By Gabrielle.

Have you ever thought about what your decor style says about you and your family? When guests walk through your front door, what do you think they can instantly sense about you? Is the first impression you make modern and clean, with any trace of a childhood hidden in a sleek cabinet system… or the basement? Perhaps guests sigh when they walk in, instantly craving whatever peaceful design you’ve got going. Or maybe you’re sporty and just can’t escape a home decor accessorized by the sticks and balls and cleats and — oh my, watch your step — more balls! Maybe you like blue. Every shade.

In Callie’s case, her family’s style is true throughout. I think we can get to know her by one or two or 20 glimpses of her home. She keeps her memories and crafts in the open, she loves a good collection, and she’s not afraid of putting reminders on the wall in case anyone loses the plot! She’s consistent in her message, which is the big sign that she’s clearly found her most-loved style and is sticking with it.

That’s a nice thing when it happens, don’t you think? Come see her house! Welcome, Callie!

We are a family of six. My husband, Steve, and I have four children.

Jakob is our responsible 12 year old, Isabelle is our passionate nine year old, Karter is our entertaining and humorous seven year old, and Beckett is adventurous two year old. As a family, we enjoy reading together, outdoor adventures, arts and crafts, sports, and music. There is a lot of hustle and bustle within the walls of our home. A lot of play, a lot of noise, a lot of messes to clean up, and a lot of love.

We live in the Pacific Northwest in a city just outside of Portland. Both my husband and I grew up in the area, and we love Oregon. My husband grew up on five acres out in the woods and has always wanted property for our children to enjoy. With his business, we have needed to live closer to the city and our home was a unique find — a home with property close to the city. We have loved the space, the view, all the trees, and surrounding green space.

We love living in the Pacific Northwest. We love that the city is only 15 minutes away. There are always fun places to eat, museums to visit, and concerts and events to attend. The Oregon Coast and the Columbia Gorge are both only a little over an hour away. We love the trees, the summers, the waterfalls, and the wildlife. We have enjoyed living in walking distance to our favorite shops and restaurants. We are surrounded by biking and hiking trails.

When we first found our home it was listed as a short sale, and after we made the offer it took eight months for the bank to approve it. We did a major remodel the first year that we lived there, focusing on the main living area and the kitchen. I watched a lot of HGTV and read a lot of design blogs as we were working on the kitchen! Five years later, I still absolutely love how it turned out.

We continued through the next few years updating the home room by room. It has been a labor of love but I have loved the story our home tells as it evolved to fit our family through each change and update.

I love neutrals with touches of soft blues and yellows. I completely adore handmade, quirky,  and unique items. And organization thrills me! Things that are collected, stored, and displayed in a pretty and functional way makes my heart beat a little faster. For my family and home decor, I can’t go wrong with items that tell a story, family photos, favorite books, and memorabilia.

I love setting up cozy little corners of the house that fit a specific purpose. One of my favorite decor tricks is constantly carving out new places to read, places to make crafts, and places to relax. It keeps our home fresh!

I love Pinterest as inspiration. I guess that I have always seen it as a place to collect all the inspiration that is out there so I can use it to inspire me when I need it. I have never felt like I have had to do everything that I have pinned.

That said, I have been trying to simplify my life in the last few years and have noticed that when I take in too much inspiration… I inevitably try to do too much! Not that I consciously think I have to do every project on Pinterest, but that I subconsciously feel like there are so many awesome things out there and I want to try all of them.

As I have been trying to simplify, I have been making a conscious effort to plan and prepare a few things to do as a family, knowing that I only have room for a finite amount of activities, crafts, and fun. This is a work in progress and I’m still figuring it out, but I think it is moving towards a solution that will work for us.

If I know we can do one family adventure each month or one kid craft project a week, it helps keep things simple and doable. Then I can pin away, knowing there’s a ton of ideas on my boards to choose from!

I don’t take decorating too seriously. I say have fun with it! Let your style evolve through the years and let your home tell a story. Put holes in your walls, hang that silly craft project, let the inspiration strike and move forward with it, live with it for awhile and see how you like it.

Really, if you’ve been dying to change up something in your home, go for it! The change might not be what you were imagining, but it will definitely open the door for more change.

I think that guests love the setting of our home, and they love the view and the wooded yard. I hope they have a sense of children and family as they enter. Our home is far from perfect, with a bit of dust and dirt and fingerprints around every corner, but it is lived in and loved.

I love that my husband has given me the creative freedom to pretty much do whatever I would like with our home. It’s pretty wonderful to be able to creatively have an idea and see it to fruition.

That said, my husband and children love the comfort and creative corners of our home. They love the open great room to wrestle in or the large space to create blanket forts. They love the craft cupboards and tables that are easily accessible to little hands and shorter legs. They appreciate the throw blankets to cuddle on the couch as we read a good book. They love the bookcases stocked with our favorite children’s books, mostly collected from garage sales and thrift stores. They enjoy the photos and artwork that celebrate our family and our creativity.

I think guests can get a good idea of our style from the minute they walk in the front door! For me, having a personally defined style has been so fun. Years ago I used to be a lot more eclectic in my style, before I really defined what I liked. I used to choose everything and anything that I liked and I would buy it and bring it home. What I found, though, is that after a while I wouldn’t like those items that didn’t really fit my style. It was harder to move them from room to room, and I would eventually get rid of the objects that just weren’t me.

Now, I know what I like and I will buy what works with that.

I started my blog, Lemon Verbena, just to share our everyday stories with friends and family. In the last few years, it has been fun to see it evolve into a place where I share my passion for books, crafts, scrapbooking, homemaking, and anything else that is inspiring me at the moment. I’m thrilled to continue to share and find myself thinking of posts to write throughout the day. It has definitely been a wonderful way to creatively share and document our lives and interests.

