Reality Check!

So far I have enjoyed working on this blog and sharing the changes of the house.  While that is one of the main things I hope to share, it's not the only thing.

I hope to portray real life.  I've had people say to me "you look like you live in a magazine!,"or "that is so Pinterest!"  While these statements are meant as a compliment, I cringe a little.  I don't mean to paint the perfect picture.  Life isn't perfect.  When it comes to social media, for the most part I think we all tend to put our best self out there.  Pictures of our happy family vacations, the cute things our kids do, the pretty vignette in our entry way, or the amazing meal we made for dinner are usually the things that make us the happiest and we want to share them.  Generally, what we don't share is the screaming and fighting that happened in the back seat on our family vacation, when our kids yell at us, the mess in our family room, and the fast food meal we threw at our kids for dinner.  But sometimes that is reality.  In fact, most of the time that is reality!  And when we can all recognize that others are having those moments of craziness too, life feels better.  Because of our human nature we compare ourselves to others.  But we tend to compare our worst selves to others' best selves.

Someone once said to me that to me that it seemed like my trials were easier to endure because they were public and therefore I had lots of help and lots of prayers in my behalf and lots of support.
While many of the trials I have had in my life have been public, I have had my share of private trials as well.  Things I have never shared with anyone and things I have only shared with close family that have rocked me to the core.  We all have have private trials and when we can see that other's do too we play less of the comparison game and more on the side of the support team.

I have learned that you never really know the whole story or the full picture of another's life.  And to some degree it's better that way.  
What I am trying to say it there are a lot of people who suffer in silence, whose burdens are unknown and whose cries for help are only heard by God.  Just because we see a picture of them at the lake in their super cute bikini and tan, toned arms, doesn't mean they have the perfect life.  And we don't have to know all the details of their lives in order to love them, or to be happy for them, or to cheer them on.  Posts about a good time,  doesn't necessarily equal no hard times.  These are just highlights!

Off soapbox......
I have welcomed you into my home and my head.  So in lieu of that, here is the before and afters of our entryway.  The first room you see in the house.  MY has it changed!!!! (keep in mind a lot of the pictures I have of the house were from when my mom decorated for Christmas!)


Reality Check!  Here is what it looks like most of the time!  A pillow who must have been victim to being aimed at another child, backpack that didn't make it past the front door on the last day of school an entire week ago, Lightning McQueen who makes it into every room throughout the day, one flip flip, a teacup, Mickey Mouse, a marker lid(really that one is just strange), a teacup and lego mini-figures.

 Still to do to the entryway:
-resand and stain floors (they haven't been redone in over 30 years)
-change railing to something more modern
-possibly paint hand rail and risers black
-replace sconces and chandelier

rug // plant basket // dresser (craigslist) // dresser hardware // vase // art (my mother's original)  windows (vintage) // paint is swiss coffee // You Are Here prints 
black round box (Goodwill) // cake plate and bust statue (vintage) // no whining banner


Hi! I'm Hillary!

My name is Hillary.  I am a native of Mesa, Arizona.  I am married to the biggest sweetheart, (literally he's 6'4") and together we have 5 children, 3 boys, 2 girls.   I learned how to be creative and imaginative from my mother.  I hope to help others as they read by sharing my love for design and inviting others to make their homes a place they love to be!

5 years ago my family moved into the home I was raised in.  Lots of memories and life's lessons were had in this home.  And now it's like the home is getting a second chance, another family to hold.  I am enjoying the process of making it my own, our own.   Growing up in the home, I saw everything through a child's eyes.  Now I view life with the eyes of a mother.
It was always a dream home to my parents, but I never really thought it would be mine one day.  My parents have both passed away, (you can read their stories here and here) and I like to think they would like what we've done with the place.  It still has a lot of the charm they built into it, and I've added my own modern touches, but I like to think the home still has it's same soul and holds the same love for the family within it's walls.
I share a lot of details about my parents because to me their lives were amazing and I don't want to forget the memories I share with them.  I feel like sharing them is not only therapy for me, but also entertaining and uplifting to others.
Much of this blog is dedicated to experiences and stories that happened in this home over the past 30+ years.

