When we last visited Kirsty, she was outnumbered as the only female in a male-generous family. That ratio certainly didn’t show, however, in the family home’s decor. There was an abundance of white-not-scared-of-dirt-one-bit, a lacy tablecloth or two, and an elegant settee and white leather chair that just didn’t seem conducive to trampolining. I loved her style.
I still do, in fact. Especially since the family has added another member, and considerably more shades of pink to their surroundings. Friends, please welcome Kirsty one more time!
Q: You’ve got a new addition to your family!
A: Yes we do! Since you last visited our home, we welcomed the sweetest little girl into our all boy family. Her name is Scarlet Evangeline and she has her brothers’ whole hearts. She turned one in May, and is an absolute beauty who loves to tumble around with the boys and gets us all giggling with her scrunch nose, eyes closed smile. I have a little taste of every personality with my four kids: laid back and serious, daredevil and go-getter, goofball and best friend, and sweet little love. Scarlet is such a wonderful gift to our family.
Q: The last time we toured your home, you were living with four males, three of whom were under eight. How has this little lady made her mark on your aesthetic?
A: Well, I’ve always had a romantic style and aesthetic. For example, I love vintage chairs with tufting, quilts on all the beds, and fresh flowers around the house. And I’ve not necessarily shied from those inclinations even when my home was filled with boys. But the opportunity to decorate a room devoted entirely to a girl was just about the most fun I’ve ever had.
I wanted it to feel like a page from a fairytale. And funnily enough, I think that the chance to have a space where I could create beautiful vignettes with lots of feminine details helped me let out a long held breath. So while my style remains the same, I try to achieve that quintessential blend of modern with vintage – hopefully keeping the home cool enough for the guys!
Q: What other changes have you made in terms of making this home even more enjoyable for your kids?
A: We are blessed to have a large extended family that lives in town, so that’s actually an important detail to us – having a home that is welcoming and kid friendly. My sister lives just a few minutes away and also has four children, and my parents are here, too. We were separated for a while; we all emigrated from South Africa in 1993 to Tulsa, Oklahoma, but for the first five years of my marriage I was in Green Bay, Wisconsin while they remained in Tulsa.
Now that we’re all in the same city, the cousins spend time together virtually every day. I cherish this! And these past six months in particular we have been inseparable, as my sister was diagnosed with B-cell Lymphoma. She underwent chemotherapy at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and I’m thrilled to share that she is cancer free today! Right now, every day is a party to celebrate that!
But in years like this – when you experience complete and utter joy and also crippling fear – your perspective changes dramatically and you appreciate every single moment. Even the ordinary moments become dazzlingly beautiful.
While I love great design and am awed and inspired by the spaces I see on Instagram and Pinterest, it is impossible for me and my jelly-fingered family to have a place that is similarly pristine and perfect. I’ve just learned to chill out on those expectations a lot and to have fun with what we have. The old hand me down furniture, the overseas treasures, and the colorful kids pieces. I’ve allowed the music, art, and toys to become a part of the decor…always ready and waiting for something beautiful to happen.
And since you last saw our home, we also added a large chalkboard wall below the chair rail in our dining room. And for the summer months, thick watercolor paper on a bare wall so a painted mural can come to life. Living creatively is my fuel for life, so I hope to encourage the kids to be creatively inspired too.
Q: Tell us how your career is going, and exciting projects on the horizon. Any secrets on balancing as best you can your time with your family and your time working?
A: There have been a few exciting additions to my career over these past two years. I now work as a freelance writer and photographer for a local women’s magazine, contributing fashion articles each month. And that has led to a growing photography business which has been amazing, as I am absolutely photo obsessed.
I write a lifestyle and fashion blog called Lovelies in My Life and it has begun to gather a fair amount of local readers through the magazine and, in turn, some really cool opportunities to connect with like minds in our community. One is a fun DIY workshop that I’m working on for this summer – something along the lines of a flower crowns and mimosas event.
I’m a bit of a shy person in real life, so these opportunities to meet other artistic people and make new friends has been really lovely. It’s a good stretch for me.
And then I’m also a dance teacher. Dance was my very first love. I have a dance program with about 60 students which I’ve kept intentionally small as I’ve just not been ready to give up too much time with my kids quite yet.
I have no fantastic secret to balancing time, other than my rockstar husband. He and I have maneuvered a perfect work schedule between the two of us, so when I teach or do a photo session, he is home with the kids.
Q: Please finish the sentence: If I could have one wish granted to my family, it would be…
A: …for us to live a long, happy, healthy life. But that’s three! So let’s narrow it down: If I could have one wish granted to my family, it would be to live an abundant life!
Kirsty, I loved this revisit. Thank you so much for keeping in touch, and a giant congratulations on Scarlet!
Two things stood out for me among your words. One, how you’re awed and inspired by online design, but realize that it’s not in the cards for your current family scene. I think that’s a difficult but utterly healthy point to reach! Well done. No matter how picture perfect our homes may be, there will always be another idea – perfectly executed and then photographed and pinned! – that makes us second-guess our choices. But also this: “I’m a bit of a shy person in real life…” I’m so shocked! I have to tell you that this doesn’t show in your bold decorating decisions and confident words, Kirsty. Again, thanks for stretching yourself for us!
Friends, this brings up a fun topic: For those of you with online lives, do you feel braver and more confident than in real life, face to face? Has there been a moment when your two worlds collided?