Follow Friday: Armstrong Collective

I met one half of Armstrong Collective (Hannah) when she purchased a Texture Design House Portrait! She lives locally, so I was able to hand deliver her portrait and meet her in person. We started following each other on Instagram, and a short while later she started a home decor blog with her sister-in-law! IT IS FABULOUS! I love their story of becoming sisters, friends and now a creative team! These ladies are very relatable in their topics and writing style! Check out their blog and keep reading to find out more on this sweet duo! #FollowFriday

Armstrong Collective

Authors: Hannah & MaryGene Armstrong
Topics: Interior Styling, Hospitality, Home Decor

Photography by: Emily Bolt Photography

TDC: First of all, you two married brothers!? How cool is that! Tell us a little bit about your relationship!
H: We both met the Armstrong brothers at Clemson -- only 5 years apart! We barely missed each other at college but our paths crossed Christmas 2012 when Barrett brought me home to meet his family. It wasn’t until a family wedding in St. Augustine that MaryGene and I really started hitting things off. Not too long after that Barrett and I joined MaryGene and Andrew in Charleston and, as they say, the rest is history!
MG: I feel like we hit the sister-in-law jackpot. It’s not like you have any control over who your siblings marry and I feel super blessed that Hannah and I have become so close over the last few years and that we’ve started this creative endeavor together!

TDC: What led the two of you to start the Armstrong Collective blog! How did that conversation occur?
MG: Well, we basically decided that we were doing all the things on the blog in real life anyway and we might as well share it! Our daytime jobs (I say that loosely, I actually work nightshift as a nurse),  don’t really afford a whole lot of a creative outlet and we both needed that in our lives. And these things are always more fun to do together!
H: We were both thinking we should team up but when I mentioned it I was really nervous she would look at me like I had three heads. Instead she said, “Let me talk to Andrew, but I am 99% sure it’s a yes!”

TDC: What do you hope to convey to your blog followers as they read along?             
MG: Our homes were decorated by us-- and they are in a constant state of evolution. We hope that our readers will see a little bit of themselves reflected in our pages and also be inspired by what they see or read. Who doesn’t like looking at pretty things or finding a new antique store to browse or a fun new instagram account to follow? It’s meant to be a positive in your day and meant to make you smile.
H: I think that so many young women get discouraged by what they can and cannot do in their homes -- whether it’s a money thing or lack of vision. We really want to encourage them that making a home can be life-giving, and we hope to be examples of how to put a beautifully thought-out home together within the means we’ve been given.

TDC: I’m already in love with the colors and textures that I see on your blog! Do you both have a similar style? How would each of you describe your taste in home decor?
MG: I would say our styles are similar in that we both have tried to create a welcoming and soothing sanctuary in our homes. We are drawn more to cool tones and natural elements, so it’s no surprise that our homes are similar in feel!
H:  The only difference I can think of is that MaryGene is more prone to take “risks.” I tend to get set on one idea for a room and can’t seem to break away, while MG rearranges and experiments often.  She challenges me in this way and encourages me to think outside the box.

TDC: What are some of your favorite ways to add a little character and personality to your home?
MG: Two things do it for me--family heirlooms and antique store finds. Things that don’t come from a factory or mass produced items (although I like designer lamps just as much as the next girl). My dad loves antiques and I learned to look for unique, valuable and quality pieces from him. Many of the pieces in my home are inherited from family and have a story and value to me beyond just a piece of furniture.
H: I love a minimalistic approach but at the end of the day I’m not a 2 pillows on the bed or clear coffee table kind of girl. I need different textures and shapes to make a room feel complete. Plants are my favorite accent pieces but my thumbs aren’t as green as I’d like them to be.

TDC: I love how honest you both are about designing on budgets! Is there a piece of furniture or accessory that you are currently saving up for? 
MG: Ahhh, budgets. The only thing I have in the back of my mind right now is that Smith is going to be graduating to a big boy bed soon, and just like dreaming up a nursery, I am starting to get excited about a new bed and room setup for him! I have my eye on a twin antique spindle bed-- and I’m actually going over to the shop later to haggle with the sellers. In antique stores you can always ask for less-- the worst that can happen is that they say no. Not a big deal.
H: I work in a furniture & design store so I have a running list. In reality, Barrett and I are saving up for a new sofa. I’ve learned way too much about sofas since working at the store but I know now the importance of saving and buying a quality piece. My eye is on an organic sofa made by Cisco Brothers in California.

