It’s Fearless.

In the midst of this before and after madness I received a thoughtful note from a blog friend, Alison, asking me if I would share more candidly about the design process:

“I was reading Erin Gates’ post about her kitchen reno, and as always, was drawn in by her candid details about how she’s questioned each and every decision she made about it. Consequently, she received a lot of comments from readers who, though not professional designers, can relate to her struggles to get everything right, and to feel good about the final results…Did you experience this with this latest (or any) home project? I know you said in the article that the house itself pulled your design senses a certain way but (for example) did you know you wanted a dark green, glossy kitchen before you bought or did you just know you were feeling the white? Did you ever doubt any decision? You seem so confident in your design choices, I just love the idea of getting behind the curtain. Do you feel like you have to hold back to secure the exclusivity potential publishers require, or is it a way to preserve your brand, and just keep some things ‘close to the vest’?”

We wrote back and forth a bit about it, but I continued to receive emails and comments from readers either praising my “fearlessness” or asking me to talk more about the process.

First of all, some background: I have never actively not talked about it. I just assumed the details were boring and self-indulgent and what you want is the eye candy and sources. I still don’t know how many of you are interested in what goes on in my squirrely brain, but I figured since some of you had asked I would share a bit and see if y’all found it helpful or if you want me to shut it and just bring the pretty.

I will say I have never considered my style fearless. My style has evolved over the years and I think it has gotten better and more refined, but it really is just my style. I am flattered that people like it but I am always a little amused when the work is called “fearless”- like maybe I should be afraid of putting it out there because it is testing the boundaries of good taste? Whoopsies.

I don’t know that I would necessarily call it a skill, but certainly one of my characteristics is that I am incredibly decisive. It is one of my most noted qualities by my husband, business partners, teachers, contractors, salespeople in stores. People always comment on how quickly I make decisions. I think that it has a downside too as I can be hard to collaborate with since I often go through the debating/collaboration process in my head and find it difficult to let other people in on that. But, at least in these intensive renovations we have done over the past few years, it has served me well.

I also make better decisions under some sort of pressure and within practical constraints. I am a better editor than inventor. If you were to ask me to design some sort of fantasy dreamhouse out of thin air, I would have a really difficult time narrowing it down. I like to work within the parameters of a renovation- where there are problems that need to be solved and you can be informed by what is already there.

Finally, while I have an enormous amount of self-doubt in most areas of my life- design has never been one of them. This is kind of personal and I don’t think it is appropriate to go into on the internet, but basically I have been in a lot of environments in my life that have fostered a negative self-image, but my taste or talent or whatever you want to call it was always celebrated and has always been a great outlet for me and source of confidence.

TIP #1: Learn to trust yourself and honor your own tastes/desires. Or- if you truly have offensive taste and cannot be trusted- hire someone and TRUST them. Decorating help is not a prohibitive luxury anymore, you can hire for e-decorating and consultations at anywhere from $75-$500 which is way less than the cost of the average decorating mistake. BUT! If you hire someone, trust them. A good decorator will respect and consider your wants/needs but you won’t get their best work if you micro-manage and second guess their expertise.

So the kitchen.bailey-quin-mccarthy-matchbook-magazine-7

How did I get there. Well you saw the “befores”. The first thing I noticed in looking at the space was that it needed more counter-space/storage and that an island was very obviously missing from the layout. I had posted a few years ago when we were in Chicago about being obsessed with this island, and it immediately came to mind. After considering its more practical perfection- its petite dimensions and lack of cabinet doors that would impede the walkway-it became the jumping off point for everything else.

The next element that fell into place was the oven. I had seen it in my internet travels and I immediately recalled the mix of metals that echoed the mix on the island and plugged it in to the wishlist.

Finally, I had just done two white kitchens that I thought came out really well and that I was proud of. One being super traditional, the other being more modern- I had gotten it out of my system. Plus, to me this whole house seemed to be much moodier and darker than it had been decorated, and it honestly just seemed obvious to me that I should go dark.

TIP #2: Look at a lot of good shit. I didn’t set out to find any of these things, and if I had I might not have known what to look for. I spend my time looking at design and thinking about it and recording it here on the blog, so when it comes to decision time there are a lot of short cuts I have created in my brain of things I love. Especially now with pinterest it is so easy to save special items that you never know when you might be able to use.

