Ask Casey – Creating a Cohesive Home, Italy Buys, & More

I get lots of design questions from you guys, but I actually get questions about a lot of other things happening in my life as well, like marriage, blogging, motherhood, fashion – really every single category! So, I tackle your inquiries in my “Ask Casey” blog post series, answering your questions every month or so.

Ask Casey

My best tips to create a cohesive home

If you want to check out previous “Ask Casey” posts, you’ll find them all right here.

The Google form at the bottom of the post has helped me keep everything organized so I can slowly make my way through your inquiries.  So, if you have another question today, be sure to submit it below.

Creating a Cohesive Home

My best tips to create a cohesive home
How do you ensure separate living spaces are connected style-wise to the rest of the house?

This is a common question I receive and I think it’s an important one. When you decorate room-by-room (which is what I do), your home can sometimes feel a bit disjointed. Here are some tips to make sure you’re creating a cohesive home that flows well together…

  • Be thoughtful with paint colors. I’m not saying you should have every room painted the same color, but you want to ensure that they have the same undertone (warm or cool) and vibrancy (soft/muted or bright/bold). I go into much more detail in this blog post about choosing a cohesive paint color palette.
  • I’m all about mixing metals and mixing wood tones, but choose just two to three and repeat them throughout your entire home. I would definitely read this blog post about mixing metals and this one about mixing wood tones to learn more tips to do this correctly.
  • If your paint color, metals, and wood tones are thoughtfully chosen, and work well together, then it’s just about making sure the pillows, rugs, and more are also from the same “family.”

Here are three rooms that all connect on our first floor. You’ll notice that they’re all a bit different, but they still work well together. That’s because I have a warm paint color palette, black and gold metals, and medium and light wood tones in each and every space.

Independent Play

The chaos and mess of two little children
How have you fostered independent play so well? My kids need us to constantly engage!

I’ll first start with the disclaimer that I’m not a parenting expert. This is just what works for our family. I think we do a few things that have helped with this.

First, in the mornings, our kids stay in their cribs until 7 am, even if they’re awake before then. This gives them time to be by themselves and they’ll often play with their stuffed animals, “read” books, and just have some alone time. It’s funny because we will go in there at 7 am to get the day started and Rory will often say, “I need a couple more minutes,” and shoo us out of there. Ellis recently started doing the same! He will point to his books and want to thumb through them until he is ready to get out, on his own terms.

Second, you guys know my motto, “Don’t do anything during nap time that can get done while they’re awake.” I clean up meals, do laundry, and do light chores when my kids are awake. They can either hang with me and help out, or they can play by themselves. This leads to a lot of opportunities for independent play.

Rory has really started to assert her independence (That’s a 3-year-old for you!) and on nicer days we’ve been letting her explore the backyard by herself. We have a fenced-in yard and we watch her from the window, but she LOVES being able to hang out in the backyard without us hovering. She digs in the dirt, collects sticks, sings to herself, and will come to the back door if she needs anything. It’s been really fun to witness this newfound independence.

But do I still play with my kids? Of course, I do! I just want to ensure that the time I do spend with them is completely focused on them, with my phone away and my mind in the present moment. I think my suggestion would be to start small, with a few minutes every day, giving them opportunities to play by themselves.

Business Growth

My favorite room transformations
Have you intentionally kept your business this size?

Oh man, not really sure how to take this question. This size – as in small? Ha! As of now, I’m a full-time employee of The DIY Playbook and I have my amazing virtual assistant, Lindsey who works for me part-time. Do I have plans to take on more staff right now? Not really.

I’ve been at this a long time and my business has been about slow and steady growth, year after year. For a long time, my mindset was all about more, more, more. More followers, more pageviews, more sponsorships, more profit. Now, as a mom of two little ones, I’m more about sustaining this business I’ve built instead of focusing on the next big thing. I imagine this may change as they get older and go to school. Maybe then I’ll be in that hustle stage again, but I don’t really know.

I adore this community I’ve built and I’m much more of a quality-over-quantity person. I’m not chasing followers or sponsorships. I’m just doing my thing and slowly building a community that I love. And even though it’s not a traditional job, it’s still very consistent for me. I’m on payroll and get paid by The DIY Playbook every two weeks (with taxes taken out), just like any other job. After ten years of this, I’m able to sustain a lot of passive income through the blog and keep things forging ahead, even if I’m not working 24/7, like I used to. I’m not 100% sure what’s next for this business I’ve created, but I do know that I’m not about that burnout culture, like I used to be.

Italy Buys

Did you buy anything new for your Italy trip?

Yes! I did pick up a few new things and I want to get a few more items before we head out in two weeks! I’ve been a big fan of the brand Quince lately and I got this sling bag for the trip. I use this Lululemon bag just about every day but I wanted something a little nicer for Italy. I think it’s going to work out perfectly. It’s a great size, the leather detailing is gorgeous, and I can keep all of my essentials nearby!

I also scooped up this navy dress that’s comfy, but also a tad nicer. As for shoes, I bought another pair of these Sorel sandals because I love them so much. They’re incredibly comfortable and will be ideal for our long days of exploring. This straw hat should also come in handy, especially for our boat trips.

I’ll be sure to do a blog post after our trip, detailing everything that I packed, just in case you have a European adventure on your calendar!

Book Club Reads

Our home office space
Can you share some of your favorite reads from your book club?

Yes! Our book club has been going for about a year now, so I will list out all of the books we’ve read each month. The host gets to choose the reading for the month. I’m not always great about finishing each book because sometimes I have other books I’m reading at the same time. So I can’t give reviews on all of these, but hopefully, you’ll find some good ones to check out.

I’m hosting this summer. Any suggestions for the book I should choose?

Submit Your Questions!

Have a question for me? Submit it using the form below.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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