Shaynah Dodge & Her Home
Pour yourself a big cup of Joe and settle on in, because this is one of the meatiest, most inspiring tours we've had the pleasure of sharing yet! Welcome to the home of Shaynah Dodge. She's the gal-to-follow behind Ruffled Snob, a Minneapolis dweller and a self-proclaimed "lover of sunshine, hoarder of denim and collector of T-shirts." If those sentiments alone don't make you fall head over heels, just wait until you dive down deep into Shaynah's simplified and sweet space.
As the mother of three, life is anything but predictable, yet Shaynah and her husband have found the perfect spontaneous balance for their lives on the go. From morning cuddles with her sons to homemade meals at home, Shaynah has a lot to be thankful for. Coupled with her knack for creativity and ability to curate a style at home all her own, this breezy, bohemian blonde has inspired us to embrace the little moments with just a little more enthusiasm.
Below, Shaynah takes us inside her (nearly) all-white home, and offers us candid insight into what inspires her, who she's following right now and how she's making it work as the cornerstone amid this bustling family of five.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is a typical day like for you?
I am very chill—very much a homebody, and I am definitely an on-the-fly type of person. I don't stick to a strict schedule on anything, and can't be forced to do things I don't want. Whatever is the opposite of Type A, that is me. It takes me a good 20 minutes to become a functioning human in the mornings. My husband is an overachiever—he heads out at 5:30 a.m. for the gym. My boys, Rowan, Brinley and Wrennyn, are the best. They crawl into bed and take his place for about an hour before my alarm goes off. I seriously love our morning cuddle sessions—I will be crushed when they stop joining me. We get dressed and we meet downstairs for breakfast. We are usually a bit rushed and my oldest son, Rowan, is an angel baby—he is always helping his brothers out and making sure they have their shoes and coats.
After I drop the older two off at school, I head to the gym. It is such a cleansing way to start the day. Mentally, it really grounds me. However, I can be easily manipulated into brunch with a friend and ditching the gym. I am a huge sucker for brunch—I could eat breakfast foods for every meal of the day. We have really overhauled our lives this past year and began eating healthy, so I am trying to learn more about it. My husband, Andy, is very passionate about cooking, so we usually make dinners together. I am the sous chef, basically there for moral support. I am a pretty terrible cook—I definitely prefer eating out.
Nights are filled with a lot of family time—baseball, "Star Wars," a campfire in the backyard, board games and then we finish the night reading together. We really have our lives knit carefully around our children, because we know this time with them won't last forever. After we put the kids to bed, I binge on Netflix while flipping through my hoards of coffee table books. Clearly, I like to walk through life leisurely.
How did you pick the name “Ruffled Snob?”
Hmmmmm...people tend to love my social media handle and it just doesn't suit who I am anymore. But let's just clarify—I am not at all a snob! Ha! It is more that I like things a very specific way or not at all, but in terms of how I treat people, I am definitely not a snob. As for the "Ruffled," I had a huge crush on shabby chic interiors in my early 20s, then in my late 20s, shabby chic and I had a very messy breakup. I really think I am a different person than the girl who chose the name Ruffled Snob. I keep waiting for the day when I find a new name that fits.
Can you offer any advice for readers who are looking to break into the influencer space?
Don't ever try to create something based on someone else's success. You can copy someone all you want, but even if you find success, you won't be happy doing it unless it is something you are passionate about. That is why it is important to know yourself before you can truly influence an audience. Remember: There is enough room for everyone. Don't worry about numbers. I believe, if you are passionate about a topic, you will always be able to connect with people who share that. Whether you have an audience of five or 5,000, you should believe in the things you promote or share, so be careful and choose wisely. Don't be afraid to say "no" and always stay true to yourself. Once you have finally grown, remember this: You're never too cool to interact with your audience. Some of my best friends on social media are people who commented frequently on my images and we just had some great interaction!
I always wanted to find work that allowed me to utilize writing and share about my favorite things, but I never felt good enough to pursue it professionally. Social media communities really helped develop a natural outlet for people like me. It actually gave me the opportunity to become my own brand.
How has social media played a part in marketing your brand?
