One look at Natalie Broach’s Florida home and it becomes immediately apparent that every room has been designed with intention. From neutral pallets to understated decor selected with the utmost care, this bright home is as much of a joy to photograph as it is to view.
Before settling down in Jacksonville, Florida, photographer and small-business owner Natalie Uprichard ventured overseas to Paris and Venice where she undertook some personal projects photographing the beautiful cities of Europe. Since then, she has become a featured artist on West Elm and Minted with prints for sale, and started her own photography business where she makes her living photographing weddings, engagements, and staging maternity photoshoots.
Enjoy taking in every detail of Natalie’s tour and learn some useful DIYs for designing with a new baby in mind, where to find great decor pieces, and how to maintains a minimalist aesthetic like a pro.
What was your first job and how did you land it?
My first job out of college was working as head photographer at a megachurch called Celebration. I applied for a job in their communications department, and when they saw one of my skills was photography, they hired me to run that department. With a church that size, photography played such a huge role with the need of social media images, websites, weekly series, book covers, and campus coverage. I did all of this while running my own photography business on the side.
You now run your own wedding and lifestyle photography business. What was it like following your passion and starting a business?
As I was working at the church, I was able to still run a business on the side. To this day I still don’t know how I managed both, but photography was my passion, so I worked super hard so I could build my business up. Once my photography business started turning full time, I knew it was time to leave my job at the church and give my business a real shot. Yes, it was scary, but if I didn’t take the risk I never would be where I am today. I still remember thinking, “What if I don’t have enough clients and gave up a full-time, steady job for this?” Thankfully, I had the biggest supporter: my husband! He assured me it would be OK even if that was the case and thankfully it was not. My business took off and I was busier than ever and loving every single day!
You’ve photographed all over the world, tell us about your time in Paris and Northern Ireland.
Getting to travel has been by far one of the best experiences in my life. A few months after college, I had the opportunity to go to Northern Ireland for an internship at a church plant. (This was the same church I later ended up working for when I moved back to Florida.) I was a bit nervous to move to another country, but I hadn’t landed a job yet, I was young, and nothing was holding me back, so I went for it! I am so glad I did, because this is where I met my husband! Thankfully, I married someone who loves to travel just as much as me and we’ve gone to some pretty amazing places together — with my camera, of course! I have photographed a few weddings and other sessions in Northern Ireland, Hawaii, New York, and then did some personal work in Paris and Venice. Some of my photography can even be purchased at West Elm and Minted.
You’ve been in your current home now for four years, how did you go about purchasing this home?
Purchasing your first home can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. We had been married for two years and one of the biggest pushes for us was that we were tired of apartment living. We seemed to have the worst luck — the first one turned into the biggest mold nightmare and the second apartment had the thinnest walls and noisiest neighbors. We were over it and felt it was just time! We knew we didn’t want a fixer upper because at the time I was working two jobs, so we just didn’t have time for it. We decided after all of our apartment issues we had in the past, we wanted something new and something we could (somewhat) control. After several months of searching and looking at every single model home, we found the floorpan and neighborhood that was perfect for us.
What was your approach to designing your new home?
When it came time to designing our home, I felt so overwhelmed with all of the options and styles these days. I started walking around sores to look at what color schemes and furniture I liked. I started noticing I gravitated to anything white, gray, or in the neutral family. I did buy a lot of our bigger pieces from Pottery Barn or West Elm, but then would add accent pieces from places like H&M home, Home Goods, and Target. This enabled us to be able to decorate while remaining on a budget.
Were there any quirks to the house that you needed to mitigate during the design process? If so, tell us about them.
Due to opting out of some of the upgrades for the home, it came with standard carpet and vinyl flooring as well as a cream wall color. It was awful, and thankfully the carpet was the first to go. Installing wood floors completely changed the entire look of our main living area, which we later carried out through the rest of the house. It’s crazy to think what wood floors and new paint color can really do for your design process.
You’ve mentioned that you wanted your home to be like a breath of fresh air — tell us how you achieve that aesthetic.
I wanted our home to feel like a fresh of breath air and to be extremely calming. Don’t get me wrong: I love color, and I love when I see it in other people’s homes. But for me, I just knew I needed a light color scheme and a minimal approach. For me, less is more. By choosing grays and whites while adding a few pops of green from plants or a little color in our rugs, I was able to create my perfect style home. People always say that my home feels calming when they enter it, and that’s exactly what I was going for!
What were some of the first improvements and design projects you took on after you moved in?
When we first moved in, we painted the main living space a nice shade of gray and had the carpet removed and replaced with wood floor. Then we began smaller projects like adding subway tile to the kitchen and replacing light fixtures. After a few years, we tackled some bigger projects like adding wood floors to the remaining rooms in the home, putting marble tile in the master bathroom, and adding frame molding to our bedroom.
You’ve masterfully designed every element of your home around minimalism, what do you think is the most important thing to consider to successfully achieve this look?
I think the most important thing to consider when going for a minimalistic approach for your home is to only fill it with pieces you absolutely love. Rather than buying a bunch of decor pieces for the sake of filling a space, I would take my time and search for items that I loved rather than just liked. There were times I went several months without things but I knew it would pay off in the end when I was able to achieve the look I was going for.
Intention also feels like an important element of minimalist design. What is your approach to making decisions about decor? Is there a method to finding the perfect dining room chair for your space or the perfect frame-to-mat ratio for your favorite art?