Now I don’t know if this is obvious or interesting to anyone but this is how my brain works: I knew I wanted dark and a kind of list of the colors of the rainbow then pops into my head. I can be very listy/robotic here, and every time I am picking a color for anything I go through ROYGBIV.

Red. I really don’t favor red. I wear it a lot but I typically don’t use it in my homes. Orange– I will get to that in the living room but again, not one of my go-to colors. Yellow. Too bright and we did yellow in our Austin kitchen. Green. Green is my most favorite color of them all. I love all shades of it equally and passionately. It can be bright and spring or really moody in the army/olive tones, or more traditional/british racing green. While I never use red, I use green in pretty much every room. So I flagged that as an idea. Blue– I remembered the hague blue kitchen Miles Redd did awhile back that has always been my favorite. miles redd kitchen Also tagged that.

Indigo– I’m just not a purple person and even though purple cabinets it would have really been fearless and ballsy and could have been amazing:8600807eac60c9c8abd6656508bf3494  I try to never do anything just in an effort to “push it”. I have in the past, and it always turns out a little obnoxious and insincere. Pink– again, too bright and not what I was feeling for the space. Brown/Black– black has been done a lot and I think was a little more traditional than I wanted here. Brown we had already decided on in the den.

So I had the hague blue kitchen Miles did as my major inspiration, along with my deep abiding love of green. I love hague blue and did our guest bedroom in it, and while I have no problem doing a trend if I really love it, the blue Miles kitchen was such perfection what would be the point of redoing it? What would that add to the conversation? If I ever want to enjoy it I can look at it on pinterest. I want to create some new good junk to look at. So green it was. And with the brass in the island and stove, a sort of hunter/evergreen seemed obvious to me.

I posted the plan here. I never thought of it as daring, although I did see an amazing matte finish dark green kitchen on a blog when we were in the middle of the process and everyone on this blog was trashing it being like UGH VOMIT!!! GREEN IN A KITCHEN?!? HOW GOUCHE!! And I was like, umm, shit? But again, though completely stunted by oppressive self doubt in literally every other aspect of my life/character, in this one thing:


TIP #3: That little color game is something I go through in every room. Even when I am already certain about the color direction I challenge myself to think through the rainbow and consider if there is a better less obvious option. A really great tool for this too is House Beautifuls Color Guide. I literally consult this every day. Paint decks are overwhelming and so blah. Their color guide sorts paint colors that have been vetted by designers first by color and then by room and room issues (small, south facing etc) and there are so many tones and ideas throughout, I often see a color that I had never considered in a new way. Probably the most helpful decorating tool I utilize.

Approaching the renovation I imagine what it will be like to actually live in the room. I think through daily tasks that will take place in there like cooking and Gracie playing on the floor next to me and getting under my feet while I am taking a hot pan out of the oven and tripping and at best wasting perfectly delicious baked goods and at worst really hurting her. So at least with the way my brain works it becomes obvious to take out the ovens and move them to one integrated cooking zone.

On the refrigerator, we didn’t have a lot of space and we don’t really use a freezer much, so I favor top/bottom freezer/fridges because I just think it offers more practical/useful fridge space. Both of these decisions were unpopular with my contractor who was in the doghouse about his bid and felt like taking out perfectly good ovens/refrigerators were wasteful. And in a way it is, but I didn’t like them and have found it is always more wasteful to spend money working around a big problem rather than addressing it head on. You will usually still hate what you hated at first and now you have spent more money disguising it rather than fixing it.

TIP #4: As much as you can, do not get bogged down by guilt at changing someone else’s idea of what is perfectly good. Homes should be personal and living with something you don’t like because it is fancy/nice is like living by someone else’s values/judgements. It isn’t always possible or financially responsible, but if you can change it don’t let guilt hold you back. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think creatively about all of your options- but if the answer is really that it doesn’t work for you, change it.

In terms of working with a contractor/architect, I have worked with both on all three homes. And in all three situations, for me at least, the contractor was way more important than the architect. You have to have an architect or accredited designer if you are going to move walls, and I do not have the proper credentials so after I have thought through all the changes I want, I draw them out to scale on graph paper and hire an architect to tell me if what I had envisioned works.

We have mostly ended up with proper versions of what I intitally drew, but in every renovation there is at least one big change that the architect suggests for better space utilization that we have gone with that has made the whole thing. In Chicago I had initially drawn our master suite occupying the entire third floor addition, and he moved it to the second floor and put our family room/guest bedroom on the third floor which was SO much better. In Austin I had his/hers closets on one side of our master and a shared bathroom on the other, and our architect suggested one space be used for a hers bath/closet combo and the other for a his bathroom/closet combo and again, it was so much better. Here the layout for the bathroom changed and made much better use of the space by hiding the toilet behind the shower when I had it right next to a sink. Eww.

TIP #5: Hire the right people. Listen to them but be prepared to illustrate what you want. Know when their expertise is better and when to trust what you know about how you live. Your contractor is everything. It doesn’t matter how highly recommended they are (and references are important) if they seem AT ALL arrogant, overwhelmed, frenzied, or lazy I would not hire them. The contractors I have had the best experiences with are super humble, super chill, and always say “yes”. That doesn’t mean that they can always do it- but they always say yes to at least exploring an idea. They have to manage a lot of personalities, so you want them to be tough and on it but not hot-headed. I have had really great contractors, and they have all been super respectful and listen to women (you would be surprised how many people in the renovation industry are not) and just sort of unassuming quietly confident people.

The glass cabinet doors were chosen because I thought it might break up the green and keep it from being too in-your-face while still creating a seemless flow of beautiful glossiness.

I wasn’t crazy about the color of the floors in the house, they are a little 90s orangey- but they are also wonderfully aged and beat up so they don’t look quite so cheap/outdated as that stain can be. Pete really wanted to refinish them but it would have added a month onto our renovation that I could not tolerate. I decided to keep them, but have added more rugs than I normally use to break it up and not make them such a presence.

The dining table was chosen for practicality- dealing with legs in an awkward space really limits you & a pedestal allows for unfettered movement. Also, I feel like family kitchen tables are a kind of defining thing. People usually have kitchen tables that seat exactly the number of people in their family, sometimes +1 but think about it. Because who wants to sit at dinner/breakfast with your family with empty chairs at empty tables.tumblr_mghurlRyGP1qcrfp8o4_r1_250

Sooo in my overly analytical brain that also makes a tulip table a good choice because you don’t have the defined places for chairs that table legs create. We want a lot of children but don’t know how many we will have, and the table looks just as good with the 3 chairs we have now as it would if we added two more. I wanted a mix of materials, and we didn’t have any wood so I choose the dark stained top. Now- if I am going to be candid here is one area where I had some self doubt and made the wrong decision.

While most of our pieces have transitioned with us throughout our moves, we have gone through a lot of dining tables. We purchased a dining room and kitchen table for our house in Chicago, and replaced the kitchen table in Austin. In this house we would be replacing both yet again and even though I have been able to sell them, I felt wasteful. And I always get nervous showing our houses anticipating the inevitable negative comments about how young I am and money and all that (listen, I get it, but it is what it is) and this was one time when I could just hear the criticism and I wanted to be able to be like, Look! I got a deal! I can be frugal! And so I bought this knock off version of a tulip that at the time was about ¼ of the cost of the real deal.

I had used the marble top version in client spaces and it was great, but this one is…not. The grain on the top just looks super cheap and is rough to the touch. The color is uneven and it arrived pretty banged up. I think because the top is janky I now notice how the base is not quite as elegant as the real deal, and the whole thing just pisses me off. And it pisses me off because even though it was ¼ of the real deal, it was still a lot of money. And because I chose it out of a fear-induced desire to please others rather than sticking with what made the most sense for us.

So there is that.

