Kristin & Her Home
You know what kind of women we're consistently inspired by? The kind that have the courage to take an idea and turn it into a reality. And that's exactly why we love Kristin Mansky, a marketing specialist turned lifestyle blogger. Kristin is the face and voice behind Modish & Main, a lifestyle blog dedicated to home décor, DIY projects, organizational tutorials and much more. Her blog began as a creative outlet to share her everyday musings of fashion, entertaining and beauty and has since evolved to focus on her passions for home decorating, style, organizing and traveling with glimpses of her adventures and experiences thrown into the mix for even more fun!
Kristin manages to stand out as a blogger with her enviable style and authentic, genuine voice, and she constantly strives to inspire her readers to live a healthier, more well-rounded life. Today, we're happy to let you in on a little secret: Kristin is just as empowering in person as she is online! She's been able to build up a loyal following of readers that come to her for inspiration on finding the perfect flea market finds, and living a stylized life.
The home that Kristin has designed perfectly reflects the fun and creative homeowner who resides within. Her spaces are brimming with thrift store finds, DIY projects and handcrafted and repurposed furniture. Below, we invite you to peek inside this swoon-worthy space, hear Kristin's advice on finding the perfect décor and learn more about her entrepreneurial journey, too.
Tell us everything we need to know about your journey as a blogger!
Blogging at Modish & Main started for me as a creative outlet just over three years ago. I was spending my days creating fun, innovative things for my day job and finally wanted to do something that was just for me. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. It was a labor of love spent at coffee shops or at my desk until 4 a.m., learning as much as I could about the world of blogging. I knew blogging was on the rise and I didn’t want to just be another number. I wanted to know what I was doing from the get-go. I registered for online Photoshop classes, borrowed my parent’s camera and just got to work. It wasn’t always pretty at the beginning, but I just kept at it. I used a chunk of my savings to hire a website designer and attended my first blogging conference two days after my first post launched. It was scary and fun all at the same time!
How has the site grown since you launched it?
The journey of Modish & Main has really come a long way the past few years. I knew it would always be a lifestyle blog, but I had an initial interest in posting about fashion. That’s what people were always complimenting me on, but I realized within that first year, that the world of fashion blogging was just not for me. It was the first time that I took a step back from the blog and reevaluated what I wanted it to become rather than what I “thought” others wanted it to be. Doing away with fashion and focusing on what were passions of mine—home décor, DIY, organizing, healthy living, etc.—was way more fun for me than shopping for new clothes! Once I made that change, the blog really took off and my readership grew.
Since that time, I have now become a solopreneur and spend my days creating original content for the blog as well as preparing for the official launch of Modish Digital later this year, which is where I’ll be focusing on creative marketing and social media strategies for small businesses. If I have a passion for something and the willingness to learn, I’ve always believed the possibilities are endless!
How would you describe the aesthetic of your home?
My home is a culmination of rustic, meets industrial, meets vintage flea market finds with a touch of farmhouse. It’s a melting pot of everything that makes me feel comfortable! In the past, I tried everything from bright accent walls with white furniture to warm, traditional tones and it wasn’t until we purchased this home that I really gravitated toward actually listening to what my gut told me. I have previously designed my homes for what I thought was on trend but quickly realized there is nothing about my personality that reflects that. I grew up being a tomboy, a touch rebellious and a whole lot of stubborn. I wanted my house to have a bit of that toughness to it with the rustic and industrial elements, but also find a way to bring in my love for Wisconsin with bits of farmhouse inspiration and, of course, adding personality with my flair of vintage finds. I think combining all of these elements makes for a really comfortable house that invites you to stay awhile.
From where do you pull inspiration?
I have quickly learned that inspiration is all around us. Of course, I love browsing Instagram and Pinterest, as well as flipping through my countless magazines, but I will often gain inspiration from small boutiques located around Ventura, California. Because I’m somewhat all over the place with the aesthetics of my home, I don’t limit myself to where I can gain unique, original ideas. It was just the other day I was browsing an organic soap shop and I wanted to soak in every bit of the calm, tranquil, bohemian aesthetic because I could not get enough of it. I snapped a few photos so I can reference them in the future.
