Emily and Colby have succeeded in creating a Fort Worth home that’s totally cohesive, totally warm, and totally rooted in place – not an easy thing to do! I love so many of the southwestern details of their home (the tumbleweed on the bar! The cactus wallpaper!), but what I love most is that they’ve intentionally carved out for themselves a cozy and relaxing respite from two very busy careers. Big hugs to the talented Apryl Ann for sharing these photos!
P.S. Don’t miss Emily’s favorite part about marriage, below – I think it’s spot-on!
The couple: Emily Allen, 31, and Colby Allen, 33
Years married: 3
Where you live: Fort Worth, TX
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. I’m a baker and designer and own a boutique baking company, Cakewalk Bake Shop, servicing the Dallas/Fort Worth wedding industry. Colby is a graphic design and media teacher by day, but also a videographer specializing in local stories and documentary work by way of his video company You and Yours Productions.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. It started in high school, when I had a crush on him from afar, but we didn’t officially meet until after college – the first time it didn’t work and he moved to California and I to southeast Asia – but we got together a second time around, older and wiser, and we have been by each other’s side every day since.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? That it is a lot of work, ha! You hear it all the time, but it’s one thing to be wildly in love in your twenties and then something else to be getting older with someone day in and day out. Your relationship changes just as you do and it’s work to go through it all with another person in harmony.
Do you rent or own? We are first-time home owners in the most amazing neighborhood, the Fairmount National Historic District in Fort Worth. We could not love our neighborhood more and it was a great factor into our home choice. Our neighbors CARE about community: there are art events, parades all the time, great emphasis on preservation, a community garden, and all within walking distance to the city’s best independent restaurants and bars. It’s a great place to be at this point in our lives and we hope to be here for a long time.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. There was definitely an awkward “blending” phase. Colby’s style is very masculine and he’s drawn to rich, earthy colors whereas mine is very feminine and if I could I would paint the whole house pink! For the first year or so we definitely had rooms that we had each claimed so to speak, but I think it’s like anything else in your relationship – you are in one big blending phase and at a certain point you just start to jive in a way, unknowingly. Fortunately we have very complimentary tastes in just about everything so there’s never really any butting heads too much on design.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? My favorite is the kitchen, and since I spend so much time in there, I better like it, right? I love cacti and feeling surrounded visually by them with the wallpaper and potted plants. It’s also nice to look out into our minimal dining room which is mostly white – it feels very clean and calming. Colby’s favorite is the den, where we watch TV and read. This room is probably the most masculine and folk-inspired in the house and the closest thing to a man cave we have.
Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Oddly enough my very first Kitchen Aid mixer came from our registry – and I have used it so much that I wore out the motor! We don’t entertain as often as we would like so just the everyday items: dinnerware, pots and pans, bedding.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? While I love everything we were fortunate to receive, I think if I were to go back I would opt for an experience registry. As much as we love beautiful objects, travel is our favorite thing. We aren’t a very traditional couple, and to be honest I can’t even remember a lot of what we registered for, but trips we have shared are easily stored.
Who cooks dinner? If anyone, it’s a combined effort. I started my business because I love to cook but the long hours have turned us into people who eat out far more than we would like.
What are your go-to meals? Our favorite, easiest weeknight meal to cook is actually a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow: roasted tomatoes/peppers, noodles, and an anchovy oreganata. We sub in fish/chicken and other veggies sometimes, but I love this basic meal. Most weekends are limited to Sundays for fun since we work in the event industry, so brunch is a celebrated affair!
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? My favorite cooking blog is Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks. My fave cookbooks are Forest Feast and Super Natural Every Day. Simple, easy recipes that are as tasty as they are beautiful.
What most makes your house feel like home? With the exception of some of the furniture pieces, most of the items in our home are things we’ve found thrifting or collected on travels. When I look around I see beautiful things that hold memories or capture a specific feeling of a place we have loved.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? We had an amazing wedding, full of so many beautiful moments we cherish. Topping the list would be: all the joy and excitement of walking down the aisle, our friend surprising us by singing a special song, and all the fun dancing. Colby’s parents had never danced together before and they ended up dancing all night, even leading a conga line! It was a very happy time for us.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? We only have two photos up. I’d like to have more but framing is something I procrastinate on. For our guest book we had friends type messages on little cards using an old typewriter and we keep the stack displayed and shuffle it from time to time.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? My favorite way to splurge is on textiles. I LOVE to look at rugs, pillows, wallpaper, bedding with interesting graphic patterns and bold colors. I think any room can look beautiful with a bold textile – it can hide ugly furniture (like the throw covering an old futon in our den) or become a focal statement for the room. As we get older, I’m more interested in splurging on furniture but so far we have purchased most of our furniture on sale or by thrifting providence.
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? This is our biggest struggle at the moment – owning a small business and making time for each other. We try to have at least one day to spend completely together, but even that feels short. About every six to eight weeks we try to make a special weekend, whether it be a weekend away or a weekend at home where we set aside time just for us no matter what. Ideally, I’d like to have much more time, but we are working on it.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? We don’t have a date night, but it’s always nice to be surprised. I think just having a spontaneous night together – even if it’s staying in and cooking dinner, or going to a class together, or going on a long bike ride – something you don’t typically get to enjoy and out of the ordinary is always a happy time.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Colby has sacrificed an incredible amount of his time to help me start my business, often coming home after work and working deep into the night, and giving up just about every weekend to help me with deliveries. While we started the business together, it is really my dream and I cannot ever express how much it means to me to see him sacrifice that time for me. It’s not a cute thing, but it is deeply appreciated.
How does your family handle finances? We are both creative types so we aren’t as manic about finances as would be best. Fortunately Colby is also extremely organized, so he handles most of our finances, but we communicate thoroughly on the subject quite often.
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… to enjoy as much as you can. Obvious, right? I think as women especially it’s hard to not feel pressure to be on a certain life track at certain times and looking back my one regret is not just wildly enjoying everything – the mistakes, the freedoms, the everything. Just take each moment as it comes and know that things will change, and you will change with them, and it will all work itself out.
What is your favorite part of being married? Getting to know each other better than anyone else and in turn learning how to be better people because of it. Having complete trust in another person to be completely raw and completely uninhibited, it really teaches you so much about who you truly are, what you want to change, and how to be better. It’s a deeper level of insight than anything I’ve ever known.
This year, our family is most excited about… growing and fine-tuning our business, new creative projects, big travels, and making time to enjoy life and our home with friends and family.
We’re so grateful to Emily and Colby for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with them:
Cakewalk Bake Shop
You and Yours Productions
Cakewalk on Facebook
Their home was also featured on Design*Sponge this week, so feel free to hop over for a little more background on some of E+C’s design decisions!
P.S. We’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!