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Raise your hand if you’re addicted to HGTV’s Fixer Upper…hands all raised? Us too! One of the most fun things about sweet Joanna and Chip’s show is that I think it has made us all a little braver about the possibility of taking on a fixer upper of our own. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what Jessica and Mark did–she bought their Montgomery house as a “renovation side project” before they got engaged, and as the house began to turn into a home, they knew it would be just right for their newlywed nest. Jessica and Mark are expecting their first little one this year, and I can only imagine how special it will be to bring their new baby home to a place they poured so much love into!

Check out the “before” pictures of Jessica and Mark’s house below (and more here, if you’re interested!), and then keep scrolling to see the finished space captured by Holland Williams Photography!

The couple: Mark (30) and Jessica (28) Spurlin
Years married: Five months
Children’s names and ages (if applicable): One on the way!
Where they live: We live in Montgomery, Alabama, in the Cloverdale Historic District.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. We share a love of architecture and old houses! Mark studied landscape architecture in college and just finished his Masters in building science. He is an assistant project engineer for a commercial construction company and is loving it! I am an interior designer and have a background in art history. We were married on July 25 and just found out that we are expecting!! We are in for a fun ride!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Some mutual friends thought we were a perfect match…they were right!
What is your favorite part of being married? Being on a date that doesn’t end is pretty cool! We have so enjoyed spending time with each other doing the little things, like dishes and yard work. You get to know each other in a different way than you can before marriage.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? The pet peeves!! We laugh nearly every day about doing things that drives the other crazy! Mark constantly forgets to close his closet door and I don’t do anything in the kitchen without making a commotion!

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Our kitchen is absolutely our favorite space in our home! When we first bought the house, the kitchen wasn’t fit to cook as much as a hot pocket. It had a stove that looked like it came off of the Little House on the Prairie set, a microwave, and a washer and dryer. I redesigned the kitchen and added custom cabinetry so that it’s functional…and so that no one actually knows we are hiding a washer and dryer in there!

Who cooks dinner? I do, usually! Since finding out we’re pregnant, we have definitely cooked less frequently, but we have loved experimenting with new recipes and foods, and trying not to burn the house down in the process.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? Our go-to weeknight meal is usually soup. We have experimented with some different recipes, but our favorite is a peanut butter and vegetable soup–sounds scary, but is divine! We live around the corner from a really yummy pizza spot, Tomatinos, which is our go-to weekend meal. It’s super convenient and the food can’t be beat!
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? In the world of Pinterest fails, I’ve learned to actually follow food bloggers and ask friends for tried and true recipes. My latest addiction is allrecipes.com–I love pictures and reviews, and this website makes it super easy to find great dishes.

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. Mark introduced me to his favorite realtor, and I bought the house before we got engaged as a little renovation project! After endless months of demo, work, and renovation, we knew this house would be the perfect newlywed nest. As our family continues to grow, we will definitely need more space, so we hope to do more renovation in the future. You learn a lot about each other through dealing with an old house–it’s the ultimate premarital counseling!
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? I am an interior designer, so combining multiple styles is in my blood! I locked Mark out of the house for two weeks leading up to the wedding and moved ALL of our things in. We added some new pieces to some that we had prior to this house, which helped our older things feel new. My best advice when combining two styles: making sure that your spouse feels at home and comfortable is key. If you can’t picture them living there, then you’ve missed the mark!

What most makes your house feel like home? When designing our house, we wanted it to feel comfortable and welcoming above all else. We chose washable slipcovers and young, fresh colors, and ended up with a casual and fun space that we can relax in. Low maintenance is difficult to find in an old house, and somehow, we got lucky and made it happen!
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? We wanted to make sure that our splurge items were good investments we would have for a long time, while items we could save on could be a bit more temporary. We splurged on a new sofa with fabulous Lulu DK pillows (that we’re completely obsessed with!), but saved on a rug by going with an inexpensive seagrass. We also used IKEA light fixtures in our kitchen–we could never agree on what to put in there and needed a fixture to pass inspections. Luckily, we loved them the second they went up! We found most of our accessories at PARISH (the sister store to the design firm that I work for) but have also found many pieces at antique stores, flea markets, and our parents’ attics.

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Our favorite memory from our wedding day was our first look (which just so happened to be as I was walking down the aisle!). Our ceremony was outside overlooking a beautiful valley, and Mark’s brothers opened two antique doors that led to the aisle. Perfect moment!
How do you remember your wedding in your home? (Pictures, mementos, etc.) Over the past few years, we have both done quite a bit of traveling abroad, so rather than a guest book, our guests signed vintage postcards from some of our favorite places! We have a basket in our living room with all of the postcards in it, and we have had SO much fun reliving our day through those sweet notes.

What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? More towels! Holy moly, you can never have too many towels!

Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Our favorite date nights are usually the ones where we can hang on the sofa and watch a movie we’ve seen a thousand times. We can talk and laugh and really just be mindless. Those are the best nights!
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities (work, personal time, extended family, etc.)? We are definitely figuring this out along the way! We have been very intentional about our commitments to other people or organizations so that we still have time for each other and our families. After reading “The Best Yes,” I realized that even good things that you want to say yes to can often take you away from something (like being with your husband) that is a “best” yes. Read it–you will be obsessed!

Thank you so much for sharing your hearts and home with us, Jessica and Mark!

P.S. Just as a reminder: we’d love to hear from you, too! If you’re interested, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Lauren Carnes reply

    Wow, this is so, so beautiful!!!

  2. avatar Rhiannon reply

    This home is incredible! What an amazing and special transformation.

  3. avatar Jordan reply

    Beautiful, airy, fresh, bright and cozy! Oh wow – what an inspiration! They did a fabulous job transforming their new home. Love!

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I’m a big fan of the idea that your home should in some way reflect where you live; I think most Southerners are, as a sense of place is important to us. I’m guessing reader Megan and her husband Josh would agree. They are lucky enough to live by the water in Wilmington, and their home’s soft white palette and nautical touches must fit right in! Friends, please enjoy their bright and beautiful home, even as we move into the cooler months!

Big hugs to our friends and Blue Ribbon Vendors Blueberry Creative for these photos!

The couple: Megan and Josh Barbour, 24 and 29
Years married: A little over two
Where you live: Wilmington, NC
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Josh grew up in Raleigh, and I am originally from Wilmington. We both attended the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. Josh is the third generation in his family to work in the automotive industry at a dealership in our town. After years of teaching first grade, I’ve recently started teaching pre-kindergarten.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We fell in love through the mission and ministry of our church, were married in that same church, and continue to strive to build a Christ-centered marriage.
What is your favorite part of being married? I think the best part for us is still waking up together and going to sleep beside each other every night. We have been married for a little over two years, and I still run to the door when he gets home from work every evening.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? How fun it is! When you are engaged, everyone has tons of wedding and marriage advice, but I think sometimes people forget to mention what an absolute blast it is to do life day in and day out with your best friend.

Tell us a little bit about where you live. This time last year, we weren’t even aware of this house! We were living less than five miles away, in our wonderful first home, and last October we listed and sold that house in less than three weeks and then renovated and closed on our current home the next week!
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Josh purchased our first home and lived there before we were married, so after our wedding, I moved in. My best tip is to involve your spouse in registering and picking out new items as much as possible. Josh loved working on our registry and I wanted him to be a part of every choice so that he would feel a sense of ownership in the things in our home.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We use our beautiful dishes every day, and even our wedding china fairly often. China is one of those things we’d never buy ourselves, but I am so thankful that we registered for both sets.
Who cooks dinner? I really enjoy cooking, so I do every night. I meal plan a week in advance and adjust our dinners to our scheduling needs for that week. I love knowing well in advance what our meals are going to look like and it helps take all the guesswork out.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? We are very blessed to have wonderful cooks on both sides of our family, so I use a good deal of family recipes. I am also a member of Junior League and I love looking up a new recipe in either a current cookbook or one of my grandmother’s old Junior League cookbooks.

What most makes your house feel like home? My husband. 100%. No matter where we live, or where we go, I am always going to feel at home as long as he is there. Nothing has ever felt more natural than being Mrs. Barbour. I still get butterflies in my stomach when I see his car pulling in the driveway!
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? We believe in splurging on pieces of furniture that we will have forever, such as a bed or dining room table. In general, though, I am a saver and a crafter, so I love things like painting a piece of furniture we already have to give it a fresh look. I would also much rather stare at a blank wall until I find the perfect piece instead of just filling up space.

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Our dining room. Even though we probably use it the least, I think that makes it special. Also, I love the way the sunlight shines through the windows first thing in the morning.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? My Dad is a minister, and he married us — that is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. I think my favorite memory from the day was a moment at the reception when I just stopped, looked around, and realized that all of our favorite people, from all aspects of both of our lives, were in that room, and that would likely never happen again.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have beautiful wedding photos throughout our home, and I watch our wedding video probably more than I ought to. Also, in our bedroom, we have the scripture Ruth 1:16 hanging: “Where you go, I’ll go, and where you stay, I’ll stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” My parents recited this at their wedding, and so did we. We also have this engraved in our wedding rings.

How does your family handle finances? We are very transparent with each other when it comes to finances, and we are both naturally financially conservative. We discuss almost every purchase we make. An app on our phones helps us stay on top of everything so we can meet our goals.
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? Josh and I always say that you have to guard your marriage, because no one else is going to guard it for you. We try to value every second we get to spend together and never take one another for granted.

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? With Josh’s work schedule the way it is, he typically works on Saturdays, so I try to make sure that I get all caught up on the meal planning, cleaning, laundry etc. so that on Sunday when it’s our day together, we can just relax knowing those things are already handled. Josh always makes sure my car is clean and in tip-top condition, and he is always coming home with little surprises like my favorite flowers or ice cream.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Our favorite date night is taking our boat out for an evening cruise in the waterway. We live in such a beautiful city and take every opportunity we can to enjoy it!

