Friday, September 23, 2011

A Conversation with Tina from "The Enchanted Home"

"The Enchanted Home" is one of my favorite design blogs, and I was very excited when the author, Tina, agreed to a little question and answer with me. Tina and I love many of the same things, and I have throroughly enjoyed watching the progress as she and her family have built their dream home. Tina's readers not only get to see the gorgeous details of her house unfold, but are treated to Tina's take on wonderful travel locations, products, and design. She serves up some of the very best "eye candy" there is on the web, and does it with grace and charm. If you haven't already, click over to The Enchanted'll be glad you did.

I believe our blogs started around the same time. I wanted a way to organize my inspiration photos and share my thoughts and projects. What prompted you to start "The Enchanted Home?"
I started my blog Jan.1st of this year...hard to believe its been eight fun, entertaining and educational months!  In building our home, I started looking for lots of various house related things both in pictures and articles online.  After going to a few blogs for months without honestly realizing they were even blogs (had no idea what one was) I started thinking "hey I can do this too". I enjoy writing and thought this would be a fun way to share my interests as well as the entire home building experience with other like minded people. Sure enough I soon discovered there are lots of them out there!  So I started one wintry morning, writing my very first post that maybe generated a single comment. But boy was that comment coveted and celebrated!!

I just love your blog, and judging by the number of comments others leave, I am far from alone. What is it about The Enchanted Home that you think gets people hooked? What advice would you give a new blogger on how to reach and keep  an audience?

Thank you Brandon! I think a lot of people like my take on design, and decor and I think a lot of people enjoy watching the progress of our home building. I follow a few blogs myself on people who are either building or renovating and I so anticipate their new posts on updates so I see it from the perspective of how fun it is to watch someone else's project in the works (I get a lot of emails telling me this so this is not an assumption). I think I do have a certain style which while not for everyone, appeals to a fairly broad group.  As far as keeping an audience, it is a mantra you hear often but its just so true...write about what you really love and what excites you. The rest will flow. I think the key is to keep it authentic, not to feel like you must play to your audience, as that will become a chore and  novelty which will wear off because you will undoubtedly lose interest if you lack the passion and conviction to write about what you love and believe in. I always say you cannot be all things to all people, just be yourself and the audience you gain will be a loyal one.

You and your family are nearing the end of a long building process. Is there a part of you that will be sad to have the house finished? What are you going to miss most about the building process?

NO NO AND NO,  there is no size font on this computer that could spell out a big enough "no" to get my point Its been over three and half years and I just "want off this ride".  Frankly I really won't miss anything about the building process other than at this point it IS fun to go to the house and get excited over something that has changed from one day to the next. But my patience is thin, and I am ready to move in, and not look back!

What is your favorite thing about your new house? Is there anything you would have done differently?

Oh boy, I really have so many. I love the style, French...its always been a dream of mine to have a home like this. I love my kitchen and breakfast room and family room. Love having my own bathroom FINALLY! I love the materials we used, there are too many to single out just one. Honestly at this point I am very very happy to say there is not a single thing I would have done differently!

A few months ago, a house I designed was featured in an article on a national news site.  It was around 4,000 square feet, and I was very surprised when several anonymous commenter's took the position that a house that size was went so far as to claim it was morally irresponsible. Have you faced anything similar, online or off, as you've chronicled building your house? What do you say (if you bother saying anything) to people with that attitude?

This is interesting. Once again you cannot be all things to all people and most certainly there are going to be those who just don't want to see the good in anything, and unfortunately even some "haters" out there. If anything, I feel sorry for anyone who cannot be happy for someone else fulfilling their dream. I on the other hand, am very inspired when I see something beautiful, it excites and inspires me, makes me want to aspire to do and be better. So that kind of attitude is very foreign to me, and I always think that person is likely a very unhappy individual or very dissatisfied with his/her life to have to tear someone else down. I live my life for me, and feel very blessed and just know in this world there will always be those naysayers, but I will not allow them to bring me down.  I try to focus on all the many positives and the goodness in 99.9% of the people I have met through blogging.

Designing and building a house is a sometimes overwhelming process that is filled with surprises. Do you have a particular method for staying organized and attacking all the decisions? What would you tell someone about to start the homebuilding process to be ready for?

Well I have a very large online photo album full of very inspirational pictures, when I didn't have so many it was well organized into categories and by rooms. Now that I have literally hundreds, the organizational system has fallen to the wayside but it is still a valuable resource that I use daily. I also have a very thick file folder a friend gave me many years ago (when we were building our old house ironically) that has different compartments and that's a great way to keep track of invoices and paperwork though somehow they don't always find their way there. Be prepared to spend 20-30% more than you think you will and add at least a few extra months to the time frame, that is given. I have yet to hear of a project be done on time or earlier, it is nearly almost always much later...sort of the the nature of the beast unfortunately. Be ready to spend A LOT of your waking hours (and many non waking too) mulling over decision after decision, it can be incredibly overwhelming so I think its important that both husband and wife be fully on board and committed to the building of a home.

