Some As To Your Qs

By Kate Riley August 3, 2009

Okay, so I finally sat down to answer some of your questions from this recent post.  Quite frankly, I’d rather talk about DIY or design instead of myself, so I’m going to answer a few questions now and perhaps some more later.   Because I’d rather focus on some of my upcoming projects.  So here goes:

Q from Jen and Maman Tattoo, Your girl’s room is so beautiful. What does your little boy’s room look like? 

For now, my boy’s room is very plain.  It has a bed, dresser, armoire, a train table, and light blue paint on the walls.  Nothing to photograph.  But I’ll be tackling his room sometime this fall. 

Here’s my inspiration photo for what I want his room to look like when I’m done. 

boys room inspiration Image: BH&G Kids Rooms

Q from Jen, If you could have anyone design a room for you, who would it be? 

My current favorite designer is Barbara Barry, for her simple elegance, use of clean lines, a lot of white, and traditional style with modern flair.

barbary barry designs Image: Barbara Barry Company

Q from Pickles and Cheese Twerp, What is your favorite holiday?  Which is the holiday you most like to decorate your home for?

I deck the halls at Christmas, big time. 

martha white porch christmas Image: Martha Stewart

Q from several, How do you occupy your children while you’re doing all of your projects?  Do you have a nanny?

No nanny.  No way.  I’ve been a SAHM since the day my daughter was born.  But my children (who are 3 and 5) do attend preschool three mornings a week.  That’s when I shop for my supplies and run errands.  And quite frankly, my children are pretty good at playing independently.  I start them on a project, and then they play for 20 or 30 minutes by themselves.  That is, until they argue, and then I become the referee.

Q from Lindsay, NIkki, and Southern Mom, When do you sleep?  How many hours do you get?  Do you drink a lot of coffee?

I sleep 8 hours a day.  11 pm to 7 am.  And if I don’t have a cup of Peet’s coffee first thing in the morning, I am useless to the world and a complete grouch.

cg peets coffee

Q from Amanda, What is your favorite color to wear?

Whatever matches my date night cocktail.  Dirty martini?  Gray sweater.

Q from Callipygian Chronicle, Something has to give in this busy, crafty DIY life you lead.  What don’t you do to make room for all that you get done?

1) I watch very little TV.  A few HGTV shows and some news programs are really all I watch.  My TV is always off from 9 am to 4 pm.  I prefer soft music or talk radio during the day.  And we only have one cable TV in our family room. The kids sometimes watch videos on their VCR in their playroom while I make dinner in the evening. 

2) I fail miserably at folding the laundry.  I try to do two loads a day, but folding laundry is my true nemesis.  The kids are always climbing up and down my piles.  It’s embarrassing.  But at least it’s upstairs so no visitors can see my Mt. Vesuvius of laundry in the hall outside my bedroom.pile of laundry


Q from Jessica, What is your favorite go-to relaxing snack?

A bag of MnMs.  If I don’t have one bag a week, I’ll implode. 


Q from several,  Do you have a design/architecture/building background?  Do you have any formal design training, or is it trial and error? 

My formal education is in the legal profession.  My passion is design.  I’ve been through the building process twice.  I designed the entire floor plan for my home and I’ve chosen every detail, from paint colors to finishes.  When asked, I’ve given plenty of decorating advice to friends and family.  And I have some experience in home staging.  My husband is a real estate broker and appraiser, so architecture and design are a common topic in our home, and a common interest we share. 

I’ve invested as much in design books as I have in legal treatises.  Any free time I have, I spend educating myself in the history of design and how to improve other’s lives with creative and interesting spaces.  I like the law, but I love creating beautiful things, especially with my own hands.  It’s exciting to reinvent oneself. 

Q from several, How did you make the switch from full time law to part time?  How does your husband feel about all of your projects?

I used to be a prosecutor.  It was a very stressful job, but rewarding too.  When I left my full time position, I didn’t look back.  I wanted to be home with my babies.  I didn’t even practice law the first few years my kids were infants.  It was a Sippy Cup Sabbatical.   But now that they’re older, I take on a few clients now and then, doing some criminal defense work in minor misdemeanor cases. 

I don’t make very much money.  Mr. CG truly pays the bills around here.  When I was employed full time, I used to be fabulous, for more.  Now, I am forced to be fabulous, for less.  No more fancy vacations, handbags, suits, jewelry or fine furnishings.  I shop at Target and thrift stores.  But you know, I prefer it that way.  I value my family more, and things less.  It keeps me real.

And I have the most amazing supportive husband on the planet. 

Q from Natascha, What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 

The best advice I’ve ever received is a saying that hangs in my kitchen:  “To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.”

kitchen collage

By the way, you’ll notice my lovely 17 year old stepdaughter in the photo collage.  I’ve also raised her since she was 3 years old. 

I think the greatest impact I’ll ever have on the world is raising my children to be good contributing compassionate human beings.  I wanted to quote Jackie and say “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much”, but I’m convinced I’ll bungle something in some way.  And when they’re grown up, they’ll remind me of it, I’m sure.  So I’m just trying to be there for them as best I can before they fly from my nest.   

So there is your glimpse.  And perhaps your cure for insomnia too.  :-)

My twin tower transformation coming soon !

Cheers, Kate


  1. My favorite part of this post:
    "I value my family more, and things less"
    Amen! I think you are amazing. I shop at Target and Thrift Stores too (one of these days, I am convinced we will run into each other). No one ever said frugality needs to be frumpy or that you can't have elegance on a budget. I love reading your posts!

  2. Thanks for answerring my question, lady! You had so many…. I can't wait to see the result… The inspiration picture is… really inspiring!

  3. Hi Nice to meet you! you have cute blog!

    I put your banner in my blog


  4. It was interesting to learn more about you! I love how you called it a "sippy cup sabatical"! :) I hope that when I have children someday, I can be a SAHM, at least for the first few years, then go back to teaching.
    Thanks for sharing Barbara Barry, I'd forgotten about her! I remember seeing a house in "Town and Country" magazine that she had styled years ago, and I loved it!

  5. It was nice to read more about you! Thanks for sharing. Love the boys room inspiration.

    I don't know if you enter giveaways but I'm having one if you would like to stop by. :)

  6. Thanks for sharing…glad I found your blog…you have helped to inspire me!

  7. It's so interesting to see a glimpse of the girl behind the blog. Thanks for sharing! :)

  8. Thanks so much for sharing and so glad to hear that you do actually sleep! I'd love to hear more about where you get your inspiration from in a future post but I'm also dying to see your next project.

  9. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. :) I loved hearing more about your life!

  10. Thanks for sharing more about yourself Kate. It is good to know that you are human. Reading about all you achieve often leaves me in awe! You are very talented and creative.

  11. Hate folding laundry and an M&M popper? Do you also have a soft spot for (pretty) office supplies because we may have been separated at birth.

  12. "To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world"

    that's exactly what i said when someone asked me about how it was trying to balance the career and motherhood…i felt like i was at crossroads and the guilt trip was major…but unfortunately, there is no possible way for us for me to stop working at this point in our lives….

    as time goes by, I am slowly beginning to see what you said about material things cease to be of importance when you can surround yourself and dedicate yourself to the people who love you. (if only they taught that at school!!)

    thanks for further driving that into my mind.

  13. As a former attorney who is also fabulous for less, I applaud the lifestyle you have chosen. Also, it's evident design and DIY is your true calling. :)

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