Corrine Stokoe’s blog, Mint Arrow, has one major philosophy: You deserve to buy the things you want at a price you can afford. Since 2013, she’s been striving to leave her readers better than they came. The mom of two (and one on the way!), currently lives with her husband, two daughters, and Goldendoodle in a Southern California home that is an absolute dream. Today, Corrine is letting us inside her beautiful home and sharing all the details about how they’ve tweaked and improved the space since moving in. You’ll also get the scoop on what keeps her inspired, how her career took off, and the secret to surviving the renovation process.
What was your first job out of college, and how did you land it?
I worked full time my senior year of college (while I was a full-time student too!) at a really fun, young, hip company where they had TVs on the wall playing music videos and there was virtually no dress code and someone was always having a pizza party or ordering in trays of sushi. Then my first job right after graduating was at a private equity firm in Irvine, California, and I could not have chosen a more different work atmosphere! I wasn’t allowed to listen to music even in one ear from my iPod, I had to dress business professional every day, and if I needed to take a bathroom break, I had to walk around the entire building instead of 50 feet away because that meant I would have to walk in front of a huge glass floor-to-ceiling conference room with important bankers making big money decisions. I learned a lot at that job, but most of all that the banking world was not for me.
What led you to start a blog? How has your blog changed since then?
I started my blog Mint Arrow in 2013, a few months after my first baby girl, Anabelle, was born. I was really struggling with postpartum depression and needed badly to get out of the house every day, but in the dead of winter in Utah, there are only so many places you can take an infant. So I would bundle both of us up every day and we’d hit the mall or Target and just “window shop” since we didn’t have much of a spending budget. I had this weird love for finding deals on things, and since I couldn’t buy everything myself, I’d post the deals I was finding on my personal Instagram with the hashtag #someonegobuythis, and after some encouragement from family and friends, started a blog to highlight deals and occupy my spare time!
The blog has slowly evolved into a place where we also share lots of fashion trends and inspiration, baby and kid trends, but we still stick to our roots and share the best deals on nicer things as often as possible.
Your blog is all about affordable style. Why did you choose that as its focus?
When I started blogging, I saw an opportunity to combine two things I loved: cute clothes and nice things with crazy good deals. At the time, I only really saw blogs that either were styling beautiful outfits but not focusing much on affordability, or crazy coupon sites that only featured deal info but didn’t have much style or inspiration attached. I’ve worked hard over the years to combine the two and share these deals and stylized content with my readers, and now have a team of five other women who help me with coming up with and sharing this content.
What’s your favorite thing about your job, and what are the greatest challenges?
My favorite part of this job honestly has been the opportunities to really connect with women online who are searching for truth, honesty, values and things that “really matter” in life. As time has gone on, I’ve opened up about all kinds of personal things on social media about my life, my faith, and addiction recovery from my perspective as the wife of a recovering addict, parenting failures, struggles with postpartum depression, etc.
These posts have led to developing even more of our brand into places where we can continue these conversations, like a Facebook group called Mint Arrow Besties — a place only for positivity and uplifting posts, where women can come to connect with each other in a non-judgemental environment and find support. We’re also launching a podcast called Mint Arrow Messages where we’re sharing stories of people who have overcome trials or experienced unique life situations, whose perspective can help all of us find more compassion and understanding for others.
My favorite part of this job honestly has been the opportunities to really connect with women online who are searching for truth, honesty, values and things that “really matter” in life.
How did you find your current home? What was the process like?
We loved our last home SO MUCH, but we found ourselves outgrowing it with two very active little girls and a third on the way and running a business from home with a constant flow of inventory and people coming to work in and out of the house every day. Neil (my husband) and I both felt like it was time to look for something new, and after looking and looking and LOOKING for the perfect home and even putting an offer in on a home in our same neighborhood and being outbid. Afterward we took the kids to one of our favorite fast-casual restaurants to just take a break from the home search and ran into a friend from high school who told me how much she LOVED her community, which was just a neighborhood away from our current home.
