Here’s a silver lining to this pandemic–it’s the perfect time to think about the space you’re living in. When we’re spending all our time at home, it’s an opportunity to appreciate your living space, and get creative with home updates. It’s taken me a while to publish this post because I really wanted to do it in a way that respects my family and our shared space. But I really want to share this with you guys because I think you can really get a lot of good ideas and get inspired by my amazing designer to make your place more beautiful so we can all come out of this situation stronger, better, and happier.
This moment is really special to me. Jason and I have been together for fifteen years and married for ten, and we are now finally nested! I’ve always wanted to design my own place and I’ve been patiently waiting and saving until we finally had the opportunity to have our dream home. We even moved our entire five-person family into a one-bedroom apartment while our home was being renovated and it was so worth it. Neither of us was born into a lot of money, and we both worked really hard to get to this point, so it was such an amazing moment to see the dreams that we’d been saving and working towards for so long come true.
DEVON GRACE INTERIORS
I worked with Devon Grace Interiors to create my dream home. Devon is an amazing interior designer who I’ve written about before on my blog. I had an absolutely amazing experience working with her, so I wanted to share what it was like, and all the best tips from my experience. Working with a designer isn’t in everyone’s budget so this is a post with a little something for everyone who wants to revamp their home, whether you’re hiring a designer or doing it yourself.
I’m sharing a guide to all my best tips and ideas in this post, but Devon and I also made a video talking about the project and giving some more ideas. In the video you can see the space for yourself, and hear about everything from working with Jason and my very different styles, to the way we use gallery walls to display our art collection.
WHY DID I USE A DESIGNER?
When I went to renovate my home I knew that I wasn’t going to be putting a lot of time into the design of the house because I am building my own business and doing my own thing. I am a true believer of delegating: you can’t do it all, even if you’re good at it. I would rather continue doing what I am best at, empowering women through fashion, and get some help in other things. It’s a huge expense to hire a designer but I truly believe that in the long term it does save you money because you do it one time and you’re done–you don’t have to save your time looking for new things and researching.
HOW TO CHOOSE A DESIGNER
Choosing a designer is very personal because you spend so much time with the designer as you’re doing the project, so you really want to make the process as pleasant as possible. I looked for designers for a very long time and for a while I didn’t click with anyone. But I kept looking and being patient, and when I met Devon, I finally found someone I clicked with. I love her aesthetics, and her style totally resonates with me.
THINK ABOUT YOUR BUDGET
One thing I loved about working with Devon was that she stuck to our budget. We had a budget in place for everything, and she always made sure to keep our budget in mind. She works with vendors that are amazing and actually the furniture and other pieces were very well priced. But everyone’s situation is different, and if you aren’t in a place to hire a designer, there are still a lot of things you can do to make your home feel new and fabulous.
BREAK THE RULES
Yes, I’ll admit, I did break some rules designing our home, but I like to be edgy and creative with my style! One of the biggest rules we broke was having the kids share a room. People always say that each kid has to have their own room, and that’s easy to do if you have a big house with enough rooms to do that. But even though our condo is relatively spacious, we’re still living downtown and working with a city space. It was a tough decision, and at the end of the day no one but Devon supported my decision, but I’m thrilled that we did it. It’s been an adjustment and it’s not always easy, but I love the idea that they’re sharing and that they have their own little space.
LEAVE ROOM TO CHANGE
When we were deciding about the kids’ room people kept saying that in a couple of years Katya won’t want to be in the same room with Leonix. That’s true, but we still have years before that, and I believe that we need to live by the day. We should have big plans and look toward the future, yes, but at the end of the day we need to live in the moment and do what’s best for our family right now. When things change in two or three years I’ll be working with Devon again and it’ll be one of my favorite projects because working with her is always an amazing experience.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR SPACE TO YOUR FAMILY
Not everyone’s family is the same, so everybody’s space shouldn’t be the same either! Every family has things that make their space special–for us it was having a gym space right in our living room. This is an especially great space for Katya, who loves to keep practicing her routines after she gets home from gymnastics, and it’s amazing for our whole family to do workouts and stay healthy together.
USE YOUR EMPTY SPACE
One of my favorite spaces in the house is this little homework and art area we made for the kids. For people with big houses, they usually have basements or rooms big enough to make a homework area, but since we’re working with a city-sized condo, we had to get creative. The space that we used is basically a hallway leading to the kitchen, and we put chairs, shelves, supplies, and a little desk there so that they can work there. It actually turned out to be the best idea too–when Jason and I are cooking in the kitchen they can do their homework there and and we can help them when they need it. It allows us to do our different things but have a family-style space that brings us together.
When you live in the city you have to be efficient, so one of my favorite tips from Devon is that you have to make each room do double duty. So my office, for example, also serves as a guest room. I have a couch sofa there that’s cute and comfy to sit on, but also opens up into a queen-sized bed for when guests come over. And my stepson Jaden isn’t living full time with us, so he has a room, but whenever he’s not there we use it as the kids TV room and family room.
BUILD SPECIAL SPACES
One of the unique things we did in our house was that we took out a bath that used to be in one of the bathrooms and turned it into a suitcase storage. We converted the space because the bath wasn’t something we needed, and with the condo size that we have, it’s important to make every space count. When the kids get older we might need that bath again, but we can always make that another project!
Renovating our home has been an amazing journey, but it hasn’t always been easy. Before we moved in, the five of us lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in the same building for five months. Honestly, it wasn’t the easiest thing but it also wasn’t the hardest–it was a very intimate experience and I think it was good for all of us. And now, once we’ve moved into our new place the kids are so much more appreciative of the space.
FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS
This has been a crazy transition, but every day when I wake up I feel like pinching myself because I can’t believe this is my home. I always dreamed of having an interior designer and after decades and decades of work it feels so amazing to see that dream in action! So take this inspiration to make your own dream home and remember that no matter how crazy or far away your dream seems (I could have never imagined this moment when I first came to America) if you keep pushing you can achieve it.
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