Country Living feature- the back story

Finally, a little more backstory on our feature story and home in the May issue of Country Living.  And some wonderful images that I am finally able to share that were not included in the print feature. Thank you again to Buff Strickland Photography for of the wonderful photos and Becki Griffin for styling and overall awesomeness.

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

And I have to use this post to thank again all of my friends that came together to help me get ready for this shoot.  Missy and Dusty Robinson of Moosefeathers Florist who helped me with my flower beds!  And Mitchell Davis of Davis Design & Construction here in Brenham.  Mitchell lovingly retrofitted and painted my front door just for the shoot..this was an old one from my hometown that mom and I had been saving and he made it work and installed for me..he also came over DURING the shoot and cut down a limb off this little tree out front that was blocking the porch! He is that kind of guy and friend.  Thank you Lord for people like Missy and Dusty Robinson, Aubrey and Mitchell Davis and A.A. Hodde and his wife Tina who own and restored this amazing house!

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

To jump right in, this shot of the living room with Hunter was an outtake of the image that made the magazine article without him… Hunter had a ongoing love affair with the photographer and crew and he made one shot for the actual magazine but not all;; He is a ladies man, he loves attention!  Besides Hunter Buns, my favorite thing in our living room is these BEMZ Country Slipcover sofas in the Rosendal Pure Linen in absolute white…they are “buttah” as Becki Griffin would say..they are soft and line-y both in look and feel and imperfect and tad slouchy which make them comfy and easy on and off too..I LOVE them..more on how the Bemz covers fit here.  The brass side table was off the shelf from Target, the lamp from Marshall’s. Vintage bamboo table from the Brown Shed, small print pillows are Schumacher betwixt in biscuit, the red paisley pillows are John Robshaw Kedara fabric made custom and the red toile is a vintage fabric.  The Safaveieh Mandy ottoman is from wayfair! The vintage silver pitcher is a gift from our dear family friends the Menke family. Of course my fig is from Tall Plants Houston and my gorgeous heron from Campbells Melange in Louisiana and Round Top fame!

And the boy room…shhh don’t tell Henry his room wasn’t featured..oh well, he gets more Instagram time right?? For some reason they wanted to focus on Drew’s room and he was so glad they didn’t make many changes…we just tidied up..A LOT!

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

Of course his room is never this clean and yes that is an IKEA Hemnes dresser…i love the John Derian insect piece from his NYC store, the D is from Hobby Lobby lol, the George Washington is from A Beautiful Mess in Lubbock Texas, the pennant from Curious Details, the flag and engraving framed with white are from one of my trips to England and the Brave sign, so fitting for my boy, from RH kids.

Old homes often have great hallways even smaller old houses and this one has a lovely one full of windows and light…

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

This is one of my favorite images that wasn’t featured prominently…Becki styled up my beloved blue Leftovers Antiques cabinet to a T! All of my fave things in this pic..vintage bamboo table, shells, books, vintage rug and blue and white pottery and of course bamboo blinds from Here is a direct link to the page where I order this color blind..simply choose on the pull down window “bamboo tortoise” and voila..they send samples too, this is my number one question ever so click that link and it should take you just where you want to go..I order privacy not blackout liner!  And of course the Peter Dunham pillow.

Opposite the windows and RH Linen chair is this wonderful collection of framed antique herbariums from my friend Melisse and her precious mother Sheryl of Campbell’s Melange in Baton Rouge. The Campbells have been showing at the original Round Top shows for many years. My pieces from them are treasures. They even framed these herbariums and they work so well with the antique french mirror I bought in the fields of Round Top years ago.  That mirror is so heavy!  The herbariums and antique mirror and my collection of Texana books do a lot to elevate my accessible Wisteria console in my mind;; That was the whole point of the article mixing regular easily accessible things from World Market and catalogs with truly special pieces to get a great mix…that is my favorite way to decorate. This vignette got a small spot in the article but was’t as front and center as I hoped but that just happens. I am glad I can feature it more here on the blog and tell more about details.

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

Bedding in the master below that wasn’t sourced in the magazine came from Mela and Roam..l adore Courtney Barton everything she does…I used one of her dohars as the spread on the bed and the lumbar is also from Courtney!

