An Ode To Your Dwelling: Zoe Bleak

It’s no surprise that we have a love for interior design. The foundation of audwell comes from our belief in the importance of thoughtful design and how it impacts the space we live in every day. In fact, we love good design so much that we wanted to peek inside the homes of other parents that we admire and ask them a few questions. As parents, we are all trying to balance the vision we have for our home and the reality that children bring (hello, mess). We figured there was no better way to receive design inspiration, DIY advice, and favorite finds than by interviewing other design experts. 

We chatted with Zoe Bleak (aka @zoecorinne), about her intentionally minimalist home in Nashville. She has one son, Ellis (18 months) and in her spare time she sat down with us to answer a few of our favorite questions about her home. 

Describe your home’s decor before you had kids: Sparse, hand-me-downs. I wouldn't necessarily say it echoed any particular style. Before kids we were focused more on saving up for our first home rather than buying anything to fit into the drab apartments we lived in the first 5 years we were married.

Describe your home’s decor AFTER you had kids: Intentionally minimalist. Warm and inviting... lots of neutrals and natural materials. My mom likes to call it her "vacation home." I like to think that it echoes the feeling of taking a deep breath. I love that I've been able to create a relaxing safe haven for my family and anyone else who enters.

Do you have a dream investment piece that you’re holding off on buying until your kids are older (and let’s be honest, less likely to ruin): Well... I already bought the big white sectional, so it can't get too much more precarious than that, right? Lol. There hasn't been a stain I haven't been able to get out, yet!
Minimalist living room
Best tip for kid proofing your house (while still making it feel like you live there too): Honestly - I don't believe in holding back from buying the things you love, just because you have kids! I've tried to be mindful about the pieces we bring into our home. The first question I ask myself is not "How likely is my child to ruin this?", but more so, "Do I love this? Does it fit into my whole home vision? Is there anything dangerous about it that could harm little ones in any way?" Maybe I'm still naive because we haven't gone through PEAK toddlerhood yet, but for now, we try our best to teach and coach and set boundaries. I create "YES" spaces so that when I do tell him "no," he's more willing to listen. 

Is there one item in your house that you know you’ll replace once your kid is older and less messy?: Probably rugs and carpet.

Favorite DIY project in your home: Aside from designing our entire remodel? The place I really got down and dirty with was our fireplace! My mom and I re-mortared it at the beginning of our renovation and it was such a fun project to tackle. It used to have really dark mortar. I was so tempted to paint the whole thing because it seemed to make the room feel so dark and dingy. But my mom convinced me to first try lightening the grout to see if it would help and it did! A few years in, I'm tempted to try out a light lime wash over all the stones to lighten it a little more but with my procrastination skills, I won't get around to testing that out for another year or so ;) 
Fireplace decked out for the holidays
Favorite spot in your home: We took down the wall between our living room and kitchen, and it's by far my favorite space in our house. It's where the most life is lived and felt in our home. Large windows line the west wall that looks out into our backyard. The opposing wall has large arches that have really defined our home and my whole design vision. It's absolutely the heart of our home.

Favorite sustainable find: Aside from our audwell tower? I have a couple: my favorite storage bins are made by SortJoy and are made out of recycled plastic! A second favorite is Ellis' silicone snack bag

Favorite inexpensive item in your home: Art! Either handmade or inexpensive beautiful finds from Etsy or other artist friends. I think my most cherished are some blind contour drawings Nate and I did of each other one of the first weeks we were living in our home, post-renovation. It was such a fun, (free!!) activity that I'll never forget and will always recommend to others to try out.
Random item in your home that your child is obsessed with: Anything that moves! Ellis has been obsessed with the vacuum basically since birth and now he's big enough to know how to use it on his own (praise be!! Less work for me!). He also loves the lawn mower. We could go down to the garage and he would stare at that thing all day if I let him.

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