Whitney & Her Home
In our opinion, Heavy Threads blogger and visual artist, Whitney Umphrey, can do practically no wrong, and her latest design project—her very own Idaho home—is no exception. In the years since moving in, Whitney has worked nonstop to transform the early-1900s era space into her own kind of laid-back perfection. We're not sure about you, but our team is positively smitten with each and every detail, from the original woodwork to Whitney's use of rich, cozy textures throughout.
It's easy to pick up on the fact that this blogger, designer and mom to one is a master when it comes to creating spaces that are both stylish and approachable. Case in point, the layers of comfortable furnishings and easygoing color palette characteristic of just about every nook and cranny in her family's traditional bungalow abode. In a word (well, two of them) Whitney's home is ridiculously dreamy, and inspires us to rethink the design in our own spaces to match her striking aesthetic.
We recently had the chance to chat with Whitney about every last detail of designing and organizing her home. Below, we're sharing the highlights from our conversation—including all the photos your design-loving heart could ever want. Keep scrolling to hear Whitney sound off on her personal design style, motherhood, and for a quick glimpse into her day-to-day routine, too.
Where does the name of your blog, 'Heavy Threads,' come from?
When I would stroll through the countless rows of vintage clothing at the flea market, my girlfriend and I would always say, “Those are some heavy threads.” I’m obsessed with clothing and décor, and I felt that the name Heavy Threads could encompass both.
What architectural features of a bungalow-style home speak to you?
I have a serious sickness for older homes with tons of character. Yes, I am that creepy girl driving by your house slowly at night when you have your windows open. For any bungalow type, my eye is instantly drawn to crown moldings and stained glass window panes. They dress up a room instantly. I also love to see original woodwork in homes, such as floors and doors. Our front door is original to our bungalow, which was built in the 1900s. She is beautiful and sturdy and makes my heart happy.
I love to organize and make a space both functional and good-looking. I have been doing it ever since I was a young girl. My mother can attest to that.
Can you give us a glimpse into your daily routine?
I am a mother to our 2-year-old son, Stetson, and our days usually start around 6:30 a.m. We typically plant ourselves on the couch, he watches Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and I map out our day. Then we eat breakfast and it's off to the gym by 9 a.m. I’m actually very into routines, and every day of the week has a specific outing—like, Tuesdays are our Costco days and Fridays are for playdates! We’ll have our errands done by noon and that's when we pause for lunch—sometimes at the park, sometimes in our backyard. I try to keep us outdoors as much as possible.
Nap time follows at 1 p.m., and that's when the real business starts. I clean, organize our house, reorganize our house and somehow always find myself folding laundry. When it’s time for dinner, I like to throw it down gourmet-style. I love to cook and I’m always adapting recipes to my own flavor. Chrissy Teigen is my idol! Bathtime is at 7:30 p.m. and it’s lights out by 8 p.m. That’s when my husband and I watch our shows and put away all technology. We’re very old school that way!
Are you a coffee or tea drinker? How do you take your drink of choice?
Both! I like to drink coffee in the morning. If I make it at home, it's French press with coconut oil, and if I order out, it's cold-pressed or iced, black. In the afternoon, I switch to green tea and it’s becoming my latest obsession. No sweetener in that either.
If you had one extra hour in the day, how would you spend it?
Reading! I love to read, but I’m so busy doing life that the luxury takes a back seat.
What do you currently have in the works that you're super excited about?
I’m currently growing my own business in professional home organization and home staging. I have been using my friend's homes as my guinea pigs in building my portfolio. I spend most of my afternoons working on design options and building my website and marketing materials. I love to organize and make a space both functional and good-looking. I have been doing it ever since I was a young girl. My mother can attest to that.
What has been your favorite room to redecorate?
Our living room is my favorite room to redecorate. It has gone through many facelifts these past couple of years. Just when I think it’s perfect and I’m content with the way it looks, I wake up with the urge to change it. It’s the first room you see when you walk in, so I want it to always look its best! I’m currently stripping it of all its indigos and colors, and working in a more moody, muted color scheme.
