Today I had a nice chat with the talented Sara Hicks Malone from Hicks Paper Goods where she is a designer who works with owner Whitney English and who also authors the blog Sara’s Party Perfect. Sara lives and works in Nashville and has such a fantastic home that I simply had to share a tour of it with you here today. Her home was built in 1967 and she completely renovated it three years ago into a gorgeous gem…
I asked Sara some questions that I thought decor8 readers would be interested in learning about her personal style and home so sit back, sip a cup of hot tea, and read along as Sara tells us about her lovely abode.
How would you describe your personal style, Sara?
Evolving. I think I’m often trying to discover ‘who I am’ through home decor. I haven’t figured it out yet. My first house was very beige and matchy. Pretty but didn’t have much personality. My second home was full of really bold color, but ultimately it didn’t feel like me. This house, to be honest, doesn’t quite feel quite right either… I think I’m much more gray and muted with subtle pattern and hints of color instead of the knock-’em-down pink and yellow in parts of the house. But this color palette felt appropriate for the house because of all the white (white walls, white exterior) — it needed some major hits of color to keep it from being bland. I love the house itself, but if given the budget and the go-ahead of my husband, I would probably redecorate in a heartbeat.
What are some favorite pieces in your home?
The Saarinen table was the first big investment piece we purchased that I truly feel like we will have forever (I’ve bought ‘forever’ pieces before but quickly realized that they were not FP’s). The peony painting was a $40 bargain on eBay 5 years ago, I still love it. The gateleg table has been in my family forever. I’ve struggled to find a space for it in this home because it is in stark contrast with the contemporary architecture, but I did not want to keep it locked away in storage. Our white dining table was designed and built by a friend. The dining chairs were a gift from a friend (she found them at a flea market). I love anything with meaning or connection to people I love.
How did you decide on the Cow Parsley wallpaper and why yellow?
I had a really hard time making design decisions for the house while in the renovation process, but the yellow wallpaper was the one thing I knew I wanted. It gives our home personality, it’s a very pretty shade of yellow, and just about everyone who comes in the house loves it. That wallpaper has taught me to trust my gut and really only get things that I have a visceral ‘I must have that’ reaction to. I really wouldn’t describe myself as a yellow sort of person, but this wasn’t a scary yellow decision. I think because it is yellow wallpaper, and not yellow paint (notice there is no yellow paint in our house other than the front door!), it was much easier to digest.
When people visit your home, what are some common opinions about the decor?
Well… I can definitely tell right off the bat whether or not someone likes our house. People tend to have strong reactions to it one way or the other. The house is in direct contrast to the typical traditional homes in this area. But people who ‘get it’, whether or not they like the style, tend to be complimentary. I think there is an edited feel to the house, and oftentimes people ask ‘where is all your stuff?’. And then they tell me they want to go home and take some of the ‘junk’ out of their own homes.
You mentioned earlier that this home doesn’t exactly fit your personal style and I’d love to learn more…
I feel like I’m constantly experimenting with my personal style. Sometimes I have imaginary critics in my head telling me what’s right or what’s wrong. The older I get, the more I am starting to feel comfortable listening to myself, listening to what I want, and not so much decorating for an imaginary audience. I think some of the decisions I’ve made in the past (and some in this home, initially) were made because I was designing what I thought people expected from me, not necessarily what I wanted/needed. Don’t know if that makes any sense. So I guess to answer the question, parts of the house feel like they reflect my personal style, and other parts are evolving.
When approaching the redesign or even “spruce up” of a room, what advice can you give decor8 readers?
My husband will laugh at this and probably disagree (that I do this), but I’d say spend as little as possible! I find the more money I spend on something the more stressful and less enjoyable the purchase becomes, because I tell myself I *have* to like it. Small splurges at thrift shops, consignment stores, and on Etsy tend to give me much more pleasure than buying big ticket items. I also once read that you should never purchase anything for your home when you’re in a bad state of mind (you + your husband just got in a fight, someone close to you died, etc.) because every time you see that piece it will bring back a negative connotation, whether or not you like the thing itself…which I think is so true. So I try to not do any shopping when I’m feeling down!
What are 5 things that you love to do at home?
Our home is my haven, i love to relax here. Our home is also my office, so I have tried to carve out a creative space as well. Our home is where I prefer to entertain (smaller parties are much more my style), so I love to have dinners here. Our home is a play space for our two kids (almost 1 and almost 3), so I’ve tried to make a home that is completely accessible to them. Our home is in a beautiful setting, so I feel connected to nature and ‘spirit’ here. We feel very fortunate to call this our home!
Thank you so much Sara, this is a gorgeous space and I can’t wait to see what decor8 readers have to say about it. Lovely, lovely!
Does anyone else ever feel like Sara – unsure whether or not your home reflects your personal space or you love your home but aren’t sure it’s really YOU? It’s an interesting topic to ponder, isn’t it???
(images: sara hicks malone)