Louis Sofa by Cisco Brothers

TDC: Paint colors can be so overwhelming; what are some of your favorite wall colors right now?
MG: I love white paint. It covers a multitude of sins and you can’t go wrong with white. We covered ⅔ of our house in glorious Benjamin Moore White Dove and I have never regretted it for a second. Especially given that our house is tiny, I didn’t want to break it up with every room being a different color. Our living room is Benjamin Moore Gray Owl lightened by 50%. It looks different throughout the day depending on the light-- from gray-blue to green to almost white. Highly recommend!
H: We went with Sherwin Williams Mountain Air in ¾ of our house and it looks awesome in lamp AND natural light -- that’s the dealmaker. My “wild card” color is Sherwin Williams Slate Tile. It’s almost a dusty navy (if that makes sense), and I’m dreaming of covering  some cabinets in it one day!

TDC: Have you ever had a house project that didn’t go as planned? If so, do you care to share what you learned in the process?
MG: This is not a sexy answer, but we put in our own insulation in the attic last fall. Our heating bill was through the roof, (see what I did there?), so my husband and my brother-in-law (not Barrett, my other brother, Tim) rented a machine from Home Depot and had a very long day of DIY insulation installation. It didn’t go as planned because it took FOREVER and it also blew insulation particles all over the house (read, a layer of dust on just about every surface). They taped sheets and plastic over doorways but that pesky stuff still made into adjacent rooms. It was worth it in the end but what a mess! I also tried to reassemble and paint an armoire someone had given to us that was basically a hunk of junk and the only thing I ended up keeping out of it were the front panels that are now hanging on Smith’s wall in his nursery. So, I guess it worked out in the end.
H: I don’t have a particular example in mind but I can tell you that every single project Barrett and I have tried to take on always takes longer than we think it will. It’s really frustrating. We both throw pity parties and move on. That really is lesson one of homeownership: brush it off and keep going!

TDC: Always a hard question for people...what is your favorite Charleston area restaurant right now?
MG: Fulton Five, hands down. Drooling now as I think about it...mmmm...
H: We love trying new restaurants but when we want something guaranteed delicious, we go to Leon’s Oyster Shop.

Thank you ladies for sharing a little of your story and passion with us! Be sure to follow Armstrong Collective on Pinterest and Instagram. Can't wait to share our next #FollowFriday blog with you! Stay tuned.

All photos in today's blog are by Emily Bolt Photography.

Best,
Emily Kirby

 

 

People to Follow: Melissa Griffin Photography

Happy #FollowFriday! 'm so excited to share this interview with you! Melissa Griffin is an incredible young lady, and I'm proud to call her one of my close friends. She and I started our creative businesses around the same time, and it has been awesome to watch each other grow! She has been the camera behind several of Texture Design's photo shoots. (So I can highly recommend her!) Another side note, Melissa was one of my first logo and website clients--always thankful for those first clients that take a chance on you! Recently, Melissa opened an ETSY SHOP stocked full of stunning photographs! SERIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS! So check out the shop and read below to hear more of Melissa's story! 

Photos of Melissa by Leah's Opus Photography

Etsy Shop:  MelissaGriffinPhoto 
Owner: Melissa Griffin
Product and/or Service: Photography Sessions and Fine Art Prints 


TDC: Briefly tell us what led you to become interested in photography?

MGP:  I’ve had an interest in art for as long as I can remember.  When I was young I’d fill sketch books with drawings.  As I got into high school I began taking photography classes which I loved and continued into college.  I’m not a super creative person who is able to come up with something from nothing.   But I enjoy photography because I’ve learned (and am learning) how to find light, colors, textures, etc and arrange them in a way that creates a striking image.  I NEVER thought I’d take photos of people.  But once I started doing it, I fell in love with it.  A positive response from a mother who sees a candid of their children or a granddaughter seeing a photo of her grandparents smiling at each other makes my day.  It’s so humbling that people let me into these personal moments and milestones in their lives!  And it’s a privilege to know that these photos are one of the few material possessions that they will have forever.

TDC: What types of photography sessions do you offer?

MGP:  I offer everything from engagement and maternity sessions to senior portraits and family photos.  It’s fun to start with a couple when they are pregnant then take pictures of their newborn and again as the baby grows up!  I enjoy having repeat clients who I get to know while watching their family grow.  I just worked with a family for the third time and found out they have to move from Charleston to Seattle soon.  We’re planning on taking family photos in Seattle when I travel there next year!  I love that.

TDC: Now that it is summer, a lot of families are interested in beach photography sessions. Do you work with families coming to Charleston for vacation?

MGP:  Absolutely!  I’ve worked with several families who live out of town.  They found me online and contacted me to take their photos of their immediate or extended family after they all arrive in Charleston.  It’s been fun to stay in Charleston but work with people from Nashville, New York, and other places.  Vacation is a great time to do family photos because everyone is together and there aren’t a bunch of other “real life” distractions around.

