Hi All! We are so excited to share that StyleMutt Home has been awarded the Liebster Award! The Liebster Award is a particularly special honor because it's an award that bloggers give other bloggers. How cool is that?! What a supportive community to be in and we are so grateful to our ||talented|| friend Iris of Around the Watts House for nominating us. Iris is a fellow decor and DIY lover and her blog has been such a joy to follow. So many fantastic ideas from such a sweet, down to earth woman. It's humbling and so very encouraging to know that what we're doing here at StyleMutt Home is reaching beyond just those directly related to us...:)
So here's how the Liebster Award works! A blogger nominates another blogger and includes a list of questions for them to answer and share on their blog. The nominated blogger then turns around and passes the Liebster Award on to someone else. It's a cool chain reaction of learning about fresh new blogs that you may not of heard about before! The idea is to nominate new-ish blogs that are starting up as a way of spreading the word. So, just past our 4 month birthday this is a fun way for us to share a bit about ourselves and network with others sharing the same passion!
Here are the questions Iris came up with for us. Since we are a co-authored blog, we'll both answer!
1. What made you decide to start a blog?
Chelsea: Not everyone might know this, but StyleMutt Home began as the blog, Chelsea's Garage, which I started shortly after moving into our first/current home 5 years ago. It was a means of sharing my small furniture refinishing business which I ran straight out of the garage! And let's be honest, it was a serious source of relaxation! It's been so healthy for me to have a creative outlet that gives my mind another way to think and work. We've got three really young kids which we had within 16 months from first to last, and for me personally, I find myself a more patient, understanding mother in general with this creative passion. Plus, it was a great way to connect with others when suddenly finding myself surrounded by the walls of my home, alone with three kiddos...(If ANYONE ever wants to discuss owning and operating a small business as a stay-at-home parent, I'm an open book and happy to talk about it!)
Cate: There was one particular afternoon Chelsea and I had spent day-dreaming about decor and giggling over our mutual love for all things eclectic. A couple minutes after I had already left her house to head home, I was surprised to look down and see she was calling me. Naturally I figured I must have forgot something. But when I answered, Chelsea blurted out "Would you blog with me?" It was a proposal to rival when her brother popped the question ;) I was so honored and excited that she would want to fold me right into Chelsea's Garage - which after a year or so of guest posting, we then rebranded as StyleMutt Home to represen our new-found co-authorship.
Oh look! This was our first ever business meeting!
2. Who came up with the blog name StyleMutt Home?
Chelsea: When I was blogging under Chelsea's Garage, I published a short series on how I make my eclectic aesthetic work under one roof. In that series, I described eclecticism as being a "style mutt" - someone who enjoys various styles in design. I had totally forgotten about using that nickname until Cate remembered and thought of it for the name of our co-authored blog! I think I got teary-eyed when she suggested it; the fact that she remembered! It was meant to be!
Cate: I read the Chelsea's Garage post where Chelsea endearingly likened her mix of styles to a style mutt and IMMEDIATELY identified with the term. When we decided to start a co-authored blog, we had actually chosen another name that we sat on for over a year. But when the time came to build the new site, we both had second thoughts. The night before our first strategic planning meeting, I think I woke up with the idea to use StyleMutt. I pitched the idea to Chelsea and it was such a "heavens-parting" moment. We added the Home to distinguish us from Ohio-based dog boutique named "Style Mutt" (sorry if we're stomping on your web presence Style Mutt Dog Boutique!}
3. What was the first piece you ever restored?
Chelsea: Our first coffee table! A family member found it in a dumpster and brought it over. I didn't know what I was doing. I painted it white. Then added some stain. Then distressed. It was a hot mess...Not every piece comes out a star by my hands. But to me that's the fun of it - not being afraid of trying! (I"m also not afraid of sharing my mistakes. FYI - Don't wipe wood stain over paint!)
Cate: Undeterred by dorm policy against installing your own lighting, I rewired this old chandelier to make it a plug-in light that I could take with me to college. But the first piece I ever flipped for the blog was a coffee table that I realized was weirdly short so I turned it into this tufted Mid-Century Modern bench. I sold the bench and I miss it sometimes, but still have the chandelier!
4. What's your favorite piece so far?
Chelsea: Oh, this is a hard one! When I first began, I was painting everything under the sun white or gray and diving completely into shabby chic. After a very short time I realized that wasn't so much me, and began venturing out. This piece with the herringbone pattern isn't necessarily my all-time favorite piece, but it was one of my first big leaps of faith with a piece of furniture. Around that time I stopped looking around at what everyone else was doing and discovered how much I enjoy trying new things in design! I stopped taking design so seriously and started to have some serious fun - with my personal style, our home, and my refinishing techniques.
Cate: This is a toughie, but I think I'm going to go with the Bamboo Dresser. It was one of the more expensive risks I took to flip and I'm really proud I followed through on my vision.
5. Do you pick out your furniture together?
Chelsea: Due to our schedules we don't get to thrift a lot together. It's a blast when we get to go out together to flea markets and junk shops, but it doesn't happen as much as we'd like. But somehow we do find time to drink wine together fairly often...
