Friday, February 9, 2018

Finding My Style - Laura Gets Her Groove Back!

A few posts back, I spoke about my need to find my-style-self again. 
Deciding to open a shop and the act of getting it up and running, really took a toll on the time I could dedicate to our home and my sanity. 
For those who really know me, you know that I am a homebody. I love to be at home. 
I'm not anti-social or an introvert, I just really love being in the space that I have created. I have designed our home based on our particular needs and filled it with treasures that make me happy. Why wouldn't I want to spend all of my time there?!?

Now, when the shop opened, our house emptied. Much of what we were using in the house became either display or merchandise in the shop. That didn't make me sad, though. I kept what I loved and am attached to and I parted with the things that didn't make my heart sing. 

What did frustrate me however, was that my house didn't feel complete anymore. It didn't feel put together or, frankly, even clean sometimes. Granted for the first few months the shop was open, I was working double duty. School during the day and shop at night. I was never home and that was a problem on 2 fronts. 
1. I was never home and home is my happy place.
2. I was never home so I couldn't clean or organize.

Now skip ahead to 2018. We survived Pumpkinfest and the Holiday Shopping season and now we are taking a breath. The house is clean (most of the time) and I am finally getting to create my happy space again. 

So, to celebrate, I have started to share my own happy spaces again. I'd like to invite you to follow along as I recreate my home into my sanctuary. I have started a new Instagram account: 
I will be sharing stories from my home, treasures that speak to me, my obsession with house plants, a few pics of the pups, and pictures from my personal travels. I have some fun adventures on the horizon so I hope you follow along. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Treasure Hunting... The Whimsical Team

Whimsical Perspective has seen and heard an amazing amount of love in the past few months. It is so fun to hear people gush about the products and displays. I just love that my vision has come to life in such a perfect way. 

However, it isn't just my eye and vision that has pushed the shop forward. I have two amazing friends that share my love of the unusual and aren't afraid to get down and dirty to find it. 
 Let me introduce you to The Whimsical Team:

Laura (myself), owner and curator of Whimsical Perspective. I am a lover of plants, moody floral oils, comfortable spaces and colorful living. I love having my unique treasures dictate the direction of the room. I definitely have a color scheme that I stick to and it surprises me every day! While my clothing style is extremely simple and black, my house perfectly accessorized and colorful. 

M, is a true curator of the unusual. Her home is like stepping back and forward in time... at the same time! She is able to sort through items and curate them into a calming and collected environment. I would call her style, Literary Anthropologie.

B, has an eye for cozy living and garden details. In the summer, she lives in her garden space and her flea market purchases reflect that passion. She also loves to repurpose industrial items in a way that makes them extremely functional and cozy. Her home reflects her strong bond to her family and roots. When in her living room, you are never out of range of an amazing vintage wool blanket. 

We have been doing a lot of local traveling to come across all of the treasures that fill our shop. We head to your classic fleas like the Kane County Flea Market and the Elkhorn Antique Show but also love to hit up some hidden little shops here and there. 

However, it's when we come across piles like this, that our junking hearts really skip a beat!

On occassion, we have been know to pick up one or two...or ten treasures on the curb or side of a country road.

And on occasion we get caught in a bind and need a bit of assistance...

I write this as we plan for our next Whimsical Adventure. Next month, we will be heading south and will be on a mission to bring back all of the amazing treasures to be ready for our 1st Anniversary on March 22nd. 

Whimsical Perspective on Instagram to follow along on our adventures. @whimsicalperspective
Also, follow my personal style journey on @mywhimsicalperspective

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Plant Sanctuary AKA My Front Porch

My Favorite Room in our Whole House!

This beautiful, airy, and eclectic corner is just a snapshot of where our house will be going in 2018. It's cozy and colorful without being too much.  It's the perfect spot to read a book or tip a cup of tea. It is exactly what I want it to be. 

However, let us not forget the evolution of the space:

This photo was taken at the very beginning stages of our house remodel. The windows allowed us to only use this room from late Spring to early Fall. At this point, it was honestly just a space to hold our extra furniture. However, the room has AMAZING bones... brick wall, beautiful old doors, dark paneled ceiling and tons of windows. It was easy to imagine its potential. 

