Home Tour: How Brittany Ellison Uses Design to Bring Positivity to Her Living Spaces
Home decorator and DIYer Brittany Ellison lives in sunny, sultry Georgia – but her design aesthetic borrows inspiration from all over, including rustic French country, English shabby chic, and even minimalist Scandinavian style.
If you’re into the trending modern farmhouse look of white-painted wood, cozy linens, pretty florals, gingham and calligraphy – then you have to check out Ellisonmade.
We wanted to know how this wife and mom of three does it all, so we sat down with Brittany between her many ongoing projects and asked her to share some of her decorating tips and ideas with us:
How did you get started on your home décor journey?
I have loved home decor for as long as I can remember. Even in my teen years, I decked out my bedroom in all things leopard print (don't judge!) and watched shows like Room by Room and Divine Design while other kids were into MTV. When I taught preschool, I loved creating whimsical play spaces for the children.
My shop started in 2013. At that time, my husband and I had been married for 3 years, and I was working full-time in the healthcare field. We already had an 18-month-old daughter, and soon learned that we were expecting our second child… Surprise!
I continued to work throughout my pregnancy and had every intention of returning to my full-time job after having our second daughter. However, when we sat down and crunched the numbers, we realized that my paycheck would basically go toward the cost of child care for both girls.
I wanted to find a way to stay home with my kids... while making a little money on the side to help with bills. I took the $600 that I had secretly saved for a vacation, and used that money to invest in some crafting supplies and equipment. I started off making various home decor items to sell on Etsy.
My first customer was a good friend of mine, and my second customer was a family member. I wasn't sure if anyone else would buy my items… but people actually did, and I'm forever grateful I stepped out in faith to pursue this business.
What’s your favorite thing about running your own business, and how do your kids fit in?
Home decor is an innate passion of mine – the fact that design trends are always changing keeps me on my toes. Though I may go through seasons of various styles, creating and decorating is an extension of my personality and is almost a therapeutic outlet for me.
My favorite thing about running my own business is that I can make my own schedule. It's a Catch 22, though. Because nobody tells you when to punch in and out, you quickly learn how important time management is – for your sake, and the family’s.
It’s been my biggest challenge, but even so, it’s one that I gladly navigate because it means that I’m able to be present with my children during these most formative years… But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited that for the first time ever, all three of my girls will be in full-time childcare next year! They're going to have a blast, and I'll be able to give more undivided attention to my shop.
Tell us a bit about your design methodology; we love the whimsy – “The snuggle is real” mixed with profound quotes by the likes of Ernest Hemingway.
How I wish there was a clear-cut method behind my designs. But really, I just do what I know and love.
The mix you see is an extension of my personality. I've always loved the way that words have the ability to transform people, so you'll find a lot of quotes in my home. Whether it's a line from a movie, an inspirational Scripture or a quick-witted comeback, there is a lot of power in our words, and they can either tear people down or build them up. My aim is for the latter with our products.
If I see a quote or phrase that speaks to me, I try to utilize the design layout and various fonts to convey how it makes me feel. So for example, I may use a vintage typewriter font for a historic poet's quote, because it makes me feel like I'm in an old library reminiscent of years past.
My hope is that it will speak to someone else, too. But if it's doesn't, that's okay! You can't be everybody's cup of tea, because there are people like me who prefer coffee anyway.
What’s your approach to maintaining your brand? Do you ever feel tempted to change it up with more color or a different style?
Though it's tempting to conform to what's popular or selling well for others (this is a business, after all), I find that I do best and am happiest when I’m being true to myself. We all are uniquely different, so as long as I'm channeling my individual talents and passions, then that's a success in my eyes.
My brand has evolved over the years - it’s part of the creative process - but I’ve learned that that the neutral look of my products allows for greater versatility in my customers’ homes. You can virtually have any color or style in your home, and one of my black & white, wood framed signs or natural canvas-colored pillows will still meld with the space.
Any ideas for decorating a nursery / kids room? What are some design trends you’re a fan of?
We recently moved from Florida to Georgia, and we’re in the process of giving our new home a makeover. Two of my favorite rooms to design have been the girls' shared bedroom and their playroom. Some people thought I was crazy to put three girls in one bedroom, but I really wanted their bedroom to just be place of rest and relaxation… and have a separate playroom to be a place for exploring and education.
I tend to gravitate toward the Scandinavian/minimalist design trends. As a former preschool teacher and now as a mother, I've witnessed how children react to various environments, and I really believe that often times, less is more.
For our girls' shared bedroom, there is just the three beds, some wall decor and three small dressers – that's it. It may not be very "fun" for them, but that's not its intended purpose – it's for getting dressed and getting sleep.
For fun, they have their playroom which has a dramatic play area, an art area, and a math/science/music area. Even though messes are made, everything has a place and I expect them to take care of their belongings. The cool thing is that they're learning through play and don't even know it.
Where do you like to shop for furniture and home decor items?
During the summer, I find myself ordering a lot of things from Etsy, Amazon, Target due to the ease of shipping. Also, we like to go to yard sales together as a family where we drive the back roads on the weekends – I find a lot of various items to makeover that way, too.
We're launching a “handpicked” portion to our shop in the fall that will source various children's decor items, and I'm really excited about that.
What’s your favorite home decor style? Share with us!
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