Here at RenoCompare we are always on the look out for interesting home renovation, home décor and design websites and blogs that feature great stories, ideas and inform the remodeling and interior trends that we write about on our site: there’s nothing we like more than discovering new before and after projects that speak to the creativity, style and flair of the many home design enthusiasts that we find.
So we thought it would be super cool to start a new series of articles showcasing some of our favorite blogs and sites – our reference points if you like – to give you, our visitors, more inspiration for your own renovation projects.
Hopefully we’ll be able to show you how passion, imagination and resourcefulness can transform your home; and who knows, maybe you’ll even be inspired to start sharing your own stories too?!
Our first home design blog showcase is the wonderful world created by KariAnne Wood at her home Thistlewood Farms. I say “world” because reading her blog is like transporting yourself into an entirely different cosmos – where the written word and the visuals combine so magically that you feel you’re sat right there on the farmhouse porch, drinking tea whilst KariAnne chats about her day to day.
For me that is what makes the Thistlewood Farms blog so special. It’s not just about interiors, renovations and DIY (we’ll get to that later). It’s also about, as KariAnne puts it: “family and tortoises and burlap and shutters and twirly whirly skirts and pancakes and Lee Press-On-Nails and little pieces of paper.” KariAnne punctuates her décor posts with ones about her life, her family, recipes she’s tried, the random thoughts and things that come into her orbit.
And for both décor and non-décor related posts, she writes beautifully, in a poetic and conversational style that is straight from the heart. Some of the best posts are when the two themes combine, like this one entitled The Tree Whisperer; and some of the posts are just brilliantly funny – like laugh-out-loud funny!
Through all the posts we learn much about KariAnne and how she came to create the blog. It all started back in 2011 when KariAnne and her husband finally listened to the small voice enticing them to leave the hustle and bustle of their city lives and head for the peaceful quiet of the Kentucky countryside, where they and their four kids could “run and play and breathe”.
Inspired by other interior design blogs, and having finished the renovations to their sublime farmhouse, KariAnne rose to the challenge in December 2011 of starting her own blog.
It was a steep learning curve, not least of all because she almost instantly discovered that she wasn’t super brilliant at taking photographs! But – once she’d gotten over that initial hurdle – KariAnne filled her blog with her unique blend of real life stories, design ideas, DIY projects, recipes and advice.
But of course, as beautiful as the words are, what makes the Thistlewood Farms blog is the glorious photography (now fully mastered by KariAnne herself) of her glorious home, showcasing her personal design style. KariAnne’s eclectic, contemporary farmhouse style is at once polished and homely, both chic and accessible.
But above all it is clearly a family home, a nest made by a loving mother hen who blends the practical with the decorative and fills her space with family treasures, memories and comfort. It’s exactly the kind of aspirational home that you feel is actually attainable!
Kari’s style is defined largely by monochromatic, black & white, gray and beige neutral color schemes (except for the more colorful kids rooms); a love for painted wood, milk glass and burlap.
Splashes of color are often provided by fresh flowers or a brightly colored cushion; and a big feature that flows through her home is her fondness for typography – in prints or canvases hanging on the walls, but also as cut out letters, numbers or symbols used as décor objects.
But what makes you feel that you too could create this style is the clever mix of top-end designer furniture, high street bestsellers from IKEA, and vintage items that she has found, restored or repurposed from antique stores, thrift stores and yard sales.
Many of her design ideas are very budget-friendly: in fact she’s not above giving a new home to items that she has literally found on the side of the road! Add a good dose of simple yet effective DIY projects and you’ve got the KariAnne winning formula!
Today, some five years later, the success of KariAnne’s blog has allowed her to create a fabric line in partnership with Hoffman Fabrics and link up with The Painted Fox online home décor shop.
She also offers a design consultation service and continues to share her experiences on her own log and as a guest blogger on many different home décor websites… when she’s not appearing as a guest speaker at events and on TV!
Thistlewood Farms has also received many accolades over the years including winning the Country Living Decorating Blog of the Year and being listed as one of the Top 10 Decorating Blogs by Better Homes and Gardens.
Thistlewood Farms has transformed and developed over the years, with KariAnne revisiting, redecorating or renovating different spaces. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the easy-going, open, welcoming tone that pervades the blog and its clever blend of funny, honest, heartfelt writing and lovely, attainable interior design, décor and DIY!