Reader Design: Erin's Perfect Midwestern Digs

Happy Labor Day weekend, Mutts! This weekend, people all over the country are celebrating what many deem to be the last weekend of summer. I, for one, can't wait for Fall - but I'll be celebrating like the rest of you in one of my favorite Midwestern cities: Chicago, Illinois. 

Another favorite? Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the brains behind today's reader design hails from. Welcome to Erin's Perfect Midwestern Digs! 

I found Erin via Instagram several months ago and continue to fall in love with her aesthetic with every post. Her home manages to be light, bright, simple, and durable - something that is increasingly important in Minnesota to withstand all of that cold and precipitation (and whatever those other three seasons bring). 
From Erin:

I’d describe my style as “handmade modern.” I love visually clean, modern spaces that have been softened by traditional architectural elements and handmade pieces. Though I’m drawn towards bright, modern spaces, I still want our home to feel approachable and “undecorated.” Using a mélange of handcrafted and vintage pieces really help to reinforce the relaxed and casual vibe.

Let's talk about the oven nook. What a place to bake a chicken pot pie come this Fall! I can't be the only one fantasizing about this, right??  Erin's favorite part of the kitchen are the cabinet doors below the sink. They were actually salvaged from the original kitchen in the home, just simply refinished with paint and hardware!

I love how they give our inexpensive cabinetry a custom look, as well as help pay homage to the home’s 90 year old bones.
I think personal style, interiors or otherwise, is born from simply figuring out what it is you are repeatedly drawn to. What do you find beautiful and why? I’m always trying to surround myself with inspiration, because I think style is something that develops slowly over time and never stops evolving.

I definitely pay attention to trends, but I try not to design my home around them, unless either I’ve loved this element long before it became popular, (i.e. my affinity towards the color blue), or I feel as though the trend will still have legs long after its heyday has passed, (i.e. classic subway tiles).
I really wrestled with whether or not to paint the wood trim in our living and dining room. I love white enameled trim, but throughout my childhood, my mother, who adored her beautiful Mid-Century woodwork, always taught us never to paint the trim. I had a bit of an internal struggle about it at first, but after seeing how weathered our 1930’s trim was, especially the sills, it made it a lot easier to go for the enameled trim.

Another beautiful original element of the house is captured in 1930s-era rounded archway. Erin expertly blends straight mid-century modern lines with romantic curvatures throughout her space. And then there's the dining room light fixture - woah. 

Whether it’s a vintage rug or sculptural light fixture, I’ll always be willing to splurge on one statement piece within each space. The perfect piece can make the entire space pop without much effort, so I’ll pair the statement splurge with affordable or thrifted finds to help balance the budget. My advice though would be to really make sure you love the piece (and will for years to come) before you buy. This is not the time to buy based on trends!

Erin, all I can say is BRAVO! Your space is perfect. Are you sick of hearing that word yet? Follow Erin along on Instagram or on her blog, Francois et Moi, for more inspiration!

Mutts, until next time! 

Meet McKenna!

April: "How funny would it be if we had an intern! LOL!!!"
May: "So, we might actually really need an intern..."
June: "Let's put out the word and see what happens!"

Everyone, meet McKenna, our new intern!

Holy smokes, this may be our most exciting announcement yet! It sure is for us, and we are just thrilled to introduce you all to the latest addition to the StyleMutt Home team! McKenna has already been a tremendous blessing to us and our business and we couldn't be more excited for what's ahead. As soon as we expressed interest in bringing on an intern, the response was as heartwarming as it was overwhelming. We received over two dozen applications for the position and reading a bit about each person just gave us a strong sense of community - there are so many passionate and like-minded individuals out there doing their thing and going for it and we felt incredibly blessed to be a part of such a talented and creative group.

Among all the inquiries, we were drawn to McKenna right from the start. While reading a bit about her and her background, (which, like us, has nothing to do with interior design), we felt like she was a true kindred spirit. Her voice and point of view are exactly what we've been looking to add to StyleMutt Home.

The process of finding an intern was completely new, uncharted waters for us. We spent time praying and considering the ways in which we could really use an intern and the qualities we were looking for in our ideal candidate. We asked McKenna to fill out a questionnaire and to help you get to know her a bit, we thought it would be fun to share her answers! Because nothing says hazing like waving around the new kid's test scores. Hah! Just kidding. She knows we're doing this. Or at least she does now. :)

We asked McKenna to share with us an inspirational space and write a brief 'mock blog post' explaining why she identifies with it:

I think we can probably all agree with this statement: The simple and monochromatic approach to design has hit the blogosphere like crazy.  Like many of you, I design for function, so I've been wondering - 

1.   Is this craze practical?
2.  Is it going to last?
3.  How can I make it work for me

This adorable sideboard space tells me one thing: the answer to all of the above is "YES!"

This space has everything I love.  The white oak wood wash make this piece perfect for pairing with warm tones - for those gold lovers like myself - or cool tones.

Sideboards are traditionally used to store china or other dining supplies. But, the great thing about them is that they can really conceal anything (kids toys, arts & crafts, your weekend wine supply). Then again, it also makes me want to throw a good old dinner party.

What about you all? What would you do with this piece?

For funsies, we also asked McKenna to solve this design puzzle:

Here's an example of a mock-moodboard for an eclectic, fresh, and color-loving client. If we had $75 left to spend on accent pillows, find some suitable candidates within budget that would help finish the space.

Option 1 will test if the client is really a color lover. It includes an awesome beaded pillow, which would not be practical for a bed but would live well in a less-used chair, and two matching Ikat pillows for the bed that tie in well with the curtains. I’m all about function and am personally the kind of person who likes to sleep holding an accent pillow – hence my preference for two pillows on the bed.
Option 2 is the more neutral choice and features a vintage felt pillow from Chairish, which would add an interesting textural element to the space. 

From McKenna

I would describe my style as living somewhere at the intersection of mid-century modern, industrial, and "glam."  By "glam," what I truly mean is that I love anything gold and will always find a way to incorporate it in some way.  This part of my style can sometimes conflict with industrial elements - but, practice makes perfect!

We are so looking forward to what McKenna will be bringing to the table here; plans and ideas are already in motion and we have no doubt that you guys will like her better than us in no time. Lol! Seriously though, please leave her a warm welcome aboard!