The following summer, when other projects had been completed, I decided it was time to play around with this room. We added color with decor and changed out a bit of furniture but the most dramatic change came with the painting of the floor. It was a fun few days covered it paint and stencil adhesive. 

 While the room was beautiful, it wasn't as functional as I wanted. It was still too cold and breeze with the old storm windows.  So, with the addition of new windows and a new radiator for the room, we now have a fully functioning, 4 seasons room!

Now with its new dedication as my Plant Sanctuary (I have become slightly obsessed with house plants thanks to the help from my partners in crime, M & B), it is my absolute favorite room in the whole house. It is bright, airy, fun, and whimsical!

  • Vintage Drexel Chair and upholstered Ottoman
  • Plant table made from aquarium stand, crates and an old door
  • Table top plant stand - MCM shelf found at Salvation Army
  • Floor plant stands - Mix of stools and metal stands
  • Pots - Vintage Pottery mixed with some made by my mother
  • Floral Print in Frame - Another great find at the Salvation Army

We still have a bit more to add to this area. I have been collecting vintage macrame plant hangers to hold our next wave of plants. Hopefully those will be hung within the next month or so. 
However, I think it is just about perfect the way it is. 

Now, this is only half of the room. The other half serves as our breakfast area and office. That particular area is still "under contruction". That might be my next reveal... 

Ways to see more frequent updates:
@whimsicalperspective - Shop Account
@mywhimsicalperspective - Personal Style Account

Monday, January 15, 2018

Destination 2018 - A Whimsical Perspective

Destination - A Place to Which One is Journeying

While many people are starting their New Year's resolutions or 2018 goals, I chose not to go that direction. Both of those are laced with uncertainty and layered with years of disappointment. Many goals are never attained and most resolutions are never followed. However, a destination is most often reached. A destination is an end point. I plan on reaching my end point. 

Yes, this could just be a cleaver exchange of words. However, how often have you heard the same message over and over, finally to have grabbed onto it when it was phrased differently? Words are powerful and have the ability to completely change the outlook on something. So, I am choosing to focus on a different word and therefore a different ending. 

2017 was an intense year for me with many personal and professional changes. To start, I opened a business which was an exhilarating and terrifying experience. One that could only have been accomplished with the help of my husband and my amazing friends. Also, for the first time since I was 5, I was not on a school schedule. I took a leave of absence from my elementary teaching job to explore another passion and to see which road is the right one for me.

After a year of having my world rocked, it is time to find my footing again. This year, the journey to my destination will take me along two different roads.

Destination Whimsical Perspective: The last 12 months have been a wild roller coaster of emotions. I am so happy that I took the ride but am so glad the first year is behind me. My shop's destination will continue to be a place of well-curated treasures and amazing brands to brighten your home. However, I will also be broadening Sycamore's horizon with specialty classes, guest speakers, and amazing events geared towards bringing new and amazing things to the town I love.

Destination My Whimsical Perspective: Now, the previous destination cannot be found with out a bit of soul searching and self reflection. This whole process started 8 years ago when I began blogging about my style and my creations. In the last few years, I have lost focus in that area and certainly the last 12 months have been totally focused on the shop. This path will lead to a fresh and organized house, a clearly portrayed vision of my personality and style, and a better understanding of who I am and what I am all about. I will be building my personal brand.

I am the only one who knows the true location of my destination and when I will arrive. However, you will all be traveling with me.

Stay tuned for an amazing ride.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Shop - The Dream

"A Dream.... 7 years in the making." That is the the thought I have every time I walk through the doors of Whimsical Perspective in Downtown Sycamore, Illinois. Every part of the store is exactly how I dreamed it would be. However, that doesn't happen without a lot of sleepless nights, hard work and the most amazing group of friends on the planet. Here is the story of Whimsical Perspective:

On Veteran's Day, back in November, my husband Ron and I were taking a trip to Elleson's Bakery when we saw the "for rent" signs at 366 State. We had been eagerly awaiting the opening of the restaurant that was to open in that space but the movement of that had stopped. We had talked about opening a shop for years but mostly in dreamy, hopeful language. However, this past summer, we began to discuss it more seriously. As we sat in front of Elleson's, debating on whether or not 6:30am was too early to call the owner, our shop conversations became much more serious. We had just happened upon the perfect location.  Three days later... we signed the lease. 

