little boutique shops.  I even study them in my friends’ homes (they don’t know I’m doing it or I would be like a weird stalker) because I’m trying to figure out how it looks so cozy.  I think it has something to do with using what you love in your own home.  Which might be why it doesn’t work for me.  When I bring in stuff that isn’t me or my style, it makes me feel cluttered in my brain.  I’ve tried and usually end up returning it or putting it in a Goodwill pile.

watercolor-leaves-diy-fall

My daughter on the other hand is constantly looking for a reason to decorate for an occasion or party.  I’m convinced she will one day have the coziest cutest house including scarecrows and hay bales that look adorably perfect for fall.  Anyway, I’m thinking I might ought to start taking her advice a little more often. She may want to paint the walls all pink though, haha.

watercolor-table-fall-pumpkin

So here’s my fall decor for this year- watercolor leaves, and you can see those little white pumpkins on the mantle too.  I picked those up from Trader Joe’s.  I also got one of the big “Cinderella” pumpkins to keep on the breakfast room table.

watercolor-leaves-mantle-fall-living-room

Cheers to the changing of the seasons, getting outdoors more, and creating a home you love, however that looks for you.

water-color-leaves-fall-mantle-diy

xoxo

Bethany

Continue Reading

Thoughts Lately

Hey guys, its been a while.  I’ve had some posts brewing in my mind lately but how to push past the months long hiatus without some kind of explanation?  I was a bit burned-out.  Feeling dry.    I realized I had let some things slide in my own household while I worked on other homes.  I grew discontent with my own home while I perused Pinterest in search of what would make certain rooms just “perfect.”  I over stuffed our closets and drawers, looked with angry eyes at our comfy old couch, and just plain forgot about my love of lighting candles and playing music in the house.  Its like I just forgot about the whole beauty and purpose thing.  It was weird and it wasn’t me.

The truth is I took a break this summer from most things “work” related.  I took on a few projects that were simple and enjoyable to me, like a precious miracle-baby’s gallery wall here…

baby-nursery

baby-nurserya

And I took on a few projects around our house that I had neglected that I do want to show you.  I pondered ideas about minimalism and how we stuff our lives with stuff that we don’t truly care about in order to fill some kind of hole within us and that this practice actually has a much wider negative impact than we ever imagined (here’s a simple explanation of the idea behind minimalism that I love from a blogger I love as well).

But in the meantime I rediscovered what got me started in this whole thing in the first place- my love of beauty and my love of home.  One of the things that really helped in my thought process was this article by Emily from Jones Design Company.  She had just returned from a months long road trip around the country, and after living in an airstream trailer with her family of five she was wondering how she’d feel about returning to all of their stuff.  Would she despise it and long for the simpler life on the road?  Would she give it all away?  Would stuff even matter anymore or would absolute minimalism be the way for her? Here are my favorite quotes from the article:

Our homes are here to serve us. They are meant to be a place of comfort, protection and joy. They are where we do life, where we invite others in, where we gather and grow. They are the backdrop of our lives and important ones at that.

The idea of minimalism has its benefits; there is much to be appreciated and adopted about a life free from excess…

But there is also nothing wrong with surrounding ourselves with the things we love and intentionally filling our homes with beauty…

The goal of our homes is to be comfortable, safe places where we want to spend time and invite others in. Is my house serving me in this way? Is yours?

That’s the important question.

Are our homes doing their job?

I know that everyone is different and after a life changing trip like that, many people will come to different conclusions.  But as a fellow lover of home as well as beautiful things (yes, things), I started looking around my home and wondering how I’d feel after a trip like that.  Would this place feel like home to me?  What were the things driving me crazy here and did I have control over them?  Just a few examples:  my crazy over-stuffed disorganized closets & drawers; my master bedroom that had become a holding place for junk; my living room rug that needed to be replaced; my eleven year old couch that’s a little frumpy and bursting at the seams, but seems to be like that comfy old pair of jeans.  What were the things I could accept and make better not by replacing but by changing my attitude about?  What would make sense to actually replace? What could I roll up my sleeves and do something about without necessarily spending money on but just putting in some old fashioned elbow grease?  What needed to be purged and how could I think even more intentionally about what I bring into our home?

I know I’ve talked about this before and maybe I talk about this a lot.  I guess its just something God is continuing to teach me: contentment is the theme here.  The last thing I need more and more of is stuff.  What I do need more and more of is gratitude, contentment, love, and joy.  These are what make home feel like home.

Thanks so much for reading.  I hope to be back here more and sooner this time. 🙂

Continue Reading

On Taking a Break

Its summertime and I’ve been in need of a break.  I’m learning the balance between work and play, remembering I’ve only got 18 summers with them, but also knowing I need a little time for myself carved out in there too.

Summer1 Taking a Break

Something had to give and it ended up being the blog for a time.

I’ve still been working a little and will have a few projects to share with you at some point.

I’ve been reading a ton (summer reading is the best!) and want to share those with you too.

But we’ve mostly just been going to the pool, staying up too late, watching too much TV, and taking a few little trips here and there.

summer3 Break

I’m stunned when I realize June is pretty much over and before we know it school will be back and the busyness and schedules will start up again. It’s funny how seasons are like that.  Ever-changing.  It’s been nice to just relax into this one.

summer5 break

So I’m still here.  Just doing my best to soak up this summer.  Giving myself permission to take a break.

xoxo

Bethany

Continue Reading

The Ministry of Mediocrity

It came at a time that I needed it most. I was knee deep in comparisons; trying to keep up with the Joneses (and failing miserably) and that’s when I read it.  A friend of mine wrote a blog post about her “ministry of mediocrity.”  This was years ago and she doesn’t blog anymore but recently I contacted her to ask if I could write about it here. I still think about that post often and I’m so thankful she said yes.  It has to do with the “purpose” side of home-keeping, hospitality.  And it has nothing to do with a perfectly made bed, fluffed pillows, or a well curated gallery wall.

It has to do with being mediocre.

So what is this ministry of mediocrity, exactly?  Well, it could mean inviting friends over to hang out with a sink/counter/table full of dishes and not apologizing for them.  It could also mean not shaving your legs or repainting your chipped toe nail polish and still wearing shorts and sandals because its hot outside.  Its remembering that we’re all human, nobody’s perfect, and revealing your own imperfections creates a space for true connection.  Sound scary?  Maybe it is, a little.  But its also brave and leads to intimacy and realness- creating a sense of belonging that we all crave.

ministryofmediocrity2

When we furiously scrub our houses, selves, and lives to gleaming perfection before interacting with anyone, we give this impression that this is how life really is.  We appear untouchable and unreachable. Our homes may be even a little uncomfortable.

But what if instead of perfection we purposefully aimed for mediocrity with the intent of ministering to others?  What if we aimed for just “good enough” housekeeping?  Just “good enough” cooking, party-throwing, hair-fixing, decorating?  Whatever it is that eats you up because you’re just not perfect or its just not your thing- let it go. Enough of this super-woman “I-can-do-it-all” lie.  When we reveal our imperfections to one another, we actually minister to eachother, saying “you are free to be exactly who you are.”

ministryofmediocrity

When someone invites me in from the perspective of a ministry of mediocrity, I feel at ease, I feel comfortable. I know they are more interested in connection and friendship rather than creating a mirage of perfection. I am allowed to be myself and reveal my own imperfections: messy house, unshaven legs, at times ill-behaved children, and all.  They have ministered to my soul by just being themselves: which is at times genuinely, perfectly mediocre.

Continue Reading