I’m sure Karley Vehaun’s home is just as charming 365 days a year — but it is particularly fun to see it all dressed up for Christmas! Karley at mixing textures in her home, from the rattan and wicker furniture, to the plants and the live greenery everywhere. You can practically smell the pine boughs when you look at these photos.

Karley has two young kids at home too and has a great perspective on being a parent to toddlers, and all of the wonderful and sometimes annoying things about them. Welcome, Karley!

Hi! We are the Vehauns! I’m Karley, my husband is Scott, and we have two precious children, Saylor (3.5 years old) and Oakley (1.5 years old), as well as a 3 month old puppy, named Winnie.

My husband and I have known each other since we were little. We grew up in the same town in the foothills of South Carolina and attended the same church and high school. Still, it took us all of 18 years to start dating and really getting to know each other. Fast forward through 4 years of dating: we got married my junior year of college and started a life together.

We bought a boutique in the heart of Columbia, South Carolina, practically on the University of South Carolina campus. While owning my own boutique was surreal for me, being a mom was my number one dream in life, as cliche as that may sound. So, after I got pregnant with our second child, my husband and I sold our boutique and moved to Greenville, South Carolina to be closer to family, with our own soon-to-be family of four.

We renovated and flipped a house during my second pregnancy, and moved to another fixer upper in a golf course community closer to town. We are now taking it easy for a bit as we raise two tiny humans and a crazy puppy.

Before my family moved to our current neighborhood, it was a pretty big goal of mine to live out on some land and have a farm. I wanted to own every farm animal there was and have our children grow up around tons of animals. However, after raising 12 chickens and 4 ducks at our last fixer upper, reality set in and we realized all those animals were too much work while raising babies of our own.

We put the farm life dream aside and settled for a quaint little golf course community that we now LOVE! It’s not in the heart of Greenville, so we aren’t surrounded by city life and traffic. It has become our new reality and our new dream.

Everyone in the neighborhood drives golf carts, which I think is so much fun. During warm summer nights the kids run free and explore on the golf course. We had no idea neighbors could be so sweet and “neighborly” and friendly; we adore most everyone we’ve met in our neighborhood and love the community they surround us with.

The neighborhood itself is interesting in that it is a combination of old and new. Most of the older houses (30 to 40 years old) are between the 200k to 300k price range, mostly with 3 or 4 bedrooms and mostly ranch style homes. However, new lines of homes were put in on the golf course around 15 years ago, and these houses are all in the 380k to 500k price range.

We love it the neighborhood because it is so close to Greenville, Greer, and Traveler’s Rest. We are 8 minutes from a Target in all three directions but also get all the benefits of local spots in all three areas as well. We love little local spots like Tandem, Swamp Rabbit, Sidewall Pizza, Grateful Brew and also love the fact that come fall we are only 25 minutes from Flat Rock Bakery and Skytop Apple Orchard in Flat Rock, NC. 

Buying a home in our community is a very hard task these days. Homes get snatched up before they even have a for sale sign in the yard. We were so blessed to make connections and eventually land on our house. Long story short, my Mom found our house after messaging the owners of each house on AirBnb in our neighborhood, and asking if they knew of anything possibly for sale.

Someone knew that our house had been sitting empty for awhile, so got in touch with the previous owner’s son and after a quick negotiation we were in. After about 3 months of good renovation, we finally moved in a bit before Christmas last year.

We were beyond thankful to snatch up our house before someone else did, and although it was a bit out of our budget, we knew it would be a great investment for down the road. 

My goal for those who step inside our house is to feel a sense of calmness and peace. Although this sounds impossible with a 3 year old, 1 year old, and puppy, I think a house can have these qualities amidst the noise.

One way I try to do this is with cool and natural colors, as well as bringing in natural light to give our home a certain mellowness. Part of this was easy with our house because the living room has 2 large skylights, but we also removed (or partially removed) a total of 5 walls before we moved in.

I wanted to add in more natural light to certain rooms and allow the house to feel open and inviting. I’ve never been a fan of too many walls and doorways; I love an open floor plan as it allows light to flow through each room, which I think is very inviting.

I also long for minimalistic living and a clutter free home. To me, clutter = stress. And stress is not peaceful. It can be tough, however, to make a house clutter free while still being inviting and warm. I don’t want a clean and clutter free home to be intimidating to others, or not give off a warm vibe. So I try to find the balance of little to no clutter but still enough decor to make a room feel warm and inviting. 

I have always been drawn to the bohemian-style way of living. I love the simple, yet detailed look of wood and bamboo. My favorite things to decorate with are plants. I adore the greenery it adds to our house, and I love bringing the outdoors in. I’m not a planner at all, in any way shape or form, so I pretty much just decorate as I go. Sometimes this means walking outside to grab a few logs or stems of greenery. I’m very much a visual decorator, meaning I have to see it set up and in the actual room to know if it stays or goes. Therefore, I kinda just decorate as the ideas come to mind. 