TDC: We all worry about what to wear for photo shoots. Do you have any recommendations for outfits? Any suggestions when there is a large group of people? Are there colors or patterns you would recommend avoiding?

MGP:  Definitely wear something that’s comfortable and YOU!  I like layering – necklaces, scarves, jewelry, etc.  I think simple patterns and solid colors work well.  You don’t want a super crazy pattern that takes attention away from your face!  For large groups, coordinating colors and patterns are good but not matchy-matchy.  Don’t put everyone in khakis and white ;)  I like fun pops of colors too like a necklace or a fun pair of shoes.

TDC: Tell us what led you to open an Etsy shop. (And congrats on the new shop!)

MGP:  Thank you so much!  This has been in the works for quite awhile.  I have wanted to open an Etsy shop for some time because I had images from trips that were just sitting on my computer.  Earlier this year I did a series of Charleston church images, and when I started posting them I had a really positive response.  People started asking if I sold them, and I had a few people ask if they could purchase them for wedding gifts.  That was the push I needed to make the shop a reality.  I’m currently selling 8x10 prints on paper and a few metal prints that are unique pieces to hang in your home or to give as gifts.  I’m looking forward to continuing to update my shop and making connections with different people.

TDC: Can you share a little background or history behind some of the photos in your shop? Are the photos mostly Charleston sites?

MGP:  Most of the photos are from the Charleston area.  I’ve lived here for 8 years now, so I have lots of photos that I’ve taken during that time.  There are so many inspiring and beautiful places here to photograph!  I also have a travel bug.  I went on my first trip to Europe in 2007 and since then have been to Australia, India and back to Europe again.  Looking at a photo will bring me right back to the place I took it so my images from my travels are really special to me.  I’ve listed some of these images in my shop as well.

TDC: During your years of photography, is there a picture that you’ve taken that stands out as your favorite? 

MGP:  I really don’t have one favorite image, I could never choose!  But I can think of two that stand out to me right now. 

One is a photo I took of two boys in India [Pictured above].  We visited their school and they were running away from me and giggling while I attempted to take their photo.  They finally sat down at a table in one of their classrooms and both smiled at me.  Their little faces just remind me of the sweet, humble and playful children we met while visiting Kolkata.  I was so grateful that I was able to go on that trip.  It was eye opening and life changing.

The second is the photograph that I took of the Mother Emanuel church back in January [Pictured above next to wood doors]. At that time, of course, I never imagined that such a tragedy could happen in this city in that beautiful church.  As soon as I heard the news I found the image I took and re-posted it with the Bible verse, “Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you” from Psalm 55:22.  Now that I look at this image again after these shocking events, the angle of the church reaching to the blue sky symbolizes hope to me.  And I think that HOPE has been represented in the words and actions of the victims’ families and the church members at AME.

I've posted two images of the AME church on my Etsy shop and 100% of the profits I make from the sales of these two photos will go toward the Mother Emanuel Hope Fun.

TDC: Favorite Charleston restaurant right now?  (hard question!)

MGP:  That IS a hard question!  I love trying out new Charleston restaurants and lately it’s been hard to keep up!  Two of my favorites right now are Minero on East Bay Street and Leon’s on Upper King.  Both have a fun atmosphere and everything I’ve tasted at each place is delicious! 

 

Thank you Melissa for your time! Be sure to follow MGP on Instagram as well!

GUESS WHAT ELSE? Melissa is offering a 10% discount to Texture Design Co. followers!
Just use the coupon code below when checking out on Etsy. (Expires 7.17.15)

Coupon Code: TEXTURE 

Who do you recommend following? What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts? I would love for you to share them in the comments section!

Best, Emily Kirby

A New Branding Package: Salt & Light Photography

Last week I shared the process work behind the new logo for Katie Werner's company, Salt & Light Photography. This week, I am excited to share with you the final product! Check out her branding package below:

 
 

Above is an example of one of the patterns and alternate logos paired together. Top right is the mood board that helped direct the look, feel, and color of the brand. Working on a mood board with a client is so helpful because it makes sure we are on the same page! (and it gets everyone excited about starting!)

A little shout out for Katie...she takes the sweetest photos! Follow her on Instagram and see what I'm talking about! Currently, we are creating a Square Space site for Salt & Light Photography that will coordinate with the new branding! Can't wait to share this portion of the project with you in the next few weeks!

Thanks for reading and following! Let me know if you have any questions on the logo design or branding process!

Best,
Emily Kirby