Reader Design: Leslie's Southern Home

I'm back in Richmond for wedding meetings this week, so it's only fitting that our reader design be in another traditionally Southern place. Let's check out Leslie's southern home in Birmingham, Alabama!

I’m a Southerner through and through. I feel passionate about cultivating heritage in our home by rooting my designs in mostly a fresh traditional style. I think there is a misconception that traditional style is stale, boring or tired. I strive to create a home that is collected, classic with a healthy dose of the unexpected. But most importantly, I want to create a home that is welcoming and comfortable. I seem to find myself drawn to classic furniture with a bit of embellishment, whether that’s a beautifully carved leg, unique details or craftsmanship Thankfully, with the numerous ways to acquire thrifted pieces today, it is easy to create a home that fits my style and my budget.
— Leslie
After nine moves, I think we have finally settled in for the long haul with our current house I have dubbed #thetrailhousereno. A little over two years ago I fell in love with a house in our existing neighborhood that needed a ton of love. Somehow I convinced my husband to agree to rehabbing this home. We completely resurfaced the problem front facade with brick and took the opportunity to clean up the bad late 90’s architecture.
It is always hard to choose a favorite room but cooking is my love language, so the kitchen is probably a winner by default. It might be hard to believe, but the kitchen was a budget friendly renovation. We were able to keep the existing cabinetry and granite and recycle the old island into a beverage center. A new island was built to fit the kitchen’s new expanded view. We DIY’ed the backsplash and the reclaimed wood countertop and shelves.

While much of the home is classic and traditional, there are nods to the "now" in a few spots. 

I would not say I am completely immune to trends. Adding a small trendy piece of pottery or the “color of the moment” in a throw is interesting way to inject life into your home. I thrive on change and yet, I do not subscribe to the notion of replacing larger pieces of furniture based on a trend. I say, collect timeless investment pieces and keep an open mind to trends that speak to you and work well with your overall design aesthetic.

One of those spots is Leslie's personal studio.

Upstairs, in my personal studio, I took the liberty to have a little fun and depart from the underlining color palette of the rest of the house. It is also where I let the plant lady go wild. Even after over a year of working in this space, the room has the power to both excite and calm me at the same time. It is a perfect place to be productive and is definitely a bright, oxygen-filled space.

This home is certainly one that stands the test of time while still having plenty of personality! Leslie, thank you for letting us in!

Follow Leslie along on Instagram at @deeplysouthernhome and check out her blog at

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Reader Design: Elizabeth's Intuitive & Natural Home

We at StyleMutt love supporting others in our design community, so today, we have quite the treat! We're touring the home of Elizabeth Bear, a designer based in Colorado.

Elizabeth started her business with the encouragement of her friends; as they watched what she did with her own home, they encouraged her to bring her services to others. It's a story that many of us know well but few have the courage to act on.

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From Elizabeth:

When I moved to Colorado, we purchased our home and spent a lot of time renovating it. Once again, friends took notice and asked me to help them design their spaces. When I discovered Instagram, I began using it as a platform to showcase my style. Little did I know, my Insta community would grow to over 10,000 people in less than a year. Now I combine my passion for interior styling/designing with my newfound love: working with brands. There are no rules to designing a dream home it’s just a matter of figuring out the best path to get there.
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What started as a barrette and accessory business in 2003, after Elizabeth left the corporate world, soon became a full-time job. It grew to artwork, pillows, pillowcases, and placemats, all handmade by Elizabeth. Her business took off from there, with her style evolving as life led her through twists and turns of its own.

I got married a few years after college and our home had things given to us from our families all of which were more traditional, sprinkled in with things we purchased that were more contemporary. After my husband passed away unexpectedly four years later, I sold my house and everything in it that didn’t speak to my soul. I only kept my favorite things. I renovated a three-story townhouse taking it from dated and old to modern and bright and it only contained the things I love. It truly felt like me.

Two years later, my path crossed with my college sweetheart, who was living in Colorado, and we got married. When I moved there everything that came across country with me was my current design style. It’s interesting because this style is what I was drawn to when I was a teenager. Somewhere in the midst of adulthood this style got lost. When I moved into the townhouse I sold everything, but my most favorite pieces. Claiming my new home resurfaced my love of modern, orderly, clean lines, light, bright, white, welcoming, peaceful, less is more.
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Her home is a reflection of everything life has brought her, and it's a stunningly beautiful reflection indeed. She's created a home that is natural, intentional, intuitive, and warm. It's a 'Goldilocks' home - not too much, not too little, but just right. There are clean lines mixed with nostalgic pieces, and everything is functional. 

In the dining room, the freestanding white hutch steals the show.

We had it custom built by our kitchen company to match the custom cabinets flanking the fireplace, in our kitchen and the built-ins in my husband’s office. Because we have an open floor plan, it was soothing for me to have all of these built in cabinets be cohesive. This hutch adds visual beauty in the room as well as wonderful extra storage space for my collection of pottery, which can be seen through the glass doors.

It opens right into Elizabeth's biggest splurge and the heart of the home - the kitchen.

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In my kitchen my favorite thing is our large island which seats six people and is the heart of the home when we have a party (large or tiny) and actually when it’s just us. My husband and I love cooking together so this provides plenty of space to do it on - giving us ample room to make a mess and have fun!

It's a home that's made for memories. And Elizabeth, we are so honored to share it with you! Thank you for showing us around - and congratulations on the home you've made and the business you've built.

Find more about Elizabeth on her site and on Instagram @elizabethbeardesigns.

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Reader Design: Kelly's Transitional Bungalow

We're headed to the Midwest today, checking out Kelly's Iowa City, Iowa 1940's bungalow. Get it while it's hot, friends, because Kelly, her husband, and their two precious pups are actually moving to Virginia soon! 

This rental brings the charm, and Kelly has carefully and lovingly filled it with meaningful pieces from all different phases of life. It blends trends and aesthetics in a way that feels effortless - and it must have been effortless to actually do, since Kelly didn't have a particular style in mind when decorating! In fact, she had to 'phone to friend' to pinpoint her style. 

I believe every style has it’s own unique beauty and I tend to love them all. I asked a friend how she’d describe our current residence and loved her answer: ‘playful transitional, with a splash of casual glamour/ Hollywood Regency, and some southern charm peppered in.’ Sounds about right to me!

You can feel hints of Kelly's Texas upbringing and time in California for college throughout the home - with the cowhide in the dining room or the midcentury media stand. I have to say though... my favorite pieces are more New England in style. I just adore those nautical framed prints in the living room. Kelly, your in-laws are seriously on-trend - what a great gift! 


Another meaningful piece is prominently featured in the bedroom.

In our bedroom, the white buffet brings back so many memories. My husband and I found it while we were living in California at a thrift store. It was sponge painted in blue gold and, needless to say, quite a sight. Together we painted it white, replaced the drawer pulls, and stained the wood top. I definitely think it’s one of our ‘forever’ pieces, for not only the look but for the nostalgia as well!

This rental sure is a great find, and Kelly, I'm sure you'll miss it (but mostly this adorable screened-in porch) when you move! You managed to create the warm, comfortable, and welcoming home you set out to make, with exactly the right amount of glam. Hats off, Kelly. 

Thank you for letting us in! And you must let us know when you're settled in my home state - we'll invite ourselves over for a virtual visit. 

Follow the fun along with Kelly on Instagram @pearlpappashome