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Creating a Home That Inspires Your Life

by | Oct 12, 2009 | Authentic Living, Decorating Inspiration, Details

Creating a Home That Inspires Your Life
photo: Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living magazine

Remodeling a home with charm and personality

I was recently sent a copy of the newly redesigned Southern Living magazine and I LOVED it. You should really check it out if you haven’t seen it yet. I think at heart I must be a Southern girl! Even my best blogging friends all seem to live in the South.

Anyways, one of my favorite articles in Southern Living was on a home that was designed around gothic elements. I am all over the map when it comes to my favorite home styles. Sometimes I am all about coastal style, sometimes I am all cottage, and sometimes I imagine myself living in an English castle. Or maybe a French country house. The truth of the matter is, I appreciate a home with a unique personality that is fitting and appropriate to the family who lives there.

The personality and story behind the home (as well as the design) is what I loved about this house. The current owners designed it as a tribute to the Bishop who had lived in the home previously, a dear friend of their family. The home is filled with unique and charming details that have special meaning to the family that lives there.

Creating a Home That Inspires Your Life
Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living magazine

A home should be more than just something pretty to look at.

I think our homes should inspire us every day to live the life we dream of and aspire to.

My basic guidelines for designing a home is this: design your life first. Then design a home to reflect that life. I’ve often shared my quote which is a motto I truly believe in:

“When life inspires your home, your home will inspire your life.”

Creating a Home That Inspires Your Life
Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living magazine

So often I see people going about home design all backwards. They design a home yet forget to incorporate who lives there, what the personality or history of the home is, and what will take a house that looks very much like everyone else’s house into a home that is undeniably their own. Home design isn’t just about copying what your friend does or has or what you saw in a magazine. It is about getting to the heart of what inspires YOU.

Creating a Home That Inspires Your Life

Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living magazine

If your home’s personality is inspired by things YOU are passionate about or that have great meaning to you, your home will in turn inspire you to live more fully and graciously every day.

Reflecting your heart and life in the design of your home isn’t always easy to pull off. It is a fine line between having “themes” in your home that end up looking tacky and having a home that is truly “inspired.”

Creating a Home That Inspires Your Life

Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living magazine

I wrote an article for The Inspired Room awhile back on a family that used a circus theme in their home. You can read it here. Not many people could pull off a circus themed house without it looking a little goofy. Yet, those homeowners succeeded because IT MADE SENSE for their life. Their home overflows with a youthful exuberance that reflects both the history of the home and the family that lives there. Their home is inspired by their life AND it inspires the life they want to live. That is a winning combination.

Does your home inspire you?

I’ll share more images from this gothic styled home in another post! Meanwhile, go get a copy of the all new Southern Living magazine for more inspiring articles and ideas!


  1. Kelly

    I too LOVED the house in that article and the wonderful story that went along with it. I don’t normally relate houses to fictional characters but if you have read any of Jan Karon’s Mitford novels of the fictional Father Tim, it was him who came to mind as I saw the photos in this article. It would make the perfect “home” for him. (And if they ever make a movie of those books, this home would be the perfect set!)

  2. Robin All Things Heart and Home

    Yes my home inspires me! My biggest tool in finding my “voice” with my decorating is my inspiration book where I cut out pics that cause an emotional response in me! Page after page of collage inspiration!
    love the pics you posted! That floor off the back stairs…wow!!!
    All Things Heart and Home
    .-= Robin All Things Heart and Home´s last blog ..Gearing up: 5th Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest! =-.

  3. Debbie

    Melissa, you are a woman after my own heart. I so agree with you about designing your life first. Your home should reflect that life. If we are true to that, we won’t be simply copying some else’s style but our unique one. Lovely posts and photos. I’ll have to check out Southern Living, even though I’m a western girl now.

    Hugs to you,
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..Seeking Peace =-.

  4. GUSSY

    I really feel like this blog helps me to inspire my home decorating. I’ve learned a few quick things since becoming a reader and I love the way I put what I read into my home. THANKS! :)


  5. Insomniac Mummy

    I think those pictures are fabulous. I’d love to live in that house.

    You are right about designing your life first. Some home designs can be style over substance and it’s the substance of your life that matters.

    My house could certainly do with a makeover once I can afford it.

    .-= Insomniac Mummy´s last blog ..Motherhood, Social Circles and Social Media =-.