My career right now is motherhood.  I am fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom.  It's always been my dream job and most of the time I LOVE it!  I would be lying if I didn't say there are times I just want to run away.  I call it a case of Motheritis!  I like to share this honesty in hopes of collaborating with other Moms on ways we can beat the mishaps of mommyhood and enjoy our dream job to it's fullest!

I LOVE to decorate!  It's my passion.  I have always dreamed of doing it professionally.  And one day I hope that dream will be a reality.  But I've got kids 5 and not enough time for a full time job.  So for now, I will share my passion with you in the decor and design of this place I am lucky to call my homestead house!  

                                                            Photo Credit: Sara Coral Photography


Home Can Be A Heaven on Earth

  In one of my favorite hymns I have learned, "home can be a heaven on earth, when it is filled with love."  My hope for this blog is to help others love their homes and feel of its duty and pride to shelter the family it holds.  The feeling inside is more important than square footage and decor.  If anyone needs reminding of this, it's me!  Scuffs on the walls and well worn floors are a testimony of a happy, active family.  I love the giddiness I feel with the vision of a well designed, clean home.  Magazine photos and Pinterest posts often make my heart skip a beat.  But the reality is, living isn't always clean or perfect.  And I've got plenty of crayon drawings on the wall to prove that!

When I was a year old, Mom and Dad built a house.  It was their dream home.  Dad was a builder and Mom an interior designer, so naturally they made a great team.  Mom dreamed of a victorian home on the east coast, but we lived in the desert.  She thought it up, and he made it happen.  It was beautiful.    A lot of hard work and sweat went into the building of this home.  My dad and many of his brothers and friends helped him create a custom masterpiece he would live in and raise our family for the next couple of decades.

 This pic was taken in 1984.  The home was about 3 years old.  
(I love that you can see my Mom's shadow taking the pic!)

A few years later, Mom decided to paint the home yellow with white trim.  She added some country touches, hanging planters, a dinner bell on the porch, and the flagpole. 

Then about a decade or so later, the home was repainted a brighter yellow with a green door and the cement walkway was replaced with vintage brick.  This picture was taken around 2000.

 Mom and Dad have both passed away (you can read their stories here and here)  and my husband and our 5 children now live in the home.  Its a bitter sweet experience to renovate a home you were raised in.  So many memories came with the tearing down of walls and stripping wall paper.  For me, my home is my haven.  Its where I spend 99% of my days.  Its the place I want my children to run to for peace and protection.   

  Lots of memories and life's lessons were had in this home.  And now it's like the home is getting a second chance, another family to hold.  I am enjoying the process of making it my own, our own.  When we have moved walls or stripped wallpaper, we often find penciled measurements under it all in my dad's handwriting.   It was always a dream home to my parents, but I never really thought it would be mine one day.  I just sort of thought it would always be mom and dad's.  When my mom was sick, we went for a drive just she and my brothers and I.  We talked about future plans, things we loved about each other, and she shared her testimony of Christ with us.  When I told her we wanted to keep the home in the family she was genuinely pleased!  I like to think they would like what we've done with the place.  It still has a lot of the charm they built into it, and I've added my own modern touches, but I like to think the home still has it's same soul and holds the same love for the family within it's walls.  My brothers feel like they are coming home whenever they come in town to visit, because in a way, they are.  We still have the same snack drawer in the kitchen that they all rifle through upon arriving.  We still stay up late sitting on the kitchen counter just talking.  The kids slide down the banister railing, the way we used to when we were young.  We sit on the porch swing during thunderstorms and watch the lightning.

  Over the last 30 + years, the house has changed, but the feeling inside is just the same.  

And this is how the Homestead House looks now!

The roof was redone before we even moved in.  I miss the charm of the shake style roof, but we had leaks and problems that needed fixed. 

We removed the old porch railing and had the beams wrapped in columns.  The exterior was given a fresh coat of Swiss Coffee paint with bright white trim.  We wanted to replace all the windows on the house, but the quote definitely not in our budget, so for now we had the painters freshen up the windows by painting the frames black.  It really makes them pop!  We also replaced the front door and had it trimmed out.

 The ferns are one of my favorite touches.  I have seen them in so many inspiration pictures.  The porch ceiling was painted a light blue as is customary in many southern homes.  