TIP #6: Don’t be a poser in your own home. It is hard enough trying to conceal our true inner freak with instagram/twitter/facebook documenting every moment of our lives. At home? Give it a rest. Let your freak flag fly. Whether that means risking judgement from others on how you spend your money, or hanging a painting with the word “pussy” on it in your living room, just do you. I promise you will be happier.phoseto

Finally, I will say whether or not you love my style or is a little too fearless/out there for you- let yourself get excited in design. It costs money whether or not you go for it, so at least enjoy it. Reconsidering what I said earlier, maybe on some level I do feel the fearlessness of my design.tumblr_lzo6dfUikI1r473uyo1_500


I have never thought of it like that, but I do find it truly exciting and invigorating. Maybe that is the test to push yourself a bit without going too far out? It should feel like a first kiss and the first day of school and like having to give a speech in front of an auditorium.

A first kiss is nerve wracking and its hard to make the move and there is a lot that can go wrong- but when it is good and comes from pure desire, it is always worth it.

The first day of school was always scary, but it was also full of possibility to be the best version of yourself and while for me at least I never quite got there because I was so scared of what kids would think about who I really was, don’t we all kind of wish we could go back to highschool with what we know now? Being the more interesting, confident, empathetic people we have become with age? Decorating authentically is kind of like that. Don’t let the bullies or the popular girls convince you that your denim leisure suit is anything less than fierce.

Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 11.44.39 AM

Choose confidence.

And giving a speech in an auditorium, or a toast, always something I struggle with. But when you nail it? And you are able to communicate honestly, openly and effectively and make those connections with people? It is such a breakthrough. And that is probably the closest way I could think of to describe what it feels like when my work is published and I get such incredible support and affirmations from all of you.

And that sounds ridiculously self-important. But if I am honest and own up to it, my work has given me a confidence and joy that does not come naturally in other areas of my life. It is a way for me to communicate who I am and who I want to be in a way that people seem to respond to, and with the perspective that it isn’t life or death, it is still pretty wonderful and I would hope everyone has something in their lives that does that for them, and that they get the same pleasure and comfort out of their home that I have found.

So…what do you think? Was any of this helpful? Would you like a less intensive/wordy version of the process when it is applicable for the rest of the before & afters or have I completely overreached? Have you ever read so many adverbs in one place in your life?


  1. Christine February 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    So not a commenter, just love your houses and am redoing a 16th century cellar in Italy and ended up at your blog for some major color inspiration. Not only am I totally obsessed with your design, you crack me up and I appreciate the tips you just gave. I also think you should tell the haters to screw off and get the damn table. Enjoy your home and your super cute family.

  2. LCH February 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm


    I am a long-time reader, but infrequent commenter, and I just wanted to say thank you for this inspirational post.

    I love your style, your voice and your confidence. Thank you for this candid self-assessment and real talk about decorating… and life. I think everything is spot on. And I agree- it’s a total pleasure and revelation to enjoy your own personality and sense of style (be it fashion or home decor). Too bad that sometimes seems to only comes with time. Although, I do think honesty like this sets a great example for your readers and the lil’ ones like the adorable Gracie.

    Congratulations on all of your Peppermint Bliss and Biscuit success!! I can’t wait to visit the shop the next time I’m in Houston. Keep on with your bad self. – LCH

  3. Meghan February 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    This is one of my top favorite PB posts ever….I love the photos/inspiration, obviously, but I also really appreciate your openness and hearing your mental process behind different selections. Keep ’em coming for all the other rooms!

  4. Holtwood Hipster February 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Boom! Probably the best post I’ve ever read here. You straight up put it to us like the wise girlfriend you are and I got so much out of this- lessons learned, reminders to listen to my own inner voice and advice for navigating some waters still unchartered (and I even related to some too!). Great stuff.

  5. raquel February 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    this is one of your best posts! It is so nice to get into your brain and your process without being too invasive, these posts are the best! way better than just seeing the pretty pictures

  6. ashley February 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Great advice –> “it is always more wasteful to spend money working around a big problem rather than addressing it head on.”

    3 years ago, we went from a 90 year old Craftsman bungalow filled with character to a boring 50s ranch in need of a lot of updates. While we would have loved an immediate and complete reno, we just didn’t have the budget. Instead, we’ve gradually made big changes when our bank account said yes! and we’ve been really happy with the results. We’re getting really close to start work on our kitchen and I am heavily gleaning inspiration from your 3 homes!

    Keep up the fabulous work! I love that with each of your posts you provide insight, humor and whole lot of pretty. Big hug for that.

  7. best of BKLYN February 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    okay, I’m a brand new reader (found you via A Piece of Toast) but this post was amazing, and SO true. You’ve really inspired me to choose confidence, and that is such an empowering sentiment!

    Going to have to take a look through your archives!

  8. Erin February 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Bailey, thanks! This post is like a lovely little gift to the blog. Your images are always wonderful, and to see a little process and personality adds so much dimension.

  9. Jenn February 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    You. Are. Awesome. Love the honesty (and great advice) in this post.

  10. Courtney February 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Love this post. I really enjoy hearing what went on in your head throughout the process. Not only is it great advice to learn from, but it makes non-designers like me feel better that even you professionals obsess over your design decisions. Thanks!!

  11. Katie February 8, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I hope this comment goes through b/c I often try to comment on your posts and they don’t ever seem to work. Bailey, I think you are the bee’s knees! This post was super helpful and interesting and fun to read. Thank you!

  12. Steph February 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    This is my third straight day of posting. I may be a creepster at this point. But as someone who’s about to make a big girl purchase of a house here in DC and very apprehensive (am I doing something everyone else does, is this too ubiquitous, what do I like vs what do I just keep seeing) this post really resonated. Keep on keeping on. Haters gonna hate but seriously you seem incredibly mature and if you’re able to, why would you not choose the good stuffs? Good luck- next time I’m in houston for work I am totally coming into Biscuit for a dose of fabulousness. Thanks for your honesty!

  13. LAO February 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    So, I was lying in bed this morning thinking about all of your beautiful homes and I wondered if your 2 Ethan Allen pieces (can’t think of what to call them) from your dining room – the ones you painted white with coral – have been repurposed in your new house? I’d hate for them to go to waste! I love all of your homes. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Hannah February 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Bailey: Your work is incredible so you should absolutely feel proud and confident. Thanks for sharing. I hope to have you do my house one day when I move away from tiny city living in Chicago!

  15. Emily February 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Bailey, you’re at you’re best when you’re open and tell it like it is. Your work is glamorous, personal, whimsical and just FABULOUS; a huge inspiration to so many of us out here in the ether of the interwebs. Eff the haters. They’re the ones who are sorrier for it.

  16. Kim February 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I really appreciate this post. ROYGBIV, so simple! And even though we have pretty different tastes and budgets, you have really inspired me to wait until I come across pieces I love when furnishing my new house and make it an eclectic collection of special things. I just have to wait for that “it” moment instead of run off and buy crap. And it has really begun to pay off, so thank you!

  17. Emily February 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Speaking from someone who has worked with you, I concur that you are decisive. And that is such an amazing trait to have in the design world & really in life. I can honestly say, that you were literally a beacon of color in my otherwise white grey world. Your homes have all been memorable projects & inspiring to me personally to jump out of my safe & grey world & into a healthy dose of color. Thanks for always being honest on your blog & in your designs. And as far as the confidence or lack there of goes, could’ve fooled me! You are the cat’s pajamas and so is your work.

  18. Sarah February 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Applause, applause, applause for the honesty and for Tip #1. As a designer, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this sentence: “you won’t get their best work if you micro-manage and second guess their expertise”. It’s so, so true! I’ve been a client of a graphic designer who I initially tried to micro-manage and once I let go and let her do what I hired her for in the first place, I got something far, far better than I could have imagined. Congrats on all your success!

  19. dana February 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    i LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog – and i especially love this post!! it’s fabulous – i want even more 🙂 thank you so much for sharing!

  20. Shevy February 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    While I enthusiastically love your homes and all pictures of pretty things, this was my favorite post of yours–nay, anyone in blog world. Your helpfulness and honesty is refreshing and invigorating.

  21. Melissa February 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Baily – NAILED IT. I just love you.
    And I have SUCH a hard time with #3, I feel so horribly guilty tearing out “perfectly good” even though I HATE it and spend infinitely more brain power obsessing over how to “fix” than to just do what I want. My office is a PRIME example of this. Also, the carpet in the dining room (really…wall to wall in a dining room). I think I will order the flooring I want and rip out the carpet this weekend. No more feeling guilty!!! Seriously, I just love you/your blog. And I like the wordy details and thought process behind it. Keep it up girl!

