How I Found My Style- Part 1

I’ve had several questions lately about how I found my style. This is such a heart warming question, and one that was a true journey for me.

But because I have a lot to share on the topic, and my post would be really long if I didn’t, I’m making this into a two part series.

I guess the best place to start, is at the beginning…

As a child I was in love with Barbies. Oh man, I had it all. From the cars to the clothing and accessories, I couldn’t wait to wake up and play with my Barbies. Mainly though, I loved playing with the furniture and adding in decor. At Christmas, I would decorate the Barbie house. I would clip evergreen branches from outside and deck the halls of my Barbie house. I found my first decorating love in that pink two story home.

Once I got a bit older, I began moving around my bedroom furniture. I’d think I had the best possible way for everything to work, only to find that I didn’t really like something about it later. I can remember having several different “themes” for my bedroom, complete with a different bedding set each time. My mom was the absolute best with me. She never once complained about it, until my bedroom furniture was scattered throughout the hallway tripping the rest of my family, then I would hear about it. I can remember shopping our house, always asking my mom if I could take something from another room and re-purpose it in my bedroom. Again, she was always so unbelievably supportive, just like she is today. My journey had only just begun…

Fast forward to college. My first apartment was such a new experience. Suddenly I wasn’t limited to just my bedroom, but I had an entire 2 bed, 2 bath apartment to play with. Luckily my roommate didn’t pay much attention, because I loved rearranging our pantry shelves and cleaning her bedroom. And don’t get me started on having my own private bathroom. Never had I felt so free to organize my linens and toiletries. And because I didn’t have any interest in partying or going out (just call me a home hermit), I had plenty of time to get things just how I wanted them. I cleaned, I baked, and I organized. And I totally rocked all my hand me down furniture. Still, I moved things around, always searching to get the most out of my things. I was DIY’ ing projects. I was making upholstered headboards, searching thrift stores and constantly moving things around.

Here was my college room, right after I finished unpacking all my things from home…

College Apartment

Yet another door opened when I met Anthony. We had dated for a little while before he began house hunting, but imagine my delight when I got to go with him in search of his first home. I was so excited! He must have liked me enough to let me tag along, and I was happy to be on the journey. Even if we were looking at truly rough and neglected homes, I could see the potential. There was always potential. He saw it too.

When he finally ended up buying a bank owned home that needed soo much work, I couldn’t wait to get started. In case you haven’t noticed before now, Anthony is extremely handy and he comes from a really handy family. This neglected house wasn’t even a problem. We ripped down walls, changed the floorplan, added a bathroom and expanded the kitchen. The transformation was amazing. We spent our dates working on the house. It was hard work, but I loved it. And I loved working with him and his family on such a big project. My passion was growing a little bit more…

The kitchen is behind us…

How I Found My Style Part 1- The Wood Grain Cottage

Our kitchen after…


Anthony and I got engaged right before the house was finished and he let me move in until we got married. Once we were married though, the wheels really started turning. Our budget for anything other than bills was really small, but that didn’t mean my need to decorate was gone. Quite the contrary. Never before had I had such a determination to make our home a reflection of us, even though I wasn’t certain what that was yet. We had this beautiful home, but it still didn’t completely reflect the people that lived there.

Dining Room

Our kitchen, while beautiful, was loaded with fruit. Everywhere I looked, I saw fruit. I like fruit, I really do, but looking back, I can see that I was copying what other people were doing because, well, other people were doing it. And if other people were doing it, and it looked good in their home, then I had to be on the right track. I’ve learned so much since then…

