After spending years living all over the country (we’re jealous), Erin Vogelpohl, her husband, and their three kids have finally settled in Dallas, Texas, where they own a gorgeously designed home (jealous about that too). Erin has a lot of tips and tricks to share about maintaining a home, keeping the kids’ mess away, and making time for yourself.
Name: Erin Vogelpohl
Square Footage: 4,800 (some rooms not pictured)
Rent or Own: Own
City, State: Dallas, TX
So you began your career as a fourth grade teacher, and now you stay busy in your role as mom to three young children! How did your career in education prepare you to be a full-time mom? What lessons did you learn through your experience?
Yes, I worked as an elementary school teacher for several years in Charlottesville, VA. I loved working with students, helping them achieve their goals and watching them grow. Even though it was stressful at times (as most teachers can attest), I felt like I was making a difference and had a positive impact on my students.
I was fresh out of college and only 21 during my first year teaching. I’m sure a few eyebrows were raised when my students’ parents saw me for the first time, looking so young! Several of my students were even taller than me! To make things even more interesting my classroom was in a trailer behind the school due to overcrowding. It was definitely a challenging experience! I think what I took away most from being a teacher is that patience, planning, and consistency go a long way when working with children.
Of course when you’re a parent, and they are you’re own children, it’s a whole new ballgame! I don’t think any job can quite prepare you for life as a full-time, stay at home mom! I, of course, knew a lot about child development through my studies and work as a teacher, but I didn’t know what it would be like to be up all night long when you first bring home your newborn baby or how much love you could have for your child.
That couch from Restoration Hardware was one of our best purchases ever! We ordered it in Perennials Linen fabric which basically wipes off spills like outdoor fabrics. Because it is an acrylic blend, the cushion covers can be thrown in the washing machine or even be bleached!
SO much goes into being a SAHM — what are the greatest challenges? What are the greatest rewards?
You’re right! Being a stay at home mom is a full time job that never stops!! But I wouldn’t change it for the world! I think one challenge of being a stay at home mom is that you often lack adult interaction throughout your day, as well as not having time to take care of yourself. When my first baby was almost one, we moved to Northern California for my husband’s job. We didn’t know anyone there. I can remember how desperate I was to just have an adult conversation or to be able to go to the store by myself!
I think it’s so important to get involved with moms groups when your kids are young, so you don’t end up feeling isolated. I think it’s so helpful to have a group of ladies you can go to with questions and for support. I was so fortunate to find an amazing group of supportive women a few months after we moved to California! Those women taught me so much about how to successfully juggle being a great mom and still make time for yourself. Our weekly playdates were just as much for me as they were for my daughter!
Of course the rewards of being a stay at home mom totally outweigh any of the challenges. I’m so fortunate that I get to be there for all of my kids’ big moments and all of the small ones too. I get to enjoy my kids’ everyday successes, and help them through their mistakes and just be there for them every step of the way.
What do you wish more people knew about being a SAHM?
Hmm. Honestly, that’s a difficult question to answer. I think the obvious answer would be: I wish people knew how hard it was! And it is hard! But then again, I know how fortunate I am to be in this position. I think being a mom is hard. Period. It’s also endlessly rewarding and fulfilling. Whether you work full time, are a single mom, or you stay at home, we all have different struggles and challenges. But in the end, we are all moms doing the best we can for our families!
Whether you work full time, are a single mom, or you stay at home, we all have different struggles and challenges. But in the end, we are all moms doing the best we can for our families!
We know that everything is bigger in Texas, but what else is unique about design and decor in the Lone Star state?
I think just like any state, Texas has a unique style, but is also influenced by social media and home design shows, local design firms, and from people who move here from all over. When we first moved to Texas almost five years ago from California, what stood out the most, besides the sheer size of the homes here, was how grand and formal the houses were. Model homes that we toured had a lot of dark woods, rich warm colors and many had ornate, heavy furniture. Of course, you would also find those houses with the stereotypical western style decor; horns, cowhides, etc, but that’s definitely not how everyone decorated!
