Friday, August 11, 2017

Living the Dream

A good friend of mine interviewed me for her blog {which you can see here}...take a second to read more about my business....

Hey everyone! I’m Katy and I’m a girl with many loves…the Lord Jesus Christ, my husband of almost 4 years, my family, my hometown, my fur niece, Chic-fil-A and interior design…just to name a few!
I’m practically a Huntsville native having moved to the area when I was in first grade. I’ve left briefly a few times- to attend college at Pensacola Christian, to intern at Camp Victory in South Alabama and to live in Jacksonville, FL with my husband after we married in 2013. Fortunately, we have moved back to Huntsville now, and being back in Huntsville and living near my family is definitely my happy place!
I work at a local church as a ministry assistant and in my free time I like to cook, blog, attend Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) and shop!
For about a decade, I’ve been helping friends and family decorate their homes and corporate spaces. I love helping everyday people work with everyday budgets to create beautiful and personal spaces.

How did you get into running your own business?
Since I was a little girl, I’ve been drawn to all things home- especially beautiful spaces. My family used to explore home construction sites in our neighborhood, analyzing the floor plan. I also grew up watching my mom take great care in decorating our home.

Around 2006, friends started approaching me to help them decorate their home. For a couple of years, my client base was a few friends who let me hang their pictures but over time, my friends told other friends who told their friends and word spread, creating a larger client base, which allowed me to expand my services beyond just hanging pictures (though I still love that part!).

I eventually got business cards and started a design blog, to get the word out that I’m here to help the everyday person beautify their home.


What was your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge has always been acquiring new clients. In 2013 I moved out-of-state when I got married. During the three years I was gone, the momentum in acquiring new clients dwindled. I have a handful of faithful friends who hire me occasionally but I’d like to see my business keep growing to include new clients and projects.

How do you balance it all?
One of the best aspects of running my own design service is that I set the hours and fees! I work a full-time job outside the interior design industry, so weekends are when I’m most available to clients. The initial consultation is usually about 2 hours, which involves seeing the space and making a plan, unless it’s a project I can start immediately (like hanging pictures or arranging furniture). My clients understand that family time is important so we work around both our schedules.

What’s your favorite thing about what you are doing?
My passion is helping clients make their home a retreat that reflects their family and personal style. I
especially like helping clients with little or no budget (though I don’t turn down a large budget!). I love bringing order, color and personality to a space. There’s no need for people to live with empty walls or pictures hung too high! No matter the budget, one of my favorite things to do is shop my clients home, gathering items from other rooms, the attic or the garage. Not only is it free, but finding hidden pieces or using something in a new way is a great way to add personality and family history to a space.


Did you have mentors, formal training, or did you learn as you went along?
My bachelor's degree is in Home Economics and includes several courses in interior design. In 2011 I completed several classes toward a UAH’s College of Professional and Continuing Education Interior Design Certificate. After taking those classes, I enrolled full time in UNA’s Interior Design program. I was halfway through with that degree when I got married and moved out of state for a few years.

All my classes were beneficial and helped me further develop an eye for, color, space planning and design.

What’s the key to making your business work?
Clients! I rely heavily on word of mouth, so sometimes it’s hard to acquire new clients. I also have to fight some people’s misconception that hiring a designer is only for the wealthy. I try to keep my fees affordable so that anyone on any budget can afford to hire me. I’m also willing to keep all work and any purchases within a set budget.

What’s coming up for you that you are looking forward to?
I just launched “Design from a Distance” a new service that allows those outside the Huntsville area to hire me to design a space. A long distance client can email me pictures of their space and complete a design questionnaire. I will send them back paint color and fabric suggestions, a space planning floor plan and an inspiration board with suggested purchases.

What advice do you have for another woman thinking of stepping out and starting to live her own dream?
My advice to those women would be to go for it! Though many of us need to be in more mundane jobs to make ends meet, having a creative outlet injects energy into my life. Start small by reaching out to friends and let word of mouth be your best marketing tool! It’s better to live with an extra 2000 business cards than to live with the regret of not pursuing what you love.

