It was spring of 2016 when I drove up a long driveway that was shadowed by beautiful oak trees. I had a feeling things were fixing to get real interesting. And they did!
As I parked my car, I couldn’t help but notice the quiet. The beauty of the surroundings was simple and natural, and as I walked up the painted gray wooden front porch steps, it was the white hanging swing that caught my eye. I wondered, “How many conversations have been had in that little darlin’?” What is it about a wooden floored front porch, a swing, rockers and plenty of birds chirping that seems to set the stage for the perfect “Welcome.”
After I rang the doorbell, she came and opened the door with a smile so warm and kind that I felt “at home” immediately. You see, this precious homemaker is a dear friend. We went to a local church together years ago, and she was my daughter’s elementary school teacher, too. Mrs. Joni Hutton is not only a true southern woman, but she has by far the sweetest demeanor of anyone you will ever meet. She opened the door, we hugged as all women of the south do when they give a hearty, “Heeeey!” But then, we sat and … talked for a little while.
Before helping any client, the first most important thing I do is listen. I have to take the time to hear where they have been, where they are, and where they hope to be. What it is about “home” that caused them to reach out to me, and then … that is where we begin.
Any redecorating project begins first by hearing the heart of the homemaker.
She shared with me so much of what the family had experienced in the last few years, that I heard this woman’s heart say, “I’m ready for a fresh beginning.” And so as we talked more, it was clear that she and her husband were not just wanting freshly painted walls, new floors, updated decor, and all new furniture. No, instead they were ready and wanting fresh life brought into their home. How does a designer do that? Actually, I can’t. Because life is not mine to give.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes unto the Father except through me.” John 14:6
But what I could do is create a home that breathed fresh color, atmosphere, temperature, mood, and offer new beauty within the home in the use of decor and design.
This family was ready for a complete overhaul – and I do mean complete. They presented me with the budget and shared some of their wants and likes – and it didn’t take too long to understand their personal styles. I’d call it – Frenchy Traditional Farmhouse. (smile)
After we spent a little more time together, I could tell these were people who enjoyed the great outdoors, enjoyed people, and desired a home that not only was comfortable and warm and with plenty of “story,” but would also allow them to express their faith with family and friends.
As I got busy thinking through the flow of the house, it was time to start putting ideas on a design board. Then, after the ideas were shared with them and they gave me the go ahead, it was then time to start purchasing the needed furniture and scheduling the delivery for it all, including the rug. As we waited for the furnishings to be delivered, I faux painted the master bedroom bed, bedside tables, and dresser, which was all originally stained a golden oak. Shopping for the new bed linens, lamps, decor and wall hangings was fun because I needed to consider their dog, Rebel. He is a big o’ dog they rescued from the pound so the bed linens needed to be dark since Rebel likes hopping on top of their bed from time to time.
I also faux painted the side board in the dining room after completely sanding off the top. Then faux painted the new china cabinet that was purchased as a dark gray, but I wanted it to be Old White like the sideboard. The kitchen table and chairs were also faux painted along with the armoire in the guest room. We had the family room builtin sprayed Cityscape Gray, as well as the guest bathroom cabinets. The kitchen island was faux painted and glazed to work better with the dark granite countertops and the added stone around the fireplace in the kitchen. The blue tiles that WERE on the fireplace in the family room, were also covered in all white stones, each hand placed by the homeowner.
I purchased new lamps, wall hangings, furniture, decor pieces for builtins, kitchen decor, etc. from so many shops and privately owned businesses right here in Madison, Ridgeland, and Jackson. So, as you view the video, if you see something that grabs your eye, comment below or email me and I can tell you where it was purchased. But as usual, much of what I worked with were items that had been in the family for years.
I remember the day when Joni came home from teaching and I had just hung the sign in her breakfast eating area. It is a verse speaking about how the family breaks bread and gathers together with glad and sincere hearts. As she saw the sign hanging there, (knowing all that the family had gone through in the past couple of years), well, that precious precious Joni teared up. And THAT, y’all, is why I do what I do. I long to help people have the home their heart longs for!
The entire home had dark stained furnishings. In the den, was tobacco stained glass top end tables and coffee tables (like what many of us had in the early 90’s), with navy blue X-large leather recliners and a very tired taupe colored sofa. The master had the same – tobacco stained bed, bedside tables, a large stained desk with hutch unit placed against a wall (where the dresser is now), and the bed linens were deep crimson red and gold. The foyer had a tobacco stained wall tree and bench with the dining room across from it, containing all dark espresso stained furnishings. It was time to give the entire home a makeover …. so I got busy!
I hope you will be inspired by this video…but here is one reason why this project is and will always be one that is most dear to my heart. This family has a ministry called Pride Aside. Pride Aside is Mr. Hutton’s attempt to be vocal about his son’s former addiction, and how their family has navigated this perilous journey together.
“Raw, brutally transparent, real, heart-wrenching, inspiring, relatable, frustrating, unsettling, reassuring. A gift of unsettled but secure promise to those who are struggling along the broken road called life.” –
Dr. Rob Futral, Senior Pastor / Broadmoor Baptist Church, Madison MS
The journey of this family’s life is such a powerful story of God’s redeeming love and this home surely whispers His love throughout its walls and halls.