Now, 5 years later, I think that shows like Fixer Upper and social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest have definitely influenced how people decorate their homes. Now when I tour model homes in my area, I see much more neutral color palettes. Many homes have a farmhouse style, with shiplap, barn doors, vintage-inspired accents and weathered wood finishes. But just like any other big city in the country, you can find homes with just about any decor style you would want. Many new home communities in the Dallas area offer homes that are more modern and sleek, while other homes have a craftsman or traditional style.
Have you always lived in Texas?
No, I am not originally from Texas and only my youngest daughter is a native Texan. I have lived all over the US! I was born in Washington state, moved to Arizona at age 7 and lived there until I graduated college. Then I got married and moved to Virginia to teach school and help put my husband through law school. From there my husband and I have moved many times for his job (he is a Patent attorney). We moved first to Arizona, then to Northern California, then back to Arizona, and then back to Northern California and finally ended up in Texas 5 years ago. I know, that’s enough moving to make your head spin!
You and your husband designed and built three homes in four years. That’s crazy! How did you manage it, and what was the process like?
Yes, the first home we started building was within six weeks of closing when the local power company announced unexpectedly that large power lines would be built very close to the house. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it best to back out of the contract at that time. We then built another home in a different neighborhood across town. After living there for a year and having some issues with both the neighborhood and the schools, we found a great lot in our dream neighborhood and decided to build yet again! Yes, we are crazy!!
The home building process is not for the faint of heart. The worst part was living in small apartments and rental homes for a combined 2 of the last 5 years. I did love the design aspect of building a home. Picking out all the materials and colors for our home was definitely my favorite part. I think I probably spent hundreds of hours researching lighting, paint colors, tile and stone!! I secretly loved that part of it though! It’s what helped me decide to start my Instagram page and document the building process. While I did enjoy designing our homes, building one from the ground up is definitely a long and sometimes frustrating process. One that I’m not sure I would like to do again…at least not anytime soon!! I would definitely recommend doing a lot of research before picking a home builder. We were lucky to use a very reputable builder, one that is known for its great costumer service and amazing warranty program. I would also recommend having a realtor with you during the process. Our amazing realtor was instrumental in saving us a lot of money and a ton of headaches! After building our current home, which took over a year, we are so happy to finally be settled and know we won’t move again for a long time! This house finally feels like home!
Your home features a beautiful neutral color palette, incorporating a lot of white and ivory. How do you possibly keep it clean with three kids?
One word: containment. I try to contain my kids messes to certain areas of the home which have more forgiving materials, as well as to keep me sane by not having the mess in the main living area. Most of the kids toys stay upstairs in their room and playroom. Their shoes, jackets. and backbacks (usually) stay in the mud room. And food and drinks (ideally) stay in the kitchen. We do play with sand, paints, play-doh, and markers but I’m just careful to contain the mess!
I know people wonder how I can have a white linen couch with 3 young kids. Well, that couch from Restoration Hardware was one of our best purchases ever! We custom ordered it in RH’s Perennials Linen fabric which basically wipes off spills like outdoor fabrics. Because the Perennials linen is an acrylic blend, the cushion covers can be thrown in the washing machine or even be bleached!! Grape juice and homemade slime have gotten on that couch and left no stains! All that being said, accidents do happen in our house. We even have a few stains on our white carpet, but we didn’t get the most expensive carpet so we figure we can replace it down the road. We do let our kids be kids, and try not to stress too much about it.
When decorating a room, what do you usually start with first?
First, I think about what furniture pieces I already have that will work in the space. Then I think about the color scheme and furniture arrangement, and decide on the bigger items that will need to be purchased for the room. For example, when designing our current living room we had already purchased our large tufted sofa so I knew the whole room would have to work around it. We then purchased the coffee table and side table. The rug was a very important piece in the space as well. I decided on a very neutral color rug because I like to change out decorative pieces and play around with accent colors, especially with my throw pillows. Throw pillows are definitely my weakness when it comes to home decor. I have cabinets full of throw pillows!
