Danielle Thompson of Thompson Family-Life: Show & Tell Home Tour

Sheri Reed

Danielle Thompson
Danielle Thompson
Today, graphic designer, owner of Kitschy Digitals and Tiny Bazaar, and super-creative mom of two boys, Danielle Thompson of Thompson Family-Life, takes us on our latest Show & Tell Home Tour.

Off we go to Atlanta, Georgia to take a look around her family's home.

Come on inside ...

Danielle, tell us a little about your family and your home. 

Hi there. Thanks, Sheri and The Stir, for having me.

My husband, Ethan, and two boys, Cooper (7) and Campbell (3), and I live in the Atlanta Metro Area in Georgia. We've lived in Atlanta and in our home for 12 years. It was our very first home after we got married and we're still here! It's a very humble 3-bedroom, 2-bath, ranch-style house built in the '60s. It has gone through many a "look" in these past 12 years, but I think I'm most proud of what we've accomplished over the past year or so. I think it truly reflects my tastes but also allows our family to live.

We keep things laid-back in style, especially when choosing furniture; since our boys are so small, they are quite wild. As you can imagine, they could do some damage to those expensive pieces of furniture! Our home is filled with a lot of IKEA for that reason, with some vintage pieces here and there (always placed away from little-boy-foot-traffic as much as possible). My dream is to one day fill my home with more vintage pieces once our boys get a bit older. 

boys room
Cooper reading to Campbell in their newly decorated shared bedroom.
boys room chair vignette
Another view in the boys' room
How do you approach decorating in your home? What's the most important thing?

I approach decorating my home with a "no rules" policy. I'm a very fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort of decorator, as I love throwing together pieces that you wouldn't necessarily think go together.

I definitely love an eclectic look that always has a nostalgic feel (using vintage items from the '50s, '60s, and '70s) with a little bit of "granny chic" and "bazaar style" (if I were to pick a decorating "style"). Bold color and a variety of different patterns mixed together is a staple in my design as well.

The most important thing to me when decorating is to keep things laid-back and not too serious. And I always try to inject some humor in my decor including quirky kitschy items and lots of bright, sunny color. It always needs to be light in feel. I have a hard time feeling comfortable in perfectly designed (and often sterile) rooms. The eccentricity of our home is what makes it feel warm to me. And even more important is that there aren't too many valuables and breakables lying around (again, keeping things kid-friendly).

formal living room
Formal living room: although as you can see, it's not very "formal."
living room
Art wall in the formal living room
You have a two young sons. How does their STUFF influence the look and feel of your home?

I think their stuff really influences the look of their shared bedroom. I try to incorporate what they're into at the moment in their bedroom decor. Sometimes it's not done in such a literal way though. I try to keep the "character placement" at a minimum, but rather include more timeless images and items, like dinosaurs (Campbell is very into them at the moment) and vintage toys. I also wanted to display several handmade pieces. It was important to me to keep them inspired and include things they love while balancing that out with well-designed items. I'm sure they would love a room covered in Mario Cart, SpongeBob and Thomas the Tank Engine ... but I feel it's important to introduce them to and surround them with good design (while keeping it fun enough so that they don't hate me later on!).

It's very challenging with boys to keep things whimsical and pleasing to the eye but still keeping it "boy" enough. I knew I wanted to do something with patterned fabric in their room by creating wall decals using a corn starch method I found online (I first used this method in our bedroom and LOVED the effect and how simple it was).

I've always been a bit wary of using wallpaper or paper because of its tendency to tear or damage the walls. When I first tried this corn starch method with fabric, I was just so elated to find a way to incorporate pattern (and even better, patterned FABRIC!) into my decor but in a much more temporary way than paper would be.

The technique makes it super easy to apply "wall decals" and you can reposition them over and over again until you get them just right. Once you get tired of them, you just pull them right off with no damage to your walls. Pretty brilliant. And fabric has a much more beautiful texture and density than paper. It's such a gorgeous look. With the boys' room, I knew I wanted to do clouds. It was truly a blast picking out patterned fabrics for this project. I think people are so afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to boys' room decor in fear of it not being "BOY" enough. I would advise any mother with boys to just be adventurous.

