Come on inside...
Not too long ago, I was popping in on several of my favorite artsy blogs, and I stopped on Oh Happy Day. That's when I found myself drooling over Rubyellen's daughter's incredibly lovely bedrooms. Rubyellen's home decorating ideas—with lots of wonderfully placed vintage pieces—are so inspiring. She makes "reuse" look so beautiful. Well, I just had to see more, and Rubyellen was nice enough to show me around—during the busy holiday season and everything. This one's a pretty one. You'll see...
1. Tell us a little about your family and the size of your home.
We are a little family of four living in southern California. I am completely and utterly in love with my Ben, whom I call my Babe-iliscious, and my girls, Brave, 1, and True, 2, are my most treasured little joys. Our home is perfect for our growing family, with each girl getting her own room, a room for my husband's office and a little loft for my studio. It gives us plenty to decorate, which I love.
Handmade elf stockings and the family sketchbook
2. How do you approach decorating in your home? What's the most important thing?
I love to decorate with old things; they just have so much personality. Our favorite type of furniture is vintage French metal furniture from old cafe tables to iron beds. I have a thing for metal. Plus, the more dings, rust, scratches, and imperfections it has, the more we love it! We try to repurpose items, give them new uses, use things out of their elements. For example, I'll use an old planter for candles or an old soda crate on the wall as a shelf.
Old planter turned into a candle holder
I like to group things together. I think pieces have much more of a presence when grouped with like items. I prefer our home to look collected, rather than all bought at one store, I think it gives it a more home-like feeling when each piece holds a different story.
Sap bucket collection hung on wall to hold branches and flowers
We have all white walls, and I love the simplicity of it (though crayon marks are easily seen). It draws your attention to the furniture and I love our furniture. Each piece has different dings and dents, so each piece is like a work of art to us.
Rubyellen's bedroom with grouped ceiling tins and vintage dress as art
3. How do your children and their opinions and STUFF influence the look and feel of your home?
Both girls are so young, so they don't have much "say" in things... yet. Though, True definitely helps me figure out where things go, especially in her room. She has a spot for everything and if anything is out of place, she makes sure to adjust it to the way she likes it. Also, both girls have a love for dolls/softies of all sorts, so I try to surround them with a variety of handmade ones from different artists, and we frequently are making some of our own. These various softies can be seen all over the house.
Another important thing with children and vintage furniture—we make sure to lead test everything before bringing it into our home. We must make sure it is safe for our girls first. So everything we have has been tested and is lead free.
4. You're an artist and a handcrafter. What household chore do you tend to back burner most so you can tend to your creative life?
Where do I start?!! I don't clean out the fridge (Babe-iliscious does that), my dirty laundry pile is growing while my clean laundry pile is strewn across half of our bedroom, and cleaning the glass in the shower (it has lots of water spots)... wait, we have glass in the shower?!!
French pie safe holds girls' art supplies
But I do think it is important to have a clean house, so at the end of every day, I make sure to tidy up. We start every day clean and as organized as possible, like a new canvas, so that way we are free to make more artful messes to our heart's content. We just clean it back up and the day's end. Also, I have one whole house cleaning day every two weeks.
The Cakies work table
Thread is so pretty
5. What's one of your most favorite DIY projects you've turned out for your home lately?
My favorite project so far, is the giant chalkboard we (Ben) made for True's room. I wanted something to look like a canvas on a wall, so we bought a plain, solid door, had it cut to 3'6'' x 4'. Ben primed and painted it with chalkboard paint and "voila!" The girls have their own personal canvas. We play school on it, color on it, use it to make backgrounds for pictures... it is just wonderful!
The girls' chalkboard "canvas"
6. What are some important everyday rituals at home?
We have a few things we try to do every day. First, I make sure to pray with my girls every morning. Second, we draw or color in a family sketchbook together. It is important to create together, not just let them color by themselves. Third, we try to eat together as a family. Ben is a dietitian, so eating healthy is very important in our house. Eating together helps us model good eating habits for our girls. True and Brave both love to each broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, you name the vegetable... they love it! Sometimes, True will even ask for bell peppers for breakfast!
Vintage French bistro chairs around the dining table
7. Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or decorative item in your home? Tell us about this item.
It is so hard to pick just one because we only buy things we absolutely love, but if I had to pick one... it would be my three French antique beds (sorry, it is three not one). Two of them are used as sofa of sorts in the loft and family room, and the other is True's bed. The one in the loft hold pillows that are covered in old grain sacks. And the one in the family room has a colorful array of pillows.
True reads in Rubyellen's studio loft
The cozy family room, decked out for Christmas
True's bed is the tiniest and most ornate of the three. They are all so lovely as each one has a different design and size. They are made of iron and are very sturdy.
8. In your home, what is one indulgence you give into?
Plants. I have plants everywhere! They bring so much life to a room, but I do make sure to get plants that don't need constant watering. Our lives are already so busy, I tend to forget to water them. I just love all my plants.
Old trash can as art, a plant, and an unfinished family painting
9. What are your favorite stores to shop for home?
We frequent local flea markets, so our stuff comes from everywhere and we have to have a bit of patience filling our home this way. Sometimes, it takes a long time to find exactly what you're looking for, but once you do, it is definitely worth the wait. My husband loves antiquing just as much as I do. When I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday, he replied, "Go to the flea market." He really is my other half.
Most of our furniture is vintag, bought from flea markets and antique shops. Buying furniture this way makes it a game, a hunt—you never know what great piece you are going to score on any given antiquing adventure.
A store I love and wish I had an unlimited budget for would be Anthropologie. I love all of their "found" furniture, and I think if you just gave me a small kitchen, I would happily live in their store.
10. What are your favorite Home & Garden blogs or websites?
I love to read the blogs tinyk, Black*Eiffel, and Bloesem for some design eye candy and a lot of my favorite crafters (on my blog's sidebar) have such great design ideas as well.
This was so nice, Rubyellen. Thank you.
Make sure to shop the Cakies Etsy shop. Check out Rubyellen's signature Cakies Crowns (to die for!), dolls, softies, lots of good stuff for holiday gifts!
Don't miss our previous Show & Tell Home Tours: