Meet my amazing friend Abbey! She is wonderfully artistic soul. Her passion is bringing great design to life through her paint brushes, creativity and hard work!
The first image that caught my eye on Abbey’s IG feed was this mural she painted on the wall of her Diningroom in her Nashville, TN home that she shares with her husband Jake, their mini Australian shepherd Jet and their rescue cat Gracie.
She hails from Yorkville, IL. located in the suburbs of Chicago. She’s part of a big, loud family and counts herself lucky to have two parents that are still married and very much in love. Her parents are an incredible source of love and support for her and her three siblings. She shared that in 2006, right around the same time as the recession, her Father was diagnosed with a rare blood disease that acts similarly to Leukemia and he had to have open-heart surgery and couldn’t work for six months. The second child of four Abbey looks to older brother Adam when she wants to vent, she goes to her sister Anna when she needs a laugh and her youngest sister Amy is the go to when she needs a hug!
“I didn’t realize how rare these relationships were until I was older. I am so absolutely freaking blessed with the family I have.”
Abbey and Jake met through mutual friends at the tender age of 11. She clearly remembers holding his hand in a hammock in her best friends backyard. They both grew up and grew apart. When Abbey was 18 she moved to Chicago and they rekindled their friendship; she was already in the midst of a serious relationship. As she and Jake grew closer she started the inevitable journey out of one relationship and into another; breaking it off with her boyfriend and kissing Jake in a span of two days. They tied not knot at the ripe old age of 21!
“I like to follow my gut, and it has yet to fail me.”
They bought their first house on Nashville’s south side in 2014 and flipped it - selling in 2016 for 100% profit! She shares they were very fortunate in so many ways with regards to that experience - they had support of their families and they bought at at great time in the Market but, it all boils down to working hard, learning a lot and saving as much money as possible.
They moved on to their current home after selling the flip. You can see the way it looked when they bought in below right it was a 1960s/80s renovated gem. They have spent much of the last three years renovating it themselves - everything from electrical to landscaping and design has been their doing.
Abbey told me that their current home has brought her so much joy. While it’s not their dream home (that’s a cabin in the woods somewhere) creating this with her best friend has been the greatest joy of her life. Since they flipped their previous house they didn’t put their own stamp on it. This home is another story completely - they have moved from space to space redoing and tweaking. The mural, the paint, the backsplash, the tiling on the front stoop and new door and the landscaping. They are beyond proud live in something they have created and is so uniquely their vision. It feels like home to she and Jake -
“Home is a feeling, not a place, but I mean... this place and this person and the animals inside of it makes me feel like I’m home.”
Abbey told me she studied creative writing with a goal of being a poet and writer. She attended school for two years before dropping out - she befriended one of her professors and she sat Abbey down one day and dropped a bomb informing her that she didn’t need a degree to do the things she wanted to do.
“No adult had ever told me I could leave school. School was the thing you did - you go, you graduate, you get a job. She rocked my world and changed my life. I wasted no time and left school that semester.”
After dropping out, she did freelance makeup for a few years while also working at Sephora. She felt liberated and she flourished.
“I could be creative and help make people feel happy. The combination was intoxicating.”
I asked Abbey to share how she got into design. I asked if she read magazines or designed spaces when she was growing up.
“I didn’t and still don’t read design magazines. We were lower-middle class growing up and a magazine subscription was a luxury we couldn’t afford. Interior design is always been something I gravitated towards but didn’t pursue because, in my head, it required a degree I didn’t have.”
As a kiddo Abbey would lock herself in her bedroom and just create artwork for hours on end. As she got older, her Mother let her paint on her bedroom walls. Her first mural was a giant purple thistle with tons of greenery. She spent the money made waitressing at a local restaurant on car insurance and gas - anything leftover went to paint, paintbrushes and canvases.
“When I went away to college, I was so broke. I would frequently get low-balance alerts on my phone, but as soon as the money hit on payday, you bet my ass was in-line at Michael’s waiting to pay for art supplies. They were and are as vital to me as my groceries and rent.”
She and Jake kept their first house neutral and she told me they painted it so many shades of grey - they nicknamed it “the fifty shades of grey” house. It wasn’t until they moved into their current home that Abbey started thinking about design - experimented with colors, re-arranged furnishing and whole rooms - rethinking their functions. She fell in love with interiors during this process. She shared she woke up energized and would go to bed at night feeling the same - all because of the way the house made her feel This was a new thing for her and she couldn’t get enough.
“Initially, I would document our process on my personal Instagram account and much to my surprise, it garnered a lot of praise. I had never in my life thought that something I would create, whether a room or a painting, would beget such a positive reaction.”
In January Abbey launched an Instagram account solely devoted to their home.
I inquired what her plans were for the rest of 2019.
“Our realtor Mark (who is now a friend and an absolutely wonderful man) contacted me recently asking if I was planning on getting into interior design as a profession. - The day before, I’d been reading You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, in which she outlines a path of success through what is basically trusting your gut. In this book, Sincero discusses at length the powerful nature of speaking your goals into the universe and the power of positive energy -- good energy begets good energy. I had tried this and had literally spoken I will become a creative professional into the universe and was met with a proposition: Mark wanted to help me. He said that he saw my potential and my talent and wanted to see me succeed.”
Abbey told me that she is taking this torch while it’s lit and going to run as far as she can with it. She went on to say:
“I’m not entirely certain where it will go, but I think I’m going to start a blog, do some staging jobs for realtors and learn as much as I can about interior design and go from there. It all feels so right.
As I hit publish Abbey has been redesigning her Diningroom’s mural. Her original was inspired by another. This time she started from scratch. See the below images of the process and the new final View! You really need to click on her IG feed and give this lady a follow her stories are wonderful!
Friends I know whatever this marvelous human puts her mind to - she will be successful! I am so ready to cheer her on! It’s at times like this that I want to shout to the world how awesome Instagram is… otherwise how would - I - a Mom, Stylist and Blogger from New Jersey have “met” Abbey a 20 something from Nashville? Abbey is truly gifted - a women who stimulates others through her original vision. She has a deep grounded knowledge of people and character - we have shared profound conversations about Women’s Rights and Literature… I’m never shy about voice messaging people! (golly I want a podcast - but, I digress) I clearly remember standing in the Chalet kitchen while voice messaging and texting Abbey - we chatted for quiet a while... I appreciate her friendship and meeting her has broadened my world.