Monday, July 10, 2017

DIY Wall Decor

If you remember from some other posts, I've been able to decorate my office over the last year.  We have our "Win Wall" where we track the year's events and numbers...


And we have our leader wall with snapshots of all our volunteers...

The only wall I haven't tackled was the one above my desk.  I've been ready to replace these posters with something that matched the rest of the office vibe.



Well...drumroll...the posters are gone!  I'd been seeing an idea on Pinterest for a while and a few weeks ago, bought my supplies and now the wall looks like this...


I bought 12x12 cork squares in two tones at Hobby Lobby and spent an hour or so cutting them into hexagons (after watching an Youtube video on how to cut a perfect hexagon). My goal was a freeform, asymmetrical design so after a few dozen Command Hooks, I just love the new look!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hall Bath Update

My friend Melanie contacted me about updating her hall bathroom.  She had a Bible verse she wanted to design around so I stopped by her home to take some "before" pictures and make a plan.




Melanie loved Deuteronomy 32:2 "Let My teaching fall like rain and My words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants."  We knew this verse needed to be the focal point of the room so I designed the layout and had a friend paint it on a board from Hobby Lobby.


I looked at shower curtains online and they started at $80 so I was so pumped to find this one on clearance at Home Goods and it was perfect!  I loved the bright colors and it was only $11!  I was excited to find bathmats and towels in the exact shades of green and blue I needed.

This shade of blue and mint green must be hot colors this season because I found a couple of art pieces that were perfect for the space.  These flowers were on clearance from Hobby Lobby.

See how pretty they match?

The alcove was a bit more tricky because the toilet isn't centered on the wall.  By using an asymmetrical piece, I tricked the eye into thinking it's all centered.

An important thing to remember when decorating is to be flexible.  All three art pieces ended up on different walls then where I had planned.  If you buy what you love, it will all eventually "go together" and work in your space...it might just take a few adjustments.

Melanie might add a piece of burlap ribbon behind the verse by to give it more weight on the wall.  This isn't the wall I was expecting to hang the verse on so I didn't have burlap with me.  I learned an important lesson that day: always travel with emergency burlap ribbon!


Melanie was happy with the refreshed look and said it made her morning routine happier which makes me happy to hear!

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Melanie graciously hired me for this project as part of Adoption by Design, a fundraiser helping my sister and brother-in-law with their adoption fund.

I'm still booking Adoption by Design appointments through July so contact me to get a date on the calendar!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fiesta Rehearsal Dinner Decor

I was so honored and excited when our friend, Meg, asked me to help her decorate for her son's rehearsal dinner!  She had already decided on dinner at Rosie's Mexican Cantina so my job was to jazz up their party room.

Before meeting with Meg for the first time, I collected ideas from Etsy, Pinterest and other sites and made inspiration boards to share with her.  We made a plan and between the two of us started shopping to buy all the supplies.

The weekend before the wedding, Meg brought all the supplies she had gathered to add to what I had gathered so that on the day of the event she could just show up and celebrate!  On the day of the Rehearsal Dinner my design assistants (Moma & Daddy!) and I spent a couple of hours at Rosie's getting the room all ready.

The result was better than we expected...even the staff at Rosie's loved the end result!  Most importantly, Meg and the happy couple loved it too!

Greeting guests was this chalkboard outside the room...



Meg rented lime green tablecloths that helped punch up the decorations.







I knew I wanted to create a backdrop behind the bride and groom and fell in love with large Mexican paper flowers and a 3 foot tall "S" piƱata from Etsy.




The flowers came flat so I just had to fluff and tape up!










For the head table, one of Meg's friends made us 3 flower arrangements...





The vases were lined with limes!  Don't you just love that!?!?