I did want Cooper (my oldest) to feel like he had contributed to the room, so I let him fill the vintage curio cabinet I found at an antique mall, which I spray painted. He LOVED filling it will lots of things he and his brother love.

curio cabinet
Boys' room: the Cooper-curated blue curio cabinet at left. Shelf at center, also a vintage
find, was painted white. Vintage chalkboard and vintage Portuguese paint palette
found on Etsy. Large vintage marquee letter "C" found on eBay. The rest is a mix
of handmade items from Etsy and the boys' toys and stuffed animals.

fabric wall decals cloud
The fabric "cloud" wall decals made from fabric from my local fabric stores,
Intown Quilters and Whipstitch.
fabric wall decals cloud
DIY fabric wall decals close up.
In which room in your home does your family congregate most often? 

That room would definitely be our living room. My "office" and craft area are in two corners of the room as well, so I'm able to do work when the boys are in the room playing or watching TV. This room was built as an add-on in the '70s, so it's a nice large room with lots of windows, which keeps the room nice and bright (in comparison to the rest of the house, which can get very dark -- something you work with in older homes).

living room fireplace mantel
The living room: where we all hang out as a family most of the time.

living room fireplace mantelLiving room: closeup of the mantel goodies.Great design can be expensive. How do you get the most bang for your buck?

I get the most bang for my buck by doing a lot of things on my own. I do a lot of DIY and my husband is also handy, so he helps me with a lot of my projects. He has always done most of the painting in the house. A lot of times I will buy inexpensive pieces (like IKEA furniture) and elevate them design-wise by adding patterned paper to give them more interest.

You can find vintage for great prices if you really search. I'm constantly discovering new places in Atlanta with great vintage at reasonable prices.

dresser wallpaper
I decoupaged patterned gift wrap and vintage wallpaper I found online onto two
of the drawers on this dresser to add interest and color. The child's vintage chair
was found for $10 at Highland Row Antiques here in Atlanta.
boys room close-up shelf
A little vignette in the boys' room
Tell us about DIY project you have taken on recently and love.

I recently made some vintage-inspired arrows for my sons' bedroom and put together a step-by-step tutorial for it. It was a really fun and easy project, and you can make some, too! Perfect for a little boy's room, or change the color palette to suit that little girl of yours.

arrow DIY
Arrow DIY
You are a graphic designer, a crafter, and an all-around creative person. Do you have a room or space of your own? Tell us about it.

I do have a space where I design my digital and printable kits, blog, edit my photos, and more. It's one corner of our living room. I have not finished decorating it yet, but you can see other corner of my craft area (that is also in our living room) in the photo below. It is my little Sewing Nook that I hope I can find more time for. There's just never enough time in the day, right? : )

sewing table
Sewing nook: Another example where I took an IKEA piece
and covered it in vintage wallpaper to add color and interest.
What is your most important everyday ritual at home?

It may sound cheesy and cliché, but it's so very true: Hugging and kissing my children and telling them I love them every single day. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't smother them with "I Love Yous". Life is just too precious; you have to remind them of it every day.

kitchen table
Campbell playing with his toys on the kitchen table. I found
the vintage formica table on Craigslist recently.
In your home, what is one indulgence you give into?

Lots and lots of thrift store, antique, and vintage store finds. It's a bit of an addiction.

master bedroom
Master bedroom: mostly vintage items found locally or online. Headboard from West Elm (that I painted white this year). Lamp from Pottery Barn Teen. Starburst mirror from West Elm that I spray painted yellow. The quilt was custom made by Sparkle Power. Behind the vintage handmade ceramic owls on the right-hand wall is another fabric wall decal made from a vintage sheet.
vintage phone telephone
Our new vintage phone (that works!) found on Etsy for $7!
What are your favorite stores to shop for home?

Etsy.com is, of course, my one-stop-shopping place online. I love buying handmade and vintage from there. I also love to shop at my local thrift stores and antique markets such as Kudzu Antiques.

Bedroom: vintage plates with handwritten text by Gina Bailey
at Doe-c-Doe. Shower curtain from Urban Outfitters.
Master bedroom dresser
Master bedroom artwork and dresser

What Home & Garden blogs or websites inspire you the most?

I don't consistently follow a lot of Home and Garden blogs or websites due to just not having a lot of free time to devote to it, but there are a few places I'm sure to catch up on when I have the time such as decor8 and Design*Sponge.

It seems like the best way I've been able to keep up with my faves is through Twitter these days. It isn't such a laborious obligation like Google Reader used to be for me -- that could easily suck up three hours of my time! I had to quit. Twitter is nice because you can pick and choose which links you want to click on. As long as you make sure to follow those that you really love, you'll always be somewhat up-to-date. (You can follow me on Twitter here!)

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