Tell us about your family! How much have they been involved in creating your home? Does your husband share your passion for the details, or is he one of those guys who only cares about the garage?

I have a wonderful husband who I have been married to for 26 years. And he is VERY involved. In fact, our builder is so impressed with his knowledge and business savvy, they may go in on a project together! He is a huge asset to have in this process. This has been a project that we embarked on truly together, in every sense. I would never have been able to get through it if he wasn't as involved as he has been. We have had many twists and turns, highs and lows in this process but its been nice to have someone to share it with! We got married very young and started a family when I was 22 and he 27. We have been blessed with 3 wonderful sons, and a great dog, the infamous Teddy. (lots of people got to know Teddy when when I poured my heart out in a post when we thought we had lost him on Mothers day)!

You've written about some fabulous travel destinations. Practical concerns aside, tell us about your dream vacation.

THANK YOU! Its no secret I love to travel ….. I think my dream vacation would in terms of a place I have already been, lounging on a beach (preferably a private beach so the beach wrap could come off, lol) in Hawaii with a IV drip of Maitai's and Pina coladas with my biggest worry being what book to indulge in that day and what time our dinner reservation is (yea I know keep dreaming right?) In terms of a place I have yet to travel to, but high on my wish list, I  would love to visit Fiji and take an archaeological tour through Egypt and Turkey.

How would you describe your style?

Assuming you  mean with regard to decorating/dressing….definitely classic traditional with a slight twist. I find my taste is evolving and especially since I became an official member of blogland, there is so much beauty and inspiration, it has really opened my eyes. I love all European influences, particularly French.

If you could go back in time and offer a younger you some advice, what would it be?

Learn everything you can, knowledge is power.  You can never know enough, read read read, absorb it all like a sponge, commit yourself to continuously keep learning and evolving. Never stand still and think you have it covered. Open your mind to always being the best you can be.  And I have always loved "shoot for the moon and you will land on one of the stars". In other words think big, dream big and wish big, we are only limited by our imaginations.

A sneak peak at Tina's house...visit her blog The Enchanted Home to see more!

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  1. Oh how marvelous it is to know more about your style my dear Tina. We are all looking forward to the grand opening and I know I am wearing my Cinderella dress and slippers to this huge event; I still want to RUN through the corridors and feel like a princess......Anita

  2. Great interview! It's so nice to hear Tina sharing her personal journey of life and blogland!

  3. I love Tinas' blog and this interview with her was a treat!

  4. Nice to find another great blog. This was a terrific interview, love Tinas blog and really am enjoying watching that gorgeous house become a home.

    Its an increidble feat, and on top of that she sounds so grounded, and fun! I love her advice to herself and others and her idea of Hawaiian vacation. Sounds good to me!

  5. Truly a wonderful interview, nice learning more about Tina and her journey with her new home.

  6. Tina's blog is one of my favorites. Love reading her Thursday update posts. And now I've discovered a new great blog, yours!

  7. Enchanted Home is a must read for me everyday! Love Tina and her style.
    Thank you for sharing this interview. It is amazing.
    Love your blog!

  8. Great interview with a great lady... enjoyed every word. Thanks!!!

  9. What a great interview!! Tina is a love and as grand as her home is, she is down to earth and a genuinely kind lady!! Love her and her blog!! xo Kathysue

  10. It is great to learn even more about Tina. She has been a great blog friend. She IS very authentic, and comes and comments on my site,(and many others) which to me shows that she cares!

    Best of all is that she IS making her dreams come true!

    Art by Karena

  11. It should come as no surprise that Tina not only has great taste and style, but also is very articulate and wise. That is why I enjoy her blog so much.

  12. What a great interview! I love Tina and her Blog. She is so kind and fun! She has an amazing sense of style. Great interview questions (and answers!)

  13. This is quite possibly my favorite and best "interview" in a blog I've ever read! Tina is genuine, kind, funny, witty, classy, etc... I have loved reading her blog and look forward to getting to know yours as well. I am very grateful for her comments on my shop's blog and appreciate Tina taking the time to care about it. If I could just get her to fly down to Birmingham to shop for that incredible Enchanted would be a dream come true! Thanks again for this was definitely inspiring to me!
    Mulberry Heights Antiques

  14. What fun to get to read Tina's interview - both because I love her blog and because she interviewed me recently. It was so fun to learn more about one my favorite blogging friends out there! Tina, you have such great style but more importantly such grace...keep making a positive mark on the blogging world and beyond. :)

  15. What a great interview. I got to know Tina better.

  16. We all love Tina! She is a "rock star" in blogland! She is as authentic in her blog of The Enchanted Home, as she is in person! She is truly lovely! Thank you!