  22. Courtney February 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    This is my first comment, and I just want to say I loved this post and I REALLY hope you’ll do more like this! Love your home too, it’s awesome! Well done and congratulations!

  23. Emily February 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I have never posted, despite how long I’ve been reading, but – with this entry – I feel compelled. This epitomizes all that makes your blog awesome – the writing. The pictures enhance the experience, but your voice is the hook. If writing about process adds to the amount of writing, cool. This is my favorite entry yet. And while I’m here, I want to say thank you for my week-day entertainment!

  24. Sarah February 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Bravo Bailey!
    Awesome post. I understand what you mean about decisive relatde to design choices. I don’t think anyone would describe me as a confident person but when it comes to design I like what I like and I’m pretty unapologetic about it.

  25. Courtney February 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Bravo, keep on keepin’ on. Love your style and love your homes. They are genuine, elegant, unique and downright awesome! Best of luck w/ Biscuit, and enjoy that adorable babe. I’m a decorator w/ 2 kiddos and it’s all the perfect kind of insanity.

  26. Kkrs February 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Honest and inspiring.
    1.). Thankful for finding you so that my weirdness and quirkiness in my design choices choices were somehow validated. You have taught me to trust my gut.
    2.). Thanks for always reminding me that if I truly love something even if others deem it tacky or out there, in the right context it can be amazing and celebrated
    3.). Thanks for the new words of wisdom… Living with something you don’t love is more expensive than fixing it in the first place!
    You are a queen!

  27. Gabrielle | Savvy Ho February 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I love how you referenced that Miles Redd kitchen as inspiration for your kitchen because it immediately came to mind when I saw your gorgeous new kitchen. I agree that looking at a lot of good shit and being confident in your design skills is very important. I’m going to try the color game next time I’m having trouble committing to an idea!

  28. ag February 8, 2013 at 5:53 pm


  29. Tricia February 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Bailey – seriously this is great. so helpful & honest. spot on. keep it up girl you got this.

  30. Jenny February 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Great post! One, I love your writing because your voice is so authentic, candid, genuine and funny. It really comes through to the reader and that’s what I think sets your blog apart from others. Two, I love all of your tips and it was so interesting to get insider information about your design thought process. Love the wordy version, keep the dialogue coming! Pretty pictures are nice, but I love hearing from you!

  31. Laura C February 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I’d say you hit it out of the park with this post! It felt honest and helpful and inspiring all at the same time. Thank you and I LOVE your blog!

  32. katharine February 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I thought I’d be the only one to say that that was the best post you’ve ever written…not sure why I’m suprised to be number 29!! It was amazing…makes me rethink my whole house. I’m back at uni and have rented our house, when we get back it’s redo time and I thought it was all in my head but maybe not…maybe I will just go crazy.
    P.S get the table, we all would if we had the money!

  33. Jennifer February 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    What a great post! I’ve always wondered how you are moved to make the design choices you do. I love your work, and always feel inspired by it!

  34. Anne W February 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Bailey, your blog has quickly become a favorite of mine and this is because of posts like this! Thank you so much for sharing all of this. I feel like I need to go back and re-read over and over to soak it all in. I so appreciate your candidness about your own personal journey and how that relates to design too. What you said about hoping that everyone has something in their life that basically makes them feel more like themselves–wow. that really struck a chord with me, and I am going to think on that for some time. Over the past several years, I’ve begun to tap into a previously untapped creative part of my brain. I love decorating and could read about interiors all day long. And yet, I definitely don’t possess the sort of confidence (or talent!) you have. But I am drawn to it, and it does invigorate and excite me. Anyway, all this to say, keep doing what you do. It is a joy to read! xoxo

  35. Maggie February 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Bailey, I’m a long-time reader but a first time commenter. This was such an HONEST, thoughtful post that I just had to write to say kudos. I always like what you write, but this is probably my favorite. It’s like an unvarnished look at the inner workings of the fabulous lady behind the blog, and you rocked it.

