Brittany & Her Home
Creating a home that is clean and collected, yet feels lived-in and comfortable, is no easy feat, but California-based designer, blogger and curator, Brittany Chinaglia of The Vintage Rug Shop, managed to achieve just that. Because she has young children, she understands the importance of creating a space that allows them to play and use their imagination, but the interior designer in her couldn't help but want a place that is clean and represents her style. The result is a beautiful home that is not only full of many great vintage finds, but also full of love. Brittany takes us through her design process, as well as offers insight on balancing work and motherhood. One piece of advice for accomplishing goals? She says you need to make it happen and seize all opportunities no matter how small they may seem. She's living the dream—and living in a dream house! See for yourself below.
Thank you for sharing your home with us! We love the vibe. What's the mood you want your home to embody?
Thank you! I feel it’s taken forever to get our home to this point. My goal from day one was to design a lived-in home that felt clean yet collected and put-together. I have young kids and it has always been important to me to create a space that welcomes play and imagination, yet still represents my style and position as an interior designer. I think I nailed it. When you hang out in our home you feel calm, invited, welcomed; part of the family.
My goal from day one was to design a lived-in home that felt clean yet collected and put-together. I have young kids and it has always been important to me to create a space that welcomes play and imagination, yet still represents my style and position as an interior designer.
You are a mama, a designer, a business owner and a blogger. What’s your best advice to moms out there looking to balance work and motherhood?
To add to that list, I’m also a financial professional! While we’re here to talk about interiors and design, it’s important to also mention my day job because I certainly have become a juggling master with all the roles I balance in a given day. While it may look like a lot to handle, it’s not impossible and if I can do it, anyone can.
I work best in fast-paced environments. For some reason, I’m able to be the most balanced and efficient when there are demands from all ends. My professional experience is working in start-up companies where my role has required many hats. Surprisingly, the skills needed in a start-up work environment has helped me in my personal life and design business in more ways than I could imagine. I recognize it’s not easy, but there’s a lot I have been able to share with folks looking to balance some of the same things I do, and I’ve narrowed it down to three things:
- First, in order to have balance, you have to set boundaries. I set boundaries in regards to time—the time I spend with my family, the time I spend on social, the time I spend on the phone with clients, the time I spend on my shop, the time I relax and sleep—it’s all allotted and thought about in advance. No single job can be effective if they all happen simultaneously. Therefore, in order to do them all well and take steps forward in growing my business, building strong relationships with my family, and supporting our household, it requires that I set boundaries to prevent these roles from overlap so that I can fully be present in each.
- Second, don’t be discouraged about how long it will take to achieve your goals. Doing at least one thing every day will help you reach your goals faster than doing nothing at all. You have to be comfortable knowing the more roles you have or the more you juggle, the longer it may take you to reach your goal—but you will reach it! While it may seem easy to be discouraged when you’re in the throws of it all, I’ve actually found it harder to sit and do nothing at all.
- Third, you have to make it happen. It’s in my nature that I’m incapable of sitting around and waiting for life to happen to me. I learned at a young age I will never reach my goals if I don’t make it happen myself. Seize all opportunities, even the ones that seem small and mediocre, and keep working to create the dream you want!
The Vintage Rug Shop is such a cool concept! Can you tell us more about how it came to be?
The Vintage Rug Shop was the result of my long obsession with vintage handmade goods, specifically vintage rugs and textiles. More than 3 years ago, I started collecting pieces I found at local flea markets that I just couldn’t pass up. I collected one piece at a time, and quickly ran out of room in my home, but couldn’t bear to pass up all the beautiful pieces I kept finding when shopping the flea markets. I felt a personal connection to the items I was collecting, and felt almost a need to find these pieces a good home. I couldn’t shake the idea to launch an online retail shop to sell these amazing items, so I took every free minute in my day (early mornings, lunch breaks, train rides, minutes when everyone was asleep) to build the shop from scratch. My longtime readers know I am a financial controller in my day job, so starting this side gig was a risk and major commitment that I had to somehow squeeze in between all the other responsibilities I had going on. I worked late in the evenings after getting off work to create this company, and spent my weekends hunting for products that represented my brand and aesthetic. It took about six to nine months of building the website and collecting items before launching The Vintage Rug Shop, and it’s been a success ever since! It’s hard to believe this October will mark 2 years of the shop being live!