Long before I ever read a blog, I was doing the exact same thing that so many others were. We’re all on a mission to create a beautiful home on a budget. I’ll never forget when I first saw our, at the time, neighbor place two perfectly good metal chaise lounge chairs and a bench on the curb with a big FREE sign on them. I begged Anthony to go with me and pick them up. They sat there for a day until I finally couldn’t handle it. I sweet talked my mother in law to sneaking down there one night to roll them up the hill to our house. I was embarrassed to think that our neighbor would see me taking their garbage and running with it. Run with it I did, with my sweet mother in law at my side. I was so proud of them, ugly as the color was, and my pride swelled a bit more when I walked into Home Depot one day and spotted near the exact same chaise lounge chair selling for $160. I spent $10 on black spray paint and had the exact same look, for hundreds less. That was just another piece to the puzzle…

When Anthony and I sold our house to move back to my hometown, I never expected that we would live with my parents for such a long time. We didn’t know what we were going to end up with. We both wanted to build, but knew we couldn’t pass up a great deal on a descent home with some land. Once we finally bought our farm ground and the construction of our home was underway, I went a little goofy. I knew that this home would be a long time home for us. I was so scared of picking out things that I wouldn’t like, then living with them for forever. I started researching, and researching some more. I wanted inspiration. I wanted to see other homes. I wanted to find my style. I was desperate.

How I Found My Style Part 1- The Wood Grain Cottage

It was at that moment I discovered home blogs. My life was forever changed. Here were women sharing their homes, their journey and their style. These women were sharing the exact same things that I loved, things that I had been doing. I was sucked inside this world. And then Pinterest came and my world was rocked again. It was there though, that I was on inspiration overload. I was having the hardest time defining what I really liked, because I was looking at so many different things. I found myself pinning rooms with lots of colors and rooms with neutral colors. I followed several blogs and each person had a different style, but I loved them all. At the time, I was so inspired by color. I even planned on painting our dining room green. Yes, you read that right, green. And not a mellow green. Can you even imagine that? Me, painting not one wall, but three walls green? I still can’t believe it.

How I Found My Style Part 1 - The Wood Grain Cottage

Luckily, I didn’t paint the dining room green, but instead found my theme with blues. I loved them. And I really liked the satin nickel hardware. Since our first home was finished with oil rubbed bronze, I really wanted something different. All in all, I went the complete opposite direction from our first home. I was determined that I didn’t really want the same house all over again, so I went on a different path thinking that this had to be what my style was. After all, I was seeing it in all of these other homes, so it had to be right. Sounds a bit like the fruit theme, doesn’t it?

How I Found My Style Part 1- The Wood Grain Cottage

We built our home with satin nickel fixtures and I painted several walls and rooms blue. I didn’t care about rooms flowing from one another, or having consistency, because I didn’t know how I wanted it to flow, or what I wanted to be constant. I still didn’t know my own style, and I knew that, but I tried to make the best decision I could on the bigger items, like our wood flooring and cabinetry. Let me just say, that it’s a bit hard to pick out an entire home when you’re not really sure what your style is. I didn’t want to waste our money on things we’d hate, but I knew we had to start somewhere…

How I Found My Style Part 1- The Wood Grain Cottage

So that’s what I did. I just started doing, and that’s when I really found out what my style was….

Main Signature

P.S. Stay tuned for part 2!

Lovely comments so far...

  1. We must be sisters from different mothers Shayna, because I was the same exact way growing up and my Mom was always OK with all that I did πŸ˜€ I’m not sure if I’ve found my “style” yet, as my dream is to someday live in the country, and not the city, but for the time being I’m making it work. I absolutely love our style, you’re home invokes peace when I look at the pictures you post, and if that doesn’t say something Wonderful I don’t know what does. Yep, peacefulness and contentment, and family. All those things that I believe to be the true meaning of the word “Home”. Oh! and Beautiful without the feeling that if you visited you’d only sit on the edge of the couch! πŸ˜€

    • Oh, Amy! THANK YOU so very much for the sweet comment! We must be sisters! And if you ever visited, you definitely wouldn’t be sitting on the edge of the couch! πŸ˜€

  2. I cannot wait for part 2! I’m still working on my style and I find that each house I own needs me to showcase my style differently.

