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As much as we love our wedding features around these parts, we have a special space in our hearts for our Southern Newlywed At Home column. From adorable spaces to insightful interviews, it’s been such a joy to get a peek into the hearts and homes of some of our favorite couples this year! We were inspired by each and every one of the 14 newlywed nests we featured this year, and thought we’d take a walk down memory lane before kicking off 2016 with a whole new group of married friends!

Best minimal style: Valerie and Tyler’s Lafayette home (photo by Ashleigh Jayne)

Quirkiest style: Shalyn and Drew’s Austin home (photo by Ever and Anon)

Most lived-in rental: Mattie and Jon’s Columbus home (photo by Kaitie Bryant)

Most classic style: Mary Hester and Andrew’s Atlanta home (photo by Anna K Photography)

Best mix of grown-up and youthful style: Bess and Ben’s Charleston home (photo by Olivia Rae James)

Best modern style: Beth and Lawson’s Palm Beach home (photo by Shea Christine)

Best use of the color brown: Mary-Kate and Nick’s St. Augustine home (photo by Anna K Photography)

Coziest rental: Samantha and Kevin’s Charlotte home (photo by Ashley Bosnick)

Best mix of “his and her” style: Jordan and Dave’s Tampa home (photo by Bax Miller)

Most colorful: Emily and John’s Triangle, NC home (photo by Anna Routh)

Best collected finds: Anna and Amir’s Chapel Hill home (photo by Graham Terhune)

Best coastal style: Megan and Josh’s Wilmington home (photo by Blueberry Creative)

Best use of neutrals: Victoria and Ben’s Fort Worth home (photo by Dyan Kethley)

Best use of pattern: Erin and Ryan’s Virginia home (photo by Elizabeth Fogarty)

Ready for more? Check out our Southern Newlywed Most Memorable 2014 here. And stay tuned to the blog the week after Christmas, when we’ll be sharing our Most Memorable moments from a year of weddings!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Lauren reply

    Ahh love this! These are some of my favorite features! I’m currently in the process of renovating and these posts give me so many great ideas and inspiration!

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Don’t get me wrong – I love an all-white kitchen or living room as much as the next 20-something gal. But all white everything isn’t the only way to achieve a warm, pretty space, and I adore Mary-Kate and Nick for proving that for us today. In addition to being beautiful, their home just looks so interesting – I feel like I could wander it for hours and still find more things to look at and wonder over! Other highlights: the helpful touches they’ve added to make guests’ stays easier (I’m making my own wi-fi password sign tonight!) and the creative ways they’ve honored their story through carefully-chosen decor.

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Anna K Photography for these photos. She may as well be our Southern Newlywed fairy godmother, as she sent us Mary Hester and Andrew’s home tour, too, and is in the process of photographing her own home to share! Want to participate? See below for more details on how your home or apartment could be featured here!

The couple: Mary-Kate (24) and Nick (26)
Years married: 2
Where you live: St. Augustine, Florida
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. We are both originally from Georgia. We met in college at Valdosta State University. Nick is an American Sign Language interpreter and instructor at the Florida School for the Deaf & the Blind and is getting his Masters in Interpreting. Mary-Kate is a Fine Art Consultant at the Cutter & Cutter Galleries.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We were friends in college, long distance daters, and fell in love in St. Augustine…with a lot of Chick-fil-a sprinkled in there.
What is your favorite part of being married? Having a constant companion to share day to day life. I love that whenever one of us says “I have an idea…” the other one is always on board with support. I also love that we can dream together. Whether it is what we want for dinner or where we will be in 25 years, we get to do it together!

Tell us a little bit about where you live. We currently rent a beautiful little home that was built in 1910. We have the home owners’ blessing to make the space our own, so we have really enjoyed the freedom to make home-improvements that make this house feel like home. We love our location because we are both in walking distance to work. We look forward to owning a home one day, but for now we love where we are.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Nick lived in a tiny one bedroom home, so when we got married, we had the challenge of blending two lifestyles in 450 square feet! I love the philosophy, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Having less “stuff” really helped us when moving into our current home. All of the things we have in our home are a reflection of us as individuals and a couple.

