We are delighted to have Desha Peacock, author of "Create The Style You Crave On A Budget You Can Afford" on the Style Matters podcast this week.  Desha has a lot of wisdom to impart when it comes to creating a home that looks more beautiful than what you see in the fancy magazines.  She does this by encouraging us to incorporate so much of our own selves into our homes.  She has inspired us to look at our own every day lifestyle and find ways of elevating the mundane, highlighting our fondest memories and using creativity in every aspect of our decor.  There's nothing here that you can't do yourself!  Just trust what you're drawn to and go for it.  


1.  Treat Yourself To A Fancy Breakfast

We don't know about you but for us, breakfast is often a grab & go kind of meal.  It's also often the same boring thing everyday.  Once in awhile, take the time to start your day with the intention of experiencing small delights.  Set the table, use real china and actually cook something.  Don't do this because you have a holiday brunch to host or your kids are demanding a pancake buffet.  Do it just because.  And especially if you're eating alone!  


2.  Create A Personalized Monogram

If you were one of thousands of college students who pinned posters of Dali, Van Gogh, Picasso or O'Keefe in your dorm room, you will probably feel some nostalgia for those old art books you might have lying around.  Find one of your favorite prints, trace it over a metal letter you've picked up at an art supply store and create a new conversation piece that reminds you of old times.


3.  Set Up A Writing Station

There's nothing like sending and receiving an actual hand-written note, out of the blue.  It won't take more than a few minutes and your friend will be so delighted and surprised, it's worth every second.  Stock up on some super funny cards or have your name printed on a set of stationery.  Our obsession with everything vintage-y means we enjoy adding old stamps on the envelopes.  Did you know they still hold their monetary value as long as they haven't been used?  


4.  Dust Off Grandma's Dishes

Mixing up the  table : modern & vintage, rustic & refined.  

Mixing up the table: modern & vintage, rustic & refined.  

Setting an eclectic table lets your guests know that you intend to have fun.  Mix in some everyday plates, some dishes you've found at a thrift store and yes, your grandmother's wedding china with the pattern you thought was too formal for your taste.  We find that it's a great way to honor her and still set a stylish, modern table.  


5.  Tell a Story With A Vignette

There are so many ways to document our lives.  Photos and videos, scrapbooks, quilts made from old T-shirts... But we mostly like to be a little less literal in our presentation.  These are a few vignettes we've created from objects that represent our passions, our memories and our aspirations.  We collect things over time and then find new ways of putting them together, depending on what small story we're going to tell. 


6.  Create A Mini Gallery Wall With Travel Artifacts

Karen's collection of  Greek crosses

Karen's collection of Greek crosses

Instead of buying sculptural wall pieces at the big box stores, use the things you've collected on your travels.  Baskets, masks, pieces of coral...whatever you've been storing away and not known what to do with.  Karen's display of crosses and icons from her travels to Greece are especially meaningful.


7.  Decorate With Maps From Places You've Been

Before & After:  waterfront bar

Before & After: waterfront bar

Another way to bring your travels into your decor is to collect maps from your favorite vacation spots.  I found several nautical maps from the Gulf of Maine where I've been visiting every summer since childhood.  They made for a great backdrop to an old bookcase, which I turned into a bar. 


8.  Have A Portrait Made of Your Pet

Commission a  pet portrait

Commission a pet portrait

We love our animals so why not treat them as royalty and commission and artist to paint their portrait?  Tuck them in amongst your other treasures so that they feel as much a part of your decor as your pet is woven into your lives.  Here is a sweet painting of Karen's beloved dog, Lucas.


9.  Repurpose Hand-Me-Down Furniture

We've all been given pieces of history that we don't quite know what to do with.  As long as you're willing to embellish or reassign them, you can incorporate them into your life in a way that makes you happy.  Here's Karen's remake of a cabinet that went from holding vynil records to holding scotch, burbon and bitters.


10.  Light A Candle.  In daylight.  Every day. 

Candles made for Little Yellow Couch by  Witch City Wicks

Candles made for Little Yellow Couch by Witch City Wicks

This is an easy one.  Stop saving those special fragrances for special occasions!  Karen and I have been working together for over 3 years.  Most times, when we go to each other's homes during the day for a business meeting, one of us has lit a lovely, aromatic candle.  It makes each of us feel just a little bit special that our friend thought an everyday meeting was worthy of breaking out the good stuff.  But it was just the other day when we discovered that we each thought it was the other person who started this tradition.  Karen said she only does it because it reminds her of me.  And I'm almost positive I got into the habit from going to Karen's house.   What can we say?  Great minds, and all.  

xoxo Zandra


We'd love to hear your daily practices and style tips, too!  Be sure to get in touch in the comments below or on social media.  And if you haven't already, we highly recommend Desha's book!  After listening to our interview with her, you're going to want to get your hands on it!