When it comes to rattan, obsessed is an understatement. If i see rattan in a store (and it’s in my price range) it’s coming home with me! Anthropologie and World Market have great rattan/wicker pieces, although I’ve found that the best rattan pieces are often thrifted. I love the character of older rattan pieces from long ago. Another reason texture is so big for me is because I am a very minimalistic decorator, so I feel like texture is a much needed item in my house to give depth, character, and warmth. 

I like to describe my style as “minimalistic modern bohemian.” It’s a mouth-full, but it makes so much sense to me when shopping around and being a smart buyer. Minimalistic: I need simple, I need organized, and I need clutter free. Modern: I love the brass gold, I love simple lines, and I love, love, love clean, white walls. I’m also currently a fan of the mid century modern trend. Bohemian: give me all the texture, all the plants, all the rattan/wicker/leather, keep the majority of the decor neutral and add in touches of color you might find in nature. Did i mention I love how unique bohemian-style is? 

When shopping around, It’s so easy to grab pretty, “fad-like” items off the shelves and throw them in the cart. Stores display items and make them so pleasing to the eye that the consumer can’t say “no” to purchasing them. I end up giving in, buying something, then I get home and don’t like it a few days or weeks later.

To combat this, I try to ask myself now when I shop,  “Is this a color you would see in nature?” (Those bright pillows always look so much cuter on the shelves than on my couch.) “Does this add texture to my current decor?” (Texture is a must since I long for minimalistic but also want to avoid our house looking like a boring flat space.) Lastly, I ask myself, “Would Christine Simplybloom buy this?” She’s my favorite decorator who inspires me so so much!

We ALWAYS decorate for Christmas early. It was 2 days before Halloween this year when my husband asked me if we could go get a Christmas tree. (LOL)  He wasn’t joking. However, we are team real Christmas tree, so we have to wait until mid November to go cut down a tree. We are always the first at the Christmas tree farm when they open. It’s something we LOVE doing and look so forward to each year.

We always get our tree so early that come end of December, the tree is on its last limb. We literally had to buy a new Christmas tree last year a week before Christmas and redecorate because our first tree had died. And when I say died, I mean it hardly had any green left on it at all. It looked like a tree in the winter time that has lost all its leaves. We’re still team real Christmas tree though. ;)

Also a side note: my neutral decorating rule goes out the window when it comes to Christmas decor. This year I decided to bring in lots of color with a ton of natural greenery.

I have never bought fake greenery; I just can’t bring myself to do it. There is just something about real greenery: the smells, the feels, and bringing the outdoors in. Maybe it’s nostalgic? Regardless, I spray our greenery with a squirt bottle every day to help prolong its life. It doesn’t normally last until Christmas day, but still, it’s so worth it to me: the dropping needles and mess all over the floor and all. For me, the real greenery is just a must.

I think I am good at seeing the best in my kids (although this could be a bad thing too) when they really need me on their side. I am really big on intentions. I think seeing everyone’s intentions is so important in life, as everyone is riding the struggle bus for a reason.

If my 1 year old son is on the floor screaming and having a meltdown, I try my best to get to the source of his screaming. Most likely, he is frustrated because he can’t communicate with me and tell me what he wants. Or maybe his sister took his toy from him when I wasn’t looking and he is mad and he can’t tell me how mad he is.

Note: We DO discipline our kids and are firm believers in consequences, but sometimes I think communicating with our children and understanding them is more beneficial than just throwing them in timeout because it’s what you’re “supposed to do”. If my daughter is having a tough day, I try to see that maybe she is struggling and being a bit insecure for a reason.

I’m not always good at this, and I have plenty of freak out moments in my motherhood journey that I’m not proud of, but I’d say my number one strength in motherhood would be loving them through their difficult days, tantrums and all. Whether that means holding them or snuggling them as long as they need, or simply reassuring them how loved they are. 

I never want our kids to forget how loved they are. I hope they never forget how much they mean to us and that they know and never forget that we would do ANYTHING to protect them and make them feel loved, cherished and secure on a daily basis. I hope they will grow up and be able to see Christ’s love displayed in this home, and their parents loving them well and intentionally.

On a more light hearted note, I hope they never forget our slow mundane mornings together, our dance parties, our sporadic tickle fights, the daily golf course outings, all the meals we have shared around the table, all the giggles from their sweet lips, and most importantly the hugs we offer to them 219 times a day.

On the other hand, I hope Saylor and Oakley forget the times I choose to be a lazy parent or turn the TV on when I am just too tired to do anything else that day. I hope they forget the times I was too focused on cleaning our house, or when I tuned out their sweet voices asking me to play with them. I pray they forget the times when my husband and I weren’t gracious and patient with them or lost our tempers with them only because they asked the same question for the 39th time.

I hope they don’t remember the stress of renovating our house with two toddlers in tow, and focus instead on how much fun we’ve had since it’s been (mostly) done. Lastly, I hope they don’t remember the times we haven’t always pointed them towards Jesus and encouraged them where they needed it most.

I love how my husband and I are the world to our kids. We could mess up (and often do) so badly, and they literally still think the world of us. They are head over heels for us, just like we are for them, but i just think it’s so sweet how much kids look up to their parents.

Even though I often desire some quiet time or alone time, our kids need none of that. It’s sweet and annoying at the same time. There are no solo bathroom trips, no alone time. Ever.

It’s crazy that I can get so annoyed and already somehow miss it at the same time. I can’t imagine the quietness of our home once our kids go off to college. I love the mundane moments of always being with them, the silly moments, and even the harder, teachable moments of living together. 

I wish someone had told me that motherhood is more than dressing your children in cute clothes, rocking them to sleep, reading them books, and watching them take their first steps. Not that all these things aren’t true. But, I wish someone had opened up more about the trickier times in parenthood, the times when things are really hard and exhausting, and so far from perfect that you feel like no one else could possibly relate or understand.  

I had dreamt of being a mother my entire life! It’s all I ever truly wanted (and still want). I always thought I’d be the parent who did no screen time, 100% no sugar, had perfect babies who slept through the night and toddlers who never had temper tantrums. I thought I was never going to lose my cool as a mom.

I was so let down by myself to learn that being a stay at home mom often times meant not getting out of your pajamas all day, not having meals planned out for the week, not having the beds made and house cleaned, no shower, and having to rely on the TV to get from one side of town to the other.

Not because I was being lazy, but because raising tiny humans is the toughest (most rewarding) job in the world.

Sometimes this means spending all day changing dirty diapers, dealing with fits, picking up the same toys 10x a day, going to the bathroom with a toddler on your lap, and giving hugs over and over again so your kid feels safe and secure in their tough little world.

I thought I’d have my daughter potty trained by age 1.5. I thought I would shop around Target with ease and grace and keep two toddlers in the cart the entire trip, and I thought I’d NEVER turn the TV on for my kids

I experienced a lot of mom guilt early on because these are things people don’t talk about until you have kids and hear your mommy friends saying these exact same things on a daily basis.

I now know how normal this is. I know that most moms experience this. And if you’ve never experienced a newborn blowout (while babywearing) while grocery shopping, while forgetting the diaper bag, while your toddler is on the dirty floor of Trader Joes crying because you gave her the wrong color sippy-cup, while having to pee pretty badly yourself, and while you feel like also crying yourself, well then give me all your mama bear tips!

My fellow mom friends have been so SOOO encouraging in this crazy and marvelous phase of life. Because well, blowouts happen and because nothing about motherhood is perfect. There are so many ups and downs on a daily basis.

Your heart literally aches when your kid gets the tiniest scratch, and your heart leaps with joy when you see the tiniest smile from their lips.

It’s so encouraging to know that your kid doesn’t care if you don’t have it together. They don’t see a pile of laundry and judge you. They don’t see an unshowered mama who hasn’t brushed her hair in days. And they certainly don’t mind a little screen time here and there. Our children love us for exactly who we are, the messy buns and the beautiful kisses.

So to all you new or soon to be mamas out there, and to all you guilt driven mamas out there, and to all you thriving mamas out there: you will have rough days. Watching your 2 year old have a full blown meltdown in the middle of the grocery store is hard. Getting through the stomach bug with your kids is hard. Potty training is hard. Watching your kids fail is hard. And reading the same book over and over again for the 8th time is hard. BUT YOU ARE THE BEST MAMA TO YOUR KID(S). And they love you just the way you are. No strings attached! 

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Thank you, Karley! Anyone who has raised kids knows that toddlers can be tricky. On the one hand they are fun and affectionate and cute. But on the other hand they can be really demanding, and exhausting and frustrating. I love Karley’s advice about remembering that your kid doesn’t care and isn’t judging you. They are just loving you. That’s a really simple thing to remember in those moments when you feel like the wheels are falling off.

I’m also kind of obsessed with all the wreaths and garlands in Karley’s house. Maybe I need to go grab a few before Christmas? There is something so appealing about real greenery and whenever we have had a real tree I’m obsessed with the smell. Karley’s house look festive and cheerful with touches of green in almost every room.

Where do you fall on the real vs. fake tree debate? Do you love the convenience of a fake tree? Or do you love taking the whole family to the Christmas tree farm to pick out this year’s tree?

SOURCES

Leather couch

Rattan Chairs

Rattan Couch

Rattan breakfast nook chairs


You can see more of Karley’s life and home on Instagram. Living With Kids is edited by Josh Bingham — you can follow him on Instagram too.

Would you like to share your home in our Living With Kids series? It’s lots of fun, I promise! (And we are always looking for more diversity in the families we feature here. Single parents, non-traditional parents, families of color, LGBT parents, multi-generational families. Reach out! We’d love to hear your stories!!) Email us at features@designmom.com