Summer & Her Home
Summer Hogan, lifestyle blogger and mother, is one of those ultra-sweet, blissfully bubbly creatives who is constantly wowing us with her innovative style. If you're just making her acquaintance, Summer uses her blog, Simple Stylings, as a creative outlet to showcase her work and to offer tips on home decorating, style, cooking, traveling and much more. Ultimately, her quest for cool style has sparked consistent tweaking and redecorating in her own home, and we can't get enough of the rustic-meets-coastal aesthetic that Summer has honed in on.
Understanding how costly and time-consuming it can be to redecorate a home, Summer strives to deliver the highest quality styling tips for limited budgets and busy lifestyles. Her style is as tasteful as it is functional, and with these key goals in mind, Summer has been able to build up a loyal following of readers who come to her for real-life advice and perspective on decorating and dressing to impress!
Today, we invite you to take a peek inside Summer’s charming and welcoming home. It's clear that every decorative object—from patterned throw pillows to eccentric chandeliers—was thoughtfully chosen and placed to the point where we're certain no detail was overlooked. We think you'll love the walls of framed pictures, painted accent walls, elegant mirrors and, oh, the fresh flowers. Without further ado, welcome to the Hogan's home!
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get started as a blogger?
A few summers ago, I found myself completely stressed out and working crazy hours in my real estate career, and realized it was time for a change! My son was getting ready to enter kindergarten and I felt like his childhood was passing me by, so I decided to leave my job and start working part-time to be home with him more. As a single mom, I knew working part-time wasn’t going to last forever, but I wanted to enjoy the summer and see where it took us.
I began reading the blog Young House Love, and it struck me that I was doing a lot of the projects around my house that John and Sherry were doing, so I thought why not start a blog and write about my experiences? Thus, Simple Stylings was born and I haven’t looked back! I still work part-time in real estate, but the blog has become my business, and I am able to stay home with my son instead of going back to an office full-time—that is a huge blessing!
How do you think of new ideas and keep content fresh?
Honestly, I’m so passionate about what I’m doing—home décor, DIY, food, entertaining and travel—that the ideas seem to just keep coming. It’s balancing my day job, my family life and the blog that’s most difficult. Sometimes I have a great idea or opportunity that I have to pass on because I don’t have the time or means to make it work, and that is hard to swallow. When you are a creative, it’s almost harder not to allow your ideas to come to life.
When I do get into a slump, I try to focus on things that really need my attention around the house that I would naturally be doing, and then I create content around that—such as my capsule wardrobe series and our Roadtrip Reality series. I always try to tackle projects that we can use or have meaning for us versus doing a project just to have new content. I think this keeps us DIY bloggers more relevant and relatable.
Your site offers so many aspirational, yet attainable, tips, from entertaining to interior decorating. How do you stay organized with the different projects you are juggling?
Ugh...organization is the hardest part for me. I actually like to be really organized, but it’s hard because our schedule is constantly changing. I do know that when I have a long burst of time to work (like six to eight hours) I am much more productive. I don’t work at my day job on Fridays, so I spend at least eight hours working on blog posts for the coming week, photo shoots and tackling any projects that need to be completed.
Your home is so charming and welcoming! Tell us a little about the decorating process.
Thanks so much! Other than our kitchen, most rooms in our home didn’t need full renovations, so when I choose to decorate a space, it’s usually because I get an idea of something I want to try or I find a piece of furniture or décor that inspires me. Also, if there is a new trend out there that I find myself drawn to, I like to figure out a way to adapt it into our home. For example, I was never one who preferred all-white everything, but it is so popular that I tried it in my office mixed with pops of turquoise and I loved it! I guess you could say my home is my ‘test kitchen’ in terms of decorating. I like to take risks and try new things to see what works.
I try to think long and hard about new pieces that I bring in the house, and whether or not I really love them. If you do this, you will inevitably fill your home with only things you love.
How long did it take to complete your home from start to finish?
I started the blog almost three years ago and that was when I started taking decorating more seriously, putting a lot more thought into the design choices I was making. I slowly made my way through almost every room (some rooms more than once!) and—outside of the laundry closet and the master bedroom—all the rooms are complete. That’s not to say I won’t get the itch to change one of them tomorrow!
What is one piece of furniture or artwork that you can’t live without?
I have grown to love abstract art and although I would love to be a collector of originals, that is not always in the budget. I’ve taught myself to create some art pieces and my son loves to paint as well. So I would say my son’s artwork displayed around the house is the one thing I can’t live without. It makes me happy and adds a playfulness to our home.
What was one item you were most excited about purchasing?
The piece I was most excited about buying lately is my new turquoise JuJu hat! I’ve always loved JuJu hats and I finally found the perfect place for one. There is something about the feathers and the way it looks 3-D on the wall that make them so special.
I guess you could say my home is my ‘test kitchen’ in terms of decorating. I like to take risks and try new things to see what works.
What is your favorite budget-friendly piece in your home and why?
My favorite budget-friendly piece is the IKEA shoe cabinet in our living room. We don’t have a true entryway, so the shoe cabinet with the mirror above helps define an entry and also adds extra storage. I keep files in it as well as my son’s school and artwork.
What design projects are you excited about starting?
There are so many fun projects going on right now! I’m working on a patio makeover for a young couple in the Washington, D.C. area and I just finished helping a friend design her fireplace and mantel! The project I’m most excited about in the next couple of months is making over my laundry closet. It’s a small space that will hopefully pack a big punch! Think: Pink flamingos, brass, a sliding barn door and funky lighting.
What makeup products do you swear by?
Does ChapStick count? I am a minimalist when it comes to makeup so a good under-eye concealer, a mineral powder foundation and blush and mascara is my go-to daily routine! I love my Mary Kay liquid full-coverage foundation in beige that I use as my concealer. If I’m going out or want to feel a little extra special, I add eyeliner, a shimmery shadow and some light red lip stain!
What are your top three design tips?
- Buy only what you love! This is hard and I’ve had to train myself to do it, but I try to think long and hard about new pieces that I bring in the house, and whether or not I really love them. If you do this, you will inevitably fill your home with only things you love.
- Forget the matchy-matchy mentality and resist buying that four-piece bedroom set. Find a cool vintage bed, pair it with traditional nightstands and a mid-century modern dresser, for example.
- Even if you are a novice decorator, put together a mood board so that you have a cohesive plan. You can use an online tool such as Olioboard.com or just cut out pictures from magazines and tape them to a piece of paper. Having a plan helps!
If you could go anywhere in a moment’s notice, where would you go?
Wow, this is a tough one! I love relaxing on a Caribbean beach, but my adventurous heart desires exploring new cultures! I would say anywhere in Europe. One of my closest friends lives in London and I’ve been fortunate to travel there several times. I never tire of the history, architecture and the European way of life. Bruges is probably my favorite city to visit!
What are your everyday style essentials that should be a part of every woman’s wardrobe?
Ankle booties, skinny jeans and anything with stripes. This is my go-to uniform and it usually works for day or night!
Best moment of your career so far?
I can’t pinpoint one defining moment in my blogging career, but after I completed a few paying jobs and articles, I realized that I could do this! I can be my own boss and make a career for myself in a creative industry that I never dreamed could happen. And I’m able to teach my son the value and reward of hard work. So I guess that moment would be when I formed my LLC and officially became a small business owner!
What is one piece of advice you would give to a blogger just starting out?
If you are passionate about it, go for it! Having a blog—no matter how much time you put into it—is a wonderful creative outlet and an important extension of any business. If you are looking to grow your blog as a business, reach out to other bloggers and find a support group of online friends that encourage and help each other grow!