    I love your post on how to install board and batten. Your suggestion about painting the wall first saved us so much time when we installed ours on a 14 foot long, 10 foot high wall. We also painted the battens first. We haven’t done the caulking yet but it still looks finished if you don’t look too close.

    • THANK YOU so very much, Cindy! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I bet your board and batten looks wonderful! AND I’m so happy you painted the wall first! πŸ˜€

  3. I loved reading this! Isn’t it interesting how our styles change re: colors, finishes, etc. My daughter did the exact same things you did as a young girl…Barbies, decorating, etc. I told her one time that her walls were beginning to look like BB’s had been shot in them due to all the picture & poster moves. :) She is truly amazing now at decorating and having a vision.

    I look forward to the next installment!

    • THANK YOU so very much, Pat! I’m so happy you enjoyed reading it! You’re daughter sounds a bit like someone I know… πŸ˜€

  4. I like your style. Thanks for the tips on board and batten walls.
    Audrey Z.
    @Timeless Treasures

  5. It’s so hard isn’t it? I love so many styles of decorating, I’ve finally found out that I do love color only not bright color so at least I’m on the right track there. I do love black and white too, it’s all so confusing isn’t it?

    • Hi Rondell! Finding your decorating style can definitely be hard. Trial and error is one of the best ways to figure it all out! I’m happy you’re on the right track! πŸ˜€

  6. Well girl, we always seem to be on the same page…teehee;) I am redoing room by room, to find my personal style. My Pintrest boards are being edited, as we speak…its just stuff & ya can’t take it with you (I always say) my sweet hubby say’s its a disease…lol;) always having to move things around etc…idk? What do you think? Are you constantly moving things, & redoing your home as well? Blessings & <3

    • OH, M! You’re so right! Yes, I am constantly moving things around and redoing. It’s part of a DIY/ decorator’s love! My husband feels the same way too! πŸ˜€

  7. I love this story, it reminds me alot of myself. Excited to read part 2!

  8. I need part 2 stat!:). Great post! With 4 kids I’ve never had a huge budget to decorate and I never wanted to have a house where I would freak out if the kids spilled something. I have gotten used to just not being in love with things for those reasons. Your blog has really helped push me to create a house where I love ever room. I don’t think I have ever been so in love with a blog!!:)

    • THANK YOU so very much for the super sweet comment, Jenni! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! I completely understand what you’re saying. If you don’t have them already, jute rugs are fabulous with kids and spills. πŸ˜€
      P.S.- Part two is now on the blog! πŸ˜€

  9. Hi, I too think we are sisters from another mother…which explains me playing with barbules until I was 13. I loved designing Barbie homes, parties, campsites–you name it. That was also the case with my room, and even helping my parents with their home.
    I also experienced what you did with blogs. I found one that I loved and painted everything aqua to mimic their look. Then it was a blog featuring all neutrals, so everything went white :) I think I am finally feeling my own style and comfortable doing what I like, and love looking at.
    Thank you for sharing…looking forward to part 2 :)

    • THANK YOU so much, Sharon! We must be sisters! That all sounds very familiar! πŸ˜€
      I’m so happy you’ve found your style, it’s such a relief!
      P.S. Part 2 is now on the blog!

  10. Can’t wait for part 2, I too had the Barbie house decor, and bedroom furniture makeover bug when young. I also went through the everyone else has this look so this must be what I like look. Yay to finding our own style. :)

  11. Thank you! I so appreciate this, i was one of the people that asked you about this! I can so relate to the Pinterest boards with color and neutrals…thats right where i am at! I love this post, and am looking forward to the rest of it. :-)


  1. […] back to share part two of how I found my style. In case you missed it, your can read part one here. Just a fair warning, this post is a bit […]

  2. […] on, I was on a mission to find my style (you can read part one here and part two here) and make our home feel more like us. Removing the blue paint colors throughout […]

  3. […] Wood Grain Cottage (I foundΒ her post(s) How I found My Style really helpful. And her house is […]

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