  6. Julie

    One of the nicest compliments I have received, several times in fact, is when someone comes in my home and says “oh, your home looks just like you.” Good, bad, or indifferent, at least we go together. :) I too love Southern Living, the receipes are enough to die before. Just last night I registered for Blissdom, hope you will be there too. Hope your week is full of hugs.

    P.S. We are having Seattle weather here in Dallas.

  7. Annie

    I so agree with you! When we were planning our kitchen remodel, we decided to take down a wall to join the dining room and kitchen together. We planned an island to separate the two, because that is the way we live . . . gathered around the kitchen while we cook and laugh and eat. It just made sense for us. So while we gave up a formal dining room, we gained a fabulous space that we can truly LIVE in.

    .-= Annie @ astonesthrowfrominsanity´s last blog ..To Shoot the Impossible Shot =-.

  8. Janet

    Love this house. I love the stained glass in the stone wall and the stair rail is beautiful and very unique. BTW, I love the circus house too, very well done circus theme.

    Great posts.
    .-= Janet´s last blog ..Pink October =-.

  9. Kristen

    I read the same article and thought the house was amazing! I’ve definitely been inspired to really think about what Hubby and I like and how we live when trying to design/decorate our living spaces. It makes life much cozier.
    .-= Kristen @ Beautifully Imperfect´s last blog ..Hey, You… =-.

  10. pam rosenberg

    I had to laugh when I opened your post. I saw the gothic stained picture and title and coming from Iowa and the land of American Gothic I thought, “Isn’t that pretty but I’m usually drawn to lighter brighter spaces. It’s too bad I don’t have several homes to decorate” Then I read your first paragraph and realized that you probably feel the same way. I love so many different looks. I think I have commitment issues.
    .-= pam rosenberg´s last blog ..Less Than Two Weeks =-.

  11. Kathy

    I love that staircase! I agree ~ I don’t follow the trends, although I’ll talk about them. I think they can be a great guide, but in the end, you need to decorate your home with what you love and how you live.

  12. teresa

    Love southern living- I hope I have created a home that expresses who I’m… I know I pretty much like the way it is….and it is always changing so I guess that’s me =)
    I have done a few things in my home that people at first thought was crazy….like back in the 80’s painting furniture black…my friends were like what are you doing? but I loved it and hey look now you see it everywhere…so who knows.. I say go with what you like.
    .-= teresa´s last blog ..Remnants of the Past- =-.

  13. Annie

    You are exactly right IMO, we are building at the mom, and everything is carefully thought thru by me b4 I will use the idea. Essentially, does it suit us as a family, that’s my no.1 question, not the other way around…
    .-= Annie@A View On Design´s last blog ..Hidden Exotic Living minutes from Adelaide, SA =-.

  14. Erin

    Awesome post! I couldn’t agree more. This weekend we went to a party at this gorgeous mansion of a house except the whole time I felt uncomfortable and cold because it didn’t reflect the young, fun couple that lived there. It totally took away from the beauty of the house.

  15. Gina

    This is a great reminder to consider who lives in your home. My home is filled with small kids right now and my decorating should really be more about them-displaying their art and even asking for their opinions on how we decorate.

    Beautiful pictures!
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..A Little Getaway =-.

  16. The Bella Girls

    The above stair rail made my heart skip a beat ~ it is simply charming (as is the rest of the house). Beautiful post.

    .-= The Bella Girls´s last blog ..Quote of the Day =-.

  17. Passementerie

    I completely agree. We were lucky when we moved into our current home that we had a completely blank slate to work with so far as furniture was concerned and my non-existent budget meant that I had to buy everything slowly on ebay, a restraint that worked out beautifully in our favour – I found couches, armchairs, tables and a piano that fitted me perfectly and although our house is small, it is bright and airy so we decided against having any curtains to maximise the light… oh I could keep rambling on, but my point is that yes – a house should be organic and personal, not chosen out of the Pottery Barn catalogue.

    Have to admit that I’m not wild about that stone wall with the stained glass window. It looks terribly artificial, especially give that the rest of the house seems to be lovely.
    .-= Passementerie´s last blog ..On a rainy day I imagine far away places =-.

  18. Amber

    Lovely post. Point well made!
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..A Baby Shower =-.