What most makes your house feel like home? In the gallery where I work we have a saying, “If someone was to go into your home when you are not there, would they know you and who you are from what they would see?” For us, I hope so. We have made every decision with a lot of thought, in hopes that it reflects who we are. I hope that our home shows that it is filled and decorated with so much love and intention. I want it to feel wonderful to not just us, but to anyone who walks through the door.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Absolutely our china. I struggled with registering for china because I always grew up expecting that I would have an everyday, formal, and holiday china pattern. When it was finally my turn, I did not feel connected to the idea of having all of the extra china that would go unused throughout the year. We decided to go with a beautiful everyday china from Juliska and it has served us elegantly, whether dinner for two or hosting our friends and family.
Who cooks dinner? We are typically in the kitchen together. It was a fun learning experience figuring out how to work together when cooking. It usually involves good music, laughter, and a few “oops”!

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? That is a tough one to answer. We love our living area because it is so comfortable to us and is filled with a lot of beautiful elements that reflect our story. Nick would answer the front porch though… we can spend an entire morning out on our swing, talking to neighborhood locals and playing with our kitty, Lewis.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? We have decorated our home one piece at a time. I love the saying “buy the best, and you’ll only cry once.” We focus on buying things that are not too “trendy” in hopes that we can enjoy them for a long time. Much of our home was antiqued, thrifted or passed down from family. I like pieces with a story; sometimes that means spending and other times it is all about finding a sweet little treasure.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? Art is a big part of our life. Many special memories from our wedding day are hanging on our walls. We have photos and our invitation framed. We also commissioned some special paintings from local artists: a portrait of a favorite wedding photo, as well as a watercolor of my bouquet.

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? At our reception, the song by The Lumineers, “Ho Hey” played during our cake cutting. As we looked up from cutting our cake, everyone had crowded around the table and was clapping and singing, “I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart.” That moment of being surrounded by the people who love us most, and the love that filled the room, was an unforgettable feeling for us.
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? It can be tough… my gallery hours cut into the typical “date nights” and our days off are never the same. While we rarely have full days off together, we have learned to cherish the moments and when we do have the rare day or weekend where our schedules match up, we make it memorable!

How does your family handle finances? When we got married, we had a deep desire to be debt free in our marriage. We had some student loans that we were serious about paying off quickly. We set a strict budget and used a cash envelope system to stay on point. We focused one of our salaries on living and the other completely on loans and savings. We were debt free in one year! Now we are not as strict, but we do still focus on financial goals.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Living in a town like St. Augustine, we have learned that there is always something fun (and usually free) happening in the community. We love packing dinner and picnicking at outdoor bay-front movies. I suggest looking up your town’s calendar and seeing what is happening in the community… that is where we have found some of our favorite outings!

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Nick loves words of affirmation, so I am always reminded to say or write down the things I love about him, rather than keeping them to myself. Something that seems simple to me usually means so much to him. From Nick: Knowing that Mary-Kate’s love language is gifts, I do my best to surprise her with little (and sometimes big) surprises we call “S’s.” I usually try to find a clever way to reveal the gift.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? How much you learn about yourself. You see yourself through another person’s eyes and that can be exciting and also convicting. We are also constantly learning how to balance our life as a team while growing as individuals.
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… My grandparents did tell us to follow these rules: 1.) Always put God first and one another second. 2.) Don’t have any secrets. 3.) Have fun together.
This year, our family is most excited about… upcoming family time. We have some weddings and vacations that we are really looking forward to. While we have really enjoyed moving to our own town to start our life together, we love coming together with our family, so we are counting down the days!

Big hugs to Mary-Kate and Nick for sharing their hearts and home with us!

A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” We are also really hoping to feature some apartment dwellers! If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Lauren Carnes reply

    Love all of the little details of this home!

  2. avatar Niamh reply

    A lot of beautiful thing you have! Love the way your house is decorated – stylish and unobtrusive! Greetings

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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 Instagram
Colby’s Instagram
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!

emily Written with love by Emily
6 Comments
  1. avatar Rachel Brown reply

    This is my dream home! I love everything about their decor choices, and Emily’s comment about her favorite thing about marriage is really beautiful. Could you share where the fantastic cacti wallpaper is from?

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    I was honestly a little surprised to read that they ever had different styles! It’s so encouraging to see what a beautiful home evolved out of their working together to blend the two :)

  3. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Great post and a beautiful home!

  4. avatar Mandy Volpe reply

    I really LOVE the idea of setting aside a complete day/weekend every six weeks to reconnect. You are right- things get crazy busy and taking the time to just be the two of us without distractions is important. Looking at my calendar now!

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