  17. Brandon, I am happy to have found your blog through a link from Tina's blog (which I love of course). I went back to read your previous posts and appreciate your point of view.

    I particularly resonated with your question to Tina about the "big house as wasteful" opinion that has become popular lately. My husband and I are in the design process of a new build and our home will probably be around 3500 square feet. I frequently second guess myself and feel guilty at times. But when I read Tina's blog I feel better about our decisions.

    Our current home is around the same size as the one we are building and we use every square inch of it as we have a huge family and entertain constantly. I have loved architecture since I was a child and refuse to feel guilty for building my dream home.

    Count me in as a new reader.

  18. Brandon, I thoroughly enjoyed your interview. I follow Tina's blog and it was very interesting to learn more about her endeavor from a more personal perspective. Your questions were well thought out. Great job!

  19. Hi as a follower of Tinas blog, this was really a excellent interview, to get to know her better. I can see she is a true quality person who is not only intelligent and kind but down to earth. Yes, shes very blessed but it seems like she is really greateful and both feet are planted on the ground, not always the case when someone is so blessed.
    Great thought provoking questions, and equally great answers. Truly enjoyed it, and so happy also to have found another really great design blog!

  20. This was great! Thank you for doing this and thank you Tina for providing so much insight into your personality, thoughts and home building experience.

    I have had such fun and so anticipate watching your gorgeous house evolve! Its just breathtaking. Thank you.

    New follower to this blog as well, another perk!

  21. Great interview with Tina! Her house is amazing and her blog is lovely, too. I found it interesting that there were people criticizing a 4,000 square-foot house as being too big. I guess it's a sign of the times. I do tend to get negative comments when I feature really big celebrity mansions, but 4,000 square feet is nothing compared to those!

  22. Tina is one of my favorite blog friends, and has one of my favorite blogs- love her!! Her design style is beautiful as is her fabulous home. I'm always inspired on my daily visits ~

  23. thank you to all in involved in pulling this guest post off.
    tina is a doll and i love that she is sharing her process.

    xx thank you for hosting!

  24. This amazing woman is gifted in so many ways, but her warmth of spirit, sense of fun & unpretentiousness shines above all else. I am so happy to read a bit more about her. Thank you for doing this post.

  25. Love this interview! I "met" Tina last week in blogland and am loving reading her blog, now learning a little more about her. It is wonderful that she has now introduced us to your blog as well! Thanks so much for the interview!

  26. One of the best interviews I have read to date! A quality girl through and through. I love how real she sounds when people in her shoes could be much more superficial. Her authenticity really does shine through. Loved your answer about how to handle criticism or judgements on the size house you are building and what you would tell a younger you. Fantastic through and through!

  27. Great interview with my favorite blog friend Tina...I love her to bits. Tina and her family with be the example of happily forever after in the adventureof the enchanted home for sure.


  28. Great interview-it was really fun to get to know Tina better!!

  29. Brandon thank you so very much for posting and featuring me in this wonderful interview. Your kind words made me blush and the pleasure was all mine:) Thanks to everyone above for your incredibly sweet comments too. I am convinced the nicest people are all in blogland!
    Thank you again!!

  30. A great interview indeed... I am catching up with my favorite blogs and was happy to find out about this little visit with Tina! Love her. Love the house.

  31. I'm touched by this interview, especially her last answer. I always felt like that, I want to learn, never stop and dream big because we can reach to all of our dreams if we work hard enough.

    Tina is so impressive, it's even hard to speak about her. I really, really love her personality and how kind she is to everyone.

    Great interview!


    Luciane at

  32. 31 comments! My gosh, that's a record here at Southgate! So glad you all enjoyed the interview with Tina--was truly a pleasure getting to "talk" to her.

  33. "In other words think big, dream big and wish big, we are only limited by our imaginations."

    I absolutely love Tina's admonition to think big, dream big and wish big...

    Wasn't it Einstein who said, "imagination is more important than knowledge?"

    Very nice interview!

  34. I am a huge fan of Tina and her impeccable style and missed this so very happy she shared it. I ate up every word. I know if we met we would be fast friends, we have so much in common. She is the real deal and thank you for featuring her.

    1. You're so welcome! She's one of my favorites too!