In the Trenches featuring Carissa, the Brown Eyed Fox…

Angel detail in Carissa’s home

When I first started the “In the Trenches” interviews, I was a little worried that I had set myself up for failure. I mean, we started off with a bang, touring Manuela’s home, and I was afraid that I would have a hard time continually finding real life decorators who could live up to that high standard.

Happily, that hasn’t been the case. I continually run across more and more amazingly talented home decorators. Ladies (so far, but I’m not sexist) who I can’t wait to introduce to you, whose creative minds I want to pick so that you and I can both benefit from the secrets of their great design talent. Today’s feature is the perfect example of this.

Carissa’s home is absolutely gorgeous. Did you hear me say gorgeous? I could gush about it for hours. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll just get to the interview and the pictures so you can judge for yourself… but fair warning, I’ve got dibbs on the first open invitation to spend the night! (And I will fight you old school, West Side story dance-off for it too!) : )


Living spaceWow. That’s all I can say after looking at pictures of your home. just. WOW. And, to add to that, do you have guest room where I can come for a vacation? I wouldn’t go anywhere, just wander through your house looking at every little thing. LOL! Will you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you developed such a wonderful eye for design?

Oh… thanks SO much! We love to have guests… room is always ready & waiting!
A bit about myself… hmmm. I’ve been married for ten years & am blessed to be mom to two little girls! I have an online shop that quenches my creative passion! I love & look forward to my coffee in the morning! Flee markets make me want to sing with joy! Mexican food makes me smile BIG!

An eye for design… thanks! I have had this compliment before… I am really not exactly sure where it comes from other than I think I just “see it”… “get it”… and am willing to “try it”!
BathroomThe tagline for your shop, Brown-eyed Fox, is “the art of whimsy.” I can definitely see this enjoyment of the whimsical in your home’s interior. Can you define this design philosophy (so to speak) for us? What inspires you and how do you draw from that inspiration to decorate your home?
I really just believe in surrounding myself with things that I love & make me happy! I think… It’s your home… and your home should reflect who YOU are!
I’m completely enamored with the little vignettes that are everywhere in your home. I believe it’s those arrangements of accessories that really give a homeside table & rattan chair that finishing touch and show the owner’s personality. How do you manage to display your love of the whimsical in such a way that your home feels pulled together, rather than cluttered and overwhelming?
Keeping it simple… keeping it to the things I treasure most. When you display collections together… keeping like things with like things there is more interest. Using wall space and going vertical rather than horizontal is great too. Vignettes… I think… are like little windows into the home owner’s soul. Placing what you love most out to enjoy always. It may be a quilt that has been around for generations… a quirky souvenir found on a special trip or a dainty dish that belonged to your great-grandmother… these make a house your home!

This month, my personal challenge is to tackle organizing the hidden clutter in my home… you know, the stuff that accumulates in the cabinets, in my craft space, and bedside… One of the things I noticed in your home is how attractively organized it is…I especially admired the way you manage to have loads of books without them taking away from the design of your home. Do
you have any advice to share with me and my readers regarding organization?
bookcase storageah yes… we all have storage that seems to grow all on it’s own… over time we do collect! Each closet and cabinet should serve a purpose… store specific items. I think baskets & bins are the BEST thing ever! Use them to hold linens… those tiny kid’s toys… items to be donated… party supplies… snacks in the pantry… your children’s keepsakes… the possibilities are endless! Then… when you pop a tag labeling what’s in the container it makes organization & cleaning much easier!
Books can add a lot of warmth to a room… the key… change it up! In shelving… try standing them AND stacking them… while still keeping open space… this will help prevent it from looking cluttered. .

I almost hesitate to ask this because I think you are one of the lucky people who are born with a great sense of style and a perfect eye… despite that, have you had any decorating “oops” as you’ve created your home? If so, what was it, and how did you bounce back and rectify the mistake?

I think really there are no mistakes… just stepping stones… changing needs… maybebaskets changing tastes. I rearrange furniture and things in our home constantly. Very often I will have a neighbor come over who has been in our home thousands of times and they will ask “when did you get that”… referring to something that has been around for years! Sometimes I may try an arrangement that just doesn’t work… just isn’t real-life livable. That’s okay… easily fixed! You have to try things sometimes to know whether you will like it! If you’re willing to try… you’re likely to find some fun alternatives!
What would you consider your favorite DIY project in your home? Can you describe your process for coming up with the idea for that project and your DIY home projects in general?
This is a tough one to answer… I am BIG on DIY! Many times it is a result of tight funds or just wanting to give a fresh look to something. I pretty much am always “working” on something. The coffee table in our family room was a fun project. An old salvaged door… legs from a home improvement store… a fresh coat of paint… some vintage door hardware and POOF a fun new table! I’m willing to tackle anything… the reward is so great and it feels good to create something all your own!

The focus of A Beautiful Abode is providing inspiration, tips, and resources for creating a beautiful home on a tight budget? What would you say are your top 5 tips for decorating on a budget?

my nifty two cents…

1. Try to buy only what you really love… it really speaks to your style… your heart!

2. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Just go for it! Use what you already have in a new way… keeps things fresh… if youBeautiful bedroom don’t like it you just change it back!

3. Pull the furniture away from the walls! please! Make conversation areas within the room… this way you can actually hear & see to whom you’re talking!

4. Make pretty baskets your friend… they are attractive and a great way to keep things handy but out of sight.

5. Think BIG… if ever in doubt which size to buy… buy the bigger one. My personal opinion. A bunch of little things in a room can read as clutter.

one more …
6. As you’ve heard before… it is best to display things in odd numbers. Three is always good!

Finally, on a sorta unrelated note… have you ever considered selling your photographs in your shop? There are more than a couple that I’d love to hang on my wall… any tips to share on taking better photos?

Oh… so nice of you to say! I LOVE taking pictures! I think my favorite pictures are usually ones where I use natural lighting (no flash)… take the picture off-center… and really zoom in on the object or person.
Isn’t Carissa a doll? You can view more of her beautiful home by visiting her flickr page. And please drop by her shop, Brown Eyed Fox, to enjoy her whimsical art, jewelry, and belt buckles. But don’t blame me if it induces a buying frenzy! As always, don’t forget to leave a comment here to show our guest how much we appreciate her sharing herself and her lovely home with us!
Tomorrow, we’ll kick off our first DIY project for baby Elizabeth’s nursery, so be sure to tune in as the big nursery renovation continues!
Happy decorating!

9 thoughts on “In the Trenches featuring Carissa, the Brown Eyed Fox…

  1. snhamlett says:

    Thanks for the eagle eye Courtney! That was a big oops on my behalf because Carissa’s shop isn’t an etsy shop… and if I would have had some coffee before editing this post, I would have realized that! The link is all fixed now… her shop is… definitely go and check out her necklaces… you’re my twin, so I know for sure you’ll love them! 🙂


  2. carissa says:


    Thanks so much! You have been so great & this was really fun!
    I look forward to learning lots here on your beautiful blog!
    It is stock full of great tips & ideas! Really super!

    Hope your day is just super!

  3. the feathered nest says:

    Shauntelle, another great interview! I love learning about all these different wonderfully talented people. I will go check out her flickr pics (we have the same rattan chair so I’m sure I’ll love her home).


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