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Posted by on Sep 23, 2009 in A Peek Inside | 47 comments

A Peek Inside: indie home tours with Amanda Blake Soule of Soule Mama

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You are in for a real treat today for A Peek Inside: indie home tours—Amanda Blake Soule of the blog Soule Mama opens up her home for us to take a peek at.  Amanda is a writer and a mama who blends the two on her blog and in her crafty books, the latest of which is Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures (see my review here).

Amanda regularly shares her home on her blog, but she put together a collection of special images just for us and answered some questions about her home and designing style. I for one just love Amanda’s style, it’s very practical and homey, but with delicate little touches. I also love how she manages to make her home inviting for both big and little people.

See for yourself below!

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1. How would you describe your designing style?

Oh, that’s hard! There’s a lot of handmade in our home, many textiles and lots of history. I love vintage goodness, and am especially drawn to things from the 1930’s and 1940’s. But there are no strict rules about that – whatever we like and whatever works for our space gets added to the mix!

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2. Tell us about your home. Is it an apartment or house? Is it newer or a refurbished older home? Did you completely redo it or just add some new paint?

We live in a 1920s three bedroom colonial house. We’re renters, but we’ve been here for eight years now and have really tried to make it our home in that time. We haven’t done any huge remodeling, but we do a lot of the repairs and we’ve painted many times over. I think fresh paint is magic, especially for renters.

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3. How about that pile of quilts in one of your pics. Are they family hand me downs, finds at yard sales, homemade by you or a mixture of all three?

A few are family treasures and many I find at yard sales and antique shops. All the newer quilts that I’ve made are in active use – they’re a bit more able to handle the wear and tear of daily kid use than the old vintage treasures.

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4. Share a favorite treasure and tell us the story behind it.

Our art cabinet is a big favorite, mostly because of all the magic that comes out of using the things inside it! But that it was a free roadside find, and that it’s now covered in a much-loved vintage fabric all adds to the love, certainly.

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5. Your home is so lovely and yet still kid-friendly. I love how you make spaces that both appeal to kids and adults. Do you have any advice for people wanting to do the same in their own homes?

Thank you! I think my one piece of advice for that would be to choose carefully the toys you bring into your home. For lots of reasons, ‘less’ is more. It’s better for children’s imaginations, better for creating a peaceful family environment, and it’s much easier on the space in a house. I also think ‘beauty’ is an important factor to consider when bringing a toy into your home. Shouldn’t children’s toys and surroundings be beautiful, too? I think so.

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6. What’s your favorite room and why?

I think that might be our dining room. The room in which we all gather each and every day to share stories and meals. That’s such an important time for our family. And during the day, the very same table is where lots of art, and writing, and making happens. It’s a busy spot – I love it.

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7. Is that homemade bread and jam I spy? Yum…do you have a recipe you can share?

It is! It’s strawberry-rhubarb jam, which I shared a recipe for on the blog last year:

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

5 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
3 cups rhubarb, sliced 1/2″
juice of 1.5 lemon
1 TBSP grated lemon zest
1.5 cups sweetener (I use turbinado sugar or honey)
1 oz pectin (I love Pomona’s Universal Pectin)

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl (except the pectin), cover with wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Drain juice from berries and rhubarb, and put in a large pot. Add half of the berry/rhubarb mix, and the pectin powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until it starts to thicken a bit. Puree, and then return to pot.

Add remaining berry/rhubarb mix. Bring to another boil, and then lower heat to a simmer for 20 -30 minutes, or until the jam thickens to your liking.

Pour into prepared jars, filling to within 1/2″ of the rim, and place lids on. These could be eaten immediately, refrigerated, or preserved with your favorite method.

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8. Do you consider your home ‘finished’ or is it more a work in progress?

A work in progress, for sure. Our home is such a reflection of our lives and the way our days are spent – which are naturally always evolving and changing. I can’t imagine ever ‘finishing’ a house.

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9. What’s one home decor project that you are particularly proud of?

Oddly, that might be the bookshelves in our dining room, and perhaps mostly because of their story. We were in need of really big bookshelves for that space. And as I’m sure lots of other people struggle with, finding furniture that we like the looks of, that fits, that is made humanely and sold ethically, AND is affordable – is a mighty tall task. So we found ourselves in a big box store about to make a purchase, when we both turned to each other and said, ‘what are we doing? Surely we can find a way to make it.”. And we did, even though carpentry skills aren’t exactly our forte. We found an old armoire in our basement, took it apart and used it for boards, and with just enough wooden vintage milk crates (from my grandparents dairy farm!), we put the shelves together. And in the end, they feel so much like ‘us’ that we can’t imagine having anything else there.

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47 Comments

  1. I love the patching on that last chair! I don’t think I’ve noticed it before and it’s so perfect for those “previously loved” items that I wouldn’t want to completely re-upholster.

  2. Amanda has been inspiring me in so many ways since I have first visited her blog back in March. You asked the right questions! And it’s nice to have some more lookies into her beautiful, warm home!

  3. What a great interview,thanks for sharing it. It is always neat to see how other people live and what inspires them. Love those bookshelves.

  4. That little reading spot at the top of the stairs is just so perfect. I need to find a spot like that in my own home. hmmm, now where will it be?

  5. I love Amanda’s home. It seems so warm and cozy and inviting.

    I would say it’s perfectly imperfect!☺

  6. Thanks for this post! I LOVE Amanda’s house. It really lights my fire. Now I have to go paint my walls and get creative.

