It’s West meets South today at Decor Medley, as Rhoda from Southern Hospitality joins us from Birmingham, Alabama.
Who is Rhoda? Originally from Georgia, she’s a Design Consultant who spends her time helping women, in her words, “Feather their nests and create a beautiful home.” When she’s not running her business (called The Restyled Room), she’s blogging for all the world to see.
If you’re in the mood for some deep South decor, please visit Rhoda’s Southern Hospitality blog and consider consulting with her. In the meantime, let’s sit down with Rhoda and talk about what all of us are interested about more than anything: home decor!
1. Hi Rhoda, thank you for spending some time with us today. It must be a small world, because you know one of the other bloggers we’ve interviewed: Kimberly McCole from Dear Daisy Cottage. Please take a moment to tell us about your Southern Hospitality blog and any other websites or services you have to offer.
Thank you for asking me to be part of the talented bunch of women you have showcased already on your blog. I’ll introduce myself by saying that I’ve been blogging for close to 2 years now and have really enjoyed getting to know so many wonderful women out in blogland and blogging has added so much to my life in being able to share and create online with a whole group of girls who are interested in the same things.
My Southern Hospitality blog is mainly about decorating and I also post about a big passion of mine, yardsales and thrifting. I want to get the word out that there are so many great things out there to find for our homes that can be changed and transformed with just a little money and effort.
I also do posts on recipes and traveling, mostly in the South and I share parts of my family with everyone. I have just this year started my own part-time decorating business from home, called The Restyled Room, and am excited to help other women create a beautiful home for themselves and their families. I really like to stress the budget part of decorating and do not think that to achieve a beautiful home that it takes a lot of money. That’s one of the big messages I portray on my blog and other women are drawn to that message and keep coming back.
2. My husband and I live on the West Coast and we have never ventured down South.
For people reading this who have never visited places like Georgia or your hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, what do you feel separates your culture from the rest of the country and gives it its charm?
I grew up in Georgia and now live in Birmingham for the past 3 years and since I have never lived anywhere but the South, I’m probably biased just a bit. I do think there is very much a charm that comes from growing up in the South and my roots are firmly entrenched here for several generations.
I’m not sure it is even easy to describe the South in just a few words, but I would say it’s a genteel, gracious place to live, where manners are still important, and family is at the core of our lives. Food plays a big part in that too. Southerners really enjoy celebrating with food and everything that entails, from holidays to birthdays and everything in between. We enjoy our hot summer, colorful fall, cool winter, and glorious spring and are grateful to have all 4 seasons represented in the South. I have to say I’m proud to be a GRITS!
3. As a Design Consultant, you must encounter all kinds of clients with different needs and backgrounds.
Do you find this variety challenging and exciting, or would you prefer it if everyone shared your tastes in decor so that it would be easier for you?
It can be a bit challenging at times. I do have to say that I find it easier to work with clients who have similar taste to mine, that being Traditional with a twist. I’m not stuffy Traditional by any means, but like to add some flavor and variety and mix it up a bit. So far, I haven’t encountered any clients that I haven’t been able to help.
We have used what they have, as well as added a few accessories, etc. to the mix and really improved on the looks of their homes and I think they’ve all been pleased with what I brought to the table for them. I try to find out how they live and then look around at what they already have to work with and go from there.
Some people have no idea what style they are, so it’s up to me to determine that. Even though contemporary is not my first love, I can still bring those elements into a home or room too, if that is what the client wants and I do enjoy mixing Traditional with a little contemporary. Those two play well off each other anyway.
4. We’ve come across a few bloggers who tell us they love to hunt yard sales and thrift shops for bargains.
From what you tell your readers, you are no exception. What is it that excites you about bargain hunting, and what are some recent finds that you’ve acquired in the past few weeks?
Oh, now that’s a subject that is near and dear to my heart!
I do love to share my finds with my readers and hopefully encourage them to get out there themselves and find some deals. I’ve been yardsaling and thrifting for at least 15 years now, very steadily and have found SO many wonderful deals out there. Yardsales are my first thrill for finding the deals. Spring and fall are the best time to get out there and it never fails that I can find something useful for pennies. I tell my readers that if they will wait long enough, they will probably find what they are looking for at a yardsale. It’s happened to me plenty of times.
I think the most excitement for me is the thrill of the hunt. Walking up to a sale and finding just what I was looking for at a fraction of the retail cost. Of course, I usually end up finding many things that I wasn’t particularly looking for and that’s exciting too. I love to bring things home and paint them or change them if needed to work in my house. At least 1/3 to ½ the accessories in my home came from yardsales, but I don’t think anyone would know that if they walked in my house.
