How Lighting is like Shoes

As I write this, it all sounds very shallow compared to the blog where my husband contributes. But we all have to wear shoes now and then, right? Just like every room needs light. So I stick to what I know.  

After working at a "high-end" residential design firm it's easy to be drawn into the designer brand, but not the pricetag. We've tried our best to stay budget-conscience while selecting interesting lighting throughout the house. And in most rooms we're not even replacing the lighting (yet) so there are really only a few fixtures where I get to be creative. OK, I'm done rationalizing my shopping...Here are our new kicks:

For the bedrooms we're swapping out the undersized or broken fans in favor of something that won't fly off the ceiling and decapitate anyone. Something like this:

In all the rooms the ceilings will be white. So the idea is that the fans "disappear", but we still need to give them some thought...Just like when we wear socks. You do know not to wear black socks with white shoes, right? This is something my husband would be sure you know. In the living room, we're getting a bit more fancy with this guy:

In the office we are pursuing a rustic, industrial tone (more on this room later). It will be a place to house many of my mom's and my grandparent's antiques along with our work gear. These lights found on Etsy are made in Houston, Texas by Illuminate Vintage. I'm working with the owner Kyle Bostic to design something economical but similar to this Pair by Renwil. The styles are similar but Kyle's are customized, handmade and more rustic... and best of all, Texan:

The kitchen and dining room are where the party is at, as we all know. Have you seen these amazing DIY light kits from Lindsey Adelman? I remember finding her bubble lights on Etsy back in my architecture days, so to find these light kits for a VERY reasonable price makes me feel like a kid in a candy store (or woman in shoe store, too much footwear, yes?):

Making Progress

A few progress photos to share since I was carrying a 20-month-old in my arms and a 20-week-old in my belly during the most recent walk-through. TIP: Don't take a toddler to a construction site.  For the exterior painting, adding stucco in that center section and replacing the two doors in the front bedrooms (doors to the outside in kids' rooms? just no.) with 4' square windows. The stucco will be lighter than the brick on the house, while the steel and soffits will be a dark, warm grey. Mock-ups to come soon!


Little Moments

As I look for inspiration via design blogs, Instagram or Pinterest it would be easy to feel pressured to make every space in our house picture-perfect rather than perfect for our family. When designers show you the effortlessly curated corner of their homes over and over, it makes me realize the rest of their house must not always be as picture-worthy. Emily Henderson even admits how many hours it takes her team to get the right configuration of furniture and accessories for each photo. Her honesty is refreshing. 

This reminds me that this house is not for show it’s our home. Our safe haven. With moments of beauty for reflection on what is truly important.

As a designer, I don’t just look around the world for inspiration. But I try to listen as well. When others experience a house for the first time: what makes it cozy to them? What makes them uncomfortable? Sometimes a little mess gives people permission to be comfortable. It’s a fine line between a curated space and a hospitable one.

We hope our home will be welcoming to friends and family for years to come. 

About the Homeowners

A brief introduction for those who don't already know us:

We met and married in Austin, Texas in 2006. After 20 years (for Doug), about 7 years (for Jessica), 2 kids (together) in May 2014, we relocated our family of 4 to Arizona to be closer to family. 

Doug owns and operates Connolly Asset Management. He hosts a podcast and enjoys Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He also used to be a stand-up comedian...So, it's safe to say he's a complex character. He also has an itch to learn more about construction and homesteading. We will see how he fares...stay tuned! 

Jessica studied architecture and practiced for 7 years in Austin before founding Telos Design. She works with clients in Phoenix and nationwide on various graphic design projects. She also paints and creates products for her new online store

Join us in our journey through midcentury modern mayhem as we anticipate the completion of our new home in time for our fourth child to arrive in 2017!

Helping Hands


This weekend my son and I had a mother-son bonding workday at the house. We pulled down shoddy siding from two walls on the exterior of the house and six dead oleanders. He was actually bummed when we were done. He wanted more work!

The following day we had an all-family workday. While our daughter did not enjoy her day nearly as much, she was willing to help load some river rocks into the wagon and pull down a few dead limbs from the shrubs. Naturally, she would rather be inside planning out her bedroom and the playroom.

I love that our kids are learning to enjoy manual labor. Being actively involved in the renovations of our house will make this their home, too. It will hopefully teach them to treat their belongings with care and how to value their efforts. 

With every workday the kids earn a bit of ownership and appreciation through sweat equity.