Pretty Real Home Series Featuring: Tiffany of Pretty Real - Pretty Real

Pretty Real Home Series Featuring: Tiffany of Pretty Real

9:25 PM

Today starts our Pretty Real Home series.  I don't think I'm alone in feeling a bit clueless at times when trying to decorate my home.  It can be really intimidating to attempt to create pretty spaces that are also practical sanctuaries for our families.  Add to that the pressure of Pinterest and the ability to peek into stunning homes with the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger, and it's enough for analysis paralysis to set in.  If you love to decorate but also get overwhelmed, this series is for you.  If you are obsessed with design, this series is for you.  If you want a pretty home where your very real family can live, work, and play, this series is for you.  If you have no clue when it comes to decorating but want to make some improvements, this series is for you.  Basically it's for everyone. ;) The women who will be sharing have various budgets, time, and circumstances, but they all have one thing in common. They design with intention and it shows.  I'll kick off the series with my thoughts. 

Tell me a little about yourself and your family? 
If you’re new here, I’m Tiffany. I’m a wife to an easy-going, handsome, kind man named Joe. ;) We have three little ones- Genevieve (6), Nadia (4), and Dax (18 months). I have a background in HR but love to write and began Pretty Real (then titled Taste{FULL}) with a friend about 6 years ago as a creative outlet.  A lot has changed during that time- we’ve had 3 cuties, I was laid off from my corporate job, got another, decided to become a SAHM, walked through a cancer battle with my husband, and recently moved 700 miles away from home to Raleigh NC. I’m now in the process of decorating our new home, raising my babies, and monetizing the blog. All such rewarding stuff.

Describe your style. What advice do you have for readers who haven't quite nailed theirs down yet?
The funny thing is I came up with this question because I struggle with this big time! I discussed it a bit here, but let’s just say I have a hard time choosing a side. I love old and new, color and neutrals, rustic and modern.  As for nailing it down, it’s a work in progress but one piece of advice is to choose classic and neutral styles for your big/expensive pieces. Then you can take them whatever direction you’d like. I've realized while I might like many different styles, I simply have to choose one—to start.  Once you commit, you can weave in various other styles to create a balanced look that you’re happy with.  Was that convincing? ;)

What's your number one piece of advice for keeping our homes pretty real-- pretty but realistic for life with kids?
Um, I’m starting to realize I chose these questions for a reason. This also is a work in progress! I recently bought a gray (not super light, but probably not dark enough!) chesterfield sofa that I love.  Like Nadia calls it “mom’s sofa” and says “I know Mom, you love it!” #obsessed.  Because I got a good deal on it, I just couldn’t say no to get a more plain kid friendly sofa. But I try to spend less on things I know I’ll have to replace soon. Just recently I ordered an inexpensive rug knowing it won’t last more than a couple of years with 3 kiddos.  I have recently gotten very disciplined about washing hands after dinner, not letting the kids eat in the living room (something I got way lax about in our old home since we didn’t have a dining room!), and are we being real here?  I keep the sofa covered in throw blankets 80% of the time. Remind me to get some cuter throws will you?

Has your style evolved since having kids? If so, how? If not, HOW?! ;)
I barely had style before having kids! I’d like to think my style is more refined now than it was 6 years ago. It's also a lot more classic. My first furniture purchases were from West Elm and espresso wood with nickel accents. Very modern and low to the floor.  Now I love light and airy and gray.  Like so much that "Grey" was a top runner as a name for Dax.  I also lean more toward clean classic silhouettes that I won't tire of in a year.

What tips do you have for designing one's home on a budget? What’s your favorite source for affordable finds?
Preaching to myself here but if you’re working with a tight budget, patience is king.  Otherwise you end up buying something because it’s “cheap,” and regretting it later.  Many inexpensive purchases gone bad can rival the thing you really wanted. I remember Nate Berkus (Naaaate, I miss you) gave this advice: If you love it and it’s inexpensive, buy it.  I agree- only if you LOVE it. Other than Target, HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx, etc, I love thrift stores for finding affordable housewares.  Most of what you’ll find is dirt cheap and nothing a can of spray paint can’t handle.  Wal-Mart surprisingly comes through from time to time as well. 

