Every week, our House Calls feature takes you into homes with great style, big personality, and ineffable soul. We often talk about how good design makes a person’s life more efficient and enjoyable, but for Stacey Blake it does that and more.Blake calls decorating her home "therapy," and the thousands of people who follow her blog (Design Addict Mom) and on Instagram are along for treatment benefits. We visit her in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to find out why it’s just what the doctor ordered.
Blake used to be a teacher obsessed with DIY home projects and interior design blogs. When she staged a Moose and Zee birthday party for her son seven years ago, the results were so charming, she decided to put the ideas on the Internet—and the response to those images of a party based on the Nick Jr. cartoon launched her design blogging career.
For Blake, the blog was therapeutic. She’s a mother of two boys (Zion is 8, Ian is 5) and her husband is a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces and, in her words, "always deployed." The family has lived a nomadic life, residing in five different homes, sometimes on an Army base. "I always put my touch on our homes, even if I had to put everything back the way it was when we left," she says. "That’s just the way I am. If we lived in a box, I would decorate it."
When the family had the opportunity to build a home of their own, Blake was very excited to be part of every aspect of the construction process, knowing full well that she might have to give it up someday. "We’ve lived in it for eight years now, but my husband is not retired, so our moving days may not be over," she says. "But even if it isn’t our forever home, it’s worth the effort."
That positivity comes through in an interview with Blake (it could be the native Jamaican’s lilting accent, but everything she says sounds joyful) and in her colorful, exuberant interior that’s always changing and always personal.
Blake acknowledges her heritage as a contributor to her style. "Color comes naturally to me," she says. "In Jamaica, we are colorful in our dress, our homes, and our language."
That manifests in a green-black living room with an orange sofa, a pink kitchen with a tropical-themed wallpaper accent wall, a jade-green bedroom with the same wall covering, and an orange front door. "I have a lot of pink in my house, but orange is really my favorite color," Blake says.
The unique statement begins behind that front door, where Blake has installed a gallery wall that holds art and a collage of Instagram photos attached to the wall with painter’s tape. "A lot of the art in the foyer is thrifted or inexpensively collected," she says. "It’s not about how much a piece of art costs or where it comes from, it’s about how it makes you feel. I love the feeling all of these pieces give me and the memories attached to them."
Inside the home, there’s a trio of rooms that are open to each other: the living room, the sunroom, and the kitchen. Each one has its own nature.
The living room is a dark, green-black called Tarrytown Green by Benjamin Moore. "The dark color is a contrast to the rest of the house. I love contrast, and it makes my eyes happy," Blake says. "Because it’s a big room with high ceilings, I can get away with a darker color. I also like the transition from the darker living room to the lighter sunroom and kitchen."
A see-through fireplace and large opening connect the room to the sunroom, which is painted a lighter blue-gray by Benjamin Moore called Wedgewood Gray. The rather sedate color is awakened with bright shots of hot pink, green, yellow, and orange found in the wing chair, chalked on log ends in the firewood stack, and in the row of taper candlers that line the fireplace mantel.
The sunroom is home to Glory, a fiddle-leaf fig named by one of Blake’s readers. "I believe she is the only fiddle-leaf fig with a hashtag," says Blake. "It’s #glorythefig."
The kitchen has been many colors and was painted pink recently. ("Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating on orange with pink," Blake admits.) The inspiration is the Nana (Jungle) wallpaper by Justina Blakeney for Hygge & West. "The large green leaves remind me of Jamaica," she says."
One kitchen surface that has been spared the paintbrush: the walnut cabinets. "I’m one of the few people I know who still have wood cabinets," Blake says. "But I love the way a wood tone brightens a room."
The same wallpaper influences the master bedroom, but in a green colorway (here, the walls that aren’t papered are painted Benjamin Moore’s "Egyptian Green"). The wallpaper’s tropical nature is spread around the room in groupings of houseplants.
The kitchen has a long table, and it’s the only one in the house. Blake converted the dining room into a playroom, complete with a large chalkboard wall. "It was built as a formal dining room, but we needed a place for toys," she says. "I put the chalkboard wall up to let the family members express themselves, but my husband takes it over when he is home. He drew this nativity scene for Christmas, and we try to leave up his murals until he comes home again."
Blake started the blog with few expectations and the growth of it is something of a surprise. As anyone with a social media account knows, a large audience comes with dissension. "It can be tough. Not everyone likes your style, and you know that when you go into blogging," she says. "It’s not a big deal when it’s about my own work, but when it’s about someone else’s work that’s on my blog, I try and address it. Luckily, I haven’t had much of that. My idea is not to let it bother me and just keep on posting."
The practice of decorating and writing about it has seen her through some tough times, including her husband’s months-long military deployments. "My home is a safe place, a place for self expression," she says. "Not only that, it’s a place that lets my children know where they are from—they can see our roots in our home."