“Come and knock on our door, we’ve been waiting for you…”
But if you look for doors at Joy’s home, you’ll find more than you bargained for.
That’s because Joy, who authors the lovely “Joys of Home” blog, builds creative decor and furniture with old doors. Yes, doors! And that’s not the only thing she can do, either.
Joy is a master at putting her own personal touch all around her home, in each and every room. She lets not one inch of space get away, whether it’s a bookshelf, door knob, or even a cabinet handle.
In short, Joy could take your used, donated items and build a decorating mecca worthy of a model home. Nothing ever goes to waste at Joys of Home!
We had a nice conversation with Joy and wanted to feature her blog here at Decor Medley. Please read all about her and be sure to check out “Joys of Home.”
1. Hi Joy, thank you for spending some time with us today. Please take a moment to tell us about yourself and your 1-year-old blog, “Joys of Home.”
I am married to a wonderful man who willingly helps make my ideas and designs a reality. I am blessed to be the mother to five mostly grown children, and two children in-law. And I’m the “nonny” to a beautiful baby girl. My blog is a reflection of my passion for designing, decorating and creating beautiful things for my home. I started blogging to give me an extra incentive to complete some of my many projects.
For me, blogging is a great creative outlet. I’m always amazed when people comment that they enjoy reading my blog. It’s humbling to know that something I have said or done has inspired someone to improve their home and their life just a little bit.
2. I was blown away by one of your recent blog posts in which you featured your bookshelves. I was struck by all the personal items you talked about and how each piece brought its own memories, personality, and personal style.
What made you decide to do that, and how do you feel every time you walk by those shelves and look at its contents? And do you think personal items are more fulfilling than the random accessories we buy at our local thrift shops?
Those bookshelves are in a room where my three youngest sons spend a lot of time—mostly because it’s where we have the gaming systems and computer. I wanted to balance out those distractions with things that are beautiful, memorable, and inspiring. I love looking at those bookcases! Each shelf is like a tiny glimpse in a tourist shop of a foreign country.
I do think that decorating your home with personal items is more fulfilling because each item tells a story of the people within the home. I have nothing against buying accessories at the thrift store. Most of the accessories in my home are from thrift stores. The things you use to decorate your home should be a reflection of your family no matter where they come from, or how much or little the cost.
3. Those of us in warmer climates can’t always appreciate the changing seasons, which is unfortunate from a decorating perspective. With Winter coming to a close, what decorative plans do you have for your home for the Spring weather?
During the winter months I decorate with rich, darker colors and heavy textures. Now that Spring is here, I’ll be pulling out pillows and other accessories that are lighter in color and visual weight. I even change out a couple of the chairs in my living room from green chunky armchairs to white jacquard slipper chairs.
I also like to bring in a lot of elements from nature. I decorate with birds, nests, eggs, moss balls, flowering branches—you know, all the natural beauty that you miss in the dreary days of winter.
4. Looking through your blog, it is obvious that religion plays a big part of your life. How do you feel religion has influenced some of your home decor?
Most religions teach about the importance of the family unit. We believe that the family is central to God’s plan of happiness.
Since our homes house our families, they should be a haven against the storms and struggles of life. Our home reflects our family values and beliefs. I decorate my home so that it is not only beautiful, but also a place where my family and friends can feel comfort and peace.
However, there is nothing in my home that is more valuable than my family. If things get scratched, chipped or broken it’s not really a big deal. The best part of my home are the memories that we make within it.
5. The economy has likely forced lots of shoppers to go to thrift stores. As a thrift store enthusiast, have you noticed more competition among shoppers at the stores, and does this make you more inclined to snap up a good deal before someone else does?
With the change in the economy I’ve noticed a real difference in the quality and quantity of items at the thrift stores. People are buying less so naturally they’re donating less. When I thrift shop I try to keep things in perspective. It’s just “stuff,” it’s not a necessity of life. If someone else gets a treasure I wanted, it’s okay, there will be other treasures. I know how giddy I get when I find something I enjoy, why wouldn’t I want others to have those same feelings of excitement. In fact, I’ve often given other shoppers items out of my basket if they show a lot of interest in them.