So many of you have asked how did I find such a neat home to LEASE????  Well of course the answer is NANA . . . and Jesus..always Jesus! My mom discovered this home when she met the owner, Mr A.A. Hodde, in early 2015 when our family was going through a very tough transition and I was trying to pray through the tough decision of moving from one town (where we had lived nearly 16 years in the little cottage and the new old house which we had only lived in months) to another.  The move was just 20 miles and one town over and closer to the children’s school but it was a big decision toward a new life in a new place. Once I had a peace that was the move we must make I prayed about where we would live. And this is where it gets complicated in my head and heart. This is where I think too much.  Why would God provide such an amazing soft place to land for me (and other women don’t all get this??) well the answer is He loves me and He loves other too but this was God’s special way of knowing how to nuture ME through the toughest time of my life and honestly keep me creative and able to work. When the storm hit out family I honestly thought I would would never be able to decorate another room again…suddenly nothing mattered certainly not decorating.  But my Lord who knows me so well knew how to keep my creative soul alive and kicking. So much to unpack there but I will leave that for another time. And I have to trust He is taking care of other hurting women in the ways that best meet their needs. I am learning to accept his love and provision for me  but still be soft and pray for others suffering too..MERCY and compassion for others and accepting God’s love and provision for self. Does anyone else struggle with this?? Of course you are probably thinking….

So, when we first looked at this home it was in the middle of being remodeled.  We assumed because so much work was being done to it that it was not a rental and would not be a viable possibility but mom had heard it WAS going to be available for rent and met Mr. Hodde and we began discussions. Even then I assumed it would be out of my budget. Little did I know that was God fast at work (through the owners of this house and others) behind the scenes preparing the sell of our other homes and remodeling this nest for our little family. It didn’t make sense and it happened very fast but He had us in the palm of His hand as always. You can see in the below photos the state the house was in during the remodel (much like how I felt in early 2015 and honestly God is still remodeling and restoring my heart still some gunk there y’all..being real) and you can also see the work and details the owners went to restore this old house. Just like God is restoring my heart and my children. The home is at least a 100 years old probably closer to 125 years!  


        A.A. Hodde and his wife Tina and their construction team led by Luis worked months and months peeling back the layers to repair this home and rewire, replumb, add new walls and refinish floors, on and on to bring it back to its glory and make it shine. And boy does it shine! Thank you TEAM HODDE

Mr. Hodde chose the outside color and his wife Tina Hodde and I exchanged a million email and texts and had many great visits about the interior selections, collaborating on the bathrooms and kitchens in particular…including counters and tiles and blinds. Country Living didn’t photograph and feature the bathrooms but they are totally remodeled and charming.  I will have to do another blog post just on this homes bathrooms one day! The entire team did an amazing job…Mr AA & Tina, Luis and Jesus and Manuel..Luis even built the cabinets! They were so open to how to make the home work for us and even welcomed Hunter the dog when the time came right for him to join us.  How many rentals will allow a young lab residency, especially into a house with newly refinished floors??

{Another shot that didn’t make it into the magazine but that I love..the old pew is in another part of that long, large hallway and the dealer I bought the pew from says its from an abandoned church in the nearby country from which we moved, no symbolism there huh?!} Tina Hodde picked this beautiful wall color SW Silverpointe. Look at those old floors!

Photography by Buff Strickland, Styling by Becki Griffin

Pillow with ties from Les Indiennes and smaller pillow is a Sister Parish print. Vintage runner and “yard long” prints from etsy and beyond.

