Blogger Carrie Waller's Virginia Home Is a Masterclass in Decorating With Your Own Happiness in Mind

"I've never felt more comfortable in my own skin, and I think our home reflects that."

Updated 09/03/19

Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

 

For Carrie Waller, the blogger behind Dream Green DIY, her 30th birthday was more than a milestone celebration, it marked a turning point in her approach to design as well. While her 20s were defined by a desire to fill her home with trendy pieces from big box stores, bright colors, and Instagram-friendly furniture, she's now focused on decorating authentically.

"I suddenly wanted to sell or donate all of our cheap reproduction furniture and art, and focus more on investing in antique pieces that felt more mature and sophisticated," she tells MyDomaine. "If you actually scroll back far enough on my Instagram page, you'll see the literal moment I had this shift. I went from sharing pastel colors and cute crafts that I knew would get engagement based solely off trends, to more real-life peeks into my everyday routine. It was like I realized I was living a lie by focusing so much on trends, and I decided to settle into myself as an adult."

So, the A-frame Virginia home she shares with her husband John and their four pets began to shift as well. And now, it's a stunning example of how to blend Midcentury Modern style with bohemian touches—all while allowing the bones of your house (and your own personality) to shine through.

"Now our home is filled with pieces that we love simply because we love them—not because trends dictated it," she tells MyDomaine. "I've never felt more comfortable in my own skin, and I think our home reflects that to some degree."

living room
Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

And just as Waller embraced feeling comfortable in her own skin, she and her husband embraced their house—built in 1963—and its particular set of charms.

"I know a lot of people would have moved in and gutted the place, but the Midcentury charm was actually what drew my husband and I to the home in the first place," she says. "We've worked hard to let the home's original architecture and retro aesthetic shine."

living room
Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

So, instead of tearing down walls to create the open layout most people crave, Waller and her husband kept the integrity of the house intact and created interiors that play off of the original architecture, but still feel modern and cool.

"I like to think that our home feels nostalgic but also updated and modern. I want it to feel inviting and welcoming, but also like a calm retreat from it all," she says. "I love to imagine the original homeowners coming back to see the house, and I like to think that they'd be proud of how much we've kept exactly the same since they built the house in 1963."

living room
Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

That said, the couple did make a few renovations, most notably in the kitchen and bathrooms. New granite counters, sinks, and faucets were added to all three spaces, while the shower in their lower level hall bathroom was completely gutted and now features new plumbing, tile, and fixtures.

"The kitchen and bathrooms also all got brand new paint, and we've filled the spaces from there with fresh white textiles, vintage rugs, and houseplants (both real and faux!)," Waller tells MyDomaine. A lot of the updates have been DIY-type renovations, which, I think, allows us to deeply appreciate the finished spaces today."

bathroom
Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

A fresh white subway tile backsplash was also added to the kitchen. And there's a chance the couple will be giving the original cabinets a whole new look soon too, even though they originally vowed to leave the original wood finish as is. The lack of natural light in the room has proven to be difficult to live with, so Waller is contemplating painting the upper cabinets a bright white, and leaving the lower cabinets untouched.

"This is a hugely controversial topic that I've broached recently on my Instagram—we're thinking about painting the original wood cabinets in our kitchen," Waller tells MyDomaine. "Most people support this decision, especially if they've been to the house and experienced the dark and gloomy room in person, but I understand why some people are fighting me on it. The thing I try to keep in mind is that it's our house and we're allowed to do anything that will make us feel happy and more comfortable living in it. Who knows what we'll end up doing, but that's definitely our next major potential project."

kitchen
Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

Should the couple decide to take the plunge and paint, it's clear the change would work complement the home's existing aesthetic, which feels cohesive from room to room. Not only is the color palette clearly defined, the meshing of styles—mostly Midcentury Modern and bohemian—carries over into each space, something that Waller paid particular attention to.

"The best piece of decorating advice I've taken to heart over the last few years is to adopt a universal color palette for your house. Settle on a handful of colors and patterns, and then intentionally stick to that when shopping for your home," she says. "That way, once you've built up a collection of cohesive curtains, decorative throw pillows, bedding, and art, you can move items from one room to another and it will still make sense."

bedroom corner
Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

"The color scheme came out of my love for natural earth tones. If you look around, you'll spot shades of green in practically every room (it's my favorite color), as well as hints of blue, orange, and tiny pops of red," Waller explains. "I also love natural wood tones and bright, bright white, so every room is peppered with those tones as well."

bedroom
Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

The inclusion of warm wood toned furniture plays off the home's original detailing, from the floors and doors to the kitchen cabinets and built-ins.

home office
Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

And keeping the overall aesthetic in mind every time they purchase something new has made it easier for the couple to "shop their home" and change things up without stress or additional spending.

"The guest room you see here used to be my office and vice versa," she explains. "It's incredible how much satisfaction you can get just by tweaking, rearranging, and swapping furniture (and even rooms!) in your house without spending a dime."

hanging chair in sunroom
Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

Beyond the impressively cohesive color palette, Waller also has a few favorite pieces that helped the space really feel like home.

"The hanging basket chair in our sunroom is one of my favorite scores from Galaxie Modern in Lynchburg, Virginia. It's pretty much everyone's go-to spot in the house," Waller tells MyDomaine. "Another favorite is the set of mid-century chairs in our dining room. I searched high and low for an antique set to replace our reproduction molded Eiffel chairs from Overstock. I found the wood and black leather chairs you see here last Christmas at Circa Antiques in Charlottesville, Virginia, and feel like they finally complete the room."

dining room
Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

And while Waller and her husband love their home as is, there's one item Waller still has on her wish list: an original Eames lounge and ottoman.

"This is one of those furniture pieces that everyone calls trendy, but its popularity has actually spanned the entire half century (plus!) that it's been around," she tells MyDomaine. "It's in practically every movie, magazine spread, and television sitcom set I've ever seen, and I don't mind admitting that I desperately want to own one myself. I'm waiting to find the perfect diamond-in-the-rough to reveal itself at an estate sale so I can treat it as my latest restoration project. Wish me luck!"

living room
Design by Carrie Waller, Photography by Tiffany Sun

Whether that Eames chair will ever reveal itself remains to be seen, but what is clear is that Waller's comfort at home mirrors the comfort she feels in her own skin.

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