Last week, I was taking a look around our blog and realized we are lacking in the “home & decor” department. I can’t speak for Ronnie or Jess, but I know I could use some help and budget-friendly advice regarding styling our apartment. While I have some vague sense of design and our home certainly has its shining moments, I wanted to give our readers something really special. Luckily, I connected with a truly outstanding home design blogger last year and she was kind enough to take the spotlight this week. Let me warmly introduce you to Jen Stanbrook of Love Chic Living.
Blogger, Interior Design Researcher, & Mum
By day I’m a blogger, researching and writing about interiors but by mid afternoon I have my parent hat on working around the children.
I think we’ll all be able to relate to Jen and get ready to pick up some valuable home decor tips along the way!
For those who are new to Love Chic Living, how would you describe the blog?
Love Chic Living is all about style and design for a family home. It’s relatively contemporary focusing on modern trends encouraging people to try new things with their home décor. It’s full of, (hopefully) useful top tips and advice on how to get the home you want, that’s practical and affordable. I write regular features too such as Wallpaper Wednesday and Design Divas so readers feel comfortable with the blog and know what to expect.
How did you get started with the blog? What inspired or prompted you to start the website? How did you come up with the name?
I’d been blogging for a small business I was running for a little while. I used to teach Baby Signing to families under a franchise business and I used social media to help promote it. I started a blog to talk about the benefits of signing and balancing a small business with a family. Whilst there were limits to blogging about a franchise I knew I would have more freedom if I blogged about another of my passions, home interiors. After a brainstorming session with some friends the idea of a homes blog seemed a good one. I researched and planned out the feel and style, put together a few names and canvassed opinion. Love Chic Living was definitely the best name and most popular so it wasn’t long before I bought that domain!
How has Love Chic Living evolved over the years? Where do you see it going in the future?
It’s evolved a huge amount in the last few years. After a year of blogging I took some advice from some blogging friends in one of our regular blog clinics and decided to separate my family or lifestyle type posts into another blog and keep Love Chic Living purely for interiors. That’s how http://lovechicmum.com was born and Love Chic Living became the blog you see today. In the future I’m hoping to gain more readers and followers, to further work with brands and help promote small design businesses.
How would you describe your style? How does that shine through in your own home?
My style is pretty much what you see on the blog to be honest. I love pushing the boundaries and trying new things in my home. I don’t always get it right but that’s ok, I just try again! I like contemporary with a few quirky touches here and there. I’m really into the mid-century look at the moment so I’ve been introducing a few retro accessories into a few rooms recently.
In your blog, you say, “I am passionate about how to create a stylish family home that doesn’t cost the earth.” That is perfect for us Frugal Ladies! What are 3 key pieces of advice you would give to our readers who want to achieve this very goal.
- If you find something you like for your home but don’t want to pay designer prices check out the sale sites like Achica. You can often find lovely pieces at a fraction of the cost.
- Have the courage to upcycle! This can often be simply finding a new home or purpose for something you already own. I recently turned a wall mounted cd rack on its side and use it as a shelving display unit for example.
- Also, shop around. Supermarkets have great home sections these days and often have great items at brilliant prices. Just because it’s not from a designer store doesn’t mean it’s not stylish.
What was one of your most memorable home design projects?
I think my most memorable, and favourite home design project has to be the dining room / den makeover. Our family had grown older and we had different requirements for the space. Reducing (eek!) the storage and decluttering meant we had space for a sofa in the dining room, creating a hang out for the girls and their friends. I also made it one of my boldest makeovers in terms of décor with a chimney breast wall mural from JW Walls. I still spend ages just staring at it!
You have some really creative and insightful sections on your blog, like Cheap vs. Chic, Design Divas, and Wallpaper Wednesday. How did you come up with these ideas? Do you have a personal favorite? Why/Why not?
I guess they have evolved over time. I started with a few like the Wallpaper and Business interviews and then others grew. I once had a few comments that the images I posted were a little unrealistic so, taking this on board, I started Real Living, a feature where we showcase a few pictures of someone’s favourite room or space at home and they tell us why they love it. Everyone likes to take a look around other people’s homes and this is exactly what Real Living allows us to do. It’s had some lovely feedback.
In “Divas in Design,” you interview successful businesswomen (typically who are also moms!) who work in design and home interiors. Thought we would flip the tables for a few moments and ask you some of your staple questions:
How many children do you have? Ages?
I have 2 girls, aged 9 and 7.
Can you share 1 big positive aspect about being a business mum?
I could say the flexibility but I’d say the biggest positive aspect is the example I hope I’m setting my girls. I hope they see that they can use their expertise to carve a career for themselves. That they don’t have to rely on others necessarily to be successful and that hard work and a passion for what you do can reap the rewards.
How do you stay motivated?
Mmmm… I’m not sure I do. Well not all the time! It’s very hard but I’m quite driven and committed. There are some days/weeks when it just doesn’t happen though and you just need to accept this rather than beat yourself up. Talking and networking with other bloggers provides support and the motivation soon returns.
What tips would you give anyone wanting to start her own business?
I’d say, if you get to the point when all that’s holding you back is fear, then just go for it. If you’ve researched everything and it seems like a good idea on paper it’s worth giving it a go. You only live once!
Thanks so much, Jen!