So, this post has been hard to write.  I want to give source info and shout outs to the peopleand  places that may have been missed in the “source page” of the actual magazine and its just important to thank everyone behind the scenes.  But I also want to share my heart because this house is more than just pretty pictures its been a huge part of our soul story. So the feature came out weeks ago and I have had so much to say but its bittersweet and I have been stalling … for weeks! We moved in January and I honestly miss this house. We love our new home and its special in its own way, our story here where I write this post from right now is unfolding but this little house will always be so very special.  And its a slow process this “life transition” y’all, lots of road blocks and detours but God is restoring my family and our future just like he did this old house. Things take TIME. That is what God does..He recycles and restores and he makes old broken things new and beautiful again. ButI never want to glorify divorce or for anyone to think “wow she landed on her feet!” Yes I have a wonderful support system and career and this cute house was ours to live in during a dark time. That is wonderful and it was nice. But that is not everything. Let’s never forget that.  I think one of my biggest issues with the attention of this story and my entire story overall is feeling ashamed or guilty that I am so blessed and yet still hurting so much. Like I mentioned above, it’s good to be mindful and grateful and  aware of women around the world who have so much less and are suffering so much more.  It’s hard not to ask ‘why do I get a beautiful nest while women are fleeing Syria with their children and no water and food’ and even more embarrassing ‘why is this still so hard when i have so much’..I don’t understand and thats okay..its good to ask both I am learning.  I do believe God sees US ALL no matter the economics, whatever situation you may be in…and also remember just because there are pretty pictures and houses doesn’t mean people inside aren’t hurting and journeying much like a refugee..just in a different way. I am not a theologian I am just a decorator.  But I am also woman a mama and just a regular person too with questions and doubts and fears, even among cuteness lol! I don’t want to be a downer, this was an amazing experience and I am so thankful for my life and my business…life IS good. But it is a journey with bumps and its important to gloss over the hard part. Sure I know I don’t need to share every detail or pain or struggle but I hope sharing some of the real backstory both about the house and my heart helps make the picture more complete.  

{The “island” was just stock cabinets that my friend Kevin Gilmore of Oaks Renovation clad in v groove for me, notice the CS Lewis quote on the chalkboard hand lettered by my Tara Royers Steele, the tall cabinet ironically from our local rehab Restore shop, sign over cabinet from Leftovers Antiques, light discontinued from Wisteria;(}

     To me that is what building home is about, creating a backdrop for real life..the beautiful times and the messy, tough times too 

Shauna Niequist calls that BITTERSWEET.  So true. 

This home was a refuge to my boys and I and it was filled with joy at times with our Hunter and Nana and friends and it cradled us on teary nights and hard mornings too.  That is what shelter and home and true beauty and design are about to me. SO there you go, a little back story on a magazine feature.














But a PERFECT FATHER, who sees us all whether in a desert or in a rental, even in a mansion.


{Special thanks to Mr A.A. Hodde and your team of guys for all of your hard work on restoring this home and to Tina Hodde for your friendship, creativity and prayers, thank you for sharing your house and talents with our family and thank you to Country Living for the feature!}



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  1. What a beautiful story of a very special house! I loved seeing your house in Country Living and I love it even more when people tell their sources and their stories. You are blessed to have such a wonderful group of friends and family

  2. This is why I love you. Hugs!

  3. Robyn Farmer says

    I had tears while reading this. Your heart and openness in what God is doing in your life is such an inspiration. You not only have a gift of creating beauty in every space but also beauty with your words.

  4. Just beautiful! Holly, I am so proud of you. I have been there twice and know the pain, shame, and all the emotions of divorce. But also know the Love God gives during these times. Love you. Love the house!!

  5. Cari Skuse says

    Thanks for all the sources Holly! You have a beautiful home for your family. God is good always and looks out for us even when we don’t know it! 😘

  6. Kim Lubs says

    Your heart is so tender, compassionate and humble, and that is what makes you so special! Others are drawn to you because you are real, authentic & love others well.
    I feel lucky that I got to see this home in person! Your style of mixing regular big box store items with special pieces is exactly what attracts me to your style! You have a gift for creating beauty from regular goods! Its your magic!!

    • thank you kim but i really i have a lot of bitter and ugly in my heart too..just like those photos of those decayed walls..please know ex husband will tell you lol!

  7. What an amazing story. So full of beauty and goodness. A friend once told me that she never uses the word “blessed” when talking about herself. Such as, “I am blessed.” Because it makes her feel exactly what you put into words in this precious post. She said she worried that she would perhaps encounter someone walking a similar path who might wonder “Does God not love me enough to bless me in the same way?”
    We are all on different paths in this life. God truly has us in His hands and has our best interest at heart. Each of us may face a different challenge because that is where we will learn the most if we trust Him. When I divorced over 23 years ago I had no family at all to support me and only a high school education with no training. There were days that I didn’t eat in order to make sure my little girl had enough food. But I wouldn’t change any of it. All of those lessons were necessary in order to become the woman I am today. I am so glad now for the struggle. Because I look at all I now have and am so thankful to the tips of my toes. Every day.