  36. Kathryn February 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I loved this insite into your design process! It’s great to see the end eye candy but you always have such interesting (and fabulous!) furniture, art, and color combinations and I always want to know more. I look forward to seeing and hearing about the rest of your newest reno.

  37. Carol-Anne February 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    This is one of your best posts! Loved the thought process, the gifs and all the great pics!

  38. Brianna February 8, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    At home, give it a rest. Let your freak flag fly. This is so LEGIT! Lurve.

  39. Heida February 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Thanks for a great post,you are so talented and whitty…

  40. Sam February 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this. My husband and I just bought our first house this fall and I’m finding it hard to commit to any decorating choices. This post helped me realize that what I’m missing is confidence! Now I am even more excited to turn our house into our home.

  41. Mithra February 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I’m a new follower and a virgin at commenting. But I have to tell you that today I bookmarked this one under ‘The Truth’. Thanks.

  42. sarah February 8, 2013 at 11:55 pm


    and this is just what i needed to hire our contractor. thank you.

  43. sharon arnold-taylor February 9, 2013 at 12:35 am

    You are huge, Bailey! I just discovered how awesome you are. Glad to have found you. Enjoying your blog and all your amazing quotes which ring true for me in the biz! Thank you for speaking so candidly!! I have to say Congratulations!! I LOVE your work!! This past week I found you via another blogger after seeing some jaw dropping work of yours. Not only does your work speak volumes, your words speak volumes. I’m a Midwesterner from MO. I hope to meet you at some point. ….BTW, My sister is a worldwide known fine art photog w/work in the Edelmen Gallery, in Chicago, that you may want to check out. {JulieBlackmonphotography} I’ve had a glass of wine. Can you tell. haha.

  44. sharon arnold-taylor February 9, 2013 at 12:38 am

    I don’t know if my earlier rambles posted, but btw, I LOVE your title!! YOU get it!!!! GIRL. haha

  45. Imogen February 9, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Bailey, it’s already been said, I’ll say it again…nailed it! Great post, great ideas. You’re a star! x

  46. Allison February 9, 2013 at 8:49 am

    LOVE this post, Bailey.

    Also loving the green tufted sofa. Do you have a source on the velvet?


  47. rebekah February 9, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Dude, you’re awesome. Thanks for awesome and helpful advice, and for taking the time to write all this when you have so much to give. Keep it up. Great job on working out your passion along with having a new little girl that is so cute! She will see your confidence!

  48. Emily February 9, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Bailey- this was so awesome! Thanks for sharing. And I’d take that ‘fearless’ label and totally run with it, because girl, you totally can since your style rocks! I think we all love you style so much because it’s you, and you aren’t conforming to what’s popular out there. You’re a breath of fresh air. 🙂

    Have a great weekend!!

  49. Lynngweeny February 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    You are a rockstar!
    It’s fascinating to see how your brain works.
    More, more!

  50. Kelli @ Life at 818 February 9, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    gosh I don’t even think I’ve seen your house yet.. I will def go look at it now though. but I love what you said here. good read – good stuff to think about. thanks for that 🙂

  51. Claire February 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Favorite blog ever – thanks.

  52. ERB February 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks for this

  53. Jen S February 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I adore you blog and never really post comments, but this post is hands down the best!! I love hearing your insights about your FEARLESS design decisions (along with all of the amaze photos)!! Thank you for inspiring us all on a daily basis!!

  54. Lynn February 9, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks for this. I am usually pretty decisive myself, but I’m in the midst of a remodel and second guessing myself for “resale” purposes. I’m just going to do my own thing and love it, and the next person can figure it out. Thanks for reminding me who I am.
    Regarding your youth and financial status, I had noticed that your are (relative to myself) loaded. What I love is that you use that money to design so awesomely (not sure if that’s a word). Many people with means use it in not such an amazing way, to say it diplomatically. You shouldn’t need to apologize for having enough money to do as you like. That is what everyone is shooting for.
    You come across as a very likable person. I really appreciate your openness about your weight gain during pregnancy, I think most women can relate to that. I liked your suggestions on what worked too. Grace is such a beautiful girl.
    As far as being young, that is something we all get equally. As soon as you are middle aged, people will start telling you you’re too old (see House of Fifty). Not sure where the sweet spot is on that.
    Thanks for all your hard work. You’re doing great.