How do you stay true to yourself among all the inspiration via blogs and Pinterest? 
It’s hard you guys! I see a room and love it and want to copy it.  Good thing there’s that stupid “budget” I mentioned.  It at least causes me to pause before diving in.  I try to look for similar themes in the inspiration I find online and go with that, vs. copying exactly.  To clarify, nothing is wrong with mimicking a space if the space truly reflects you. But anything can look good when staged, styled, and photographed professionally.  It’s enough to make us fall in love even if we'd never have chosen a single item on the page.  Right now my struggle is not going too farmhouse.  I love that style and I actually really love farms (like visiting them not working them. In case that wasn't clear), but all the white and chipped wood isn’t really me. 
What's your favorite home trend right now? 
All that said above and I have to say, I love shiplap!  Hashtag thanks Joanna. We are so slow with home projects (it’s why we bought a brand new home) that the fad will probably be long over by the time we get around to adding any. But if I were to add it, it would be in a small space like our ‘owner’s entrance’ from the garage. I also am obsessed with what I call the Pinterest rug

Which is your favorite room in your home and why? 
Right now it’s my kitchen and probably because it’s the closest to being complete. ;) Actually it’s the room we’ve personalized the most and it just makes me so happy (side note: we've added a lot since the photo above). It’s not very big but it’s right in the middle of our main living space so I see it all the time and the fact that we took the risk and painted our cabinets and love the result just makes me happy. My old kitchen had the original cabinets from the 50s, wallpaper we scraped off for hours, and weird faux wood laminate counters.  I don’t take this new one for granted. Not even a little bit.

Describe the most functional space in your home? What makes it work?
Our home is still pretty new to us (we moved in just before Christmas) but I think it will be our loft.  We bought a large, comfy sectional and plan to add a big TV for hanging out and movie nights.  Currently there are just enough toys that it gives the kids something to do but not so many that it looks like a play room. It’s a fairly large room with lots of light and looks out onto woods.  We haven’t spent much time up there yet but I think it’ll be a favorite space of ours in the years to come.

What would you say to those who would like to make changes in their home but are clueless on how or where to start? 
So many thoughts come to mind on this one; here are a few ideas: start small. Buy one object you LOVE and build around it.  Start in a small space, say your mantel or a bathroom shelf. Give yourself a $50 allowance and see what small change you can make with it- new panels for a room for or new throw pillows for instance. Tackle the biggest thing that bothers you the most.  Do you hate your rug? Is your sofa dirty and dated?  Start saving up to make that one change and you’ll be surprised at how motivating it is to get the rest of the room on track.  Do you have a friend who has style you love?  Not to brag or anything but I get texts/emails often asking for advice ;) I love to give it. Haha! On the flip side I often text my friends who have great style to bounce ideas off of them or for a fresh perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

What’s your biggest design challenge?
I’m asking our participants the questions above because each is something I struggle with. My biggest issue is nailing down my style (or choosing one).  I think the “answer” is to mix my favored styles but it takes a very talented person to do that cohesively. Much easier said than done. I’m learning but it’s a work in progress!

End with a favorite quote or motto (original or not- up to you!)- it can be design related, mama related, work related, attitude related- anything you live by that inspires you.
Two that I am often repeating to myself these days are: “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” and “progress, not perfection.” In reality, as long as a I have a budget and three young children my home won’t look like it belongs in Domino or House Beautiful. But it’s the people in it that make it beautiful and I remind myself of that when I start to panic about getting things just right. I’ve realized that when I can’t do the thing I really wish I could do, I often do nothing at all. It’s paralyzing.  So instead I aim for progress, even if it’s not perfect.  The other day I hung some “Look what I made” art holders in the play room.  The playroom is not even close to being finished.  Typically I would leave the walls bare until I had all 30 pieces I needed for a gallery wall or every cute item I listed in my playroom plan.  But as I was cleaning up the other day it dawned on me that I hadn’t hung any of their art since moving and it made me sad.  I decided enough was enough and now I see their sweet art hanging in the play room and it’s almost as good as a perfectly curated gallery wall. ;)  
{This print is for sale here.}
I hope you’ve enjoyed my responses! Choose any question above and answer it yourself- I’d love to hear from you!
Next week come back to hear what Jessica of Live the Fancy Life has to say.  It’s gonna be good!

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  1. Fun interview! I loved reading more about you and I LOVE your style. :)

  2. Love those book shelves on the wall!

  3. Your style is pretty and your kids are adorable! It was great to read about you :)

    1. aw thank you! Thanks for taking the time to read!!