Rules of the Game--Estate Sales

I've had a few people ask me lately where my favorite place to treasure hunt is: garage sales, thrifing, etc. Hands down, my answer is estate sales...every time. I love that I'm able to have a glimpse into someone else's life. Not only do you see the items they were living with at the time they left their home, but you also get access to a sort of time-line of their lives.

Large Crewel Piece From An Estate Sale.
Vintage Ball Jar, An Estate Sale Find.

The first place I look when I'm at any sale is the basement...that's where all the good stuff is; the items that the homeowners have loved and cherished for years and have felt so inclined to hold onto. The other, more bitter-sweet aspect of estate sales, is that you often see how the people have aged. There is usually some sort of medical equiptment around and, more often than not, it is clear that only one spouse had been still living in the home. Sadly, the master bedroom will be filled only with items clearly belonging to either a man or a woman.

Estate Sale Globe/Globe Lamp.
Blue Vintage Typewriter.
Handmade Antique Metal Orb for Home Decor.

Wow...this post is taking a really sad, serious turn. I don't write this to make you feel bad, but instead to lend some humanity to the act of going to estate sales. I have some personal rules that I take with me when I go and I'd love for you to adopt them as well! 1. Be kind and respectful when you're there, this is someone's house that you're lucky enough to get a peek in. 2.Don't try to haggle too much. If you're buying a lot of items, I think it's ok to deal a little...they want to make the sale, after all. If you're only purchasing a couple of things, pay the price they're asking...the money is going to the family...who has, more than likely, just lost their loved one. 3. Buy something personal. I love paying hommage to a generation gone-by; I always try to pick up something that reflects who they might have been as a person. I've bought small jewelry pieces (my favorite being a souvenier bracelet from a WWII veteran to his bride), pictures, a year book, and even a Pyrex bowl set with the name Lila in tape on the bottom of each bowl. Whatever it is that you can connect with from the sale, buy it...keep that little piece of someone that you didnt know...but share a common thread in this thing called life. 

Estate sale bracelet. It's hard to see, but there are two names inscribed on this bracelet: Bob and Lila. It also has the name of the island where he was stationed in the South Pacific during WWII. It isn't an expensive piece by any means, but it is entirely priceless. 

So the next time you're out adventuring and happen on an estate sale...go in! Take your reuseable bag and find yourself some treasures; you never know what you might find! 

Stay stylish, 


Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Theodore Roosevelt hit the nail on the head with that one. It's human nature to compare ourselves to others...and it doesn't matter what it can make us feel awful. Even worse, it can make us doubt ourselves and the lives that we lead. 

Milk Glass Jars on a Buffet.

The more I delve into the creative world of interior decorating (and the social media world attached to it), the more I find myself comparing myself to others: their houses, their businesses...their number of followers. What's funny, is that, before I launched my business, I didn't really care about what other folks were doing. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum and I think that is what makes my design aesthetic so unique and appealing. I have been allowing outside influences to make their way into my brain lately and it's started to chip away at my good vibes.

Living Room With a 'Gather' Sign.

Why am I telling you all of this? Two reasons. One...I consider all of you friends. I'm in the business of interior decorating and styling because I really want to make a difference in people's lives. I see the joy in my clients' eyes after every project I finish; I want to help as many folks as I can! A friendship means being honest about this journey I'm on in my professional career. Two...this honesty also means that I can tell you how easily comparison can take the joy out of the life you're living. Whether it's a job, car, kids, or your home...we can all succumb to the seeminly "perfect" images around us. We see them every day on Facebook, Instagram, and on television. While it's nearly impossible to eliminate the media noise coming at us, we can stand up against the camparison we feel creeping into our hearts and minds. 

Milk Glass Jar Collection.

Instead of wishing we had the perfect house, perfect kids, perfect life (or what we consider perfect in others' lives), we need to be thankful for the amazing and unique lives we get to live! I would much rather go to someone's house that clearly reflects who they are as a person or family...a HOME where you can tell love lives...instead of a house that's just a show-place, filled with all the current trends

Framed Family Number Over a Mantle.

I'm asking you today to take a look around you. Are you feeling less-than in some area(s) of your life just because you think someone else has it better? If you are, don't! The amazing part of the human experience is how unique and weird we all are! Trust me...we're all weird...and it's great! It's what makes life fun and worth the ride. 

I'm taking my good vibes back from the comparison monster...I hope you will too!

Vintage Rake As Wall Decor with Heart Garland.

Stay stylish,



What Your Interior Decorator Wants You to Know

Most of the time when I walk into someone's house for the first time, we're both very pensive. I'm nervous because I want to make a good first impression and they're nervous because they (more than likely) have no idea what to expect. So, I'm here to set your mind at ease and give you the low-down on working with an interior decorator...or at least with me. 

