Amy Johnson mom mirror

Amy Johnson of Homegrown

For this week's Show & Tell Home Tour, we head to the Philadelphia home of Amy Johnson (a.k.a. farminmama), creative farmer and homeschooling mom to two girls. She blogs at Homegrown.

Come on inside...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When a friend told my about Amy Johnson and her blog Homegrown, I was immediately swept up in her nature-loving sensibilities. Here's a woman who like acorns as much as I do! Of course, Amy's much more than simply a nature lover. She's a farmer, a crafter, and an unschooling mama who enjoys small and beautiful details, life learning, and community building. Then she wraps all this wonderfulness up inside her beautiful family home. Let's go inside and see...

plant living room

Just a peek inside Amy's home...

brown chair

The sitting area in the kitchen

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

I live in a little town called Media Pennsylvania, right outside of Philadelphia with my creative husband, Chris, who is a "jack of all trades" and our two daughters, Hannah, 7 and Norah, 4. We live in an arts and crafts style twin built in the 1920s. Our house was a true fixer upper when we first bought it almost 11 years ago. We have gutted most of the house, but we still have many plans like redoing our attic one day.

kids clawfoot bathtub

Girls in the clawfoot tub

How do you approach decorating in your home? What's the most important thing?

I love a clean, simple, modern look, and also incorporating the beauty of nature into the decor. Mushrooms, acorns, pine cones, and feathers are scattered throughout our home. I love the outdoors and am a woodsy kind of gal. My friends call my style "woodsy mod." I kinda like that!

I love change. When a new season approaches, I find myself rearranging and organizing, especially as the the girls grow older and their interests change. I enjoy switching things up. I have always been this way. I remember as a little girl doing this to my room and even my school desk! My husband is always coming home to a new look. He just shakes his head and smiles.

You have two young daughters, and you homeschool. How does the girls' STUFF and the schooling STUFF influence the look and feel of your home?

I believe in the philosophy that less is more, so I strive for a home free of a lot of STUFF. Also, I do love for everything in our home to have a place. It helps to keep things simple and calm (most of the time).  

Each room of our home does hold little nooks for play and creating. Built-in shelves and drawers hold books, art supplies, and toys and games and help to keep things neat and tidy. Books live in most of our rooms, as well as baskets full of things like knitting or drawing supplies that are easy to move from one room to the next.

organized shelves interior

Shelves hold artfully contained school supplies

baskets on shelves

Baskets and jars hold more supplies

A three-season front porch is a nice sunny space for play.

porch drop-leaf table

Front porch playroom

porch

Wooden toys and a wooden school desk

Our basement holds all the tools for dress up as well as craft supplies. And dolls and doll accessories live in the girl's room.

child's room quilt

Beautiful patchwork quilt in the girls' room

kids room books dresses

Kids' books and favorite things on display

Stuff does seem to creep in though and so I do love to tidy and declutter and always have a goodwill bag ready to go. 

Great design can be expensive. How do you get the most bang for your buck?

Almost everything in our home has come from thrift stores, yard sales, and Craigslist. I love things with a past and that are built well. To me, it is so much more fun to have things that are original than things that are multi-produced and everyone has.

Also, having a talented creative family has definitely been helpful in keeping costs down. My grandfather along with my husband have incredible carpentry skills. Luckily, to satisfy my love of the forest, my creative husband is always bringing me home beautiful, nature-inspired crafts such as handles and hooks made from twigs and branches. So simple, yet beautiful and free! 

twig hook tree art

Tree art and a twig hook

tree limb door handle

Tree limb door handle

Tell us about the best deal you have gotten lately for your home.

Recently I scored several Danish mid-century pieces at our local consignment shop that I LOVE!!

Danish mid-century furniture

Amy's recent mid-century Danish furniture finds

child artwork dining table

Norah colors on the dining room table

Tell us about one DIY project you have taken on recently and love.

During my last pregnancy, I went into major nesting mode and decided to paint the entire house in new warm colors. I have regretted this decision for awhile now. We have northern exposure, which does not allow for tons of light, and my home seems too dark. I love the look of grey and even white walls that allow fabrics and artwork to really POP! So I have recently started the painting process of transforming my home from dark to light.

blue room built-ins

Amy peeks out from her pretty blue bedroom

Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or decorative item in your home? Tell us about this item.

This is such a hard question for me. I have so many lovely custom pieces in my home, built by my grandfather and husband. Every room in my home has at least one handcrafted piece — bookshelves, window seats, kitchen cabinetry, as well as a custom built-in bed complete with drawers and storage. I don't think I will ever be able to move,  mostly because of all the the time and energy put into my home by my loved ones.

girl on guitar built-in cabinets

Hannah practices guitar on the family made built-in furniture

built-in cabinets home tour

Another view of the living room

You are a crafty, creative woman. What household chore do you tend to back burner most so you can tend to your creative life?

I would have to say deep cleaning. It feels like every day I say to myself "the kitchen floor mopping can wait one more day" and then a month goes by or more!! Ugh! At least I sweep.

What is your most important everyday ritual at home?

 An everyday ritual of mine is "early to rise." I am a definite early bird. I love starting my day before anyone is up to either exercise, read, knit, or just prepare for the day. But each day holds something different for me. Sometimes I drink tea in the morning, sometimes I don't. Sometimes we read books at night, sometimes we play games too late and are all too tired for a book.

The change of seasons does bring rituals into our home. Right now, with the cooler weather and everyone wanting to cozy up, it seems as if tea parties are a constant (although you never know what time of day the tea will get poured).  

teapot teacups dining room

Autumn means it's time for a tea party

In your home, what is one indulgence you give into?

Local, organic foods. As an organic grower and educator of the importance of local, organic foods, I try to practice what I preach.

kitchen pantry shelves

Kitchen pantry

kitchen shelves

Organized kitchen shelves

broom duster basket cleaning supplies

A few utilitarian objects make for pretty display

What are your favorite stores to shop for home? 

I can honestly say that my favorite places to shop for the home are thrift shops. I love the thrill of the hunt. I  love rummaging through things with a past wondering who was the last person to use it. I also find that older things are built better and last longer. I have a toaster that is probably from the forties, and it will not break!! I rarely buy anything new. When I do, it's fun to have a local IKEA. I do love supporting local too. I have several pieces of pottery (many made by my hubby), as well as artwork which I love — all created by local artisans.

pottery on mantle

Handmade pottery and artwork Amy has collected

open window pottery living room

A pretty corner in the living room

Amy, I will be coveting twig hooks and twig door handles forever now... I adore the touches of nature and the lovely artfulness of your home. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. 

Amy Johnson enjoys spending her time gardening, knitting, thrifting, urban homesteading, and taking photos of it all. A former CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farmer, she now works for a non-profit as Director of Farming as well as an educator of sustainable agriculture. She enjoys hanging laundry while her four hens cluck at her feet. You can follow more of Amy's life on her blog Homegrown.

 

Don't miss our previous Show & Tell Home Tours: