At Floor Coverings International, we love bringing you perspectives and insight from designers. Today, we have an interview with Kimberly, DIY designer at the Serendipity Refined blog.
Floor Coverings International: Could you tell me a little about yourself?
Kimberly: I’m a home decor/diy/craft blogger with a fine arts degree and a minor in interior design. I have a “day job” in corporate finance for a fortune 100 computer company. I have a husband, two grown sons and a 10 year old yellow lab who I rescued from a shelter last year. I’ve rehabbed a dozen condos and four homes (so far) including a build from scratch which we lived in for 10 years prior to selling it in the summer of 2013. I love to be busy and almost always have two or three projects going on. I sell hand made goods at local markets when time permits and I love to cook and bake. Helping family and friends to create beautiful events and items for their homes is what I love to do the most.
FCI: What made you decide to start a blog? What do you enjoy about blogging?
K: I started my blog as a way to “give back”. My family calls it “helper syndrome”…I have a fundamental need to help people. I’ve spent 36 years painting furniture and decorating apartments, condos and homes with very limited resources. I’ve been repurposing since before repurposing was “cool” and I’ve learned ways to do things (like painting roadside rescue or thrift store furniture or turning twin sized bedspreads into draperies and shower curtains) that I feel may help other people to be able to create a beautiful home within a budget or to encourage or inspire them to try something new.
I also have found that I have a “need” to create things. For example, yesterday I made a w wreath out of oak leaves that fell in my yard. Last fall, it was sign that I made from reclaimed pallets. The blog gives me a way to share what I create and to hopefully inspire others to overcome their fears and to create something of their own.
The thing that I enjoy most about blogging is getting messages from readers thanking me and telling me that I’ve inspired them in some way. It’s really incredible (and very, very, humbling) to know that I’m able to do that.
FCI: Why do you choose to ‘do it yourself’? What do you find appealing about DIY?
K: As it relates to decorating, I DIY for a couple of reasons: First, it’s a way to have a beautiful home on a budget while keeping things like furniture and home decor items out of the landfill. Second, DIY’ing gives me the chance to create a home and home decor/accessories that are uniquely mine. They’re a reflection of my taste and personality.
When it comes to home DIY, over the years I’ve done everything from drywall to setting tile and installing crown molding. I’ve installed plumbing fixtures and remodeled kitchens. the most important thing is to know your limitations. DIY the part that you can and call in the pros when you need to.
I’ve been a DIY’er since middle school when my parents first allowed me to choose the colors for my room and helped me to design twin beds that slid under a corner table to help save space. There’s a special feeling that comes from making your ideas come to life. Over the years, that has expanded beyond home decorating and accessories to “homes”. I started by rehabbing apartments and condos then moved on to homes. I’m currently transforming a 1950’s red brick ranch into what I envision will be a “French farmhouse with an American accent”.
FCI: How would you describe your design style? What are some of your design inspirations?
K: My design style is decidedly eclectic. I believe that a well designed home shouldn’t feel “decorated” but rather, should reflect the taste and interests of the people who live there. Homes should tell the “story” of the lives of their occupants. They should feel “collected” rather than “designed”. In my own home, I have a mix of family pieces, reclaimed and repurposed items from thrift stores and flea markets as well as new items. They’re items that speak to me in some way, not just things to fill space. I believe in having only items in my home that I love and/or that are useful. When I choose to live with only those items, I always find space for them.
As for my design inspirations, right now, my focus is on the transformation of our home. Just over a year ago, we downsized and moved into a 1950’s ranch in the Chicago suburbs. The home had been vacant for a couple of years and had quite a bit of deferred maintenance.
I spent the first year painting and doing general maintenance to allow us to live in the house. For the last nine months, I’ve been working with an architect to redesign the interior spaces as well as the look of the exterior and am hoping to be able to break ground this fall on “Phase 2” of the renovation which is expected to take 6 to 9 months to complete.
During this time, I will, of course, continue to paint furniture and create items for my home because it’s more than just “something that I do”…it’s an important part of who I am.
FCI: Tell me about one recent project that you’re especially proud of.
K: The recent project (almost complete) that I’m most proud of is the conversion of the room that used to be the ranch house living room into the farmhouse dining room. It’s the first room that I chose to work on because it was the easiest and because I’m hoping to host Thanksgiving this year. Renovation involved removing four layers of old flooring before installing four inch, cabin grade white oak. I also removed a wall of knotty pine paneling and installed new lighting. The most significant piece of the conversion was that I found a design online and hired a company to fabricate a limestone fireplace surround that’s a replica of a French fireplace surround found in the 1800’s in the Loire Valley. I still have to finish installing crown molding and trim but I love the way that the room is coming together.
Kimberly can be found at www.serendipityrefined.com.