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From Start To Furnish

Please enjoy my musings on all things interior design!

The Evolution of Style

 Once upon a time, there was a little girl in her grandmother's house in Nacogdoches Texas perusing her Mamaw's Montgomery Ward catalog. She thought everything anyone could want in the world could be found within those pages. And all that little girl wanted to do was to furnish an imaginary love nest for newlywed's Barbie and Ken. That little girl was me, and that was the beginning of my love for interior design. 

From Whom I Came

When I was very young, my Daddy was in the family business of ice cream manufacturing, but he also built houses. When Daddy closed the ice cream business, he went into commercial construction and later into government projects. So I was no stranger to construction sites.

Then there was my Momma, always a style icon. Mother had the eye for style and fashion. There's no doubt about that. She was always perfectly dressed, and she had the know-how and the instinct to interject that style into our home. Hopefully, some of that was passed down to me.

Led Astray

Upon graduating from high school, I, like many 18-year-olds, had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. The only thing that I did know is that I was attracted to color and textures and fascinating spaces. So I decided I wanted to be an interior designer. Someone, however, discouraged me. That person told me you have to be a great artist to be an interior designer. If you don't have the ability to sketch or paint a picture, interior design is not your bag. I wish I could remember who it was because I would have saved a lot of time and money if I had had the wherewithal to kick them in the shins and forge ahead. Instead, innocently, I heeded their warning and took a different path. I studied Psychology in college and upon receiving that degree didn't know what to do with it. I had traveled more and seen more in those four years, and I returned to the dreams of interior design. Coincidentally I also happened to live near a renowned interior design college, O'More College of Design in Franklin, Tennessee. I decided to go for it and never looked back.

Dreams Do Come True

In studying the history of design and visiting and seeing pictures of amazing historical places, I found respect for the people that had gone before me who appreciated and created beautiful things. In honoring history, I found a love for antiques and old buildings. I was fascinated with adaptive reuse or being able to find renewed purpose for old structures. After marrying and building a home with my husband, I longed to give love to an old home that needed it. We found just that when we moved to Nacogdoches. We restored a vintage 1897 home and filled it with antiques. It was a lot of work and fun and we have many happy memories from our Church Street house.


Life goes on and changes people. My parents passed away and we began the daunting task of cleaning out their house. Now, my parents were children of the Great Depression. If you know anything about people that lived in those times, you know that they tend to hold on to stuff. My Mother never threw anything away. And she liked her stuff. She had her collections of antiques, crystal, candle holders, Christmas decorations, purses, clothes, crystal animal figurines, cut-glass everything, dishware, jewelry...the list goes on. I knew how she loved her stuff, but I didn't know. I didn't know until it was all pulled out of the drawers and closets. It was overwhelming and it affected me. It overwhelmed me until I had the thought that this was not who I wanted to be. And it changed my style.

I am now much more attracted to a cleaner contemporary tone these days. I'm not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination, but I've become much more discerning about what goes into our home. I'm all about comfort and less clutter.

Tastes change. Style evolves. That's the stuff of an interesting life.

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Jill OrnelasAmbiance