For the last month, I’ve been going out to find a few things for a guestroom I just finished. I was able to find several things for that room without spending much money at all and that kept the cost of the redo to a minimum. And the room redo actually started with a yardsale find of a beautiful damask comforter set that I found and just couldn’t pass up. That got the room redo moving and now it’s all finished and I can really enjoy it. One of the best finds that I came across for that room was a pretty pine bookcase that I found for $50. I brought it home, painted it black, added beadboard on the back and now it’s a big focal point for the new guestroom.
5. We believe that bargain hunting is truly an art. For our readers who are thinking of visiting their local garage sale tomorrow, what brief bits of advice would you give them before diving in head first?
I was recently written up in our local Birmingham paper for being a yardsale diva, so I’ll give a few tips that I offered there:
- Scout out where you’ll shop in your local paper the night before. Most newspapers have an entire section just for garage sales.
- Get up early. It truly is the case with yardsales, the early bird gets the worm.
- Take cash, you never know what you will find. Although I have been known to write a few checks & some people are very gracious about it.
- Dress very comfortably and wear good shoes
- Try to change your mindset and look past how something looks. Envision how you can change something to work in your home, even if it’s not the right color or if it has a small bit of damage. Those things can be changed and fixed very easily.
- Paint is your best friend!
- If you see something you are interested in, pick it up and carry it. If you don’t, someone right behind you will grab it.
- Think outside the box. Look at how you may be able to use something even if it wasn’t your first choice.
- Bargain with the seller. Most of them are willing to work with you if you’re polite and don’t try to get them too low.
6. You’re excited about your recent purchase of a used (but like new) sewing machine that you’ve been wanting for awhile.
Are you a skilled seamstress, and if so, what types of ideas are running through your head about what you’re going to create with that new machine of yours?
I am definitely NOT a skilled seamstress. I grew up with a mother who sewed not only my Barbie clothes, but also my and my sister’s clothes until we were teenagers. I couldn’t wait to make some money of my own, so that I could shop for clothes at the stores. I did take sewing in Home Ec, when I was in high school and I think my mother had hoped that I would really take a liking to it, but I didn’t at that time. With my mom being such a great seamstress, I relied on her to make everything for me. When I got my own home, she made all my drapes and pillows and has continued to do that even now.
But, I have wanted to get a sewing machine for awhile now, just to make alterations, mend things, and even to try my hand at sewing some home things. My first project will be tackling a white slipcover for my guestroom chair and ottoman. I found a load of fabric for $5 at a yardsale, so I have nothing to lose there. I was thrilled to find that nearly new sewing machine at the yardsale recently.
My mom is proud that I’m finally going to try my hand at sewing too. I called her when I found the sewing machine to tell her all about it. Of course, if she was nearby, I’d still be over there for some help, but we are 2 and ½ hours away from each other now, so I guess it’s time for me to learn some sewing things for myself.
7. One thing we differ on is Halloween: I absolutely love it while you’ve said it’s not your favorite holiday. Nevertheless, did you decorate at all for Halloween this year? If so, was it extravagant or more subdued?
My favorite holiday to decorate for is definitely Christmas and I go out during December. I’ve never gotten that much into decorating even for Fall or Halloween, but this year I did get inspired to make some stenciled black and white pumpkins (which are fake, so I can use them every year). Those went on my foyer table, which I love to change out with the seasons and that is where I let my creativity flow. So, that was the extent of my Halloween decor. I did add a pretty wall pocket to my front door with a Fall arrangement.
8. Rhoda, thanks again for talking to us. For this last question, please tell us how and when you first got interested in home decor, and what is it that keeps you interested after all these years?
I’ve always loved looking at home decor magazines for many years now, but I think I really got into the passion for decorating when I moved into my first house as a single girl at the age of 28. This was the first time I had my own space, that I could do exactly what I wanted to do with it and I had so much fun, tearing out magazine pictures, putting it all in a file that I carried around, picking those paint colors (and boy, did I make some mistakes then) and getting all the inspiration that I needed to make that house my own.
When I look back at those pictures, I can see how far I’ve come and my passion and energy for decorating just seems to be growing. That’s why I decided to start my own business, so I could help other women who do not have the natural talent to decorate their homes the way they envision them to be.
Many thanks go out to Rhoda for taking the time to write such wonderful, helpful answers. She has a wealth of knowledge, so please take advantage of it by visiting Southern Hospitality and The Restyled Room when you get a chance.
Thanks again, Rhoda, and good luck with your new business!