Jenna is a loving mom not only to her adorable baby girl but also to other precious ‘babies’ coached by her husband in basketball. Such a giving and caring heart comes from having been surrounded by equally loving people since childhood. Her grandmother enkindled her flair for country music and Southern living. Her greatest hero, on the other hand, came in the person of her father, her ‘Pap’ who taught her the value of hard work and strength – values she carries with her to this day.
Through her blog Rain on a Tin Roof, Jenna hopes to share her ideas and inspire others to take that first step – or leap – into turning an ordinary house into a home they will love. Her goal is to help her readers find that spark of inspiration that will get them rolling on their very own DIY project.
Jenna tells Balsam Hill how life as a mom has brought out a signature style she now calls ‘Baby-Proofed Vintage-Modern-Rustic.’
BH: What is your favorite part about being a mother? What is the most rewarding and most challenging aspect of it?
Jenna: My favorite part about being a mama is simply just playing with my daughter. Rolling around in the floor, emptying the toy box of every single last teacup, getting flour everywhere while baking – all of that is what I love. I don’t care how big of a mess we make; as long as we have fun, it’s worth it. Using her as an excuse to quit my full-time job was also pretty great. I’m kidding!
As for challenges, before motherhood, I was accustomed to doing whatever kinds of projects I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do them. Now having the hot glue gun out when I’m not right next to it isn’t necessarily a good idea. Spray painting with her right beside me in the garage probably wouldn’t win me the ‘mother of the year award’ either. There are many times that I just want to stomp my feet and bang my fists against the counter and scream, ‘But Mommy wants to do this instead!’ Patience and learning to be unselfish are a huge challenge for me.
BH: How has motherhood changed your style and design aesthetics?
Jenna: My style was evolving little by little before motherhood and that’s still the case. With motherhood now, it just means that all those pretty breakable things get moved to higher shelves and we spread towels out over rugs to keep spills from staining. Perhaps, I should call my style ‘Baby-Proofed Vintage-Modern-Rustic’?
BH: How has your grandmother inspired your decorating style?
Jenna: My grandmother passed away when I was six years old. Even with such a short amount of time that I had with her, it’s amazing how vivid my memories are of her and my grandparents’ home. My grandparents were cattle farmers, so I am always trying to incorporate some bit of farm life into my home as a reminder of both of them. I’ve done this with a faux cowhide lampshade and faux cowhide rug. I would say her style was very diversified. She had a kitchen with dark knotty pine cabinets and real wood paneling, but then a formal living room with a huge ornate gold mirror and long white couch. My style is a lot like that. I have many rustic touches, but there’s a hint of glam and formal elegance here and there.
BH: What advice has your grandmother given you that you would also like to give to your children?
Jenna: My grandmother was the kind of woman who didn’t care to put on her work boots and go help my grandfather with something in the field, and then the next thing you knew, she was riding to town in her big ol’ Cadillac. She could be your typical, proper southern lady, but then she could also get right out there with the cattle and go to work. She was diverse – that’s what I strive to be and what I hope my daughter will be.
BH: Is there an activity you do now that still reminds you of something you did with your grandmother as a child?
Jenna: My love of country music, particularly Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, is no doubt due to my grandmother. There’s not a time I can remember when country music came on and we weren’t singing and dancing to it. Anytime I work on a project, anytime my daughter and I are enjoying our front porch, we are listening to music and channeling our ‘Inner Grannie.’
BH: Do you have any springtime traditions you would like to pass on to your children and grandchildren?
Jenna: Jonquil flowers always bloomed as spring came right in front of my grandparents’ home. As soon as they were bursting open, I was out there picking them. The same is true at my home now. We have the same flowers and, at the first bloom, my daughter is picking them.
BH: How do you and your family prepare your home for spring? Is there a specific piece of decor you put out that signifies spring has arrived?
Jenna: Flowers. Grunt Labor, my husband, is fantastic at growing flowers around here. As soon as we can, we are bringing them inside to enjoy.
BH: What’s your idea of a perfect Mother’s Day celebration?
Jenna: No big fuss, just a day with absolutely nothing else to do besides spend time with my family. Well, that and someone else better be cooking supper and bringing me a beer.