  55. Riley February 9, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Love the post. Love your style. And love you, in that non-creepy-don’t-really-know-you-internet way… or is THAT the definition of creepy? 🙂

  56. Erin February 10, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Thank you so much for this post! We are building our house, and after playing it safe with the last two homes I have vowed to do it “my way.” However, after showing some of my friends my ideas I could see their eye rolls and was starting to doubt myself. I am now channelling Maria Von Trapp as well, and I’m much happier for it! You have a gift! Thank you!

  57. Katie February 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I love this post! Your honesty and your voice are so wonderful and refreshing. Keep em coming. Nailed it.

  58. Rachael Volz February 10, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    My favorite post yet- thank you for reiterating the fact that we should just do whatever the hell we want and stop worrying about what others think. Please share more about your design decisions. I love them! You are SO talented so keep up the amazing work super woman!

  59. Meaghan February 11, 2013 at 2:11 am

    Bailey, thank you for being so honest! I, for one, really enjoy reading about the thought processes behind your design choices. As a person who is EXTREMELY indecisive (especially about decorating), you are truly an inspiration!

  60. Lauren @ T&G February 11, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I love everything you wrote. All of it. So thanks! I have a BIG question for you… The number one thing that holds me back in our home is resale value. We can afford to do what we like in our home, but we can’t really afford to take a big chance that it would majorly turn someone off from buying our house if we sell it in a couple years. So my question is (without trying to be too nosey), have your Chicago and Austin houses sold? Did you face problems finding buyers because of how unique (and completely badass) your taste is? Like in your Austin house… even someone who loved everything you did might have issues with the pink/bow tile in Gracie’s bathroom because they have two boys and no girls. I know that in your level of real estate, buyers are probably more able to overlook things that don’t work because they can afford to change them, but I would SO love to hear your perspective or experience on this!

  61. Shannon February 11, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I recently found your blog when I moved to Houston, and it has quickly become one of my favorite reads of the day. I love how your style is so unique and fun. It’s a great contrast to the perfectly styled and simple images I see on Pinterest all the time, and it makes me want to let my imagination run wild when decorating my own home. This post was perfect, perfect, perfect. I cannot wait to see more of your projects, and I will definitely be coming into Biscuit!

  62. Mia February 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm


    I adore your work and attitude. This was my favorite blog post ever. Not just your decorating process but mostly your candid description of self doubt, confidence and feelings of accomplishment are so refreshingly expressed.

  63. Andrea February 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Never take “fearless” as an insult! It’s what makes you your badass decorating self.

  64. Susan February 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    Dear Bailey,
    Reading your posts are always a treat! Thanks so much for being so open and sharing your thoughts. You are inspiring!! And fun too=)

  65. Cindy February 11, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Loved your wordy post. I really admire your ability to “do you” and agree we would all be a lot happier in doing so. Your decisiveness is an invaluable skill that most designers probably do not have. I know I struggle in that department. Your spaces are awesome and I have lusted after them since I found your blog a few months ago. You are super talented & I truly admire your abilities and love your sense of humor too! I so wanted to come work for you when I saw you were hiring interns but I’m in Dallas.
    🙁 Love your blog & Bisquit!!!!

  66. Julia Ryan February 12, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    You are fearless! And that’s why I love ya. I think you embrace the bold and the crazy like no ones business but your taste meter is off the charts and it always looks impeccable. But not like it takes itself too seriously which makes it even better. Like fabulously styled rooms for grown-ups who still consider “parents” to be their parents and not themselves. Thanks for always sharing.

  67. sally wheat February 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Bailey! Loved this. 🙂

  68. Lindsey A. February 13, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Loves it all! Cheers to being fearless!

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  70. Megan September 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Love, love, love your style! Quick question did you get the tulip table from rove concepts? I’m shopping around for 54″ marble top one for our renovated dining room and I’m concerned with buying an imitation even though the price is great. I’m also shopping for a vintage one but its really hard to find that size.

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