A Peek Inside Our Own Carrie Waller’s Mid-Century Mod Home

teal leather side chair

 

kinfolk magazine

 

retro ranch

 

record player

 

retro stove

 

Minted art

 

marble pastry board

 

Carrie & Her Home

When it comes to decorating on a budget, no one does it with more creative flair than Carrie Waller of the lifestyle and craft blog, Dream Green DIY. Whether she’s sharing a how-to for reupholstering old furniture or offering suggestions for repurposing an everyday item, Carrie’s blog is a jackpot of easy-to-copy DIY ideas, all with the added bonus of unfiltered stories on the side detailing her life with her husband and four pets.

As a stylist, photographer and freelance writer and editor, it seemed only natural that Carrie would ultimately branch out her talents to form an eponymous editorial consulting brand where services range from interior styling to editorial direction and graphic design. These days, when she’s not consulting, writing stories for Better Homes and Gardens and domino or dreaming up content for her own site, Carrie can be found brainstorming ideas and drafting stories as our features editor here at Glitter Guide! This one-woman creative powerhouse is a source of inspiration for us all, and we can’t help but think that, for Carrie, the sky’s truly the limit.

Now that we’ve had the chance to peek in on the mid-century home that she bought with her husband last October, it’s easy to admit that Carrie’s down-to-earth approach to decorating a home proves that anyone can make frugal look fabulous. Today, she generously shares the process for designing her home, how she transitioned into the blogosphere and what she does to stand out from the crowd.

boho pillows

Let’s start from the beginning! How did you get into blogging? What has your creative path looked like with all its twists and turns?

Growing up, my dad would always encourage my sister and I to find a way to get paid to do what we loved to do. For me, writing has always been a passion, as has interior design. I used to redecorate and rearrange my childhood room as often as my mom let me, and that penchant for design and all things creative hasn’t changed now that I’m a working adult.

I broke into the blogging scene in March of 2011, and haven’t looked back. Dream Green DIY started as a way to keep friends and family informed of my weekly projects and house updates, and it hasn’t really changed in the last five years (aside from the photography, which I think has improved only because of constant practice!). I still love chatting about DIY projects, sharing how-to tutorials and explaining the thought processes behind our home renovation. The fact that I can call this a “job” is something I still pinch myself over, and I feel really lucky to say that the progression has been entirely organic. I have never worked harder in my life, but it’s so empowering to know that I followed my dad’s advice to a T!

granite counters

ikea shelves

gold faucet

What was the inspiration behind the name of your blog, Dream Green DIY?

In high school, my friends and I would often take walks through this one neighborhood in town. I remember spotting a particularly gorgeous house while wandering the sidewalks one evening, and I immediately declared it my dream house. I dubbed the pretty green Craftsman-style home as my “Dream Green,” and it was pretty much engrained in my mind every time I went house hunting from then on.

So, when it came time to name my blog, I went with my gut and called it Dream Green DIY to stand for my dreams of the perfect house filled with handmade love. Ultimately, it’s sort of a silly story that feels almost like an inside joke to me now. And although the blog name “Dream Green DIY” doesn’t mean much to the average audience, to me it’s the concept of something much larger and more personal.

brass faucet

glass coffee mug

For me, it always, always comes back to mid-century design. I often feel like I was plopped into the wrong era because all of my favorite art, books, music and movies were made in the 1950s and ’60s.

hearts pot

marble board

In addition to your blog, you are the features editor here at Glitter Guide and the founder of an editorial consulting brand, Carrie Waller Creative! How do you manage to keep yourself, your space and your time organized?

As a freelance writer and editor, I feel like I’m constantly juggling a million ideas every single day—but that’s just the way I like it! The constant change and excitement of tackling story ideas for Glitter Guide, Dream Green DIY and the other sites I write for is what inspires me each day. Organization comes down to a neatly kept digital system—ironically, I’ve never been good with paper and pencil. I rely on my Todoist app, Trello and Google Drive every day and would be lost without that three-part system!

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jean jacket

chrome arch lamp

We are huge fans of your Instagram feed! Do you have any tips or tricks for building an aesthetically pleasing account?

Thank you! I know everyone says this, but it really comes down to honing in on your personal aesthetic (think: color, amount of negative space, pattern, editing style), and then repeating that as intentionally as you can. I love the challenge I’m presented with every day to take and post images that add to the scheme of my feed. I may not be willing to post unstyled photos of my desktop or videos of our cross-eyed cat playing fetch on Instagram anymore (that’s what Snapchat is for!), but I love using my account as an extension of my creative brand.

mid-century couch

Oh Joy for Target

mid-century cocktail glass

How would you describe your design aesthetic? Are you drawn to certain types of colors, shapes or patterns when you are designing?

For me, it always, always comes back to mid-century design. I often feel like I was plopped into the wrong era because all of my favorite art, books, music and movies were made in the 1950s and ’60s. Luckily, my husband, John, feels largely the same way, so when we set out to purchase our forever house last year, we definitely hoped to find something with the cool retro details (classic wood paneling, sleek lines, brass fixtures, starburst accents, etc.) that we loved. I am beyond overjoyed to say that we found all of that and more in our new-to-us house.

mint record player

I’d love for guests to feel inspired to be creative, and to feel comfortable enough to settle in for a good long conversation over a glass (or three!) of wine. There’s nothing better.

outdoor sectional

hanging woven chair

Camille Styles book

Your home is beautiful! Can you tell us the story behind your space? Where do you live, and how has your home evolved since you moved in?