Cate: Between my work and Chelsea's kiddos, we don't have many opportunities. Once-in-a-blue-moon Chelsea and I can hunt together. And we OFTEN text exciting scores to each other when we're particularly pleased with a find or when we're excited to start a project. I love when Chelsea announced what she was tackling next by sending a cryptic pic of the pile of materials awaiting assembly into her industrial pipe shelves. I'm so lucky I get to see what she's cooking up for you first! And of course, if we have a joint client we are working with, we email/ text/ call/ carrier-pigeon ideas like crazy.
6. What inspires you the most about your blogging partner?
Chelsea: Aside from the fact that Cate has untapped some crazy love for color that was buried under my love for white, I'm very inspired by her confidence in her own style. I think it's easy to look at what everyone else is doing and be swayed, but Cate knows what she likes and stays true to herself, in every aspect of style.
Cate: Chelsea is so calming - in both personality and style. If I'm anxious about an idea, she'll always talk it through with me. Her minimalistic tendencies balance out my collectionism. Her easy style encourages me be a better editor when staging my pieces. And her approach to her family and to the blog inspires me to be more gracious, loving, prioritized, hospitable, and humble.
7. What is your favorite post so far?
Chelsea: This was tough - I get so excited when Cate or I share something we've worked really hard on, but there's an aspect of blogging that is also so very personal. This post, published in October 2013, (under Chelsea's Garage), was when I first announced that Cate would be joining me on the blog. In that post I described working alongside Cate as "a space which we not only share for working, but our dreams, ideas, and tons of laughs, too!" A year and a half later, this is still true of us. God is so good!
Cate: Would it be silly to say this one? I have been feeling so warm all over with the recent rush of support from the blogging community. Thank you Iris of Around the Watts House for giving us this opportunity to be raw and relatable to our readers. And to also pay it forward to our nominee!
8. Where do you find the pieces you work on?
Chelsea: ALL OVER! We have a beautiful wood armchair in our bedroom which I found outside an auto shop while waiting for an oil change. (I did ask first) Sometimes I slam the breaks because there's something that needs to be checked out on the side of the road. The kids are totally used to it and love to weigh in on whether it should come home with us or not. If I'm intentionally looking, I find pieces at a few go-to thrift stores or on Craigslist. I tried an auction once, but got SO hungry and tired before they got to the furniture goods at 10pm! (Obviously, I rallied and came home with a 5 piece dining set).
The auto shop chair the day it came home. Woof!
And now, sittin' pretty in our room!
Cate: I have been known to spontaneously pull Brumby (my pick-up) over at a moment's notice. We are a dangerous team as my husband would say... I also check Craigslist almost every day and if I have a free afternoon I will hit up my favorite thrift stores. And sometimes, if I'm already heading out-of-town for an errand etc, I will look up the local thrift stores to swing by if I have moment. It's a lifestyle really haha.
9. Do you have any formal training in restoration?
Chelsea: No formal training, lots of trial and error!
Cate: Does tool-talk with my grandpa count? He's been woodworking as a hobby for many years and I swear he speaks the language of the trees...
10. What do you like to do in your down time?
Chelsea: Painting furniture and being creative is JUST what I want to be doing in my down time. I'm usually the lady with paint on her hands, face, hair, and clothes, rather than on her nails. Raising three kids is my first love and my first priority. But, there's nothing like a little soak in sweat and sawdust to pamper this Momma.
Cate: THIS. I work 30 hours a week doing marketing for a local county farm/ park. When I have time off, I am covered in paint/ stain/ cement/ thrift-store mystery residue/ sawdust. But I'm a clean, nice-smelling person when it counts I promise. At least my mutt Thor thinks so...
11. Where do you see your blog in five years?
Chelsea: My oldests are five years old and it feels like a lifetime ago when they were babies. A lot happens in five years! My hope for StyleMutt is to continue reaching people and inspiring decor and DIYers with fresh ideas and helpful info. I think we're just scratching the surface of what we ultimately want StyleMutt to be, and that is to be a helpful resource. However that looks in five years, I hope it's a useful tool for others and a rad place to hang out!
Cate: I hope to see StyleMutt as go-to resource for fellow DIYers and home decor enthusiasts and a self-sufficient blog in both reader-submitted content and expenses. I would also love to build some sort of a design-term glossary for the site one day. And if I'm really honest, it would be awesome to have a joint showroom for our Garage Shop pieces.
And now, without any further ado, we would like to share the Liebster love with a local and nominate Jenni of Girl Meets Restoration! Her blog is only a couple months old, but her staging is KILLER. She's a fellow DC Metro area furniture enthusiast and we love her quirky style and whimsical point of view. Jenni, we haven't met yet, but let's be friends ;)
I mean how sexy are these pieces? I can't wait to see what else you'll come up with?
Jenni, these are the questions we've been dying to ask:
1. How did you settle on the name for your blog?
2. What are the challenges of design/ working on pieces when sharing your space with roommates?
3. What made you decide to include what's "playing in the background" at the end of your posts?
4. How would you characterize your furniture style?
5. How has your style evolved since you started flipping?
6. What are your favorite spots to find your pieces?
7. Cate likes to name inanimate objects too, how did you pick the names for your pieces?
8. What are some tips you can give new furniture flippers?
9. What were the biggest challenges you faced when deciding to start flipping furniture?
10. We have major photo envy, what devices do you use to take your pics?
11. What's next for Girl Meets Renovation?
We are so excited to hear more of your story Jenni and who you will turn around and nominate!