We went home that night and looked up houses, and Neil suddenly said “Oh Corrine, I found your dream home!” It was love at first sight, and although the process of getting into this home was long and hairy and crazy — the first short sale that either our realtor or our lender had done in 10 years — it was worth it! I hope we never move again!
How would you describe your home’s aesthetic?
Our home is probably a combination of traditional, feminine, and boho. Neil sometimes jokes that he feels like he lives in a dollhouse, but overall, I’ve really tried to pick pieces that are timeless enough that we’ll love them for years! Like our lighting: it’s beautiful and kind of industrial but not so trendy that I think we’ll get sick of them in just a couple years. I especially feel like the kitchen pendants are something you’d see in a cool New York restaurant that’s been around for decades.
Tell us about the renovation process for your kitchen — where did you begin?
We want to eventually do a bigger renovation, but moving into a new house is EXPENSIVE! So, we tried to just pick a few things that would make a big impact, like staining the grout and installing the black matte touch faucet and matte black bar stools from Target and of course, the big focal point, the ginormous pendants from Hudson Valley Lighting. My designer Tahni Hansen really helped me pick out a good balance of that flat black with the brass lighting and gave me the confidence to mix those textures and I’m SO happy with how they turned out!
What was most important for the design of your family room? How did you achieve this?
When we looked for a new home it was a TOP priority for me to find a space where the kitchen flowed right into the family room so it felt like we were all together, even if I spent half the day in the kitchen preparing a big meal. I wanted the kitchen and family room to feel cohesive, so we picked fixtures and features that complimented each other. I was happy we could keep all the classic pieces from our last home’s living room and just spice things up with some newer accessories and pillows that will be easy to swap out with seasons or trend changes.
Were there any design decisions you had to make solely because you have children? (i.e. couch fabric or color, etc.) Can you tell us about those?
Our sofas are from Restoration Hardware, and we specifically chose their perennials performance fabrics which has paid off BIG TIME with spills and the marker that our kids have decorated those sofas with. Everything has come out beautifully, and although those were a splurge, I’m really happy that we invested in sofas and fabrics that will last our family a very long time.
I also love the luxe depth of our gray sofa, because both my girls can snuggle with me to watch a movie on that sofa it’s so huge! I just posted an Instagram of us earlier this week all together watching our Sunday afternoon family movie, a weekly tradition I love and hope lasts for a long time.
How do you keep your family room clean and organized on a day-to-day basis? Any tips for moms trying to corral all the kid stuff?
We keep all the kid’s toys upstairs in the playroom and only allow them to bring a few down at a time and ask them to pick them up and take them back to their rooms or the playroom when they’re done. It REALLY helps cut down on clutter and feeling like there’s always a huge mess in our main living areas! And if anyone shows up unannounced, it’s not a mad dash to pick up a million toys before somebody walks in. I really don’t stress too much, though, about whether some coloring books and crayons are out on the counter, or dishes are in the sink. We live here after all!
What are your favorite places to shop for your home?
I really love Anthropologie, West Elm, Restoration Hardware, Hudson Valley Lighting (for those amazing light fixtures!), and I will always feel right at home walking into a Williams-Sonoma hearing Frank Sinatra and something yummy simmering on their stove.
What is your favorite room in your house?
Right now, our nursery (which is yet to be revealed!) because it represents so much excitement and anticipation for a new baby sis to join the family.
What advice do you have for others who might be trying to revamp their home while on a budget?
Pick the thing that is bugging you the VERY most and see if you can afford to change that up! In our very first home, we had Formica countertops, and I hated them with a passion. We pooled ALL our wedding money when we got married and splurged it on switching to granite countertops and DIY’d the rest of the kitchen reno, like painting the cabinets ourselves and installing a tile backsplash ourselves. I was in love with that little kitchen, and I still believe the reason our house sold so fast was that our kitchen was the cutest and most updated on the market in our neighborhood!
In our current kitchen, that pinkish grout was the thing that bugged me the very most, so instead of re-tiling our entire kitchen (a huge expense) we stained the grout instead — a $16 investment that made a world of difference!