The space was huge and had so much potential. It was the perfect blank canvas for my thoughts and hopes. It had beautiful floors, all the storage we would need and the windows... oh those windows. 

In this picture, I am dreaming of all of the amazing items that will soon fill the space, Mr. Whimsical is thinking about all of the trim he has to install and walls he has to paint. :) We make a good team. 
Over the next several months, we began to prepare. I searched for products that I thought our sweet town of Sycamore would enjoy.
We took inventory of our house and decided what items in our personal collection would now go to the shop. I was really trying to find items that fit my vision of a well curated shop and that I was proud to sell you. I have found many amazing artists and artisans over the past few months. We also began scouring any markets that were heading to the area. That proved difficult at that time of year because all of the local flea markets were closing for the season. 
Meanwhile, back at the shop, the floors were getting finished, that bathroom was being installed, a deep cleaning and painting were underway. Finally it was move-in day.

My #1 lesson learned from opening a shop is that you can not do it without a great group of friends. On this day, the Whimsical Team was born. This amazing group was there with us on late nights and early mornings. Many drinks were consumed after long days and heavy moves. Floors were scrubbed by hand, all items were priced and dusted and the fluffing began.

My friends are the most selfless and amazing people. I am so lucky to have people that care enough about me to spend all of their free time helping me with my dream. 

Once all of the hard work was done, the shop was ready to go. It was exactly as I had hoped it would be. It had touches of me but also reflected the strength of my friends. There are even pieces of my parents in there!

Opening Day was such a crazy and amazing blur! My whole team was just exhausted. All of our hard work paid off and we were very well received by the community. One amazing 5 year old videographer even captured the moment when my 95 and 93 year old grandparents entered my shop for the first time. 


I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out!

Opening Day had come and gone and now we are in the thick of things. Items are being reordered and new treasures have been found. 

I will continue searching for the most amazing and unique items for my customers and will have a blast doing it! 

A special thanks goes out to my Whimsical Team. I couldn't and can't do it without you. #chaunceystrong

Stay tuned for many more blog posts in the near future. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Dream Living Room

The Living Room is so properly named because my husband and I basically live and spend most of our time in our living room. We eat there, watch T.V. there and occasionally sleep there. 

It is important to me to have our living room represent our style and our comforts. 

My style is difficult to pinpoint at times. I am often a mix of farmhouse, flea market and crazy, collector chic. I love everything and can often go back and forth between being very girly and super industrial. 

I love a bit of lace and sprinkles of flowers but I also love barnwood and crates. 

No matter what your style is, just make sure it makes you happy. When I choose pieces or a style for a room, I try to stay true to my style philosophy:

  • Unique pieces make your house special.
  • The best pieces have a story to tell.
  • If the items and colors make you happy, they will all go together nicely.
That brings me to my dream living room. My husband and I have worked very hard to bring some charm and character back into our old house. We have made some major changes and added some new pieces to help with the cozy feel we were looking for. 

It was important to me to make sure this room felt lived in. I love pillows and throw blankets. I also love being surrounded my plants. Our ivy creeps along the outside of this room, making it feel like a magic garden. Our house plants also make it feel cozy.

The sofa in this room is one of my favorite pieces. For our 10 year wedding anniversary, my husband and I purchased this sofa for each other. It was a very adult thing for us to do. ;)

I was recently asked by Arhaus to share my dream living room. They have similar sectional sofas to act as a centerpiece for any living room. You can check them out here

I love adding pieces that can't be found anywhere else. This mirror is definitely unique and fun! It is reflective and adds light to the room.  You will also find a nice mix of painted and not painted wood tones throughout our home. This dresser and mirror are some of my favorite pieces that I have painted.