Look to decorate your home with items that will bring you personal joy or that tell a part of your story...I try to bring in those unique touches outside of just photographs to help share some of the things that matter most.
We love your eclectic collection of cameras! What made you start to collect them, and where did you find them?
I started collecting vintage cameras shortly after I was given my first digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera for my 30th birthday a few years ago. I’m typically someone that jumps in with both feet when I have a passion for it, so it wasn’t long before I wanted to start surrounding myself with cameras. They are some of my most prized possessions and I like to think of the story behind the people who once held them and the pictures they captured. I start to daydream about the images taken behind the lens of my Polaroid Land Camera Model 95A, which was the first instant film camera of its time back in the early 1950s. It’s the nostalgia that draws me to them.
I have found a majority of vintage cameras at the flea market, but we also have a few of my father-in-law's old cameras on display, as well as a friend who wanted to see his camera put to good use rather than lost in storage. They’re perfectly placed next to a photo of my grandparents on their second date and a stack of my travel photography books I’ve created over the years!
Do you have any favorite local home décor/furniture stores? What about online shops?
When I first started decorating the house, I was at the Restoration Hardware outlet in Camarillo, California once or twice a week. I got quite a bit of my furniture items from there at a considerable discount from their retail price. They usually have a little ding here or there, but the motto in my home is “perfectly imperfect.” I also live a quarter mile away from a Target, so naturally I have plenty of its home décor throughout my house as well. As for shopping for home décor online, I don’t do a whole lot of it, but when I do it’s usually from Decor Steals, Wayfair and occasionally One Kings Lane. I tend to like to feel things with my hands before I buy anything!
Beyond that, when I look around my house, some of my favorite décor items are found at both the Ventura and Rose Bowl flea markets. The thing about shopping for vintage finds is that you need to have patience. On some trips, we don’t find anything, while on others, we come home with a carload full.
What tips do you have for stylish, yet functional, organization?
I’m a bit of an organizing fanatic and feel that everything should have a home within a home. If you were to open the different cabinets around my house you would notice that every item has a specified location whether it’s in a bin, a basket or a jar. I think of myself as Monica from Friends, and love to label everything! Also, I always try to think outside the box when it comes to how you can repurpose an item. I bought a really old wood container at the flea market because I loved it so much, but wasn’t exactly sure how I could put it to use. Once I got home, it became the perfect organizer for all of my cooking oils and sits right on the countertop! It blends in perfectly with my rustic décor. A magazine holder can quickly become a great way to organize your excess tissue paper or small cutting boards!
Some other things you’ll find plenty of around my house are trays. Never underestimate the power of a good tray to keep you feeling organized. I have an assortment of different styles and they are used on my coffee table, dining table, office desk, nightstand and even in the laundry room. I love to create little vignettes within them that still serve up tons of functionality.
Lastly, start saving all the stylish boxes your shipments arrive in! This has really played a key part in the organization throughout my house. I keep all my monthly Birchbox boxes in a cabinet, and time and time again I end up using them for a quick storage solution or to even package up a gift for a friend.
You have lots of personalized items all around your house and it really brings your home together! Any tips for others looking to style personal mementos in their homes?
Look to decorate your home with items that will bring you personal joy or that tell a part of your story. I incorporated our past by having the states of Louisiana, Wisconsin and California made out of reclaimed wood and hung in the stairway. The wood floorboards hanging in the downstairs bathroom are actually from an old basketball court that ties into both of our basketball playing pasts. I try to bring in those unique touches outside of just photographs to help share some of the things that matter most.
I’m always asking my parents or grandparents for things that I could include in my décor because nothing tells a story more than something old and loved by those closest to you. I love to shop from my grandma’s home and have found some of my most treasured items there! Just be sure that the things you decide to incorporate have a place in your home and you aren’t just grabbing things just to have “things.” At the end of the day, you’ll just end up having a bunch of clutter and you won’t be able to appreciate the items for what they are when they’re lost in a sea of other stuff.
