When we first saw Jessie Epley Short‘s merry-inducing Raleigh home, we were overcome with a certain girlish joy. This blogger’s Southern abode is chock-full of gilded mirrors and bubblegum pink accents, and it’s dressed head-to-toe in bold, bright, and purposeful color. A 21st century Marie Antoinette would feel right at home at Jessie’s. (If you have any doubts on this matter, just turn your attention to the “Let Them Eat Cake” vase in the kitchen.)
Though Jessie Short’s charming space is (delightfully) eclectic, the lady of the house emphasizes the importance of decorating with a plan. We must say, her methods pay off. What could have turned out to be a noisy and overly-girlish mixture of pattern and color instead resulted in an all-absorbing layered home, diligently detailed and uniquely bright—a sugar factory for grown-ups.
Now, it’s Jessie’s turn to share her musings and inspiration about how she made her Raleigh house a home.
What are your favorite/least favorite things about your home?
My favorite thing about our home is the location. When we were looking for houses, we knew we wanted to stay in a certain neighborhood, even if it meant sacrificing square footage. My least favorite thing about our home is that we do not have a lot of natural light. There are many things you can change about a house but natural light is not one of them.
What is your advice for someone looking to decorate on a budget, and how did you save money when decorating your house?
Start with a plan. It is overwhelming to start making large purchases without knowing which direction you are going. Many people think that hiring a designer is out of their budget. However, most designers will do hourly consultations to help you devise a plan and can end up saving you money in the long run.
Be patient and persistent. The majority of our house is made up of Craigslist and estate sale finds. If you want to find deals, you have to put work into it. That means waking up at 5am on a Saturday to go to an estate sale or driving an hour to pick up something from Craigslist. It also requires patience. It may take months of searching but when you find the perfect piece, it will be so worth it.
Save where you can so you can splurge where you want. If you save and find affordable pieces, it will be easier to splurge on items you want to invest in. I personally invest in art and fabrics that I cannot live without.
What is your favorite budget-friendly piece in your home? How did you find it?
My favorite budget-friendly piece is a tortoise shell coffee table I found at a warehouse in my hometown. The table was a designer sample, and I had been watching it since 2010. It was love at first sight, but it was way out of my budget. I would visit it every time I went home and ask if they had thought about reducing the price. Finally, a couple of months ago, they reduced the price and it came home with me.
Tell us about your home? Do you rent or own? Where is your home located? Do you live on your own? What main attributes were you looking for in a home?
My husband and I bought our Raleigh, NC, home two-and-a-half years ago. At the time, we were looking for location, good bones and a big backyard for our dogs.
You have two large dogs and your place is beautiful. How do you keep your pets from destroying your furniture? What advice do you have for other pet owners?
There is no solution for dealing with messy pets. Personally, I think pets make a home. I wouldn’t trade Hank and Roy for a clean house any day. My only advice would be to invest in a Dyson Animal Vacuum—best wedding present ever!
When did you start your blog, The Long and Short of It? How did you decide to start blogging? What were you hoping to get out of it?
I started blogging in 2010 right after I was engaged and we bought our house. I was totally consumed with interior decorating and making our house a home. Unfortunately, most of my friends were still single and not in the decorating phase. I started blogging so I could make connections with like-minded ladies who shared my passion for design. I had zero expectations when I started. A blog was the perfect creative outlet and I was able to get feedback from people I really admire.
What are your current career aspirations? Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
Currently, I work at a desk job from 9 to 5. I think sometimes in the “blog world” there is so much pressure to quit your job and follow your passion. I am all for following your passion, but I also think just because you have a blog does not mean you should quit your day job. Starting a business requires a great deal of research and self-exploration. Most of the talented bloggers who are running successful businesses did not get there overnight. A day job can help you gain experience, and you can start saving so you can take the next step. That being said, in the next five years I hope to do my research, figure it out and be my own boss doing something creative.
What advice would you give to your 23-year-old self?
Do not let the fear of failing hold you back. Get it over with and move forward! I am still telling my 27-year-old self this.