Let's head near Tulsa, Oklahoma, to check out her beautiful home.
Come on inside ...
Ashley, tell us a little about your family and your home.
I am an Okie born and raised. My family and I live outside of Tulsa on a little bit of land. We pretend the weeds in our field are waving wheat. I know it sounds cliche to say I am married to my best friend, but I am. Chris knows me better than anyone and I am pretty thrilled to be his wife. We have four kids: three boys (ages 2, 4 & 6) and a 1-year old daughter. Our house is crazy, loud, active, and a whole lot of fun ... most days!
We built a faux fireplace to add a bit of an architectural element to the living room.
How do you approach decorating in your home? What's the most important thing?
I am by no means a designer, so I don't follow any rules or even really know what I am doing. I decorate my house with things that make me smile. It's important to me that our home is a refuge for our family. I want my home to feel fresh, happy, personal, and comfortable. Since my kids are young, I don't decorate with things that I worry will get broken or stained. I want the kids to feel relaxed at home too.
Our kids enjoy looking at photos, so this space is very personal.
You have four young children. How does their STUFF influence the look and feel of your home?
Their stuff doesn't influence the look and feel of our home as much their personalities do. Since our house is beautifully chaotic with four little ones, I am pretty picky about all their stuff being stored out of sight. The more stuff there is to see, the more overwhelmed it makes me feel. The reality is my kids don't really need much stuff. We live pretty simply and focus more on activities together than acquiring more stuff. Obviously they have stuff, but I like it to be stored away in easy to access places.
Their personalities (and the fact that three of them are young, active boys) influence the look and feel of our home in the sense that I want them to be surrounded by things that they can touch and enjoy without worrying about an accident. When it comes specifically to their shared bedroom, I let them dictate the majority of the look and feel of the room. They didn't want anything girly and they wanted airplanes with orange and gray. We compromised to come up with a room that reflected them, but that I could live with too.
A compromise between three little boys and one mommy.
(resources)In which room in your home does your family congregate most often?
The kitchen table and the picnic table outside. Both places provide us with plenty of room to create, talk, play, and eat. The majority of our daily lives happen around those two tables. I hope it stays that way for a long time.
We recently did a simple remodel in the kitchen to make it more airy and bright.
Lemons make me happy.Great design can be expensive. How do you get the most bang for your buck?
I come from a long line of DIYers. For probably the first six years of our marriage, I don't think we bought a single piece of furniture. I would sweet talk my grandpa and dad into building things I had seen in magazines or came up with in my head. Up until about a year ago (when I got a sewing machine), my mom made all our pillows and curtains.
By nature I am pretty thrifty and frugal, so I tend to gravitate toward wanting to come up with great design on a minimal budget. Most everything in my house was made by someone I know ... like I said, I am good at sweet talking. Other than sweet talking family to get good deals, I like to repurpose items. I think this is a great way to get the most bang for your buck. I shop at thrift stores, flea markets, and more affordable retailers like Target for most of my decor.
My daughter's room is a great example of this. The bedding was made by family or purchased at IKEA. The frames were all from my mom's closet, markdowns at stores or thrift shops. My dad and I made the pallet bed. My mom made the curtains and my husband installed the wood floors. We are scrappy people!
A custom reading bed in our daughter's room. (pallet bed instructions)
Daughter's nursery: After three boys, I finally enjoyed decorating for a girl.Tell us about a DIY project you have taken on recently and love.
We are finishing up decorating a playroom for the kids. I wanted a hanging shelf but didn't have time to really shop around. All the kids were down for naps, and I had an hour to myself. I used scrap pieces of wood (from garden beds I had previously built) to make a hanging shelf for the playroom. It isn't the most amazing shelf you've ever seen, but I was pretty pleased I could conceive and build it in an hour!
The kids share a small space for a playroom with toys neatly stored
to make more room for playing.
A simple construction project for a non-traditional shelf.You are a photographer and a blogger. Do you have a room or creative space of your own?
I am a photographer, but I am no longer a "working" photographer ... meaning I am not shooting for clients anymore. I am home with our silly bunch, I take lots of pictures, and I write a blog. It is still funny for me to say I am a blogger, but I suppose I am. I am grateful anyone reads my crazy little blog.
I have a gorgeous 300-square-foot studio. It is floor-to-ceiling windows on three of the walls with crisp white wood floors. Everything is organized and the loveliness of the room takes your breath away when you walk in. There is always country music playing and never a Lego in sight. I can't share photos of it because of the extreme jealously that it would arouse in anyone who saw it. Oh wait, I can't share pictures of it because it only exists in my dreams. No dream studio in our home. No craft room or personal space at all for that matter.
My sewing machine and fabric resides in my daughter's room upstairs. My craft supplies are in boxes on a bookcase in the kitchen. My various papers and printer are located in my closet. My work table is also referred to as the kitchen table. When I am in the mood to craft and sew, I carry the sewing machine downstairs to the kitchen table and spread my boxes around. It is far from ideal, but it works because being creative is important to me. I make it work, and I am grateful I am able to do what I can.
The reality of my personal studio space!What is your most important everyday ritual at home?
This was such a hard question for me to answer. Since my kids are young and we haven't started them in extracurricular activities, we spend most of our days doing the same things. We eat every meal together. We play together. We play outside together. I was stumped with this, so I asked my 4-year old what he thought. His response was, "Hugs and kisses." I couldn't have said it better. Lots of hugs and kisses every day -- that is by far the most important daily ritual in our home.
We spend the majority of our days outside and every meal that the weather permits.
(table from lowes.com) In your home, what is one indulgence you give into?
Not worrying about resale value on our home. I paint and repaint all the time. I have rulers for a backsplash. I nailed cork flooring tiles to the wall on the staircase. Whenever one of the kids says something I don't want to forget, I write it down on scrap paper and pin it to that wall. I do lots of things that I wouldn't if I was always concerned about how it would affect selling our house. I am thankful for a husband that encourages me to create a home that reflects me and our family.
After installing butcher block countertops, we needed a new backsplash.
I opted for yardsticks. (Backsplash tutorial)
Cork floor tiles cover the wall and provide a place to quickly store the sayings of our kids.
(floor tiles from Lumber Liquidators)What are your favorite stores to shop for home?
A small collection of bottles with a drawing my son made of him giving me a hug.What Home & Garden blogs or websites inspire you the most?
My favorite blogs are more related to daily life, but in the realm of Home & Garden blogs, I am a big fan of: Design*Sponge, Apartment Therapy, Kara Paslay Designs, MarthaStewart.com, poppytalk, and Decor8.
Thanks for the tour, Ashley. When I grow up, I want to DIY just like you. See and read more on Ashley Campbell, her life, photos, and family on her blog Under the Sycamore.
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