  19. Sarah

    I am the same way with my favorite styles. I love so many different types of houses and don’t know how I’ll ever choose when it comes times to buy a home. Oh yeah, that’s right, I think my wallet will choose! :)
    This is a great post! So many times I will see a house and be inspired but think, “I love it, but I would never choose it for my home.” We appreciate when people make things their own even though we would not necessarily want them for our own. Inspiration comes in different shapes and sizes for everyone, but you can always recognize when it’s there. Thanks for making me think about this in more detail and for the fabulous pictures!
    .-= Sarah @ Dream In Domestic´s last blog ..Polka-Dotted Inspiration =-.

  20. Amy

    I was just talking with a friend over the weekend about this exact same thing. She and I both have very different tastes, but I ADORE her home…it is so her and I just love being there. A home should reflect who lives there!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Go buy yourself a can of glossy black spray paint! =-.

  21. Rhoda

    Loved this article too, Melissa! One of my readers just gifted me with a new subscription to the new Southern Living & I’m really enjoying it too. Much better than the old, I was pleasantly surprised. This article was a joy to read & I love what they did with this beautiful ATL home.

  22. Melanie

    Great post! I get inspiration from a lot of different things. The internet, magazines, blogs, and just things that I see and love. I LOVE Southern Living Magazine. I just received my current issue and I haven’t had time to look at it yet. Now I have to drop everything that I’m doing to go see this lovely house you just posted pictures of. Thanks for the inspiration you give us every day.
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..The Capital Grille =-.

  23. Kimm at Reinvented

    That’s a beautiful home. thanks, Melissa for sharing the picture with us and for inspiring us every day!
    .-= Kimm at Reinvented´s last blog ..More Pumpkin Topiaries =-.

  24. Jennifer

    Thank you for this blog post today… it spoke right to me! I was just thinking about my house today and feeling like it isn’t quite ‘there’. I am needing a bit more home inspiration!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..A Glimpse =-.

  25. Jean

    I agree that your home should reflect the ones that live there. The best compliment that I get is when people say they love my home and that it is so warm and inviting. Thanks for always sharing beautiful photos that inspire me.
    .-= Jean´s last blog ..Simple Woman’s Daybook =-.

  26. Grace

    I really enjoyed this post…and the article that you linked to it. I had to laugh when you mentioned themed houses that end up just being tacky…that is what I am currently trying to get away from! Although not too terribly tacky, our previous home decor was just a bit too themey…and it didn’t reflect my personality at all…it was full of home decor gifts that I just hadn’t had the heart to change. BUT I wasn’t enjoying living in my own home, so I have started to make a change to a home that reflects our family and our values. Thanks for this post!

    .-= Grace´s last blog ..Giveaway Winners! =-.

  27. Grace

    I really enjoyed this post and the article you linked to it. I am in the process of turning our house into a home that reflects me and my family…so this post was very timely. Thank you! (I left a previous comment, but I’m not sure if it went through or not!)

    .-= Grace´s last blog ..Giveaway Winners! =-.

  28. Katie

    LOVE Southern Living! (They seriously have The Best recipes.) I immediately recalled seeing the pictures of that staircase….that balustrade is a-maz-ing. As well as the floor…whatever that is. And the plaid stair runner. For the first three years I lived here, I decorated my home for people other than me and my husband. Then, I snapped out of that! I am so happy to create the rooms we love to be in. I just wish I had an unlimited budget…. ;o)
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..Mall Rats =-.

  29. rue

    Hi Melissa :)

    What a gorgeous home! The staircase drew me right in and made me wish I could walk through the whole house.

    I agree with you about making a home that reflects the life of the family that lives there. In fact we just finished redoing our kitchen and part of the process was living with what was in there and in the pantry, until we figured out what would work best for us. I wanted it to be pretty, but also functional for all the cooking I do.

    .-= rue´s last blog ..The Kitchen =-.

  30. Rona

    I want our current residence to reflect our personalities too. I hope to squeeze in some fall decorating this week.

  31. janice

    I loved this quietly powerful and passionate post. I’m currently craving a blank canvas to redesign a richer, simpler life. I’m scared at the moment as we’re stripping our house back to simplicity and basics, but I’m sure that the right colours and objects will reappear when the time is right.
    .-= janice | Sharing the Journey´s last blog ..Clutter: What are You Really Holding Onto…and Why? =-.

  32. Becky in SC

    “…….. I think at heart I must be a Southern girl! Even my best blogging friends all seem to live in the South……”

    I reside in good ole’ South Carolina!! I would love for you to come live in the South with us all! ….Nothing like good ole high humidity in the summer time ;-)
    You are so very talented…and I enjoy your blog so very much. :-)



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