  7. Everything is so very beautiful! Thank you for sharing the pictures and wonderful advice. This is the decorating style I am constantly drawn to, but can’t seem to “make it happen” for myself.

  8. amanda has done a great job of creating an eclectic coziness… and it’s peaceful too. love it.

  9. What a beautiful home – thank you – I presume the lady lives in America to be able to rent for so long and with the security of tenure that makes decorating desirable (?) – I particularly liked her answer to question 5 – very true about the need for beauty and imagination in children’s toys (something easily forgotten in this age).

    Blessing for a happy home.

    Father Ignatius Brown

  10. Inspiring and beautiful. I’ll be needing to create some bookshelves just like those.

  11. Thank you!!! I’ve only recently discovered Amanda and have instantly fallen in love with her style. I love to see how other people live and see creative ideas of how to use space. The reading nook at the top of the stairs is “delicious”…can’t wait to find a place for my own.

  12. Beautiful!!! In a day in age where over abundance and materialism is out of control she is truly inspirational!!

  13. she is so good with colors, looks so cozy

  14. I love Amanda’s house. Her sense of style is amazing!!! It seems like such a peaceful place.

  15. really inspiring. great post!

  16. What I love most about Amanda’s home is that it feels so very warm– like the laughter and creating that happens there is built into the fabric of the space… And the fact that she does so with great awareness for where things come from, for building a home full of history and stories, well, I think that adds so much to the charm. And looking at my “room painting wish list” I’m thinking we are going to have to get out the brushes and rollers for sure next week:)

  17. What a beautiful, bright and cozy looking home. I love this!

  18. Thank you so much for the interview and especially for the pictures. They are wonderful and inspiring!

  19. Hello, this is my first visit to you but I’ve been a long time friend of Amanda’s. I loved your interview with her and I’ve put you on my bloglines to make sure I visit again. You have a lovely blog.

  20. I’m ready to move in! Really, really lovely home and home life. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Wow, what a beautiful home! Thanks for sharing – decorating with kids in the house is not an easy feat, but she’s pulled it off.

  22. What a beautiful home! It looks like there is so much love there – all that color and comfy-looking nooks. :) I esp. love those yellow and white chairs in the first pic.

  23. Beautiful corners, so unique that makes me come back to her blog everyday! I really am touched by her words, wisdom and the way she takes care of her kids , life and family. Thank you for sharing !

  24. lovely. i love amanda’s photos on flickr, and the way these are presented with the story is just perfect. thanks!

  25. I love it!

  26. I am a follower of Amanda’s blog and we usually only get to see a little peek here and there of rooms in her home. It was so nice to be able to see lots more at one time!! : ) So inspirational!! Thanks so much for all of the wonderful pictures and interview.

    ~ Wendy McDonagh-Valentine
    http://Crickleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

  27. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I have no eye for decorating and so I spend a lot of time looking at other people’s decorating. Yours is exactly what I like. Very inspiring. Thanks!

  28. Love the story! I’ve been a follower of SouleMama for about a year and I always feel so inspired by Amanda and her beautiful, kid-friendly home!

  29. Lovely, warm and inviting.

  30. Thanks so much Indie Fixx for sharing Amanda’s home! Its so great to read about her home inspirations and that she is a renter! I am a renter too and its wonderful to see how she has made a wonderful home for her family.
    :) Martine

  31. Thanks for a great interview!

  32. Amazing home… I’m another one of those people who has a hard time stepping outside of the beige. I’m so inspired by these luscious colors and textures. Wonderful post!

  33. Thanks for this wonderful look in Amandas House. It’s absolute inspiring. And by that way I found your inspiring Blog.

  34. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy Amanda’s blog and this interview has shared just a bit more of how she turns ordinary into extraordinary.

  35. Just lovely! Amanda’s design aesthetic is just wonderful… thank you for giving us this peek!

  36. What a lovely peek into such a cosy home, I love all the patchwork and painted furniture – so inviting.

  37. I always love photos from Amanda’s home. They’re so inspiring.

  38. I love it. I was just telling my husband last night that I just don’t feel at home here yet after 1 1/2 years in this house. So inspiring…what will I do today?

  39. Amanda’s home is inspiring in so many ways. I LOVE the eclectic style and how she manages to make it all work.:)

  40. just the inspiration I need to get started on my autumn nesting!

  41. I love those photos. Amanda is always so inspiring. Great interview!

  42. Can I move in??? Pretty Please!? I just wish I knew how to make my home look as lovely as this. I just feel like selling all my stuff and starting all over again from vintage scratch!

  43. Lovely interview, thank you! It’s great to see the pictures of Amanda’s home all in once post — SouleMama readers usually get just a snippet here or there. I particularly love the paint color choices throughout.

  44. I have been following Amanda for over 4 years now ,and still get excited by what she shares, how she does it all, and she remains an inspiration to me. Her books are wonderfull too!

  45. I love all the color! And how happy and homey it feels. Amanda’s blog is the most consistently inspiring blog I’ve read. I love what she said about the toys. Less IS more and beauty matters. Thank you.

  46. Thanks for all those wonderful pics and words. Inspires me to take yet another stab at making my home more beautiful, organized and practical for/with my family… a better place to spend a long, cold winter!

  47. What an absolutely lovely chat with Amanda! I read Soule Mama & Indie Fixx each day, so it was wonderful to have the two “worlds” combined! I think what I so appreciate about Amanda’s style is that she seems to effortlessly blend (though I’m sure it’s not effortless! lol) comfort and utility with beauty.

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