For me, writing and expressing my own view has always been important. My mom always let us know we were worthy of being listened to, but I just never found an audience to share it with until blogs and social media came about. I wanted to find work that allowed me to utilize writing and share about my favorite things, but I never felt good enough to pursue it professionally. Social media communities really helped develop a natural outlet for people like me. It actually gave me the opportunity to become my own brand, I guess. I find myself very lucky to partner with so many inspiring shop owners and brands. In the process, I have made many friends. I think that is the beauty of being able to have your own brand—it has opened the doors for lots of people to market themselves as a tastemaker/influencer, and still stay true to themselves, all the while they can continue on with other careers or lives. Everyone is marketable, really.
Let’s talk about your home! What were your must-haves in terms of furniture and accessories?
I have to surround myself with things that I really love and feel connected to. It wasn't about having a trendy space, or a perfectly styled home. It was about finding the balance of comfort and strong design and somehow blending them together. We didn't have a budget to hire an interior designer, so playing with the scale of furniture versus a room was our biggest challenge. We were looking for larger pieces that were beautiful and that would age well. We went nearly six months without furniture before committing to our Restoration Hardware pieces. The sofas are design conscious and look just as lovely worn out. Having natural fibers, woods and linens were really my main goal.
For accessories, unique rugs and light fixtures are an obsession for me. Because the larger pieces were earthy, I wanted to bring in more metals, textures and patterns to satisfy my bohemian tendencies. I used the rugs and lights to tie in different elements. I love adding texture and color with the accessories because they are easier to swap out. I spend lots of time searching for smaller brands and unique artisans—I just feel much more connected to pieces made by small makers. I am currently crushing on Heather Taylor Home, we have her blue beach stripe cushions in our sunroom and I love them—I can't wait to get more of her stuff in my space! It adds such a personal touch knowing our stuff was made by someone who is mindful about what they're creating.
Who and what have influenced your style and aesthetic?
I have major girl crush on Jane Birkin, Clémence Poésy, Michelle Williams, Cydney Morris (Stone_Cold_Fox designer) and Lucy Williams (Fashion Me Now blogger). They all have this laid-back, effortless style that is very unique and slightly sexy. I want the feel of how they dress to transition into my interiors. I am also very influenced by the '70s. Something about the mixed scales and color palettes, also lots of brass, cognac leather and wood! I have always felt really connected to that era in both how I dress and how I like my interiors. Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, Calif., by Commune Design is a huge inspiration for me. Also, the homes of Jessica De Ruiter and Jenni Kayne really resonate with me. They both just have that natural flow with great design elements built in—styled, but not fussy.
How long did it take to decide how to style your home?
Oh man, this has been the slowest process. I feel like we are just getting started. I don't know that I chose a certain style as much as I really just fell in love with certain things and built off of that. I was seeing all these bloggers moving into new spaces and bam, three months later, they are immaculate and perfectly styled. I really took it slow as I developed a feel for the house. It was loaded with 1980's oak woodwork, and the first thing we did was have the wood and walls painted white so that it was a fresh clean palette for us to build off of. Once it was all neutralized, we had a much better feel for what we wanted. My grandpa came to America from Sweden and I always felt a strong connection to that part of my heritage—so clean, white and simple was a great place to start. The home was full of light from all the windows and we wanted to keep it really fresh and breezy. Thankfully, Andy and I are really on the same page about things. We both wanted it bright and open and earthy, and I really love the feel it has taken on.
I have to surround myself with things that I really love and feel connected to. It really wasn't about having a trendy space, or a perfectly styled home. It was about finding the balance of comfort and strong design and somehow blending them together.
We’re dying to know your secrets. Are any of the items in your home thrift store finds?
Oh, there is nothing like a vintage score! I am definitely an antique/vintage girl for certain things (my closet is plum-full of worn-out Levi's). My patterned rugs are all from vintage shops, as are the chairs that sit as nightstands in our room. I am so obsessed with rugs and chairs. I won't stop until I own an authentic Børge Mogensen Spanish Chair or Kaare Klint Danish Safari Chair. My console by Jack Cartwright that is in the entryway was also a vintage find.
We love the artwork in your home! Can you offer any advice for readers looking to choose the perfect artwork to display in their home?