Safe to say, you have some pretty cool textiles in your house. What do you look for most when hunting down vintage treasures?
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what I look for when hunting down vintage items, but I think there are a few common themes. The first question I ask myself is, would I put this exact item in my own home? If I can answer this question with a 'yes,' I almost always purchase it. Even if I don’t have space for the item in my own home, I then consider it for The Vintage Rug Shop. I’ve definitely honed in on my aesthetic, which basically consists of natural fibers, handmade goods and vintage items that still feel relevant and modern.
As someone who curates and designs homes for a living, what's the key to a perfectly made bed in your opinion?
The perfectly made bed? I swear this could be an interior design novel on its own. It’s taken me a long time to learn the key to a perfectly made bed isn’t crisp sheets and zero wrinkles as you’d probably imagine, instead it’s creating layers of natural textures like flaxen textiles and over-washed linens. I have found this formula invokes a calm, inviting space you just can’t wait to turn to at the end of the day. Tidy, natural and lived-in is the goal in my opinion.
How has living in California affected your design aesthetic?
Whether you admit it or not, location absolutely influences one’s design aesthetic. California is a unique place to be a designer because you can pretty much find all design styles in this state—from laid-back surf shack vibe and the California Casa Spanish influence along the central coast to rustic farmhouse in the more rural areas and mid-century modern architecture in the suburbs and cities. One thing each of these styles has in common is each style embraces indoor-outdoor living. Incorporating the outdoors in your home is quintessential to California, and it would be impossible to say that it hasn’t impacted my design aesthetic. I have affection for all styles, and feel that the more I become a California designer, the more I appreciate each style and attempt to harness that indoor-outdoor collected yet clean living.
Tell us about your town! Where are your favorite local spots?
We recently moved to Walnut Creek, which is such a cute suburb about 20 miles east of San Francisco. Walnut Creek’s latest claim to fame is the first-ever Anthropologie store was opened here! The shopping is fantastic, and I love how the town has supported local businesses just as much as larger retail stores. We prefer the local café, Coffee Shop, and rustic pizza joint, Pizza Antica, and our guilty pleasure is a scoop of ice cream from the local microcreamery, Lottie’s.
What is your go-to first step in the process of helping and consulting with clients when it comes to their homes? Is it different for you when you're working on a personal project in your own space?
When people spend their hard-earned money on renovating their home, function is almost always top of the priority list. Identifying the pain points in a client’s space is one of my first prerogatives before designing for a new client. It’s relatively easy for a client to call out or narrow down his or her style, but generally, they’re hiring me to solve the problems they face in the space. Pulling together all the pretty elements in a designed space is the second phase after identifying and solving the client’s functional needs in the space they’re looking to renovate or redesign.
So what are some of your morning and nightly beauty routines?
Sleep, caffeine and moisturizer! In all seriousness, I am adamant about washing my face before bed. It always shocks me when I hear someone goes to bed with their makeup still on. I definitely suffer from tired eyes being a mom of a baby and a toddler and I swear by Bobbi Brown’s new long-wear concealer. My latest guilty pleasure is the Kristin Ess for Target hair products. Kristin’s hair tutorials on Instagram have influenced my day-to-day hairstyles. She makes it look so easy!
What one item in your home puts a 'flash of delight' in your life, and why?
While this sounds on-brand, the latest ‘flash of delight’ in my life when it comes to my home is my living room rug. I’ve hunted for the perfect rug for my living room for a while, and have found a few beautiful ones that have lived with me for a while, but my latest find is my most coveted piece and I can’t see myself ever parting with it! Just don’t quote me on that!
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