Decorating with Whitney English

I talked about my work with Whitney English in a blog post here.  This past weekend I made a quick trip to OKC to see her and work on her home again.  When I say quick, it was quick, I was literally only there 30 hours, but as two busy mamas used to being on a tight schedule we were able to put our heads together and talk non stop about fabric, rugs and pillows, pillows, pillows.


Out to dinner at Ludivine on Sat night in OKC..yum! And I must say she has cutest family on the planet!


And they were so good the entire time I was there.  The Kolb family may not be perfect Whitney will tell you but they are pretty darn special to me and I enjoyed being in their nest for even a short time. One of my favorite things Whitney has accomplished in the past year we have been working together is painting her exterior brick, adding the perfect color handmade shutters for charm and painting her fireplace brick..all huge, you can see snapshots of it all below and if you want to follow more of our decorating adventures look for #hollyhelpswhitneydecorate on Instagram! And these are just random instagram shots of Whitney’s progress over the past year documented on pinterest and or phone pics from this weekend…Once complete, we will have full room shots to share and I can not wait for that time. But it does take time, don’t be fooled by HGTV, real life decorating with budgets and kids and  a business and life does take time.  And that is okay, I have watched Whitney enjoy the process and its been a delight!


Whitney and I pictured above last Spring at a blogging conference. Ok so, enough gushing I will let Whitney share in her own words below . . .

Hi, I’m Whitney English. I’m a friend and client of Holly Mathis. I say friend AND client because when you let someone into your home, that friendship thing happens fast. Decorators have to be friends because they see your piles of laundry, your corners of junk, your clutter and your unfinished projects, and they have to love you anyway. That’s what Holly does for me.

I use Holly’s design coaching services. I don’t think she really calls it coaching, but that’s what it seems like it is in my head. I’m not a full-project client, partly because I think it’s fun to just get a little feedback and then run with a lot of her ideas. Last January, Holly made a trip up to Oklahoma to see our house. The Christmas tree was still up, and I literally had no money to spend. I think she might have thought I was a little bit crazy. But my mom is a savvy shopper and has a knack for finding amazing deals, and I just wanted to be educated on the direction I needed to go. That’s where Holly amazingly stepped in.


I like Holly’s style for several reasons. First of all, it’s comfortable. As much as I love cute little antique French chairs, my husband isn’t a huge fan, and Holly’s style can work both ways. She understands that husbands want a big leather chair, and isn’t afraid to tell me to tone it down on the French chairs. Or paint something, like brick, lots of brick has been painted!


The second reason that I like Holly’s style is that it’s a fresh version of cottage style. She’s always making suggestions that feel modern, and mix well with my chippy paint pieces. Her suggestions seem to lead me to a “lived in” feeling in rooms, and I like that she recommends a balance of finishes and textures, making a room seem like it’s been curated over time. It’s great for families.


Another reason I love Holly’s design advice is because it’s honest. She was at my house just last weekend, and I asked her what had to go. In her sweet, loving, voice, she told me that a chair in my living room was just “grandma”, and dirty, and needed to be reupholstered something awful. She also told me I needed to organize. There is love in her truth, and I appreciate that.
Several friends have asked me why I use Holly, even though I have a design background. And I have several reasons for that as well. First of all, even designers need third-party perspective, especially when it comes to decorating for families. Sometimes husbands and wives can get into arguments about whether you keep the leather chair or toss it, and a decorator’s vote can help break the tie. Secondly, the more expertise you can add to a design project, the more depth it has. I use this principle on branding projects, and wholeheartedly believe that a good brand needs a team of designers to polish it. Holly is on my home decorating team. Thirdly, sometimes you have to make a split second decision, and you can freeze. I’ve texted Holly from garage sales, where I’m trying to decide whether to spend $20 on a nightstand covered in chippy paint. Fourthly, decorators stay up-to-date on design resources. Holly is constantly scouring all the shelter mags and the home catalogs, so she much more educated on what is available at what price, and how I can create an up-to-date look on a budget. Sometimes just paint.
My house is lived-in, with three kiddos, so getting every room to look perfect is always going to be challenging, but I’m so grateful to Holly for her ideas and guidance.


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  1. I love what you guys are doing together! LOVE the painted brick especially. Fabulous work ladies xx

  2. Looks fabulous so far! Can’t wait to see a full room reveal 🙂

  3. Love Whitney’s house and the sneak peeks I’ve seen lately and I can just imagine the two of you together are going to create something very special. You both are so talented! That fabric combination is great and I am always telling clients to paint the brick – makes a HUGE difference. Love your style Holly for the same reason Whitney does.

  4. so well said, whitney! i feel exactly the same about my friend and decorator!! 😉 the exterior of ur home looks amazing!! and I adore that SP fabric too! i’ve been trying to convince my husband it is manly enough to use in his office, maybe it’s time for a call to Holly to break the tie. ha! can’t wait to see more of what you two create together! xo

  5. Such a treat to see two of my favorite bloggers together! Sounds like such a great weekend. Love the fresh painted brick!

  6. Love how the progress is looking so far. I love the home exterior – classic. This post brings up a great point that decorating on a budget can take time & may not happen overnight. Thank you . I needed to hear that. We’ve lived in our newly renovated cottage home for seven months now. We were able to create a great looking modern cottage. But, truth be told there is still so much more progress to be made on the decorating side. I’m on a budget & all of the renovation money went into making this house our dream home on a budget. I’m trying to be so selective about the decorating that the progress has stalled to nearly non existent. Like only 2 items hanging on the wall in the entire house. I pride myself on having a great eye & being able to pull together great looks, but I am stuck.

  7. very well-said Whitney. I love Holly’s honesty, as well. That wallpaper might be the one for our 1/2 bath. How neat to think that it could be in Whitney English’s home as well! Come visit soon, Holly….the chicken enchiladas are calling your name!

  8. Sources please for those gorgeous fabrics!!

  9. Looks great! So glad you got to spend time together and can’t wait to see what comes of all of your work, ladies!

  10. The fabrics are mostly trade only but can be purchased through me…the little coral print is Burma from Sister Parrish, the Chinoserie is from Marvic Textiles, a UK co.., the buffalo check is from Calico Corners and the yummy paisley wallpaper is from Schumacher. These are all trade sources except for Calico of course…What trade means is you must go through a designer or decorator or industry person with a wholesale acct…someone like myself or a buying service like Maddie G Designs etc….

  11. Bravo!! Holly is a friend and decorator to me as well. Love the exterior colors.

  12. Staci Amy says:

    ohmygoooooodness am I ready for your knowledge and help!!!!! Going to be emailing you again soon 🙂 I am the one that was going to order the RH French Upholstered wing backs after Thanksgiving….remember me?? (It’s okay if you don’t!) Well, I ordered them….and they sent me The Baby & Child Line ones….story of my decorating life ;D Turns out…I’m glad they were the wrong ones because I just didn’t love them ;( Sooooo, back to square one 🙂 Okay, enough rambling…I soooo adore you and your work Holly!!!!

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