For the centerpieces I used mini Mexican blanket runners, multi-colored bottles, mini cacti in cans with raffia ribbon, candles, flowers and personalized Mexican flags.



These are real mini cacti!  We found red, pink and yellow topped-cactus at Home Depot a few months before the rehearsal dinner and Meg was able to keep them alive until the party.



These personalized Mexican flags from Etsy were my favorite part of the decor!








I also totally loved the custom menus we had designed on Etsy.  For party favors, Meg made homemade salsa and I topped that off with a custom sticker!







It was so fun to create a festive and beautiful space for the wedding party!  I hope all those little, personal touches helped make their evening all the more memorable!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Adoption by Design

To raise funds for my sister and brother-in-law's adoption fund, I'm offering my interior design services through July for $25 an hour with proceeds (up to $50 per client) going toward bringing Baby Hayes home.

I can help you choose paint colors, pack or unpack for a move, decorate on a budget, purchase furniture, hang pictures, rearrange furniture, organize your junk room...if it has to do with your home, I can help!

Please re-post the below graphic on your social media outlets to get the word out!  Book your appointment by filing out the "contact me" section on the right side of this page.




Follow Abby and Nick's adoption journey at know-the-plans.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Shop Your Home

Why has it taken me this long to hear the phrase "shop your home"!?!?!  That's been my method for years but I now I have a name for it!

Because so many of my clients have small or non-existent budgets, shopping your own home is often a great solution!  And sometimes it helps to have an outsider (like myself!) to walk around your home and see it with fresh eyes.

Need to freshen up your home office?  Let's shop your garage for that piece of tin that can be used as a memo board.

Just because that one picture has hung in your dining room for 7 years, doesn't mean it can't be moved to a bedroom in great need.  Then let's hang mismatched plates in the dining room!

Remember that random collection in the attic that has no home?  Let's change up your boring hall bath.

My favorite part of shopping your home is finding unconventional pieces to decorate with- a chunk of an old fence, your grandmother's quilt, your kid's snowboard, a gigantic enlargement of a favorite recipe.

When you're ready to shop your home, give me a call!


Friday, August 5, 2016

Our New Home


Well, I say "Our New Home" but Chris and I moved into the home that Abby and I were living in before either of us married.  Plus, it's the home my parents bought when I was in college. But it's new to us as a married couple and it was a huge blessing to have a house to move into!  While in Jacksonville, we started affectionately calling it the Cul-de-Sac House but now we just call it home!

Some things might look the same to those who've visited before, but I was really conscience of making the home feel like "us" and not "me"- of course, all the wedding pictures help!  Our housewarming gift from Moma and Daddy (not to mention all the cleaning and prep they did in the months before we moved!) was a bright and shiny door knocker...you can even see it from the road!


I'm still crazy about the living room color...a green that becomes an amazing compliment and neutral to everything in the room.

When decorating, it's important to repeat colors throughout the space.  As you can see I had no trouble repeating the reds and blues.  But I especially love how the black is repeated in the "C" and "K", "B", the trunk coffee table, the art above the piano and then our black and white wedding pictures buy the front door.  Repeating the black helps ground the space and helps the room feel balanced.

On one of my first trips to Jacksonville during our engagement, we found these red lamps at Kirklands.  I immediately loved them but Chris didn't so we left Kirkland's...me disappointed and Chris wondering what he was getting himself into!  He ended up surprising me with the lamps on my next trip to Jacksonville.  Needless to say,  the lamps have become a symbol of those first few months together...so we basically moved them to Huntsville in our laps!

I still love those lamps and love how they pop against the wall color!

This is the wall immediately inside the front door and I think it might be my favorite!  Our first Christmas together, Abby and Nick gave us this metal piece with our marriage verse on it.  I'm normally a symmetrical kinda girl but this wall and pictures were begging for asymmetry!  What is amazing about asymmetry though is that you can still find balance.