What was your favorite DIY project you have worked on?
Oh, this is a tough one because we have done some really great projects throughout the past few years! I would say my favorite DIY project we’ve done in our house is the stainless steel mosaic backsplash in the kitchen. It was a labor of love that took 16 hours and wouldn’t have been possible without each of us (my dad, boyfriend and myself) having a set role throughout the entire process. It was painstaking to cut over half of those tiles by hand, but the result was well worth it! It’s definitely not a backsplash you see very often, but it gives our kitchen that extra bit of character and is always one of the first things people notice. It’s funny—the first time a guest sees it, they have to walk over and run their hand over it just to see how it feels and if its real!
What is your secret to keeping your house so neat and tidy as a dog owner?
Well, the fact that you think my house is neat and tidy even with my Golden Retriever, Dexie, around is a huge compliment! The thing is, I’ve grown up with Golden’s my entire life so I’m really used to dog hair just being a part of life. A big difference in this house toward the appearance of a tidy home is having these faux distressed hardwood floors that help hide all the hair floating around. Her shedding is never-ending, so the help of a robotic vacuum to keep up with the day-to-day hair has been a huge lifesaver. We also recently swapped out our dark brown couch for a light gray option and it was the best decision we’ve ever made.
My sweet girl also happens to be the worst water drinker ever, so I placed her dog dishes in a galvanized boot tray to help corral all the spillage. It isn’t the perfect solution, but it does help a ton! We also have designated dog bins throughout the house because she has an endless array of toys and we hung hooks near the front door that spell out D-E-X to hold her leash and collars. I really worked hard at incorporating her doggie stuff into our home décor so it didn’t stand out like a sore thumb.
What's your favorite piece of art in the house?
Without a doubt, it’s the reclaimed wood map of California surf spots from Restoration Hardware that hangs in the dining room. I nabbed it from the outlet store and basically anchored my décor around this one piece. We live right near the beach, so a sign that reflects some of California’s best beaches was a match made in heaven.
What is your favorite room in your house, and why?
My favorite room in the house is probably my dining room. It’s the one room that I feel is 100 percent complete and I absolutely love every detail, from the Restoration Hardware table that my mom gifted us as a housewarming present, to the touches of wine-inspired décor. It’s definitely a room that encourages you to grab a seat, a glass of wine or a cocktail and hang out for awhile. We love to have friends and family over for game night and all congregate around the table for some fun times. We even have a barrel hung on the wall that dispenses whisky on tap!
Tell us about your gorgeous jewelry wall!
The creation of my jewelry wall stemmed from having a need to create a solution that would allow me to view my entire (very large) collection of fashion jewelry. From having worked in the jewelry industry a few years ago to purchasing pieces that I coveted, the vast amount of necklaces and earrings needed a home where I would be inspired to wear them on a daily basis.
It seems a bit crazy that I ended up building the organized jewelry wall in the “toilet room” of my master bathroom, but it is a long and narrow space that wasn’t being utilized to its fullest potential. We have incredibly tall ceilings, so I wanted to maximize the height and create a visual wall that would ultimately hold all of my dainty and statement necklaces, as well as my tiny studs and chandelier earrings. I even handmade all of the earring cards using kraft paper! The end result is that I no longer have tangled necklaces and I’m wearing more of my jewelry than I ever did before simply because I can see it all! It’s a simple, budget-friendly project that makes a huge impact.
Which piece of décor in your home has the most sentimental value to you, and why?
Without a doubt, it is my toboggan bench at the foot of the bed in the master bedroom. It exists because of a wild dream I envisioned for a bench and my dad helped bring that vision to life. Some of my favorite memories in the past few years have been building these projects throughout the different areas of my home with my dad right by my side. On this particular day, we were headed to the Ventura flea market and one of the items on my list was a bench for the foot of my bed or locating reclaimed wood so that we could make one ourselves.