When it came time to pick out things such as dining room chairs, I knew I wanted them to be stylish yet functional. I’m also extremely big on comfort — if it isn’t comfortable, I’m not buying it. I always envisioned having lots of dinner parties, and I wanted our chairs to be comfortable so guests weren’t anxiously waiting for dinner to be over to migrate to the couch. This was my approach for other things in our home as well. For instance, I didn’t want a rug to just be pretty, I wanted it to serve the right purpose in the room. We went with a shag rug in our living room to not only make it more cozy, but also so we were OK with sitting on it for game nights.
When it comes to for picture frames, I like clean lines. I chose to go with a collage in our dining room, but kept them lined up. By going with a larger mat and smaller image, it gives it that minimalist look I love!
What is your favorite element of the house?
Some of my favorite elements in our house are the pieces of furniture I refurbished that I found either on Craigslist or inherited from my grandmother. She had these really great modern console and chest pieces that were a cherry wood that I painted white with their original, gold knobs. I just love how they look in the spaces of our home, and knowing they were my grandmother’s makes it extra special. One of my grandmother’s pieces is in my favorite room of the house: the nursery! I was able to use it for the chaining table and it turned out beautiful!
Where are some of your favorite places to shop for decor?
Some of my absolute favorite places to shop for decor are Pottery Barn, West Elm, Ballard Design, Target, and H&M Home.
What advice would you give to someone that is feeling the urge to redesign their home in a major way? It’s a big undertaking and often, once you’ve finished the project, you’re able to reflect more easily on what you wish you’d done differently. Tell us what knowledge you’ve gained after a few years of tweaking your home.
The best advice I can give someone who is wanting to redesign your home is to take it one step at a time and choose what you love. Don’t feel pressured to design it any other way than what works for you. Yes, Pinterest and interior blogs are very helpful, but don’t let that change the way you want your space to feel and look.
I once painted our guest bedroom accent wall a dark navy because I saw it on a blogger’s page and her house was gorgeous. It turned out great, but I was never settled on it because it simply wasn’t my style. I knew in order for me to feel content with that room and love it, I had to change it. So my dear husband had the privilege of repainting the wall to white only few months after. Now the room is designed with my neutral, minimalist style and it feels more like me. At the end of the day, you are the one living in the space, so do what you love and don’t worry if it takes a while to get there. Design is a process, so enjoy it!
You’re expecting your first baby, congratulations! How has becoming a mother-to-be influenced your approach to design?
Thank you! I’ve always had our children in mind when decorating our home, which is why I chose a lot of pieces that were functional and not just stylish. Thankfully it really has never kept me from choosing colors and pieces I love. People are always asking me if all the white in my house makes me nervous with a baby on the way, and the answer is no. I’ve learned already after a few incidents with our puppy, that most everything can be cleaned. We also want to raise our children to respect our home and the things in it.
Can you specifically talk about that beautiful framed piece in the nursery? Where did you get the inspiration and how did you execute that project?
I originally got the framed wall idea for the nursery from Pottery Barn. I was casually looking at baby items online when I stumbled across it. They had a floral wallpaper filling theirs, but for me, I knew that was too busy. I began looking on Etsy for simple wallpaper and found a ton I saw on Pinterest, but I didn’t want a copycat nursery. I wanted something soothing, unique, and for it to be a place I would want to rock my baby to sleep in everyday. I thankfully found the peel-and-stick wallpaper we have now, which is light pink with a white polka dot design. I had my husband build the frame molding and together we placed each panel of wallpaper within the frame. I’m still amazed at how awesome he’s been at teaching himself how to do all of these projects I seem to come up for us to do!
What are the next renovations or DIY projects you’re excited to take on?
After living in our house for four years now, I can say we are 95 percent done with all of our home projects, and it feels so good! We only have a few hallways I’d like to add artwork to or change out a few things with some updates here and there.
What do you think is a highly underrated decor item that can do wonders to elevate a home? For instance vases, light fixtures, curtains, etc.
I think one of the most underrated decor pieces in the home is definitely curtains! The length, color, and pattern can really make or break your entire design in a room. I personally prefer my curtains to start at the top of the ceiling and lightly touch the floor — this gives the illusion that the room is bigger than it actually is. I also prefer solid colors because I think they are timeless — plus, you don’t have to worry about it going out of style.
You mentioned that you really like to introduce little bursts of color into your color palette with house plants! What are some of your favorite plants to keep?
Some of my favorite plants to add pops of color in our home are succulents, cat palms, and fiddle leafs. I opted for a faux fiddle leaf from West Elm for our living room due to the fact that I could never seem to keep the real ones alive, but the other plants in our home have thankfully survived. I also have a few faux floral arrangements in other areas of the house just to add a little something extra to the space.
And finally, what advice would you give to your 22-year-old self?
If I could give advice to my 22-year-old self, it would be to not stress when my life plan doesn’t work out the way I wanted. I’m so glad it didn’t, because I ended up with a much better life than what I had originally planned for. It may have taken a few extra years to get where I am today, but it was all worth it.
Natalie Uprichard is The Everygirl…
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
Take a nice long bubble bath while watching Netflix
Favorite Sunday activity?
Going out to eat with my family after church
Favorite ice cream flavor?
Favorite Instagram account you follow?
My favorite instagram account to follow is actually The Everygirl — I just love how it covers such a wide variety for women.
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?