What’s your favorite part of your home? Which room or piece (or both!) sticks out to you most?
I love how open and bright my house is! I love when natural light fills a room! The kitchen/living room space is definitely my favorite part of my home. It’s the heart of our home, where our family gathers. I think the cathedral ceiling in our living room with the dark beams is such a striking feature and really sticks out the most!
What’s the one design rule you live by? What advice have you received that has really stuck with you throughout your many design projects?
My design rule is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to create a really fantastic space. Put a large chunk of your budget into buying nice, quality furniture pieces that you can keep for a long time and then pull the space together with more affordable accessories and decor! Most of my accessories come from Target, Home Goods, and even garage sales and antique stores.
Another design rule I live by is to keep things simple. Make sure the items you add to your space either have a purpose or just make you happy. If they don’t…get rid of them! If you’re space doesn’t start out cluttered with things you don’t need, won’t use, or don’t make you happy, then it won’t feel so overwhelming when it’s time to clean or when your kids blow through like tornados!
If someone wanted to make a small change to their home without necessarily redoing it entirely, where would you suggest they begin?
A fresh coat of paint can really make a home feel fresh and bright. You can also transform the feel of a space with area rugs, throw pillows, updated window treatments and a few quality furniture pieces.
Does your home have any quirks that you had to design around?
My home doesn’t have a big front porch. It’s probably my biggest pet peeve about my home. It’s not even big enough to put a potted plant on. If I was to change anything about my house that would definitely be the first thing I would remedy!
What are your favorite places to shop for home decor?
Oh I love this question! My favorite places to shop for decor include Target, HomeGoods, Etsy, World Market, and Hobby Lobby. I change out my throw pillows and smaller accent items often, so I don’t like to spend a ton on those items. If I’m looking for furniture or other decor pieces that will be higher quality and something that will stay in the room long term, my favorite places to shop are Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn.
Where do you see yourself and your home in five years? What’s the next step for you and your family, and what room will you work on next (if any)?
In five years, a lot of things will be different in my life. My kids will be much older and more independent. My oldest will be getting ready to apply to colleges! I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but I’m sure I’ll be working in some capacity. I hope it’s something I love and am passionate about. Right now I’m focused on my Instagram account and I’ve started a blog recently. I’m excited to see where that goes! If I pursue a job in the design business, I would be interested in working a home stager or possibly as a model home decorator.
As far as our home, I hope to tackle some smaller projects like putting some wall paneling in the dining room and finishing off a small built in area at the top of our stairs within the next year. We also hope to eventually deck out our media room. The biggest project on the horizon is our backyard living space. We hope to have a pool and spa built, as well as an outdoor kitchen and pergola! I think we will live outside once that happens!
What advice would you give to your 23-year-old self?
I would tell her to believe in herself and not to sweat the small stuff, everything will work out! I would also suggest that she not get that short haircut she wants when she’s 24…it ends up looking like a mullet (not like Charlize Theron’s hair) and you’ll spend years trying to grow it back out!
Erin Vogelpohl is The Everygirl…
Favorite type of cuisine?
Hands down: Mexican food with some good chips and salsa!
Last guilty pleasure song you listened to?
Oh probably “You’re Welcome” from the movie Moana! My daughter watches that movie 3 times a day and those songs stick in my head….but i secretly love them and hum the songs all day!
Secret hidden talent?
I can stay up til 2am and get up at 6am, and still do my hair and makeup every day! I’m a crazy night owl! I get my second wind at about 10:00 after the kids are in bed! I clean, do laundry, catch up on social media and my favorite shows in that time! And yes, I do my hair and makeup every morning…no matter what. I don’t do it for other people, it just makes me feel better, like I can face the day!
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?
So many amazing women to choose from…but, I really admire and would love to have lunch with Joanna Gaines of the show, Fixer Upper. She is such a strong, positive role model for women. She has shown that with hard work, passion, and faith you can achieve your dreams. I would love to talk with her about how she is able to juggle her roles as wife and mother of four young children, and hugely successful designer and business woman.
Want to see how her home has changed since?