I am shy about this, but I actually made all the current artwork in our home. I used to travel on the back of my dad's motorcycle when I was younger and we would spend nights under the moon. I was always fascinated by how the moon took on different colors in every sunset, no matter what state we were in. That has really inspired a lot of the pieces I created. It was about the connection of colors in nature more than anything. I am certainly not an artist, but I really had a hard time finding color tones that suited my aesthetic, so I created my own. The sketches are by my friend, Liz, who is an incredibly talented artist in Nashville. She was working on the sketches and I begged her to send them to me!
Art is such an emotional thing—you have to really feel a connection to it. You should focus on something that has meaning to you. Artwork has this way of bringing a space together and finishing it off. The colors should evoke emotion—whether they are bright, bold or muted they should make you feel something. I just found this amazing local artist, David Coggins—I am pining hard for this piece of his! His collections Around the Blue and Summer Diary are also stunning. His use of color and shapes completely inspires me!
How do you make your place feel (and look) so open and spacious?
When we moved in, we literally had no furniture—we got rid of everything from our old home. It was such a good cleanse. Because we started this home with very little, we really didn't want to fill it with things that didn't have meaning. My husband is a true minimalist, and not in the trendy sense. He barely leaves his mark anywhere—he just doesn't feel the need to own much. It is so inspiring. He would be perfectly happy with a good pair of jeans and his Tom Dixon candles! We came into this home with that fresh attitude—very pared down and thoughtful. We tried to find furniture that could stand alone, and that made it easier to leave the space uncluttered. The home was full of light from all the windows and we wanted to keep it really fresh and breezy. Everyone thought we were crazy when we started painting our home all white. It just feels so warm and calm to me. It also keeps it very open to the outdoors without your eye stopping at the window frame. Raising three boys in a white home isn't as horrifying as it sounds!
How would you describe your personal decorating style?
Earthy and modern with soft, Scandinavian accents and bohemian touches.
What are you most proud about in the design of your home?
It feels very "us." There is no trend that takes over and nothing is forced. It just evolved very organically. I think it is very inviting.
What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
I gave up most of my career to be at home, and I was so thankful for the opportunity to spend my days raising my kids, but now I feel like I am fighting to get that creative piece of myself back. I definitely feel like mothers give up much more than any one of us dares to voice out loud. I often get so scared to pursue things because I don't know how to juggle it all. I am pretty sure there will never be a perfect balance, you will always be torn between multiple worlds.
We adore our kids and their energy. We are a very close family—we do everything together, all five of us, so it has been hard for me to really grasp the concept of focusing on myself. I am finally getting there now. They are all a little older and self-sufficient, so I am really trying to give myself the freedom to break out and do my own thing. I don't feel as guilty about wanting a separate life outside of the home. I am so lucky to be a stay-at-home mom. I love it, but some days I really miss having my own thing, so finding a hobby I love is a top priority for me right now. I think it is so beautiful to watch how differently women balance motherhood with pursuing their dreams. It is something I always wish I was better at.
Is there an Instagram feed that you’re obsessing over right now?
I am obsessed with @niconicoclothing_wmn! Sue is a children's clothing designer who transitioned to womenswear, and her feed is a collection of my soul—I swear! It's the perfect mix of art, design and storytelling. The feed of @findyourcalifornia sports an awesome collection of good vibes, perfect for time-wasting. And @jmaumau is so inspiring—I just love her minimal, earthy feed. I also creep on a lot of my followers, too, good old stalker style.
What do you love most about living in Minneapolis? What are some of your favorite things to do in the area?
I always laugh a little because people seem so surprised when they discover that I am from Minnesota. Minneapolis has the most amazing summers! It is so lush and green here and we have so many amazing trails. We love going for long walks and discovering new territory around the lakes. I dream of owning an A-frame cabin up in the North Shore. It is so scenic and great for hiking, and the air is so crisp! Minnesota just has this super-cool outdoor culture that is pretty great and goes so under-the-radar.
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is a great place to go to find tranquility. Its gardens look like they were made by fairies! We also have a cool art culture here. I love the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Institute of Art—killer gift shops in both! The Children's Theatre Company is brilliant. We have taken some trial acting classes there and the kids love it! We love eating at this great joint called the The Lowbrow and there is a fantastic antique shop across the street. A Baker's Wife is this amazing little pastry place the kids love! CIEL Loft & Home is a perfect little haunt for bohemian and industrial-style accents. Hunt & Gather is a super-quirky, but great antique shop. Grethen House, Mille and The Foundry Home Goods are all shops that I also love to frequent.