The connection I’m able to make with readers is my absolute favorite. It has been so fun to hear from people that were reading and enjoying the things that were shared. I love that it highlights our family events, our home, and the many projects we have worked on.

I have also enjoyed the motivation it has given me to push forward through some goals and fun projects. It has been a great accountability tool and a great way to celebrate accomplishments as I update different projects throughout the year.

Speaking of new projects! As I type this we have just moved out of this lovely home I am sharing with you today. We are in transition. I’m currently sitting in a rented townhouse surrounded by boxes. We are off on a new adventure.

When I first submitted these photos I didn’t realize the move would come as soon as it did, but it has been quite wonderful to share these thoughts with you, especially so soon after closing the doors on this part of our life. It is surreal to think we will never live in this home again, but we are so grateful for our years in this home, and so excited for the future and all that it holds.

Our new home has so many features that I just love. It has a wrap-around porch, a barn, seven acres of pastured land, and three acres of forested land with a creek running through. From the back porch it has amazing views of Mount Hood and the Cascade Mountain Range. It has wood paneled ceilings in many of the rooms, an open floor-plan with vaulted ceilings, an open staircase and landing looking down into the main floor, and a sitting room off the entryway. There are built-ins throughout.

We will also have more room to spread out! With five bedrooms and four bathrooms we will have room for our family plus a designated guest room, so we will always have room for that out of town visitor. SO excited for this!

The home had some renters who didn’t take great care of it and it also has some water damage. It hasn’t been taken care of or lived in for a few years now. It’s sad to see such a lovely home in such bad shape. But the home itself has such potential. It needs some work, lots of cleaning up, a fresh coat of paint, and new floors.

Honestly, the thought of purchasing a home that needs another remodel is daunting and wouldn’t be my first choice, but we really fell in love with the place and are willing to do the work. I do love the idea of choosing all the finishes for the house. Definitely a perk of remodeling or building is being able to choose exactly what you like! I’m hoping for light and bright, a modern country eclectic look throughout, with white walls and trim and light pine floors on each level. I will have to show you when it’s ready!

We have been dreaming and scheming of what it will be like to live on a farm. We know we will be getting some chickens, a couple kittens, and some goats when we get settled. We hope to someday have a cow or two in the pasture and maybe a sheep or a pig. I love the idea of having animals for the kids to take care of and grow up with.

This move was such a difficult decision for us to make, and has literally taken years of discussion and debate. We loved where we were at, but we also dreamed of something else. We always have had the hope of a bit more land, a bit more country, and bit more space to spread out. Though we absolutely adored so many aspects of our home, there were a few things that we wished were a bit different, especially in the layout of the property and the floor plan of the home.

Up until this last few weeks we were still swaying back and forth in our decision. We knew we would not only miss the house, but our friends and community would change. We will still be close and be able to stay in touch, but it will be just a bit harder to stay connected.

But change is good, and what finally convinced me to move forward was a feeling of adventure and progress. I wanted to look back at our life knowing that we were willing to try new things, to get out of our comfort zone, to do the work that it takes to try something new, to dream and to move forward.

This will definitely be an adventure. One I believe that we will look back on and be so glad that we took this leap of faith.

It’s bittersweet. My kids have grown up in this home. When we moved in, my oldest was six and now he is twelve. We were a family of five and now we are a family of six. Moving into our home six years ago, we were a young family, and now we are an established family with four kids and a soon to be teenager!

We have so many stories to tell and traditions established from our time in this home. The fireworks on the 4th of July that we could see from our porch, our annual family New Years Eve Party was celebrated here each year, the dirt bikes that were ridden around in the yard, and the church and family dinners that we hosted. We love these memories shared with so many.

This home of ours will always hold a special place in our hearts.

I hope my kids remember all the little things. Sitting out on the porch swing together, playing on the rope swings, and cuddling around the fire reading a good book together. I hope they remember the tall trees that shaded our home, and our weekly walks down to our favorite shops for a frozen yogurt. So many memories to remember…I hope they remember them all, all glowing bright and warm and happy.

I wish someone had told me to not worry so much. To live through the things that sometimes happen in life and to embrace all that is good and noble. I am a planner, a list maker, someone who gets things done. I like to control things and make things happen. I’m learning I can’t control so much of what comes our way in life, but I can choose how I respond and to do good daily. I can get so stressed with the what ifs and shoulds and the worries of life, especially when it comes to parenting and my children. I want to enjoy them more and let go of the worries. Trust that they are good, that they are smart, that they will mature and grow, because they are and they will.

I want to have fun and enjoy my time as their mother, enjoy their funny, silly, loud selves every day. I know that parenting is a lot of work and I’m not suggesting that we don’t put our heart and soul into it every single day, but I do want to enjoy it more and worry less.

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Thank you, Callie! I’m thrilled we got a chance to peek at the home into which you put so much love and thought. It shows. And yes, wouldn’t it be lovely if our kids remembered only the wonderful memories? “All glowing bright and warm and happy.”

I also admire the way you’ve really defined and honed your style. Instead of constricting your creativity, I think it probably frees it! There’s always that moment while we’re browsing the latest and greatest room designs when we think, “That’s the best idea! I’m painting all my white walls a deep navy and, honey, we are changing out our dark hardwoods for a light oak!” Do you do the same thing?

In the end, if our basic design loves are true, they’ll stick around. Even when a cute new trend flirts with us!

P.S. – Are you living with your own kids in a unique way? Are you interested in sharing your home and experiences with us? Let me knowWe love to be inspired! And it’s a lot of fun…I promise! Take a peek at all the homes in my Living With Kids series here.