No detail was overlooked in this organically mid-century DIY home in Waynesboro, Virginia. We’re thrilled to interview Carrie Waller, a DIY blogger and home stylist about her personal style and her custom Norse project. Every project, from the finishes to the furniture, was styled with meticulous care and it shows.
Meet Carrie Waller
Carrie Waller founded Dream Green DIY during her college years, and it took off faster than ever anticipated. Within four years, she had quit the traditional office lifestyle to focus 100 percent of her day and nighttime energy on her Dream Green DIY blog and online shop. On her blog, you'll find DIY tutorials, mid-century design ideas, home repair projects, shopping roundups, and a look at her handmade pottery that she sells on Etsy. Carrie's home décor and DIY design work have been featured by Domino, Better Homes & Gardens, Food Magazine, Design*Sponge, HGTV Magazine, Country Living, MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, among others. She's a regular DIY contributor to Hunker.com, and her DGD brand is expanding every day.
How did you come to find your own personal style or aesthetic for your home?
I have always been an independent soul. I trust my instincts implicitly, which has helped me hone in on my personal style without much effort. I can't explain how it has happened—just that I like what I like, and I don't let trends or other outside opinions influence my reactions to certain decor styles or specific furniture pieces and art. The only person who has a say around here in terms of decor is my husband, but we, thankfully, have very similar tastes. In my experience, if you learn to trust your instincts, your home will come together organically from there.
Do you consider aestheticism or functionality to be more important? What's the key to balancing these two?
Two or three years ago, I probably would have said that design mattered more than function, but my priorities have shifted as I've gotten older. Now, functionality rules when I set out to purchase something new for our home. It has to work for our everyday lives; otherwise, it won't get used and will be a waste of money. Of course, that doesn't mean I forgo aesthetics entirely. These days it's all about finding the perfect balance of both concepts, which generally means new house purchases take twice as long to the source. It's worth it in the end, though, to find the right item that looks good but also functions well for us, even if we're talking about something as mundane as a drying rack by the kitchen sink.
How often do you redecorate? Are you always improving and adding to your space?
Oh, I'm constantly changing things in our home! And I truly do mean "constantly"...I shift things around every day in our house, whether that's the arrangement of ceramics on our dining room buffet or swapping art from the lounge to the bathroom just for fun. I've always adored change when it comes to decor. It makes me feel alive and keeps our home looking and feeling fresh. I think a large part of it also has to do with the fact that I work from home by myself every day. If I didn't change things up to keep my environment feeling kinetic, I think I'd go a little crazy. On paper, it doesn't seem like changing the decor around your home would be all that exciting, but there really is nothing quite like the thrill of coming around the corner to see a new living room arrangement or different art on the wall from one day to the next.
In all your DIY experiences, what's your favorite hack to transform an old piece of furniture?
Paint is a miracle tool for furniture DIY projects, and the good news for budget-conscious homemakers like me is that paint is such an affordable supply to work with. You'd be amazed what you can accomplish with paint and a cool stencil—trust me! Wood dowels are another unassuming DIY supply that can go a long way in furniture transformations. I keep a constant stash of round and square dowels in every size you can think of in my work area for whenever inspiration strikes.
What is a piece of styling advice for someone who's never decorated a space before?
The one thing that took me so long to grasp is that even professional stylists don't get it right the first time. I would mentally beat myself up for not being able to nail the styling in our house on the first go, and my confidence really suffered. But then, one day, it just clicked that styling a space to look lived in, and natural takes effort. Achieving that perfect balance of asymmetry, color, and form is a process that even the most seasoned designers have to go through in stages. Now, I tackle a styling project with more patience. I gather a huge pile of accents and decor that I think to work well together (far more than will actually fit because I know I'll need options), then I place things, step back to see the overall look, go back and tweak things, and step back again. I also take photos of the styling with my phone because you can spot inconsistencies so much easier on a digital screen than you can with the naked eye. Sometimes it takes days to get things just right, whereas other times, it miraculously falls together on the third or fourth try. I never get it right the very first time, and that's okay! It's a process, and I've learned to enjoy the experimentation leading up to "just right."
Which are your favorite IG accounts for design inspiration?
There are truly so many! I absolutely adore @paperandstitch, @thishouse5000, @emilyjanelathan, @classycasita, @ashleyizsak, @stefanie.zielke, @houseof.lais, @savagehouse1970, and lots of others. Instagram is so much more than an app to me. It is a community that feeds my personal creativity in ways I could never have dreamed of. The people I have met on Instagram have changed my life.
Carrie styling her Norse console
It's a DIY decorator's dream come true, and I especially love that their product line gives you the chance to up-cycle what you already have to create personalized furniture that fits your aesthetic. You don't get much more sustainable than that! It took just a couple of minutes for me to swap out the doors since Norse Interiors carefully matches the hinge style of what comes directly from IKEA. I didn't time it, but I was definitely done in less than 10 minutes, and I did it all on my own, too. The walnut wood grain feels so elegant in the space, and I love the fact that it's floating above the floor. It feels contemporary but also fits in with the aesthetic of our mid-century ranch home.
Pictured above: Carrie Waller's custom walnut double doors on a bare white Besta frame (item 102.458.46) accessorized with Elisabeth brass knobs.
If you liked this piece, you might also be interested in reading 5 DIY ideas to give your furniture a new better life.
Looking for more inspiration? Follow our Instagram for more styled Norse pieces, home tours, content features, and product information.