This bench has a fun story to how it came about! My dad and I were walking down an aisle and I saw some beautiful pieces of wood that might just work for the project. Upon getting over to the vendor, we realized it was a very old toboggan. I told my dad that we could just saw off the head and still use the back portion to make a bench because I loved the wood so much. The gentleman selling the sled tried to make sure we understood what we were holding and we nicely told him that we were from Wisconsin and definitely know how to put a toboggan to good use.
Well, my dad was adamant against cutting off the head of the toboggan and thought that it would make a unique, cool bench that no one else has. We literally fought over this idea for a solid 10 minutes before we paid a measly $10 and off we went with my new sled. We had so many people stop and ask us what it was and if we planned on using it in the sand! Needless to say, listening to my dad was one of the best things I did that day because I absolutely love my bench and the story it will always hold.
The mantra on my blog is to “live a stylized life.” I take this to heart in all aspects of my life and believe that the things we surround ourselves with are an extension of our personalities.
Do you have any tips for decorating and remodeling a house on a budget?
The most important tip I can give someone who is decorating or remodeling his or her home is to have patience and take your time with it. I am still putting touches on our home 18 months after moving in. I was determined and purposeful this time around with the items that I was bringing in and want these to stick around for a long time. My boyfriend used to say that I go in six-month phases with home décor, but I didn’t want that to be the case with my first house. I purchased high-quality furniture found at the outlet that would last a lifetime and then shopped for inexpensive decorative items to complement them. If I do want to change things up, it’s only swapping out a table runner or shelf décor rather than something big and substantial. I have a nice mix of high and low items that made it all affordable.
I also think one of the most inexpensive ways to decorate your house is with nature. Adding greenery throughout our home has really made it feel more inviting. I’m always quick to grab a bouquet of flowers from the market or plant new succulents out on the patio because they bring so much life back into the house!
If I have a passion for something and the willingness to learn, I’ve always believed the possibilities are endless!
In your opinion, how can the décor in a person’s home reflect who they are?
The mantra on my blog is to “live a stylized life.” I take this to heart in all aspects of my life and believe that the things we surround ourselves with are an extension of our personalities. Aim for creating a home that is a true and honest reflection of who you are, what your family is about and the message you want to convey to any family and friends that come over. If my house was painted white with modern furniture, it would feel all wrong, but it works for someone else. Gain your inspiration from others but then figure out how you can put a twist on it to make it your own. In the end, I’m just a girl from Wisconsin who grew up playing football with her older brothers and loves to kick back with a glass of whisky. Our house accurately reflects our personalities, and because I strongly believe in rule breaking, don’t be so strict on your house and do what feels right.
- Wall-mounted barrel dispenser
- Napa wine barrel chandelier
- 1900s Boulangerie rectangular extension table
- 19th century English schoolhouse side chair
- Maui jute braided rug
- Ikat Ogee linen curtain
- Vintage Cocktails (Connoisseur), by Laziz Hamani and Brian Van Flandern
- Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails, by Eric Prum
- Armless bar stool
- Nespresso VertuoLine
- Red wine glass
- Stainless steel mosaic backsplash tiles
- Lounge II 93” sofa in Cement
- Global oversized lumbar pillow
- Jute chenille herringbone rug
- Dutch industrial coffee table
- Dutch industrial side table
- Magnolia market canvas map
- 3-pack framed feather wall art
- New Orleans embroidered pillow
- Nixon floor lamp
- Boukra pouf ottoman
- Ceramic agave figural
- Crosley vinyl record player
- Cambria pet bowl and stand
- Reclaimed wood wall art
- Runner natural metallic
- Wood hanging file box
- Kate Hudson Pretty Happy book
- Industrial tool chest 4-door media cabinet
- White gift wrap cart
- Space bar monitor stand
- Neda quilted coverlet set
- Maison panel bed
- Maison nightstand
- Gold pineapple throw pillow
- Necklace bust display stand
- Watercolor floral quilt
- White eyelet Euro sham
- Long woven hanging wall decor