Has the move back to Idaho affected your design style?
Yes! When the decision was made to move back to Idaho, I sold everything we had except our bed and our son's furniture. Before, my style was all over the map. There were so many trends I loved to follow, but it ended up making our house look junkie and messy. I do not like messy! I really focused on what made me happy and what I liked. I narrowed it down to a simple scheme of white, wood, texture and hints of blue. That’s what I chant in the back of my mind when looking at home décor. I also fell hard for mid-century, but my heart has always been farmhouse. I’m constantly trying to blend the two. Country Modern.
Favorite vacation of all time?
My husband and six of our best friends chartered a catamaran in the British Virgin Islands for 10 days. It was hands down the most fun I’ve ever had in such a beautiful and relaxing place. The water was so warm and the rum was so yummy! We also brought home a souvenir that is now our 2-year-old son. The rum will get you every time!
What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming holiday season?
We live in the historic home district of Boise called the North End. It goes off at Halloween. People shuttle their kids in from all over the city to experience trick-or-treating down the notoriously famous Harrison Boulevard. Neighbors go all out decorating their homes and creating spooky alleys. It’s larger than Christmas! We live a block from all the action. Last year, we had our friends and babies over for a Halloween party and trick-or-treating. The energy and excitement was intoxicating. We will definitely be repeating it again this year. I have already started making my spooky decorations and party planning.
Then, of course, Christmas in the Heavy Bungalow is magical and cozy. My Christmas decorations are the first thing I would grab if there ever was a fire.
It's Saturday morning and you've just woken up. What's the first thing you do?
I’m always instantly greeted with coffee from the hubby. He wakes up super early every morning, and Saturdays, I get to reap the benefits of his habits. Our son is usually right behind him, eagerly waiting to snuggle up in bed. We then decide how we're going to spend our day. Farmers' market, morning hike, bike rides to the park, meal plan for a yummy dinner—the options are endless.
Your home seems to have a very neutral color palette throughout—would we find the same scheme in your wardrobe?
Definitely. Emily Henderson pointed that out in her book Styled, and it made me really think about my own wardrobe. I am most comfortable in neutral tones. I can always mix or match them and they always look chic. I have a few dresses that have color and pattern in them, but I usually only ever wear them for something special—kind of like when it’s a special holiday and I bust out my colorful pillows.
What's one thing you love about being a mom?
Just one? Try a million reasons. Being a mom has really taught me to grow up, speak my mind and let go of things I can’t control. I can be very passive and will do almost anything to please people, even if it makes me uncomfortable. It’s both a blessing and a curse. I'm now living for someone else whom I would take a bullet for and I need to protect. I can’t shy away from conflict anymore, if ever it comes up. Being a mom has made me mentally stronger and more confident.
What's one motherhood responsibility you wouldn't mind trading off to someone else?
Our son is very independent and a critical thinker. He wants things done his way, and in his mind, the correct way. The kid puts his toys away in a certain order for Pete's sake, and did I mention he's only two? Going to battle every day can be both challenging and exhausting. I wouldn’t mind escaping the war zone for a couple hours for some “me time” every now and then. I would run straight to a spa and get a pedicure and ask for an extra 15-minute foot massage because I’m naughty like that.
I really focused on what made me happy and what I liked. I narrowed it down to a simple scheme of white, wood, texture and hints of blue. That’s what I chant in the back of my mind when looking at home décor.
In your opinion, what's one thing a happy, comfortable home can't live without?
End tables! Every sitting spot should have a place to put your drink on. To me it says, "Come sit and put your feet up. This is your home, too!" Plus, I hate holding my drink, especially if it's an ice-cold one. If I put my drink on the floor, there is a 95-percent chance that I’ll forget about it and knock it over. Freeing up my hands to play tractors with Stetson, read a magazine or just even getting my Insta-scroll on is a luxury I love.
Oh, and I guess if I’m being romantic, then pictures of your loved ones. I always love looking at other people's family photos when I come into their homes.