Collecting What You Love, Loving Where You Live

Photo by Allie Monday

What's up homeskillets, Caroline here. Bringing you a bold dose of thought this lovely Sunday.

Amanda Louise and I have been an official pair for roughly 6 months now and I have to say it has been a fully gratifying and fruitful half year. I wanted to take a moment and share what I've learned about working with Amanda, and the singularly most important piece of information I've come to know about the woman since working alongside her, a life lesson that no one told me about until she introduced me to the wonderful world of interiors. This particular lesson pairs with the three words that come to my mind each and every time I think of the gal.

Miniature. Dog. Collection.

I know what you're thinking, what the literally H. E. double hockies? But alas, let me take you back to the first time I met with Amanda Louise in her humble abode and saw, with my very own eyes, said set of K-9 minis.

Walking into this meeting some months ago, I quite frankly did not know what to expect. I am a business developer, content curator, producer, project manager. I am so not a designer. Creative, yes, sure, I wear that name tag with pride. But when you see our vision and design aesthetic, that's all Amanda Lou making her mark and doing her thing. You feel me? Back to the dog mini encounter.

Amanda's home is a maximalists heaven. Her very own, close to quarters (literally in the quarters) sandbox. To try new things out over here and rearrange items over there. It's amazing, one of a kind, and freaking off the charts colorful. Like I said, sandbox. I enter the room, I have a mild moment where I have to sit down and take it all in. And then, finding me from a vintage china shelf across the room, are these vividly small dog figurines. Perfectly placed on layers of antique shelves, like they'd lived there all of their life in perfect pedigree harmony. I gasped. Never had I ever in all of my life seen something so different. So unexpected. So not.. me.

As I walked closer to the hound menagerie, I noticed each held real personality, no two were alike; such a collection had to be the product of an over-time accumulation. There was a poodle shaking off his furs, mimicking the mops of our Happy Car Wash just down the street. A Doberman standing proud, pointing after potential game across what I imagine would be a tall, grassy field. A lab, just like queen Maisy; American's beloved breed wagging and waving. All different shapes and sizes. Some tall, others teeny tiny small. I was amazed.

Amanda and I concluded our meeting, parted ways for the afternoon, and again, for the next few days, weeks, maybe even months, I thought about this perfectly placed collector's piece. That's all to say, Amanda Lou's collection represents a turning corner for me. Amanda Louise loves, and I mean loves her dog figurines. Lights up the the fourth of dang July when talking about each piece- where they came from, how they got there, and the journey she's taken through accumulating.

I think about this set of dogs every time we schedule a meeting at Chateau A'Louise. I like to harp on how they'll have to be individually bubble wrapped whenever we discuss the potential of our head honcho moving- mostly because I worry about transporting them, and the wrap job it will require. Point blank, these doggies have come to define the way I feel about Amanda Louise and her design priority: to put what we love and appreciate first, and create happy homes in which we can spend our valuable, never-have-enough-time.

Not until I met these pups did I even consider collecting my one love, an item of things I'll share much later on when my collection is complete. Yet now, my eyes have been widely opened, and I'm all bushy tailed to start believing in my own home, my own space, where I call the shots and I determine what makes me most happy.

I'm the content curator, the project director, your timeline guru. I do not design but our fearless leader that does has taught me true gratitude comes from embracing your loves and building a home around and about them. Here's to embracing and always collecting.

Photo by Luke Cleland

Photo by Luke Cleland

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