I’m enthused to welcome Casey Rutherford, a home design inspirationalist, Atlanta realtor, wife and mama of three littles into The Known Mama Community. As women and mamas, there’s a strong link between wellness and our home life--how we feel about our home matters! For this reason, Casey and I talk about how important it is to take ownership over your space to maximize your personal betterment. With a few decor tips sprinkled in, Casey speaks sincerely about the realities of having young littles and about what truly matters.
THE KNOWN MAMA: Casey, I’m so glad you’re here to chat about what you’re doing in the home & lifestyle space. This is an important conversation to have since there’s a strong correlation between wellness and the home--if we feel safe, secure, happy in our home, odds are our wellness will also be more positively on track.
CASEY: Glad to do it! Let’s see, some things about me... I'm Casey Rutherford--mama to Rhett (5 years old), Callan (4), and Claire (1). Yes, I love helping people make a house a home via home decor ideas (primarily on Instagram), but I’m also a realtor in the Atlanta area.
TKM: Do you think home style & decor is connected to our wellness, especially for mamas?
CASEY: Our homes are more connected to wellness now more than ever, especially in the era of COVID where so many of us have been spending more time at home than ever before. COVID aside, as moms of young littles, we also find ourselves at home a lot during this season of life because things like a lack of childcare, having to manage naptime routines, and the struggle of conflicting schedules for playdates. All of this makes it pretty difficult to do more than carpool, activities, work, bathtime, and bedtime. If you're a mama who gets out much, send me some messages with your tips because this mama has been home a LOT in the last six years!
TKM: Haha, you’re right. Before mamahood I would have never thought it’d be so hard to find time to meet up with friends for playdates!
CASEY: The days are long (albeit, rewarding!), so I think it's important to create spaces for ourselves where we can take a few deep breaths in peace either before the sun comes or once the dust settles at the end of a long day.
For me personally, not having a physical space to work since the beginning of the pandemic was actually really damaging to my mental health. To be honest, it added a lot of stress because I was seemingly available at all times to my little assistants (if they can SEE me, they NEED me, even if Daddy is right there! Am I right, mamas!?). The frustration, stress, and raised voices built up to the point where I literally broke, so we decided to make the investment for me to have my own office space, with doors! Hallelujah! And I can say it's now my favorite spot in our home. While yes, I did have a lot of fun designing this space, what makes it vital to my wellness is that it is functional and represents productivity, but it also fulfills the need I so desperately had to have my own separate space tailored for my needs alone.
TKM: I love that piece about you breaking. I mean, it’s so real and it happens more than we’re willing to admit. But a lot of us mamas don’t do anything for it not to happen again. It’s like this cycle of we break, take a time out, and re-enter the chaos, changing nothing. But you decided a change was necessary--that the probability of another break was high, and you had to make a tangible change that wouldn’t allow you to continue that negative cycle. That’s gotta be so encouraging for the TKM community to hear because it wasn’t out of selfishness so much as it was from a place of personal preservation!
…and that office space sounds like a dream. If only I had locks on some doors in the house...haha.
TKM: What advice or tips would you give mamas who are trying to make their house a home?
CASEY: I believe beautiful spaces and kids can coexist--baskets & built-ins are amazing at hiding toys, and I'm a big believer that kids don't need as many toys as we think they do. Also, we have toys on a rotation in our house. I keep a large storage container in the basement, and every month or so we switch the kids' toys out so they have some variety and feel like they're getting brand new things! This also limits the clutter in our family space-- win/win!
TKM: To your point, it’s seemingly a common misconception that you have to forfeit style for young littles. Decorate and exist in the home as you want to, it just may take a bit more creativity, like limiting toys or being strict about where they eat etc.
TKM: Because we want our home to be a place of wellness for us, it makes sense for us to want to be drawn to it, to enjoy being there. For it to be our favorite space, or at least one of them! In this spirit, what’s a good way to determine your home decor style?
CASEY: This may seem unconventional, but in the world of inspiration overload, I think the best way to take an introspective look at your home decor style is to actually go into your closet and take inventory of your clothes. Do you have mostly neutrals or is your closet filled with colors, prints, and patterns? Do you wear more formal clothes or is your wardrobe more casual? We wear clothes every day that make us feel good, and it’s fitting that our homes would be a reflection of that style as well.
TKM: What’s one staple mamas should have in their home to boost their wellness?
CASEY: Definitely a place where they can escape and unwind for 30 minutes a day. This may look different for each mama! For some, it may be a gym where they can do a virtual workout, or it may be as simple as a special chair with a favorite blanket and candle where they can start their day with some quiet time and a cup of coffee. Finding a space that speaks to their needs is so important, and that space may change in each season of life.
TKM: What do you hope your littles take away from your passion for lifestyle blogging?
CASEY: Honestly, my hope is that what they takeaway has nothing to do with creating a beautiful home. Instead, someday I'd love to be able to share with them about a season in my life where I took a leap of faith, stepped way outside of my comfort zone to utilize a social media platform in an unconventional way, and worked really hard to build a business that's all my own.
When I think about blogging and social media, the things I'm most proud of and thankful for are not the rooms I've decorated and shared as inspiration for my audience, but rather the relationships I've been able to build in an online community and the people I've been able to serve in my community.
TKM: If you could empower mamas in one phrase around their wellness and home, what would you say?
CASEY: "Your home should tell the story of who you are and be a collection of what you love." -Nate Berkus
TKM: That’s solid. And very true. If we can’t feel the most authentic and comforted in our home, then that perhaps is a call to action to switch some things up.
TKM: Anything else you want to say around home and wellness?
CASEY: Always remember that the most important thing about your home isn't what it looks like, but the people gathered and the memories made within its walls.
TKM: That’s true… but I gotta ask because there’s an undeniable part of us that wants our home to look good, even if just for our comfort: What are some timeless decor accents or colors that will always make for an eye-catching home?
CASEY: I’m a huge fan of original art-- it never goes out of style! I am slowly trying to incorporate original pieces into every room in my house. Hanging pieces I’ve found traveling abroad next to paintings my grandmother made me is a way to weave memories and pieces of my story throughout my home.
TKM: And my signature question I like to ask all my guests: What do you want to be known for as a mama?
CASEY: I hope I'm known as a mama who teaches her kids to be kind, love well, work hard, and love Jesus.
TKM: Well I’ve got no doubt you’re well on your way to teaching them all those things. Thanks again, Casey, for your heartfelt wisdom.
Casey’s design inspiration can be found on Instagram at @case.rutherford, or check out more of her talents at www.caseyrutherford.co .