You can see from this picture that the grouping is nearly floor to ceiling but it was the perfect solution since that space was too tight for a piece of furniture.

This piece of art has lived in many spots already...my single girl rental home...this dining room a few years ago...our living room in Jacksonville...and now over the piano.  Chris bought the cotton stems for me in Savannah, GA and the jar they are in are from the shower that my dear friend Bethany had flowers in at my first wedding shower.  Bethany passed away about 18 months later so that mason jar means a lot.

I think Chris's favorite new thing about our home is the new lighting fixture in the dining room!  Its a modern mix of wood, metal and Edison bulbs.

I'm still crazy about all my pewter Wilton Armetale serving pieces we got for wedding gifts so those are on display on the dining room hutch.

 This church window has also known several homes and it is the right compliment for the metal and wood of the dining room light.

The highlight of our home is the screened porch that's off the dining room and on the second story.  As the Forester-Brooks family as a whole, we've hosted many a porch party here and Chris and I love having breakfast together out here most mornings.

It feels like a treehouse!

Back inside, down the hall, I hung our wedding vows to each other.  Of course we wrote our vows by ourselves but found out later they both have 250 words!  What are the chances of that?!!?

Possibly the most used room in our home is the basement...on the downstairs landing, I add our silhouettes from St. Augustine under a picture that says "Every person's life is a fairytale written by God's fingers" (a quote from Hans Christian Anderson).  I had that piece in the same spot before I met Chris and was so excited I had finally had silhouettes to match!

There's no way around the elephant in the room- Chris bought the largest (and most comfortable) couch when we was a bachelor!  If it were an inch bigger, it wouldn't have fit...but we are glad it did! Our basement is the best spot to watch tv and just veg.

Back upstairs, I made a few changes to the Heritage Room (our guest room).  The Heritage Room has Alabama and Huntsville-themed art, my collection of vintage children's books, my many scrapbooks, and pieces from both my grandparents' homes.

Every piece in here tells a story...the rocker was my Nanny's...the quilt was made by my Great Aunt Irene...

...the sign above the closet was on Popall's mailbox...Nanny's jewelry boxes are on the chest of drawers...This room just makes me feel loved and thankful!

The room that's gone through the most transformation is our master bedroom.  We both decided we wanted a navy and coral room and we LOVE it!  I used our current bedspread since it was neutral and just added accent pillows (on clearance at Steinmart).  I found the coral curtains on sale at Kirklands. I love the height they add to the room!

After we had our navy and coral scheme planned, I started seeing it all over Pinterest!  I also saw how gold was a great accent to it so instead of rehanging the dresser mirror, I used a gold one that belonged to my grandparents.  Not only does it add sparkle to the room, it feels more updated that hanging the matching mirror.

On the corner of the dresser, I have my wedding bouquet that I put in a lantern.  I remember as a young girl seeing a friend persevere her bouquet under a cloche and I couldn't wait to display mine!  

In this view you can see what I hung on the far side of the bed- a bright floral print with a gold frame I also found at Kirklands.  On either side are gold mirror candle holders.

Next to the closet, I put Chris's valet and finally had a place to hang my wedding jewelry shadow box that I made with my wedding hair combs, earrings and my purity ring I got when I was 13 years old.  Above that is the "Mrs. Brooks" hanger Moma gave me for my wedding dress.   

I was slightly afraid that painting an average sized bedroom a dark color would make the space feel small but it doesn't!  It makes it feel cozy and romantic!  I also love how it makes the cherry finish of our furniture look so much richer!

I had a decorating epiphany this morning!  I was looking around the house and thinking of my passion to help families with little or no budget beautify their homes and I realized...I'm my own client!   Our home has been decorated over time with things that were hand-me downs, on sale, up-cycled or saved for.

I agree with Jane Austen when she wrote, "There is nothing like saying at home for real comfort" and it thrills my soul to create a place of comfort for us and anyone else that will let me!