1. You have all the power. This seems obvious, but just to have hired me to help make your house a home. In the end, it's your happiness that I'm seeking, so I will do my best to make that happen. Whether it's learning about your interests, trying to figure out the aspects of your home that have most bothered you, or searching high and low for really cool home decor, I am going to work hard to make this a pleasant and beneficial experience...for both of us!

Living Room Furniture Arrangement with a Sofa Table.

2. You definitely get out of the process what you put in. Now I know there are going to be clients who don't want to be involved in the design process at all, I get that. If we're really honest here, though, even those folks who say, "You just do your thing.", don't really mean it. While they might give me most of the reigns to do the shopping and make the final decisions on placement, I truly believe that there are still decisions they want (and should have) input on. Everyone has their own taste and style...and it should be embraced! That's why I love having open and frequent communication with my clients; I want to learn what makes them tick and what they love...and don't love. Moral of the story is--keep those text messages, product links, and Pins a'coming! 

Living Room Built-Ins Styled by Rustopia Consulting.

3. It's all worth it in the end. There are some projects that take a lot of time and money, while others don't take much of either. Whatever kind of project yours ends up to be, you will be so happy you made the decision to do it! Making your house a home is so rewarding. After years of living somewhere that has never been "quite right," you will instead be welcomed home every night to a place that is now personal, unique, and FINISHED! I think so many of us put different projects off because of time restraints or just life getting in the way, but hiring an interior decorator can take the pressure off of that aspect of the home, allowing you to simply enjoy your space.   

Shelf Styling Using Picture Frames and Books.

I hope that you decide to take the plunge, to hire an interior have a beautiful and welcoming home that reflects who you are!

Stay stylish, 


Virtual Styling--Take 1

One of the really fun parts of my business is that I get to create and help people in lots of different ways. A goal I had set for myself for 2017 was to begin a virtual styling service. A couple of weeks ago, though, I had someone approach me from out-of-state asking for some help restyling her family room, so I figured now is as good a time as any to begin!

Just like anything I do, I'm jumping in head first and backwards on this. I don't have fancy computer software to layout the space or neat-o graphing paper to create scaled models of the furniture and accessories. What I do have is a can-do spirit and a phone that allows me to take and send pictures and videos galore.

iPhone Smartwatch on a table with handwritten interior design layouts. 

I've been exchanging texts and pictures with my client discussing how we can create the look she wants for her family room, but today's topic definitely warrants a video...because who doesn't l.o.v.e. to hear their recorded voices?! We've been talking furniture placement most recently; she sent me a picture last night showing exactly what I had asked her to do with her chairs, a side table, and lamp. She's using a lot of items she already owns (yay!), but purchased a table lamp for the space, since she didn't currently own one. The only caveat is that the side table she's using + the lamp are just too short in competition with the chairs.

Living Room Chair and Couch with a Small End Table and Table Lamp.
Living room recliners with a small end table, and a table lamp on a stack of books.

Never fear...I have a plan. I told her I would send a mock-up of the space in the morning (because, obviously, I was already snuggled into the couch...done being productive for the day). Cut to this morning and me shooting a poorly-lit video with my voice wavering...hey, I'm a professional interior decorator, not a starlet (yet...ha!).  I instructed her to create height for the lamp by adding books underneath of it. I was able to show her through pictures and video to not only stack the books, but fan them out and have the insides facing forward, creating interest with color and texture. I have also filled out the look with a few additional accessories...because layering is the name of the game.

End table with a large table lamp between two vintage chairs with a pink crochet blanket on a zebra print rug.

My biggest goal in working with clients is to make the most of what they already own. Trends are great, but are just that...trends. Unless you really love the current trends and feel deep.down.inside that you should adopt them as your true style, stick to what you know and are comfortable with. You will not only save money, but your space will more likely be a reflection of you, rather than what you see on television and in magazines. I'm not saying you can't pepper some trends into your home (hello Target Dollar Spot), but just don't feel like you have to spend big bucks to always have your home be on the cutting edge of cool.

As always...Stay Stylish!




Lift Kit

One of my current client's has recently downsized in her home and how she and her husband live. Part of that process is using everything they have to its ultimate potential. When I first visited with her, I took stock of all her furniture. While she has plenty of amazing pieces, one piece stuck out as one that could not only be functional, but exceptional. 

Dining Room with lots of natural light from a large window with table and chairs and a dresser in the room. ||

As part of her homework (all of my clients get some), I asked my client to purchase legs for the dresser. 

One unstained furniture leg on a wooden table for a dresser project. ||

After painting the legs, my client was then able to attach them to the dresser and take it from nice to amazing. It now functions as well as a buffet!  

Blue buffet with gold hardware with a tray of dining room essentials on top. ||
Dining room with a blue table and chair set, and a blue buffet. ||
Dining Room view with a blue table and chair set, and a blue buffet. ||

Beauty and function.  


Stay stylish,