  8. Thank you for sharing Holly….I think about you often! The house was beautiful!

  9. I attended one of your classes in November and got the privilege of seeing your sweet home. It was amazing and you couldn’t have been more precious! Thank you for sharing your heart.

  10. I also was at your November class, and I appreciated your authenticity then just as I do in this blog post. I thought I was the only one who wrestled with believing that God loves me and is “blessing” me (or making me feel loved during a hard time), while knowing sooo many other women around the world struggle under far worse circumstances. I’m so relieved someone else admits this! I was going through a hard time (and continue to) when I got to go to your class and see this lovely home. I was trying to keep it together and was wrestling with all kinds of emotions: envy, admiration, insecurity, inadequacy, yet also thankfulness for even being able to be there. Funny how even someone who seems to have it all (you), and is so amazingly talented and blessed with family and good friends, can still be going through such a hard time. I’m so sorry. This post got me all weepy. I just wish life was easier and you didn’t have to deal with all this. I know you feel like you still have yucky stuff in your heart to get worked out, but it sounds like you’re allowing these trials to have their perfect work in you. It’s convicting and encouraging.

  11. Thank you for sharing your source for your blinds! I just ordered some samples and look forward to receiving them! 🙂

  12. Holly,
    I’m so happy you shared this. Not just the amazing resources for the outcome of this cottage, clearly filled with love in every square inch in the home, but your story. I’ve followed you for some time and even though we’ve never met, your heartbreak of divorce brook my heart too. You are clearly such a warm person (and I know this is the truth because I’ve read Tess’ [Nine & Sixteen] and Kelly’s [Talk of the House] account of your kind and creative personality.

    I hope you’ll continue to spread your talents for making homes warm and welcoming and beautiful, and go easy on yourself. You deserve all of the good things that have come your way. You pay it back in so many ways.
    Love to you and your family and know how you inspire so many of us.

  13. Thank you for sharing your heart and your beautiful home. I have followed you since your cottage days and always look forward to a new post. This is one of my favorites.

  14. Jacki Salinas says

    You have such a sweet soul, and I love how you share your heart. And your decorating inspires me so!!!! God bless and keep you and yours.

  15. Thanks for sharing. Your new home is just darling as are you! God was for sure watching out for you and your family in providing you with such a great place to land. My house so happens to be in Country Living in the June feature on all of the states. It is such a great publication.

  16. I have read your blog for years, prayed for you and your family, but not sure I have ever commented. You are my kind of person! Thanks for your transparency and sharing His work of grace in your life.

  17. What a beautiful post on your beautiful space, but even more so of your beautiful heart. I do feel the need to correct something you said… you HAVE landed on your feet, and that has nothing to do with being hurt or sad. You are strong and brave and power through and onwards. THAT is landing upright! Thank you for the love and support, always!! (And I need to get a hold of this bedroom pic!!!!) xx

  18. Kelly Davis says

    I have followed you since the original Better Homes and Gardens Story on you, I think even before you had a blog, and have always just loved and identified (like so many!) with your style. Even more, though, I can relate to your heart as a Christian, a momma, and a wife / ex-wife, dealing with life, but in an ever gracious and thoughtful way. I appreciate your heart so much, in this post, and am glad you are feeling God’s grace over you… even as you face the hard moments and days. he is so good, and he wants only good for us all. He knows just how to nurture us in just the ways we need, and I am thankful that your writing reminded me of that today. You sparked my faith a bit this morning, as I read, and I am grateful that the Holy Spirit recognized Jesus in your writing, and gave me a renewed hope in His faithfulness. God is good, even when the world is not, and I will pray for you and your family as you cross my mind and heart.

