downstairs {before & after}

This post is especially for all the ladies my mom works with. It seems like I am driving a few of them crazy with not posting what I was doing with all those pieces of wood. There was also a request to see the chalkboard painted walls a while back. So ladies, here you go….

Now I am fully aware that many of you looking at this probably aren’t a fan of my ‘style’ – no biggie. My mom is an interior designer and I drive her nuts at times with all the rules I break and random things I do. She has been known to tell me that everything in my house matches because nothing matches! My philosophy on decorating your home is you should do what you love and what you want to look at. I think the Pottery Barn style is beautiful, but it just isn’t me (though I have a lot of family built furniture straight out of the catalogs!). As I am sure my home isn’t many of you. The black paint is chalkboard paint. I drew a tree in the entry with chalk and on the other side I write notes to the boys, record their height, etc. There is a vintage style growth chart mounted on the wall so we can keep track of changing stature – the boys measure themselves all the time. I had to drywall the walls to make them smooth before painting – which was nuts and a lot of hard work on my part. The wall leading up the stairs is covered in cork flooring with notes that record funny things my kids say. I conned Chris into building the fake fireplace (those are the wood pieces inside it). On my new fireplace mantle I purposefully placed things that make me smile: vintage stamps spelling my last name, retro pop bottles, a brownie camera, a post-it note with a drawing by Biggest Brother showing how much he loves me, an old farmhouse pitcher, fresh flowers and a vintage juice cup filled with pencils. Why pencils? Pencils represent so much to me: creativity, order, vivid color, symmetry, organization…not to mention one of the greatest movie lines ever : “I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils…” I would love a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils! Anyone know the movie that is from?

And finally, a massive gallery wrap canvas of our shoe picture. This may not be a picture many of you would enlarge and hang from your mantle, but I LOVE IT. The boots are the same ones Chris has had since high school. For a lot of people when they think of Chris – these boots come to mind. My shoes…a bit of girl, vintage and modern together. Biggest Brother’s shoes are falling apart, stuff stuck in the velcro and just beat up from lots of outdoor play. Big Brother’s boots are who he is at this age as well. Littlest Brother’s shoes are the first pair we bought when we found out we were pregnant with our oldest…they have been passed down to every son in the house. And finally, my first purchase knowing a girl would join our family. Every shoe on the picture brings back a flood of memories about that person – that is why it is a massive canvas in my living room. A bit random and maybe odd, but that fits us pretty well 🙂

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  • carrie - My favorite thing is the pic of the shoes. I have tried it, but I think I need a wide lens. ?? When I come to a class of yours, I’m packing my families shoes!!! I want to do this every few years and have a laundry room filled with all the pics! Your house is beautiful.

  • melanie - You’ve Got Mail! Love the new fireplace!

  • sheridan - I love seeing everyone’s style and home. It looks great and I especially love hearing your ideas and why’s behind your style! I’ve learned to buy more for what I love rather than to fill a space. If I buy what I love I’ll eventually find a spot for it and use it over and over. love this post please show us more!

  • Jamie - I love the line from “You’ve Got Mail” too, but bc I love the smell of sharpened pencils! Ashley, your house is so cute. I’m glad you posted pics of it bc during the SnapShop I wanted to take a pic of everything bc I found your style so inspiring! Your home reminds me of a fresh and friendly beach house on the west coast. You’ve given me lots of ideas for my house now (and projects for Kendall) — hope you don’t mind 🙂

  • Becky - Very cool, you come up with the neatest ideas. and have such an understanding and willing to help husband, you are very blessed.

  • Serena - Ashley, I just love your house…it is full of so many stories that are sooo sweet!

  • Heather - I LOVE that! I think its very important that we decorate our homes with the things we love and not just decorate because it “looks right”.
    Love it, love it, love it!!

  • Jessica - You’ve Got Mail! I see I am not the first to come up with the right answer …

    I am a long-time lurker- but I am delurking because I had to comment on your beautiful home- most of all your shoe print. I ADORE it and am planning one of my own.

    What a great idea for a faux-fireplace! You are so creative!

    Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Aunt Sandy - I love all of it. My fav is the pic of the shoes, I want one. I don’t know when you have the time to do all if this, but, it’s great. And, it’s you.

  • Mandy - I personally LOVE your style, I’m just not cool enough to pull it off in my own home…maybe one day; hoping the Snap Shot puts me a step closer!

  • meg duerksen - are you kidding?! this is so very cool.
    100% cooler and unique than the first photo. it looks like a very fun family with personality and love LIVE there. really live.
    i just love it.
    especially the shoe pic.

  • Shannon Phillips - OH ASHLEY! I love it! I have the same bookcase that you have in our entry and a mirror that is so similar to your white frame. Your style is so you and so amazing!

  • Lauren Roberts - I can’t wait to come see all the new things you’ve done. Great job!

  • Jeannette Swan - I love it all!! I wish I had your style or any style for that matter – creativity is not my gift – I guess I have gift envy! I want to make a chalkboard like the one you have over your couch – what did you use to make that?

  • Tracey - I too love the shoe picture. Where and how did you print/mount it?

  • AshleyAnn - Tracey, it is a gallery wrap canvas done by Simply Canvas. You won’t be able to order from them unless you are a professional photographer. However, I recommend trying the canvas wraps from….you can always order a small one first to see what you like. Ours is about 3ft x 4ft…

  • emily ruth - love it love it love it! i agree that the things in your home should say just that ‘this is our home’ 🙂

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  • Kelly - Oh man you inspire me. Now only to find the time! I was wondering if you could do a little tutorial or spotlight the growth chart (or at least I think it is a growth chart) it looks really cool.

  • Allison - I absolutely LOVE this room. Don’t know how I’d classify the style but it is so imperfectly perfect. Just my style 🙂

  • Simply Mother - I love this! All of it. I love your style! I have no idea if it is “mine” but only because I have no idea what MY style is. I’d like someone to come into my home and tell me what to do. I envy your creativity and ability to make things gorgeous, even while being quirky.

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  • Heather - I think your style is so inspiring! I love the way you mix modern and farmhouse country together.

    And You’ve Got Mail is one of my all time favorite movies. I must watch it each year during back to school time because of that line.

  • ajira - Love this. My kind of room for sure!!

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  • Jessica - Hi Ashley! I enjoy your blog and was reading through some of your DIY archives this morning when something really stood out to me: you defend your style a lot in these posts. Lots of “I know this isn’t for everyone” kind of stuff. And I just wanted to encourage you to LET GO of that! You are unique and your style is fun. Who cares if people don’t like it? Let go of that insecurity that makes you defend. Keep being you, because YOU are awesome!!!