We get little peeks into Kristin and Kyle’s house every week during our Google hangout staff meetings, and I know I’m not the only one who has been anxious for a full tour! Ever the picture of Southern hospitality, they graciously agreed to share with us and y’all on Southern Newlywed today. Anyone who knows the Winchesters knows how much they value their marriage and are willing to do the hard work to make their life together truly wonderful, so I loved reading their interview answers and soaking up their wisdom…even more than I loved admiring the colorful patterns they’ve sprinkled throughout their Orlando home. Y’all enjoy!
The couple: Kristin (32) and Kyle (33) Winchester
Years married: Almost four
Where they live: Orlando, Florida
Tell us a little bit about yourselves I am “pearls, monograms, and pops of color” and Kyle is “Jordans, hoops, and hip hop.” While seemingly different on the surface, what makes us work is that at our core, we are united by a shared belief in Jesus, a love for family, and an unconditional love and willingness to move mountains for one another. Our splash of differences makes for many adventures and a whole lot of fun.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. We meet in college, dated across three states for the better part of our 20s, and have been blissfully married for almost four years.
Do you rent or own? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? Tell us a little bit about where you live. We managed to find and buy the most darling Virginia craftsman in the heart of stucco and tile country. Our neighborhood is like a little piece of heaven–we are within walking distance of a grocery store, a few restaurants, and downtown merchants (think dry cleaner, nail salon, barber, etc.). We decided early on in our marriage that for the foreseeable future, we would rather live in more modest housing with better proximity to the goings on of wherever we were living. So, while we have sacrificed square footage and any semblance of a yard (umm, we share an alley way instead of having a backyard), we live right in the middle of many things that we love to see and do around the Orlando area.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? The moment the church doors opened and we saw each other for the first time. I asked KPW and he agreed. My heart starts to beat faster every time I think of that moment.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have framed pictures in more than one room and the family bible that was a wedding gift from my grandmother is open in our living room. On a little less serious but super sentimental note, we have a stack of personalized stadium cups (we used them for our wedding toast at the reception) that we use on an almost daily basis.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? While I had a sneaky feeling marriage with KPW was going to be one big adventure, I discounted how much I would love the simple act of spending time with him doing mundane tasks, and how, after 12+ years together, I would still get butterflies when getting dressed up to go out to dinner or see him after being gone on a business trip. Kyle is still surprised by how seamless our transition to married life has been. As an only child, he was apprehensive, to say the least, about giving up his “independence.” We both credit our transition to our intentionality in preparing for our marriage and an ongoing effort to give love patterned after our love languages.
What is your favorite part of being married? Kyle’s favorite thing about being married is having someone cook dinner for him 5+ nights a week (lucky for him, I love to cook). My favorite part of being married is how much I laugh. KPW can make me laugh so hard, I cry, and and our “silly” moments are some of my favorites (think: videos of KPW rapping while driving).
Who cooks dinner? I handle 98% of the cooking, but since getting married, KPW has become quite the handy sous chef. He is also really good at picking up takeout from our favorite sushi restaurant when we’ve both had really long days and are too tired to cook.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? The crockpot is my BFF on weekdays (like for this salsa chicken) and we love making breakfast on the weekends (like these banana nut muffins).
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? My recipe repertoire is made up from a combination of blogs (Skinny Taste, Gimme Some Oven, Iowa Girl Eats, Sally’s Baking Addiction) and tried-and-true family recipes (chicken pastry, sloppy joes, chicken vegetable soup).
Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Besides our favorite Pottery Barn towels and sheets (do yourself a favor and register for nice linens), the “fancy” kitchen tools get the most use. If you plan to cook any meals at home, I highly recommend registering for a grill pan, a mixer (it is the best for shredding chicken), and a pizza stone. And if you have a sweet tooth, you won’t be upset about registering for an ice cream maker. We have loved mixing up batch after bath of ice cream in the summer, and it’s a great way to meet the neighbors.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? I would have followed Emily’s lead and picked out mix-and-match china. I love our good china but think we would use it even more if it had a bit more flexibility, and a perhaps a pop of color. I also wish we had registered for a second set of sheets for our bed. I can’t stress enough how much I have appreciated having nice linens. There is something so comforting about climbing into a warm and cozy bed after a long day.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? Two words for you: brown sofas. I have worked hard to decorate around and graciously accept some “in very good shape” pieces of furniture that were a package deal with KPW. The blending of styles has been more of a phasing in, instead of a flipping of the switch, process. My advice is to take things slow and not just buy and replace because everything doesn’t look “Pinterest-worthy.” Our sofas (while not my favorite) are great anchor pieces, and since I didn’t replace them, I had a little extra money to pick up a new entertainment piece off Craigslist and splurge on some fun fabric for our ottoman. I also think that having conversations and making sure both parties feel represented during the decorating process is important. I will admit that I lucked out with KPW, as he lets me do crazy things like hang pink curtains and paint our upstairs stark white. But, I also know this is because he trusts me to make decorating decisions that reflect well on our family. In turn, I love him enough to balance the pink pillows with some manly wooden tables and two televisions in our family room.
What most makes your house feel like home? On the surface, hanging drapes and organizing my kitchen. It is amazing how much more put together a house feels once the curtains are hung and fresh towels are in the bathrooms. And being able to walk around the kitchen and pull things out of the cabinets to throw together a quick meal is a huge step in feeling at home.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? It is a well-known fact that if you lined up 10 lovely and similar tables in a row, I would inevitably pick the most expensive table in the bunch. With that in mind, I have had to manage my expectations and realize that decorating is going to be a lifetime process. KPW’s job is going to have us moving a few more times before we settle down for the long haul, so when we do splurge on something, we try to make sure it is a piece of furniture or décor that can move with us and fit wherever we live next (see: our beloved headboard and Craigslist entertainment center). Much of our supplemental décor (lamps, storage, etc.) comes from a variety of low budget sources: Target, HomeGoods, Ikea, thrifting, and Craiglist.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? I go grocery shopping and give Kyle space (he is an only child). Kyle graciously lets me hang pink curtains and hog the covers.
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities (work, personal time, extended family, etc.)? This is an ongoing challenge, but something that we’re willing to fight through because we value our relationship above all other life priorities. We have to constantly communicate, re-evaluate, and set new boundaries when things change. With our current careers, we both work long hours and live far from extended family, so we have to work hard to intentionally plan down time and trips back home to visit friends and family. We value our weekends and quickly learned that with busy weeks, we benefit from regularly unscheduled and unplanned weekends to recharge our batteries.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? One? How about five?
Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? KPW’s job is moving us just down the road to Tampa, Florida. While we are excited about this opportunity, we’re heartbroken to have to sell our beloved first “together” home after only being here a year! But it taught me an important life lesson: there’s no telling how long you might be somewhere, so wherever possible, hang curtains and pictures (command strips are my BFF) and dig into the community around you: try new restaurants, find a church, make a new friend who will meet you for lunch, etc. Try to make your dwelling pace (no matter how temporary) a home. I know, without a doubt, we will look back on our time in Orlando with great joy, because we made the best of the time we were here. PS: If you are looking for a house in the greater-Orlando area, let me know ;)