Oh, we’re in for a treat today! Friends, I’d love to introduce you to Kayce Hughes: wife, mother of seven, and classic designer. I’ve worked with Kayce a lot over the years, so I can attest to the fact that she is inherently stylish; she hails from a gorgeous lineage of women who define style, among them an aunt by the name of Lilly Pulitzer! She is an anything-is-possible maker. Her style is timeless and effortless. She runs toward color, and somehow leaves us wishing for boldly patterned red chairs to match our green walls…and not just in December.
Years ago, she whipped up nightshirts for her daughters, which were the first of a now 200-plus piece collection that includes children’s apparel, gift and layette collections, a flower girl collection, and an ever expanding women’s line of clothing and accessories. She has shops, too, so if you’re lucky enough to be in Nashville, Chattanooga, or Atlanta, pop in! (I’m told her fall line is on sale 40% off!)
Q: Please tell us about the family who makes this house a home.
A: We have seven children – two boys and five girls, ages eight to 20 – and two white labs. Our children’s names are Reagan, Charlotte, Sophie, Owen, Clare, Audrey, and Olivia. And our dogs are Jack and Lilly. My husband is a great photographer, and I design woman’s and children’s clothes. There is a lot of creativity under one roof! With nine strong unique artistic personalities, there is always someone to hang out with and something fun going on.
Q: How did this home become yours?
A: We bought our house 20 years ago when Scott and I moved to Nashville from New York City. It was built in the 30’s. I have fond memories of the first few years when we spend so many hours scraping wall paper and painting one room at a time. Fourteen years ago we added on the kitchen and family room which is where we all spend most of our time. It was great to have lived in our home for so many years so that we knew what we wanted when the time came to add on.
Q: With seven kids, how do you make sure there’s space for everyone?
A: Over the years we have done a lot of room swapping. My two older girls used to share a room, but there came a time when I realized that they would get along better if they were not in the same room. That was the last time we had a guest room. Our three youngest still share a room and love it…well, most of the time.
Q: What’s your holiday decor philosophy?
A: I love decorating for the holidays! I love collecting and creating things out of vintage ornaments. During the year I am always trying to simplify and de-clutter, but at this time of the year my philosophy is More is More! More vintage, more pine, more red, more glitter!
Q: What are your favorite holiday traditions?
A: We have a large collection of Christmas books and bring them down from the attic on the day after Thanksgiving. Each night the kids take turns and light a candle and pick the book for Scott to read. We read in the living room with the lights off in the glow of the lights on the tree.
Q: As a designer and someone with great taste, do you ever fight the urge or pressure to over-manage the holiday decor? What jobs do you love to do, and which do you delegate?
A: In general I curate the decorations the kitchen and living room. Scott and the boys are in charge of putting up and lighting the two trees, one in the living room and another in the playroom. Everyone helps to hang the wreaths and decorate the tree.
I have giant tubs full of decorations and the kids have free reign to use it all to decorate their playroom and rooms.
Q: Your stores are probably extra busy around the holidays! What does an average December day look like to you? If you could have one day free and clear, how would you spend it?
A: Our office is closed between Christmas and New Year’s, and I am really looking forward to it! My perfect winter day would be sleeping in followed by a long breakfast with our family consisting of Scott’s whole wheat pancakes and cappuccinos. Then hit some estate sales or thrift stores with my older ones. (Isn’t it fun when they love to do the same things that we do?)
I love painting or doing a craft project, so getting to do a bit of that in the afternoon with some of the kids would be perfect. I also enjoy cooking simple but yummy meals (but I hate grocery shopping) and would love to have a few friends over for dinner.
Q: What inspires you, season to season? What about your aesthetic never, ever changes?
A: I am always inspired by the past. I love looking at vintage patterns and photographs. And out of that inspiration I like to create something that feels fresh and current for now.
Q: What has surprised you the most about being a mother? What has been your favorite lesson your children have taught you?
A: I am constantly surprised and in awe at how different each of my children are. Their personalities, talents, and quirks are all fascinating to watch bloom.
Having seven children has taught me to let go of a lot. The house isn’t perfect, dinner isn’t perfect, their outfits aren’t perfect, and I have learned that that is perfectly fine with me!
Q: Please finish the sentence: I wish someone had told me…
A: Read the parenting books. I think I read one million! Talk with friends about what works for them, but in the end enjoy your children and know them. One formula does not fit every child.
Thank you, Kayce! This was just the burst of cheer I was craving before the holidays! It’s all wonderful, but I smiled the hardest at the tiny wreath over your birdhouse door. As someone who is a little behind on my Christmas decor this year, it was lovely to see that even the smallest gestures pack some pretty grand joy.
I loved hearing that you’ve been in the same house for 20 years, but that it’s always evolving with your family’s needs. Isn’t it funny that you had no idea seven kids and two dogs were coming, but your home has been able to handle it! From room expansions to simple room assignment shifts, it’s a good reminder that our homes should work for us. If they don’t, get rid of the guest room!
Friends, have your homes grown with you, too? Did you have to add on for it to truly work, or did you get creative? I’d love to hear your experiences!