So sweet! Thank you! John and I started our married life together in his bachelor pad in the town where we both grew up. Our townhouse was fine for the first few years, but we quickly grew out of it thanks to my vintage furniture hoarding issues and the fact that we have four pets. Although it took some time and thought, we ultimately decided to pick up everything and relocate to Waynesboro, Virginia, about an hour and a half from where we grew up in Lynchburg.

Eight months since moving into our retro ranch, I don’t mind admitting that it’s been tough living away from both sets of our parents and sisters, but they are close enough that we don’t have to sacrifice too much family time. Plus, the renovation of our home has kept our minds pretty busy since last October. We’ve painted walls, added subway tile, ripped out old wallpaper and replaced countertops—this house already feels like home.

chrome pedestal table

white bed linens

Target table lamp

Moroccan rug

How do you want guests to feel upon entering your space?

I’d love for guests to feel inspired to be creative, and to feel comfortable enough to settle in for a good long conversation over a glass (or three!) of wine. There’s nothing better.

woven wall hanging

OK vase

What personality traits does your décor reflect?

Whether I want it to or not, I think my décor style reflects my insane obsessive compulsive tendencies. What you see in these neat and tidy photos is pretty much what our house looks like on a daily basis. That said, our house is far from perfect! If you open a closet door, be prepared to dodge a pile of things falling out at you. I can’t stand anything out of place, but if it’s out of sight, it’s completely out of my mind.

Elodie rug

for like ever print

brass table lamp

How has working from home played a part in your design process?

After we moved into our house, I set up my home office in one of our two extra bedrooms and filled it with a hodgepodge of furniture from our old house. It wasn’t long though before I realized that the old furniture and storage system just wasn’t going to cut it, so I started completely over, even going so far as to switch into the other extra bedroom to take advantage of better afternoon light.

Now, with new matching furniture and lots more storage, my home office functions better and, happily, if I ever were to change direction and go back to a traditional work environment outside of the house, the décor I chose still works for a regular home office or craft room. It’s really all about designing for the long term and choosing furniture and finishes that are functional but that still suit your personal style.

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teal cart

face pot

pink filing cabinet

What are your can’t-live-without craft room essentials?

A really, really good pair of scissors, a wide variety of washi tape (it can be used for just about anything!) and Super Glue.

How have you worked to make your workspace an enriching and inspiring place to be?

The first step was to paint the walls white so that the room as a whole didn’t compete with my bright art and accessories. I also made sure to take advantage of the natural light in the room by hanging soft white linen curtains on the windows that let the afternoon sun filter in—gloomy, artificial light always kills my inspiration. Finally, I filled the space with one-of-a-kind vintage treasures and trendy picks that speak to me from places like Target, Joss & Main and Wayfair.

leather ottoman

brass bird

When do you feel the most creative?

Most of my inspiration and creativity comes from flipping through favorite shelter magazines, while walking through local antique stores and when I kick back to watch a great old movie—”Sunday In New York“, “High Society and “Barefoot In The Park” are favorites in case you’re looking for recommendations!

triangle pillow

round mirror

What would you say is your most treasured object in your home?

Probably my vintage art collection. It has taken over a decade to pull together the pieces one by one, and I love the memories they hold of traveling with my husband and uncovering each from piles of dusty secondhand junk. The handmade wood and tile coffee table in the den is another treasured piece. It has a handwritten note on the bottom dated to 1972 explaining that it was a graduation gift, and I love that we found it for less than $40 from a road-side antique store. Oh, and our custom pet portraits from Yellow Brick Home! Apparently I have lots of treasured objects in our house…

record cabinet

vintage record player

The constant change and excitement of tackling story ideas for Glitter Guide, Dream Green DIY and the other sites I write for is what inspires me each day.

mid-century cocktail glass

Spill! What are your top three go-to local stores for home goods? What are three websites you always check out when you’re looking to shop online?

I am a regular shopper at Staunton Antiques Center, Queen City Marketplace and Circa in Charlottesville, Virginia. I’m also a big, big fan of Galaxie Modern back home in Lynchburg, Virginia. As for websites, I’m always browsing Minted, Lulu & Georgia and Waiting On Martha for fun home goods.

With so many blogs popping up every day, what’s the best advice you can offer to new bloggers that will help set them apart from the crowd?

Personally, I try my hardest as a blogger to not even look at the crowd. Of course, I love to support and promote my fellow craft bloggers, but I find that if I immerse myself too deeply in their content, then the line between their work and mine starts to blur. I want to make sure that I don’t accidentally start following any overarching trends when it comes to blogging, so I focus on following bloggers from completely different niches—fashion bloggers, food bloggers and even mommy bloggers. So, my advice is to gather inspiration from people outside of your niche in order to give yourself a truly unique perspective.

leather bean bag chairs

gold pillows

Resources:

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Author: Carrie Waller

Carrie is the writer, stylist and photographer behind Dream Green DIY, and also is the features editor for Glitter Guide. Follow along on Instagram!

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