  19. Helen Rayburn says

    Dear Holly,
    I am so happy you have found a place of solace and it always takes time to make it thru the things life throws at one; I speak from experience as I am recovering from breast cancer. I couldn’t make it without God helping me thru it all. I needed something to help me escape so we bought a little vacation house in Missouri a block from my sister, our permanent residence is in South Dakota. You were my decorating inspiration! I have used your beautiful new home to redo this house. My living room almost looks like yours. It has been great fun to look for all the objects that you had in yours. I am still looking for a lamp like yours, they have a marshalls in Rogers Ark, I may have to take a run and look there. I am having the blue huron and black swan framed at Hobby Lobby and can’t wait to see how they look. I have loved looking for the blue and white ginger jars and other jars. Found a lot of them at Hobby Lobby and antique stores. I put a striped gray and cream wool area rug in living room and haven’t found the pretty area rug you put on top of your rug. Loved the colors in yours. I bought the footstool and love it!! Found a fake fig tree for $26 at TJ Maxx, it looks great in the corner by a hutch similar to yours. I made buffalo checked cream and tan drapery panels for the only living room window, and just love them. The ikea love seat couches are wonderful too!!! I was wondering if you could tell me the fabric you used in your bedroom for the drapes? I have to tell you that I never liked blue but after doing this living room, I love the color now! I painted the walls BM gray owl and painted all the wood work White Dove!! Thanks for being an inspiration to me, and many blessings to you and your boys!!

  20. Your home is beautiful. Could you please give me the name of the paint color in the living room? Is the entire house painted the same color….love everything!

    • Ditto to Peggy’s question! I also would love to know the paint color in the living room. Thank you!

      Beautiful home…and I’m not familiar with your story (just saw the living room picture on Pinterest!) but plan to come back and follow the link to read it!

  21. Oh, Holly, I wish Indiana was closer to Texas and we could sit down and have a cup of coffee and cry. Once again I feel like you are speaking my thoughts about my divorce and Gods provision! I feel the same way – about all of it. It’s so hard but still so good, and I am really bad at accepting the blessings He pours out on me without feeling guilty.

  22. Dianne Kelly says

    I so enjoyed this posting! Mentioning Jesus’ hand in every day life was awesome! We just retired to manage a mission station in TX. I look at these pics as inspiring us to continue our renovations here and to display its rich 40 year history of assisting missionaries , both short term and career. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Helen Rayburn says

    Hello Holly,
    Is it possible to get the name of your bedroom drapery material; they are so pretty but yet not so busy.
    Thank you

  24. Holly – Thanks for telling the backstory of your house and your journey. Both are inspiring. Not only was your darling home a blessing and refuge to you and your family, but it also brought joy to many others who were lucky enough to be hosted or fed within it. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Oh sweet Holly. I love your heart and your honesty. You truly have a gift with writing, loving on others and of course decorating. I pray for you often friend!

  26. Beth Clark says

    Dear sweet Holly, thanks so much for being real. Sharing your heart isn’t the easiest thing to do with a small group, let alone everyone who has internet! I can’t give you a real hug, but know I’m sending you a virtual hug and a spiritual hug in the form of a prayer. Holly, as hard as it is to believe, God loves you more than anything and He knew that you needed to have love poured over you in this form. He also knew how you would struggle with this abundant love and He chose to refine you by blessing your socks off. We tend to assume that refinement can only come with negative things, or at least I do. But God is The God of mercy so He does things differently and we mere humans are blown away by His approach and His love, especially when our hearts are being smashed to smithereens. A dear friend of mine calls this “joy crashing into sorrow”. I’ll continue to pray that your heart heals, that your moments of joy crashing into sorrow will refine you in His way, and you will see yourself through His eyes; beautiful, whole, and pure. Love you sweet lady!

  27. Dear Holly, I had been crying out recently to God in the midst of my sorrow, exhaustion, pain & suffering thru dealing with so many “storms” broadsiding us just in the last year alone, on top of climbing out of the last slew of tail spins we were recovering from Harvey aftermath, family relationships & health issues….I again questioned God, “why now? why more?…” and He whispered, “in your utter weakness ~ I am made Strong!” I had been left numb with it all, trying so hard to not fall prey to anger or bitterness, yet failing even there. But as I process & recover with the help of the Holy Spirit, I look to renew my Spirit like on the wings of eagles. I am so sorry for the pain & losses you have had to endure. You & your precious family were broadsided too! I pray with All my heart that Joy will be your Heartsong, thru it all! God Bless you Holly for all that you have shared..your talents, your soul, your life song in this ever changing world in which we all live & breathe. God truly has His loving hand upon you. Continue to give Him the Glory and be humble & true. He has great plans for you (Eph 3 :20) more than you can imagine!You have greatly inspired me this day thru your honesty, faith & talents. I know I shall rise out of the ashes even stronger still by the Amazing Grace of God. Please consider writing a book someday, you are truly talented in that respect as well. My prayers & heart are with you Dear Lady. 💙

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