When Austin and I put an offer in on a house last fall, I got to work designing what each and every room would look like once we moved in. Now that we are in the house, a lot of the plans I was fixated on aren’t as important anymore. “Whatever is easiest and looks nice” has become the motto of our household as we transform our 1900 fixer-upper. It’s not that the design work I did while waiting for the house isn’t relevant — it’s been a guidepost and helpful to know where to start in each room — but it’s easier now that we live here to have more realistic goals and expectations for ourselves and our home.
Having an open mind and open design timeline is exactly the laissez-faire approach that Keely Mann has taken in her home of two years in The Woodlands, TX. Keely, her husband Mike and their four kids — Ethan 17, Emersyn 15, Edyn 9, and Kingston 3 — have lived in The Woodlands for the last 10 years. When they outgrew their previous home, they quickly found a house in the same area to move into. It was important to the Mann family to stay nearby so their school-aged kids could continue their education without changing districts. Their new home was built in 2000 and has the space they were hoping for with all of the comforts of a familiar community. To make the house really feel like their own, Keely and Mike are working to update and freshen the space, optimizing the potential of each room.
Changing design slowly over time is partially preference and partially necessity for the Manns. “I have endless projects and ideas and we can only make them happen so fast. I like to think of myself as the idea girl, but it is my husband that takes my idea[s] and brings them to life,” Keely shares. “I just start with the spaces and rooms that need the most love (or I have the budget to start). We have been in this house for a little over two years and I say it will take another two years for me to get all my projects done. Most likely when I’m done, I’ll just want to start the process all over again.” Most of the interior is painted white, but Keely has added character to the already stately spaces with wallpaper, pattern, textures and colorful rugs. “I wouldn’t say I ever have any decorating goals,” she says. “I decorate how I feel at the time, and it tends to change as I do. I try to make all my spaces comfy and relaxing.” Today’s home tour is evidence that her undefined goals are working for her. Keely, Mike and their four kids are making this house feel like home, project by project. —Lauren
Image above: One of the things that immediately drew Keely and her family to this home other than the space was the abundance of large windows with tons of natural light.
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