6. It is no secret that you like to take old doors and convert them into all sorts of different furniture and decor pieces. Since most people have probably never heard of doing that before, can you please tell us what first prompted you to do that, and what general advice you have for someone who is thinking of doing it?
It’s been said that “necessity is the mother of invention” and that was the case with our first piece of door furniture. We bought a new TV that was too large for our existing entertainment center. After weeks of having our TV sit on an old desk, I took my husband to a little boutique that was selling an armoire built using an old reclaimed door.
Actually, I dragged him there a couple of times trying to persuade him that we could build one similar, but tweak the design to fit our needs. Seeing the price on that specialty piece helped convince my husband that it we should try our hand at building. We couldn’t afford a piece of furniture that cost a few thousand dollars, but we could make one for a less than two hundred dollars. I joke that it took three months to convince my husband that we could do it and it took only three days to build it. After we built the entertainment unit we were hooked and now we have a piece of furniture built with old doors or windows in almost every room of our house.
If I were to give someone advice about doing it I would say, “Go for it! But first study up on the basics of furniture building.” The last thing you want is spend a lot of time and money building something that could be hazardous to your family. My husband and I make a great team! I like to design, assist in the building, and do the finish work. He’s great at knowing how to build the pieces so they’re solid and well constructed.
7. You once wrote something very profound: “Never let other people’s comments detract you from making your house unique to you!” Your attitude is admirable, but the flipside (especially if you watch so-called “experts” on HGTV) is that if you keep your home more plain and un-personalized, it will appeal to more people when you sell it. What is your opinion on this, and if you ever had to sell your home, would you remove all the things that make it so unique to you?
I agree that a home usually sells faster if the decor is somewhat neutral so that buyers can envision it as their own home. But that does not mean you have to live in a plain home for years just because you might sell it one day. Your home should be a place where you feel inspired and safe to create. It should be a reflection of you up until the time you put the For Sale sign in the yard. Do things in your home to make it unique, to set it apart. Just avoid going overboard.
We’ve sold two homes and it was the unique features in those homes that helped to sell them, like the mural I painted on the wall in the nursery and the shelves we built above the windows in our kids rooms. If we were to sell our current house I would put some things in storage and I’d probably paint our red family room a more neutral color, but I’m sure that other features we’ve added would be the very things that would make it appeal to buyers and help sell it faster.
8. Speaking of unique items, your stack of suitcases is an example of something you just don’t see in most homes. Personally, I love it!
But because it is so different, I’m interested in hearing what some of the reactions to the suitcase stack have been from your guests over the years?
I love my suitcase stack too! Visitors definitely react to it. I’ve been asked WHY I have a large stack of suitcases, and if I use them for storage.
Recently someone saw all the suitcases and asked if we just returned from a vacation, but the majority of reactions are very endearing. People will point to a suitcase that reminds them of someone or something in their life and then they’ll relate a memory associated with the suitcase. It’s a great conversation starter.
9. Joy, thank you so much for being part of our interview. For this last question, please tell us about the home project you are most looking forward to this year, and when you plan on starting it?
Oh! My husband would love it if I could narrow it down to just ONE project. Honestly, I usually have two to three projects going at the same time, with three or four more in the works. Right now we’ve started building shelving systems in the closets of several rooms.
I have plans for painting a couple of rooms, and I have at least four pieces of furniture that need make-overs. Then I always have smaller projects to do that give me instant gratification. I do enjoy the thrill of designing, decorating and creating!
Please make sure you head over to “Joys of Home” for more great ideas. And don’t worry, if you see something you like, Joy is more than happy to let you copy her. And if you do, please drop her a note to let her know that her idea inspired you. You certainly wouldn’t be the first!
Thanks again to Joy for this wonderful interview. Good luck on your home projects this year, and make sure you post the before and after photos on your blog!