Home interior images by Brooke Morgan and wedding images by Genny Mayden
At their local YMCA, Jamaal Haywood walked right up to Brooke Morgan and introduced himself, and three years later they were married! Both are teachers by trade and artists and bohemians at heart. They plan to travel the globe and learn as much as they can about humankind while living and loving along the way. Their wedding sounds enchanting…
“We had a very unconventional wedding….a private, magical ceremony (just our parents and us) in the hills south of Nashville and then an outdoor vintage fiesta at Imogene + Willie the following night,” says Brooke.
“The food was from Mas Tacos taco truck, Tin Can Treats ice cream trailer, homemade carrot cake, strawberry margaritas, and live music from some of our musician friends in town…we topped off the evening with some genuine Cuban cigars and just sat outside and soaked it all in until 3 in the morning. I guess you could say it was a post nuptial fiesta and variety show…at least that’s what we called it. The next day, we boarded a plane for the west coast and drove from Seattle to San Francisco.”
Now they are building their life together, and the first order of business is making “his” house “theirs.” Brooke’s style is bohemian-urban-vintage-chic (think Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters), and Jamaal goes for clean and classic (a la Banana Republic or J. Crew). The two recently gave the living room, kitchen, and entry way a face lift that’s a cool combination of both their styles.
Breaking the bank for this makeover was out of the question. They updated the walls in fresh white, repurposed items with coats of spray paint, and scoured thrift stores and eBay for furnishings and accessories.
“I guess, the moral of the story is that it doesn’t take much to create a chic, modern living space…even if the space itself isn’t ideal.”
NN: What are some of your best budget-saving tips?
Brooke: Hmmm….I’d say:
1. Do your homework. For me, that meant being a design blog junkie. I made a folder on my desktop and saved every bit of inspiration that I could get my eyes on. You’re allowed to steal good ideas : )
2. Unless you’re willing to break your back or you’re a pro, invest in painters. I’ve painted a zillion rooms in my life, but it’s just worth it to hire someone, preferably someone who works for themselves or for a very small company. We were fortunate to have friends with connections, and they did an amazing job for us. Trust me, you don’t want to paint trim!
3. Don’t underestimate the power of a can of spray paint. We transformed an old trunk with just two cans. It’s a great way to bring a pop of color where you need it. A chair, a frame, an end table…all can be transformed with spray paint.
4. eBay. eBay. eBay. All of the items that we had been looking for, we found on eBay. Establish what you would be willing to spend and be patient. There is new stuff posted all of the time.
5. Use what you have. Being on a teacher’s budget, we couldn’t ditch all of our furniture and start anew. So, sort through what you have and realize that it all doesn’t have to be spot on perfect. Start by replacing one thing at a time and gradually work to create the room that you envision. We still have light fixtures that need to be replaced, carpet that needs to be pulled…but now we’re in saving mode. In a few months, we’ll be able to go for round two.
NN: How did you infuse both of your personalities into the décor?
Brooke: Great question.
Though our styles are fundamentally different, our taste is really similar. I think we just compromised. There are some things that we both wanted (the antlers above the mantle, a cowhide rug). So I listened to what he really wanted and tried to work it into the room. He was hesitant about going all white, but now he loves it. I’m definitely used to being the design dictator of my space, but he has a great eye, so I had to ask, “What do you think about this?” and not be offended if he had a different opinion. In the end, I think we’re both incredibly happy. The space is clean and urban (like him) but with eclectic, vintage accents (like me). Everyone wins!
NN: Did you have any disagreements about the design? And if so, how did you resolve them?
Brooke: Ha. Yes…well, sort of.
Nothing major. Initially, it was the white walls. But when I showed him some images of incredible white spaces, he said, “ok, I trust you.” We also had trouble deciding upon the arrangement of the furniture. I wanted to incorporate my throwback couch and he said “two couches in here? Are you sure?” After a zillion combinations, we finally figured out something that works…at least for now. And yes, we have two couches in our living room.
NN: What are your top go-to resources for home makeovers?
1. eBay: we just searched for the specific item we were looking for. It’s super easy to use. For example, we were looking for antlers so I typed “antlers” and an array of options popped up. Then, there’s the actual bidding and winning of the item. My suggestion is to wait until there is a minute to go in the bid and enter the highest amount that you would be willing to pay. Then if you get outbid, you have a few seconds to try to counter or surrender. We got lucky : )
2. Design Blogs: for ideas and inspiration
3. Home Depot: for paint, etc.
NN: How do you feel after the makeover?
Brooke: Now the home, which was his before feels like “ours.” Not to be cheesy…
But seriously, we did this project together, and it feels like a fresh start in a new space. It takes hard work, communication, and compromise…but hey, isn’t that analogous to marriage? We’re thrilled with it so far…now for those light fixtures!
Jamaal and Brooke will be featured in an upcoming ad campaign for Imogene + Willie.
Brooke Morgan is also a freelance photographer. Check out her blog at brookemorganphotography.blogspot.com
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