MCJ Studio Blog

How My Style Has Evolved Over The Years

I just realized our fourth anniversary (birthday? lol) of owning this home and moving to Tennessee is coming up. My nostalgic brain took a walk down memory lane and suddenly I was creeping around our 2011 blog post archives looking at photos of our previous homes.

I thought it would be fun to share with you today, as well as my thoughts on how my style has evolved over the years. There are nearly 10 years of rooms in this post. And I’m honestly proud of all (well, most) of them. I truly believe in the value of practice and time when it comes to decorating, and especially when it comes to renovating. I made lots of mistakes along the way, but I’m so happy I made them! The best part is I still believe I have so much potential to keep growing. I truly love this type of work!

Anyway, let’s time travel a bit. Shall we?

Welcome to Jeremy’s and my first home (circa 2011). We were newlyweds living on a tight budget. It was the early days of our blogs and this living room is the place where we began work on our first app. I look back on this space so fondly.

I think we painted this living room three times. It was red when I met Jermey (this was his bachelor pad) and then we painted it white, but it looked weird so we painted it green and then this crazy yellow—which actually worked!

During this stage, I didn’t have a vision for how I wanted my home to look. I just knew I liked vintage and color. And you can see that in this photo. I remember while we were living here someone brought up the idea to me of buying home things all in a matching color scheme and I thought, “How the hell is that even possible?”

Our second home was a dream home. It was a victorian from the late 1800s. It had a weird (unique!) layout as it had been reconfigured though many renovations. I remember the day we moved in so well … one of our happiest memories.

I learned SO MUCH from decorating this house. At the time, I felt we had done a big renovation, but really we just changed a countertop and painted our cabinets white.

We did countless statement walls in this home. Just kept doing them and then painting over them, on repeat. It was also in this home that my dad started doing projects with me like this dining room table (which we are still using!)

When I look back on these photos, I see how eager I was to try things, to learn. I love how fearless and thrifty all my projects were. Sure, some were better than others, but I believe the best way to learn is by doing.

This hand-stamped wall was my pride and joy in this home. I actually STILL fantasize about renovating this home again. I definitely get attached to homes for better or for worse.

We lived in this home for three-ish years. And next came the home you know now.

Our current home. A lot of good things aligned for us in this home.

I had recently become obsessed with mid-century design (hardcore Jonathan Adler cult member status). So finding this gem from 1972 with such a good layout but also BEGGING for a makeover was a dream come true. You can watch the empty home tour here if you want to see how it looked before we renovated. I was super inspired!

My friend, Ting, mentored me through the renovation and taught me literally everything I know about renovations. There is SO much to learn. I wish everyone could have a Ting to walk them through it. It was still the most stressful year of my life, but the outcome was infinitely better because of his guidance.

I leaned into a color scheme and style more than ever on this home and I learned that I truly love the vibe it creates in my own home. I will always use more contrast in other spaces I design (like our bnbs), but for my own home, layers of neutrals make me SO happy.

It took about two years to complete our home. I learned so much on this home and am very proud of how it turned out.

For the past two years, we’ve mainly just been “living” here, with little projects here and there. I’m really glad we were able to be mostly done before we brought Nova home because most weekends all I want to do is play with her now.

We love this home so much. We’re planning to stay for another year—maybe a few years. We haven’t decided yet. Currently, we’re focusing on our second adoption and it’s something we’ll talk about once we’re settled into our new life with two kiddos.

I can already feel how heartbreaking it would be for me to leave this home. Like I said before, I can get very attached and this home is very special. At the same time, the idea of new projects and new memories will always be exciting to me. I’m still not sure if I believe in the idea of a “forever home,” but I’m currently enjoying the dreaming phase.

Cheers to change and evolution! xx. Elsie

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

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