At Home with the Blakes
Stacey-Ann Blake — proud Army wife, mother of three, and creator of the lifestyle blog Design Addict Mom — created a colorful refuge in her home that blends together the styles of her home country (Jamaica), her first overseas deployment home (Italy), and anything else that catches her eye and brings her joy. She first started exploring bright colors and interior design during her husband’s long deployments, and along the way, developed a unique, bold style that is all her own.
In this edition of At Home, we talk to Stacey about how she spends her time with intention, her approach to color (more more more!), and her deep appreciation for nature.
Who lives in your home?
Myself, my husband, and our three children: 12-year-old Zion, 10-year-old Ian, and 3-year-old Cheyenne. My husband served in the Special Forces for years with long deployments overseas, and that certainly made it important to keep home as an oasis. Because of his absence, I tapped into my creative side and found an outlet for how to use my alone time. I started experimenting with color, design, and it all melded into something else that I wasn’t aware was inside of me!
Where do you live?
We are Fayetteville, NC near Fort Bragg. From the teacher perspective – that was my career before I found interior design – I love the school district that we’re in. It’s a melting pot with a diverse population because of the military.
I’m a nature-loving girl, so I love the kind of country feel; we're in the city but have opportunities to be in nature. I don’t feel enclosed or far from it. I walk outside and I’m surrounded by all the trees. And the mild winter! As a Jamaican, I appreciate that.
Could you describe your home?
It reflects my Jamaican culture and our military travels. I like to mash things together. When we were stationed in Italy, I dove into design, so that’s influenced me a lot. I also see a bit of modernist take in our home as well. The style is bold and colorful and fun! It’s definitely an oasis I would say. I’m a firm believer that one’s homes should be an expression of who they are and our home is that.
What’s your favorite part or space in your home?
It all depends on my mood. I start the morning in the sunroom where I enjoy my coffee. The sunroom has the notorious Glory Fig, it’s nature filled and a real zen place to start the day and gather my thoughts. We recently installed sunlights so it’s next level in there, it’s a really nice lovely space. You can’t be unhappy in that space! Other times, you may find me in my closet office for work or outside in the garden.
From your Instagram, it seems like plants feature heavily in your home and garden. Do your kids help?
Oh yes, they are helpful. Cheyenne, she loves being in the sunroom too. Initially, she took a liking to the succulents – she would show her love by taking off the leaves and leaving nothing! I haven’t seen her express love in that way in a while, but now she will water them. I think she has that plant loving thing about her already. The boys are already helpful with watering the plants in addition to helping with chores around the house.
Do you have a playroom?
Yes, it’s actually a formal dining room space that we use as a playroom. Maybe when the children are older we will return to a formal dining space, but we aren’t really formal people so we repurposed the space. The toys live there, but sometimes they migrate thanks to Cheyenne. We have a pocket door that separates the playroom from the kitchen, but there’s another entrance that looks right into the playroom. It drives me nuts to see a mess at the end of the day so there’s a lot of clean up. The kids are pretty good at cleaning up but there are times when you sit down and you say “oh no, something sharp under your buttocks!” Or you look under the cushion and “say, wow, this is where this toy lives today.”
Do your two oldest share a room?
Yes, when I was about to have Cheyenne, I transformed Zion’s room into a shared room for Zion and Ian. Cheyenne is a princess in her own room! It was important to redesign the room so that it feels like both of theirs; there’s a gallery wall in there to showcase art and I made sure to feature both. There’s also a book shelf where we can put books that they both like. They both feel at home in the room.
What advice would you have for a family setting up for a shared bedroom?
You might want to have a conversation with them to see how they feel about it and what they might like to see, within reason of course. It should be a process where they are involved in; they will feel more part of the space when they have more input. Maybe like a favorite thing to display on their side! The boys were always in each other's room anyway so it wasn’t as much of a transition.
For your daughter’s room, where did you find your inspiration?
Her existence! We had miscarried the year before, and her existence is so much to celebrate, her being a rainbow baby and us getting that miracle child. The starting point was the wallpaper.It’s not in the entire room and I brought a bit of the color from the wallpaper into the rest to build a cohesive design. Her room is joyful as is her personality, that goes hand in hand! She’s exactly as exuberant as the space!
If someone wants to incorporate more color into their home, what advice would you give?
I generally recommend accessories for someone who is timid about color. It’s a great way to infuse a space with color – pillows, rugs, candles – and see how you feel about it. Then start with one wall! That’s a nice way to bring a bold chunk into a space. And go from there, depending on how brave you feel after that. Once you go color, you don’t go back!
What are some of your favorite unique color combinations?
I love pink and green together. You probably see that a bit. And right now I’m really loving yellow and combining yellow with pink! Or I’ll add a yellow pillow to a coral space. I recently repainted our living room from green to a nice blue, and with my orange couch, the contrast is wonderful. I love contrast!
Have you ever painted a room and said oh no, this isn’t right?
Oh yes! When I go back to my early days, when I just started experimenting, we were stationed in Missouri and I had discovered sponge painting. I had seen it somewhere and I used this burgundy and oh my goodness it was hideous. That was just one wall thankfully, not too hard to fix, but I don’t always get a color right. The nice thing is that you can always repaint. It would become a very expensive endeavor if I didn’t paint myself, but I do my own. I don’t even have to use tape anymore, I’m pretty comfortable with my angled brush.
Where do you shop and find pieces?
There are pieces that we’ve had when we were living in Italy – some of the rugs – and the orange couch is Italian made but I went to High Point Market as a blogger and ended up buying it. We had just built and, lo and behold, there were these beautiful pieces from Tomasella. The bed from the master bedroom is from Charles Rogers, that’s been with us since we were in our other home, really well made. We got the kids’ beds from Ikea and I do have some thrifted pieces that I reupholstered. Some low-end mixed in with the high-end!
Not everything has the same form – some straight legged, some curved – but it tends to work because it’s in a similar color scheme or look. I take my time to find just the right piece. That helps!
How do you like to spend your time?
In nature! I’m outside right now actually as we speak. Getting my hands dirty, gardening, working with my hands, it’s therapy. At some point in my day, you’ll find me outside.
I love to be with the children or helping them with some school work, playing, being intentional about where my energies go. The pandemic has definitely affected that by forcing me to slow down, be present, not think about what to do next. A big part of all of that is being surrounded by nature, which grounds me. The sunshine is therapy for me! I’m a tree hugger as a personality.
How do you use your Nuggets around the house?
I would call myself a day one Nugget supporter! I’ve had Nuggets since the beginning.The first Nugget I received was orange, my favorite color. I love the Saturn yellow, and when Nugget did the collaboration with June and January (Rust), oh, it was so beautiful. But really, all the colors are lovely, really stunning. Cheyenne uses them as a trampoline. The Nugget is always set up in our master room, for tv or hanging out. We all love the Nuggets! There’s a Nugget in Cheyenne’s room and we do bedtime routine there, including reading and cuddling. Her brothers are often on the Nugget when they are in their room.
Really, the Nugget is a very brilliant design for families with or without children. I love how Nuggets can seamlessly fit into any design. I can use some of the cushions as an ottoman, the kids love to play with them. They don’t stick out like sore thumbs, the modular design makes them modern, and they’ve held up so well! Thank you to Stacey and her family for opening their home to us for this At Home feature. We loved exploring the world of color you’ve built for yourself, a spot of sunshine in NC. Follow along Stacey’s design journey at @designaddictmom.