Life with three beautiful daughters has inspired Cathy of Lemon Tree Dwelling to take a closer look at her home decorating style. Pillows, blankets, furniture pieces that double as extra seating, and family photo collages turn her home into a cozy dwelling place.
Aside from making her home comfortable and functional for her family, Cathy also strives to find new uses for old things. As she learned from her mom, a home should also be ‘full of sentiment and history.
Vintage family photos and decorations passed down to her mother from her grandmother celebrate their Irish heritage. Cathy has indeed developed her own love of time-honored collections, a love she shares in this exclusive interview with Balsam Hill.
BH: What is your favorite part about being a mother? What is the most rewarding and most challenging aspect of it?
Cathy: My favorite part about being a mother is watching my kids develop into the little people they were meant to be. I love seeing their unique little personalities shine through and catching glimpses of their humor, their talents, their compassion, and their way of interacting with the world. Of course, this can also be one of the most challenging parts of motherhood because as a mom it is my job to help them become their best selves. So in addition to all the wonderful things about them, I have to pay attention to the ‘not-so-wonderful’ things. Together we have to figure out how to handle them. There are times when my patience is pushed to the limit (and beyond) but it helps to focus on the big picture – who they are and who they are becoming – and to pay attention to the small, sweet moments along the way.
BH: How has motherhood changed your home decorating style and design aesthetics?
Cathy: Since becoming a mom, I have definitely thought more about style and design. It’s funny – most people might say the opposite – but for me, I put more thought into it now than I ever did before. I want our family’s home to be beautiful, comfortable, and functional, with lots of cozy elements that make it feel like home. We have blankets and pillows galore, plenty of furniture that can double as extra seating, and entire walls that are covered with family photo collages. We have also incorporated some fun items like a chalkboard wall and extra mirrors – things kids love – because this is their space, too!
BH: How has your mother inspired your decorating style? Would you mind sharing some decorating advice she’s given you with us?
Cathy: My mom’s design aesthetic is definitely based on functionality: things should be comfortable, durable, and able to withstand the test of time! Her home is cozy and inviting, perfect for all the grandchildren who visit her regularly. It is also full of sentiment and history; she has decorations passed down to her from her mother and grandmother, old family photos, and an entire room that celebrates her Irish heritage. I have definitely picked up on her love of collections and special little things that give a home a unique personality.
BH: What advice has your mother given you that you would also like to give to your children?
Cathy: My mom is not a big advice giver, but on a few occasions she has pointed out the importance of taking care of myself (because if I don’t, no one else will!). She had four kids and stayed home with us, so I definitely think she has a good understanding of how important it is for moms to make time for themselves. Of course, she wasn’t always good at doing this (it’s hard!) but she definitely encourages me to and I hope I encourage my daughters to do the same!
BH: Is there an activity you do now that still reminds you of something you did with your mother as a child?
Cathy: When I was growing up, I loved reading with my mom. She had the patience to read with us for endless amounts of time, and it is still one of her favorite ways to spend time with her grandchildren. Every time I read to my kids I have wonderful memories of reading with my mom, and I hope my kids will have the same memories when they grow up!
BH: Do you have any springtime traditions you would like to pass on to your children and grandchildren?
Cathy: I didn’t grow up with any specific springtime traditions, but as an adult, my husband and I have started planting a garden every spring. It is something the kids look forward to and something I definitely plan to continue!
BH: How do you and your family prepare your spring home decorating style? Is there a specific piece of decor you put out that signifies spring has arrived?
Cathy: When spring comes, we always change up the decor! It is a little different every year, but usually includes green glass vases, fresh flowers, bright white candles, and all the birds we can find! Bird are such a clear sign of spring, so I always like to incorporate them into my spring decor. I like to bring a little bit of the outdoors in, not just for spring, but for every season!
BH: What’s your idea of a perfect Mother’s Day celebration?
Cathy: A perfect Mother’s Day celebration would begin with my kids letting me sleep in. They would bring me coffee in bed and snuggle – without any expectations of me actually getting up. At some point we would go out for breakfast (my favorite meal of the day) and then spend some family time outside. Later in the day I would have some ‘me’ time – something I don’t get enough of – while my husband took over kid duty. In terms of presents, I love thoughtful, handmade gifts from my kids. There is nothing better than knowing they took the time to make you something special!