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

 

 

Follow Friday: White Pear Interiors

A few months ago, I started following the Instagram account for Bri Robert's company White Pear Interiors. I just fell in love with her style; the spaces are bright, cheery and full of textures. I continuously find decor inspiration from her photos, and that is why I recommend adding her to your list of people to follow! I'm so excited that she agreed to do a Follow Friday interview. Learn more about her life, style and recommendations below!

WHITE PEAR INTERIORS

Service: Interior Styling and Design
Owner: Bri Roberts
Location: Daniel Island-Charleston, SC

TDC: Tell us a little about how you entered the world of interior design. How long have you been designing?
WPI: I've always been aware of how our surroundings can play a huge role in how we feel. A lovely, bright space can make you feel calm and peaceful; while a dark, cluttered room can make you feel trapped and anxious...without even realizing why!

After going to college for journalism, I realized creating beautiful spaces was my real passion. I worked for several contractors, providing client design advice, before launching my own styling company 3 years ago!

TDC: What inspired the name "White Pear Interiors?"
WPI: My grandmother is a gifted artist, and she and I have always been very close. Sadly, age and physical restrictions have made it increasingly difficult for her to keep painting. One of her last paintings was given to me as a gift... a still life watercolor of a group of white pears. I couldn't think of a better name for my business than one that intertwines her passions with mine.

TDC: Give us 5 words that would describe your style?
WPI: I'm drawn to so many different styles..But right now I'd have to say: Bright & Airy, Modern Farmhouse, New Traditional

TDC: White Pear Interiors offers digital design plans. Can you share a little about how that works?
WPI: Digital Design is a great solution for people who need a plan to follow, but want to pull the room together on their own. You'll send us pictures and measurements of your room, along with a quick survey to help us narrow down your style. After a few edits and tweaks, we send you complete plan you can follow to achieve your dream space, in your own time and at your own pace.  It includes wall colors, furniture suggestions and placement, window treatments, flooring options, even the accessories to put on your bookshelves! It's perfect for clients with busy schedules, since all of our communication with you is done by phone or email. (We offer hourly services as well, for those who need a little more one-on-one help!)

TDC: You’re a mom to little ones; can you offer any advice to women who want their spaces to look stylish and yet remain kid-friendly?
WPI: A beautiful room is only as good as the amount of life that's lived in it! I certainly don't have the time (or patience!) to try and keep my kids and my design style separate. Hard-working, stain resistant fabrics on chairs and sofas are a must for me. While they can be a little more of an investment, the extra cost is worth the time you WON'T be spending cleaning up dirty feet or spilled juice! Another tip? Everyone has clutter and junk...hide it in plain sight by using baskets, bins, and coffee tables with hidden storage. There are baskets in every single room of my home...for toys, for unsorted mail, for bathroom necessities, you name it. My favorite splurge source for baskets is Serena and Lily or Land of Nod. My go-to affordable source is TJMaxx or Marshalls!

TDC: What is your favorite wall color right now?
WPI: Crushed Ice, by Sherwin Williams. It's the softest, palest hint of gray. My entire house is this color!

TDC: If readers can only afford to make one change in their room, what do you think makes the most impact? (wall color, windows, rugs, upholstery, art...)
WPI: It's a tie between wall color and window treatments. Both go so far towards making your room feel finished.

TDC: Have you noticed any exciting, new trends in home decor lately?
WPI: I love that mixing high and low continues to be popular. Great design is achievable on any budget! I can't stand stuffy, snobby decorators or stores! 

TDC: If you're like me, you definitely notice the interiors in restaurants! What Charleston restaurant currently has you swooning over the interior design and atmosphere?
WPI: Cannon Green, located downtown! Every element is so well-executed, and the artwork by Teil Duncan and Lulie Wallace are show stoppers.

(Thank you White Pear Interiors! Love your work!)

Okay, so who do you recommend for #FollowFriday? Any instagram accounts or blogs that you think I should feature? Would love for you to leave a comment below!

Best,
Emily Kirby

3 Reasons I Love Minted.com's Fabrics

Did you know that Minted.com now has fabrics? I recently received my first fabric order from the online store, and I love it! Martin and I are in the process of reupholstering our dining room chairs with Snuggling Diamonds in charcoal by designer Kimberly Morgan. Minted.com's fabrics are super cute, but let me share with you 3 more reasons I'm excited about their textile selection!

3 Reasons I love Minted.com's Fabrics:

1. You can get to know the artist!

It is a lot more personal when you know who created the fabric you are placing in your home. Rarely do I know the story behind the fabrics in my home. However, when you select a fabric on the Minted website, you are able to click and read more about the designer. Find out where they are from, what do they do, or even follow them on social media. It is similar to learning a little more about an artist before purchasing a beautiful painting. In addition, it is nice knowing that a percentage of your purchase is also going towards an independent graphic designer or artist! (So basically, you're supporting someone like similar to me!)

2. Minted is providing a unique opportunity to designers and artists!

Designers and artists now have a very accessible way to see their work on textiles. I LOVE fabrics...that is part of the reasoning behind the name Texture Design Co. However, it can be a bit difficult to actually get your designs printed on fabric. Typically, you would need to be in the textile industry or have enough funds to pay for the printing of the fabric. Therefore, it is huge to have the chance to create a surface pattern for textiles at no cost! AND all the hard work gets taken out since they sell, print and ship for you! If you are a designer and are new to Minted, I would highly recommend checking out their design challenges. They pick several (I mean several) winners for each competition. Those winners receive a monetary prize and their designs will be sold on Minted.com! For each sold product, you receive a percent of the profits! For more information, go here and also check out the current Fabric Design Challenge! You probably won't make millions off of your fabric designs; currently artists receive 6% of the profits. BUT, if you're like me and would really enjoy seeing your creative work on textiles...this is a wonderful way to do that!

3. Oh, and the color options are fabulous!

Oftentimes I'll find a fabric that I like, but I'll wish it came in a different color. The textiles on Minted.com are offered in about 10 different color variations! Talk about options! I love color, and I love options! So if you like the Snuggling Diamond pattern I showed you in the beginning, well you can select from 10 colors including yellow, orange, pink, light blue, dark blue, and chartreuse.

*NOTE: We ordered the "linen cotton blend". It feels pretty thick and durable. The "classic cotton canvas" is more for crafting. Do not use the fabrics for children's sleepwear or bedding. (The fabrics are not fire-retardant.)

Head on over to the site and see if you can't find what you love! And while you are there, check out Texture Design's first winning art print submission. We hope to have more items on the Minted site later this Fall!

Have you shopped with Minted.com? Which of their products do you love?

Best,
Emily Kirby

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