Shavonda Gardner & Her Home
You don't often hear of people who downsize by choice, but that's exactly what Shavonda Gardner and her wife did. Even with kids in tow, the family decided to embrace the unique challenges and intricacies of creating a home within pint-sized square footage, and the results are something that many of us with larger spaces haven't even been able to nail down.
As a working designer and the founder of her personal blog, SG Style (formally known as A Home Full Of Color), Shavonda has found the perfect platforms from which to share her passion for design. Below, we had the chance to peek into her home, which we can't help but describe as the perfect representation of "home sweet home." See Shavonda's bohemian, charm-soaked home below!
Where did you get the idea for your blog SG Style? How did you build a following?
I came up with the idea for SG Style when we downsized into our current home. I had been blogging under the name of my previous blog for a couple of years, and our move triggered me to also think about the future of my blog and what I wanted from it. I had already built a following blogging under A Home Full Of Color, so making the transition wasn't too difficult, and most of my following came with me.
Tell us about your previous blog, A Home Full of Color. How did it differ from your current blog?
A Home Full Of Color was all about my decorating process in our first home. I shared a lot of DIYs and how-tos. It was very specific to that and didn't stray from it. I do still love to design and decorate spaces using color, but SG Style was created as a way for me break away from that "box," if you will.
Living in and decorating our previous home led me not only to the realization that I much prefer living in a small home, but also helped me embrace my love of maximalist design and boho-eclectic interiors. SG Style is an ode to both. I blog about our downsizing journey, share ideas for creative living in small spaces, talk about design trends and scout out amazing eclectic interiors. It's also much more lifestyle-based, so I touch on travel and a bit of fashion, as well.
What is it about small spaces that sparks your interest?
In a nutshell, they just feel good to me. I've always loved small spaces and specifically the creative ways in which to make them work. I love the idea of achieving more with less and the notion of being content with having just enough space for what you need. Yes, it was wonderful to have a home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, two living areas, etc., but at the end of the day, we just didn't need it. Living in small spaces requires you to think about what you really need and that becomes the basis for creating spaces that are functional and really work.
How did serving in the Armed Forces influence your lifestyle and design choices?
Not only did I serve in the military, I also grew up with parents who served, and that creates a nomadic life by default. For a lot of children, it's very hard for them to move so much. Once you create friendships and start to love a particular place, it's time to move. It can be quite lonely, but I happened to really love it.
Once I got out of the Air Force, I decided to settle (for now) here in Sacramento, Calif. It's where my children are growing up, but it's really hard for me to sit still. I have a wandering heart and that means I crave change—more often than my wife would like! I indulge in my need for change through design. I move things around a lot, and I'm always on the hunt for the newest treasure to add to our home. It's not uncommon for my wife to come home from work to a room painted a different color than when she left.
Tell us about your space! What's the inspiration behind it?
I don't have a specific inspiration behind the way I'm designing our home. I just know I want to create a home that's very cozy, moody, collected and personal. I am really inspired by other cultures and things that have been around a while, so I love to forage flea markets, consignment shops, estate sales and Craigslist for interesting things to add to our home.
How did you create such an eclectic, boho look in your home?
I may love living in small spaces, but when it comes to design, for me, more is more. I'm a maximalist at heart so it's all about layering in all the things—color, pattern, textiles, iconic elements, etc. It's a really slow process, but it's getting there.
What's your favorite piece in your home?
Geesh! That's like asking me to choose my favorite child! I'm going to have to say whatever the most recent addition is, which, in this case, is the Chesterfield sofa I scored on Craigslist. I genuinely love every single piece I bring into our home. As a rule, if I don't love it, I don't buy it. Every piece elicits a memory or a seriously happy feeling, but I'm typically crushing hard on whatever the newest thing is.
What design trends are you loving right now?
I'm pretty biased here, but I'm loving that eclecticism is having a moment right now. I love that we are seeing the acceptance of a mix of styles and design ideas in a space, and that people are embracing the idea of creating spaces that are very personal and not plucked out of a store catalog.
If you had to choose one color to paint all the rooms in your home for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Black. Hands down. The same way many people feel about white paint is how I feel about black. It works with everything and across all style barriers, whether that's minimal, polished, traditional, glam, bohemian, contemporary, feminine, shabby chic, etc. It's like wearing that fabulous little black dress, or your favorite pair of black pumps, or your go-to blazer—it instantly pulls things together. Plus, I love moody rooms and it doesn't get much moodier than black!
How has traveling influenced your style?
It has given me a love for the way other people live and what's common in other regions of the world when it comes to lifestyle and design. I love to incorporate elements and ideas from around the world in my own home and when I'm designing client spaces.
Which destination has been most inspiring for you?
We recently traveled to Sayulita, Mexico and it was so incredible there. The people, the relaxed bohemian vibe, the colors, the food—everything.
What's next for SG Style?
I have no idea!
Finally, we'd love for you to share as many of the linkable resources as you are able to share!
When I'm not shopping the flea market or Craigslist, I love to patron small businesses before typical retail, and specifically women-owned small businesses. I am definitely always on a pretty tight budget, so retail is usually much better for my pocketbook. But for things like home decor, art and accessories, I like to support small as much as possible.
Some of my fav finds are from Lucent Lightshop, Stuck On Hue, PureHomeLA, The Vintage Rug Shop, Furbish Studio, The Aestate, FigHouseVintage and BohoPillow. My go-to retail sources are World Market, Target, West Elm, Pier 1 Imports, Anthropologie, Marshalls/T.J. Maxx, Ross, Rugs USA, Wayfair and IKEA.