Our barnwood wall is our newest addition to the house. I am so thrilled with how it turned out. The blank wall above the couch had always been a thorn in my side. I could never get it "just right" and that resulted in so many nail holes in the wall. Now I can move things around so easily and not have to worry about holes! This is the perfect place to hold my collection of vintage floral oils!

Now, while most of the house is a happy reflection of my style, my husband is an active participant in the process as well. There was no way we were going to have a beautiful, photo-worthy living room without a big, fat television. It took us a while to figure out the best place for "the beast". Believe it or not, a house built in 1918 wasn't planned for a huge flat screen television. This compromise pleased the both of us. It allows me to photograph the fireplace easily and still puts the television in an easy to see space. 

Our living room leads directly into our dining room and it took time to get the look I was going for. Energetic, eclectic, comfortable and full speak to this space. 

This truly is my dream space at the moment. 

Let us not forget where we started...

Also, a special "thanks" to Dolly for sleeping through the entire photoshoot today. She is a great helper. 

See you next time...

*A Few Fun Details...
  • The coffee table, pictured above, was the kitchen table that I ate at as a child. The legs were removed and crates attached to add storage space. 
  • The cabinet under the TV has hidden storage for our vintage TV trays. The side panels pull out to reveal our secret stash of trays!
  • The large ivory blanket was won in a raffle by my mom. She gifted it to me along with a gorgeous rocking chair that is now in my classroom. 
  • Many of the house plants in our home were propagated and cared for by the 2nd graders in my classroom. My heart swells when I look at them. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Flea Market Style Decorating

It's a rainy day here in Illinois and no better weather for cleaning and decorating.

I have been spending some (possibly excessive) time on Pinterest lately to help become inspired for our upcoming bathroom and bedroom remodels. While spending time going through hundreds of gorgeous pictures, I noticed that the phrase "Flea Market Style" decorating means something different to each of us. 

To some, it means finding items that are vintage inspired from catalogs or stores to help achieve a desired look. 

For others, it is finding pieces that they love and building happy spaces around them. These pieces could be found at flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, the curb and my favorite... inherited and gifted items. 

I am of the mindset of the second group. Now, don't get me wrong, there are times when I want something desperately to help me achieve the look that I am going for. It would be easy to go to a store and grab one. It would definitely make me smile to see the look come together. However, it is really the hunt that I enjoy. I love finding a dusty piece of junk and turning it into a beautiful space. I love that each piece has a story. 

I always keep in mind 4 things when I am creating a space:
  • Mix textures
  • Reflective Pieces
  • Mix Color
  • Have Fun!
So I would like to share a few spaces in my home that are products of my hunt.

Corner of my Dining Room:

  • Geranium Oil Painting painted by my Grandmother
  • Door from Kane County Flea Market
  • Hat Box from my Grandmother
  • Encyclopedias from my Grandparents
  • Plants grown by my 2nd grade students
  • Pots from my Mother
  • Suitcases - some found and some gifted from my Mother
  • Curtain Tie Backs lusted after for months at Sycamore Antiques

Dining Room Wall:
  • Oil Paintings (My Obsession) - Kane County Flea Market and Sycamore Antiques
  • Plates - My favorite find ever from the Kane County Flea Market
  • Bird Cage from Local Junk Shop
  • Dining Chair for a Table that Reminds me of the one in my Mother's House
  • Tea Set my Grandfather Gifted to his Mother
  • Appetizer Server from my Grandmother
  • Vintage Game from my Childhood
  • Tea Cart belonged to my Great Grandmother

My Office:

  • Desk - Purchase from Kane County Flea Market
  • Mirror - Salvaged from my Parent's Bathroom
  • Office Chair - Sycamore Antiques
  • Chalkboard - Made by Me, Frame from Garage Sale 
  • Whimsical Animal Art - Purchased on Recent trip to Nashville, Local Artist
  • Time Card Holder - Local Garage Sale
  • Light Fixture - Home Wishes Gift Shop Pontiac, Illinois

Have fun hunting this summer!