Name: Nicole Balch
Location: Oak Park, IL (just outside of Chicago)
Children: Eleanor (1.5) who will be joined by a little brother in mid-February.
Making It Lovely readers know that Nicole Balch is one busy lady. There's her awesome stationery company, Pink Loves Brown, the ongoing renovation of her Oak Park bungalow, a sweet little girl and a coming attraction due in February. Nicole also maintains one of the prettiest blogs around.
AT and Ohdeedoh have long admired Nicole's style. There was the house tour of 2007, the guest room update of 2008 and the front porch design of 2009, so it only seems right to celebrate Making It Lovely as a member of our Big Blog Family as 2010 draws to a close.
How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
It's been nearly four years now. I originally started the blog because my husband and I were looking for our first house, and I wanted a way to keep his family in Iowa updated. I realized pretty quickly though that I had a lot more readers than just my mother-in-law!
Tell us about the blog and your favorite subject matter.
The blog started with a focus on my home, and that has remained constant. I also love talking about design and fashion, and when I became a parent that was reflected in my subject matter as well.
I've also just introduced a new section on Making it Lovely called The Filing Cabinet. I'm super excited about it, because it's my space to share quick posts about random cute things.
What blogs do you read and where do you find design inspiration?
I read at least 100 blogs, but some of my favorites are Oh Happy Day, Mrs. Lilien, and Oh Joy. I find a lot of inspiration among the many blogs I read, but I also just pick up a lot from everyday life. I may like the colors or the typography or a catalog, or the proportions of a building, and those elements find their way into my design style.
What have been some of your favorite projects that you have featured on your blog?
I love sharing my home, since that's where the original focus of the blog was. It's always fun to get a little crafty though, and show some of those projects. It's especially fun when I try something I'm not particularly good at (like sewing) and it works out, as it did with a dress I made for Eleanor.
If you had a Making It Lovely Hall of Fame for your favorite blog posts which ones would be inducted?
I think any of the 'after' posts showing finished rooms would have to be included, though I never really consider any rooms completely finished. The library is staying as it is though, and the living room is pretty much done too. Then of course my DIY Painting Tips and Tricks post is probably one of my most helpful.
What's new with Pink Loves Brown?
I've just gotten paper suitcases in five new colors, and those are always really popular. I'll be taking maternity leave when the new baby comes, but I still have a couple of months before that happens. I'm saving some new designs for when I reopen after my leave, so I have a few surprises up my sleeve!
Has parenthood changed your approach to home decorating?
Not that much, actually! We've made room for toys and kid stuff (in fact, you've shown our living room toy baskets on Ohdeedoh before), but I always try to make it fit in with the rest of the house. I've always had a sort of quirky, colorful, patterned decorating style, and I think that makes a happy home for kids.
Thanks, Nicole! Readers, visit Nicole at Making It Lovely.
(Images: Nicole Balch)