With each monsoon season, the pine trees made us nervous.  They were very close to the house, particularly the boys bedroom and two of them were leaning towards the house.  It was a sad choice but we had all 4 of them removed.  They served this home well and provided lots of shade all summer long.  My brother who is a genius creator had all the wood milled and has built dining tables and benches with it.  I have lots of ideas I would also like him to use the wood for!  Eventually we would like to plant some new trees and redo all the landscaping, but again, not in the budget for now.

I think she looks like a pretty happy home.  What do you think!?

 "Home can be a heav'n on earth
When we are filled with love,
Bringing happiness and joy,
Rich blessings from above—
Warmth and kindness, charity,
Safety and security—
Making home a part of heaven,
Where we want to be.

 Drawing fam'ly near each week,
We'll keep love burning bright.
Serving Him with cheerful hearts,
We'll grow in truth and light.
Parents teach and lead the way,
Children honor and obey,
Reaching for our home in heaven,
Where we want to stay.

 Praying daily in our home,
We'll feel His love divine;
Searching scriptures faithfully,
We'll nourish heart and mind.
Singing hymns of thanks, we'll say,
"Father, help us find the way
Leading to our home in heaven,
Where we long to stay."

(LDS Hymnbook)

lanterns Ballard Designs
porch swing Ballard Designs
porch chairs Ikea
front door Home Depot


Living Room- Before & After

The living room was actually termed "the parlor" by my old-fashioned mother.  She always said she had been born in the wrong era and was supposed to have been on earth when ladies wore corsets and had tea parties and entertained visitors in their parlors!  

This is the room you first see as you walk into the house.  As you can tell from the before pictures, it had quite the victorian charm.  This is the only picture I could find with this angle of the room showing, apparently someone got a tonka truck for Christmas that year!  On any given day you could find one of us kids sliding down the banister and often this room was used as a faster way to get to the kitchen if you were hoping to beat someone to dinner, and we would hear mom yell, "no running in the house!"  Up these two little steps was our stage and the grown ups were forced to sit and watch our made up plays and pageants!
 At Christmas time my mom really went all out in decor.  The stained mantel was always a focal point for all of Mom's decor.  The mantel is also a two way, (another mantel opens on the other side of the wall into the family room) so you could lay in this room and listen to grown ups in the other room or spy while playing hide and seek!
 Under the bay windows sat a "fainting sofa".  Mom picked this up on one of her antique shopping trips and it sat under these windows for years.  We hated the thing!  It was super stiff and we would forget when we plopped down to lay on it!  Off to the left of this photo was an upright piano and was where us kids spent lots of time doing our dreaded piano practicing, which often just turned into daydreaming at the piano.  We would hold family concerts and meetings in this room.
For years my mom had talked of stripping the wallpaper and lightening up this room.  When she was really sick from chemo treatments she had to spend a few nights in the hospital.  I decided this was the time.  I headed over and got to work with my step sister, Afton.  We stripped the wallpaper, painted the walls a pistachio green color that was mom's favorite, and even had our Grandpa come over and craft the lower half of the walls and add the bookshelves on either side of the mantel.  When Mom came home from the hospital the first thing she saw was this room as she was wheeled into the house.  She sat and looked and cried.  She was very happy with the turnout.  She called it her temple room because it was so bright and light.  

After my own family and I moved into the house a year later, I did some more tweaking and made it my own.  
The bookshelves are filled with some of my family treasures.  Books that belonged to my grandmother, a large dried hydrangea from my mother's funeral bouquets, an iron horse head from the gates on the farm my dad grew up on and a pretty statue of a woman that my mother cherished.  
We now use this room for piano practicing, family time, Sunday quiet time, reading, and still the kids use the "stage" for plays.

The piano belongs to the entire family and we are still not quite sure what to do with it.  It is a completely restored antique Steinway piano, originally built in 1876 and was a treasure my mom was lucky enough to come across.

 I love this room because it stays clean 99% of the time, aside from occasional flip flops and random legos.  I can go in there to have some peace.  This artwork Resurrection by Mark Mabry was a gift given to me from my husband on Mothers Day the year we moved into the home.

coffee table West Elm
loveseat and chair Ikea
chandelier Overstock
pillows Home Goods
floral planter Anthropologie, similar here

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