Big hugs to Megan and Josh for sharing their hearts and home with us! Just as a reminder: we’d love to hear from you, too! If you’re interested, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

emily Written with love by Emily
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    Anyone in the mood to jet off to Palm Beach for the weekend? While we can’t all literally load our (monogrammed) luggage onto the plane, we can take a mini mental vacation to sunny Florida, thanks to today’s sweet Southern Newlywed couple, Beth and Lawson! Beth is the co-founder of the fabulous Palm Beach lifestyle site/shop, Palm Beach Lately, so we knew that her and Lawson’s home was bound to be as fun, sunny, and light-hearted as her darling corner of the web. We especially love the reminders they have from their wedding day in their house, from their monogrammed pillows to the show-stopping boxwood wall. You can see both of those details and more in action at their gorgeous Rosemary Beach wedding here!

    Thanks so much to Shea Christine for these lovely photos!

    The couple: Beth (34) and Lawson (31)
    Years married: 1.5
    Where you live: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
    Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Lawson currently races in the Tudor United Sportscar Championship, Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and Pirelli World Challenge Series. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2006 with a double major in Engineering Science and Mathematics. My sister, Danielle, and I are co-founders of Palm Beach Lately, the modern online guide and shop that features Palm Beach’s best in beauty, living, social, and style trends. I received a degree in public relations with a concentration in event planning from the University of Florida. After graduation, I moved to New York City, and in 2006, I returned to Palm Beach and started my own public relations and event planning business.
    Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend and we have been together ever since.

    Who cooks dinner? We both do. Lawson used to cook a lot more before we got married, and now I probably cook more than he does. We have an agreement that whoever cooks, the other person cleans. Now we both want to cook so we don’t have to clean!
    What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? My friend taught me a bolognese recipe that is now Lawson’s favorite thing I make.
    What’s your favorite place to find recipes? The Can’t Cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld. A friend gave it to me and it was the best gift. In addition to the recipes, it shows you everything you need to know, from equipment and tool terms, to how to cut an onion and garlic, and more.

    Tell us a little bit about where you live. We built a house while we were engaged and moved in right after the wedding. Perfect timing! We live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and absolutely love the area. It’s a great city that has everything you need. Plus, it’s very convenient and when you travel a lot (like Lawson does), that is important–we rarely have to leave a 3-mile bubble!
    Tell us about the process of moving in together. If you respect one another other’s space and ways, you can make for an easy transition. We learned a lot from each other and slowly migrated our daily routines to work for the both of us. Compromise is key!

    Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Beth: I love our kitchen. We were able to pick our finishes, so we customized it with white subway tile, an exposed exhaust, and a fun black and white island. I wasn’t much of a cook before getting married and moving into our new house. Now, I love cooking in the kitchen and making new recipes for Lawson, my family, and friends. Lawson: The garage, of course! It was fun project to sort out. I put a nice epoxy coat on the floor and decked out the garage with a Gladiator Storage workbench and cabinets. Plus, I added a two hanging racks from the ceiling to create some more storage.
    What most makes your house feel like home? From the collection of trinkets from our travels to our stylish, but comfortable pieces, our home is a representation of us.

    Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? We splurged on the bigger pieces we will have for awhile, like our couch, bed, and dining room table. We saved on the accessories with good finds at HomeGoods, Target and Etsy. I love finding inspiration on Pinterest and in Domino Magazine.

    What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Beth: When it started to rain on the outdoor dance floor, our guests didn’t skip a beat. The DJ pulled his equipment under the tent and our friends got on their chairs and kept dancing! They were there to celebrate with us, and a little rain wasn’t going to stop anyone! Lawson: I vividly remember standing at the edge of the tent and looking out at the dance floor while the rain started to come down. It was a bit depressing, and I remember saying to myself, “Man…the party was so much fun, I don’t want it to stop!” but as I turned around, I couldn’t believe that everyone climbing on their chairs to keep the party going. It ended up being the defining part of the night. I feel like it gave everyone a second wind!
    How do you remember your wedding in your home? We had a custom monogram created for our wedding and we had pillows made for the lounge area that are now on our couch. I also had custom shams monogrammed with the BL logo for our bed. We had grape root in our centerpieces that we brought back and have in the dining room now. Our escort card table had a wall of boxwood, and we have a section of the wall under our stairs with the same faux greenery. We also have a gallery wall of wedding photos and an art print of our vows.

    What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? When we registered, we weren’t in our new house yet, so everything we registered for was what we thought we would want. So far, almost everything has worked perfectly in the new house!

    What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? No matter how busy you are, you have to take the time to enjoy each other. Sometimes a night at home, just the two of us, can be a great way to talk and relax. However, we also love being around our friends and try to get out and about whenever possible!
    Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Since Lawson is on the road a lot during the weekends, we make it a point to have one night a week we call “wine and documentary night.” It’s fun to stay home and enjoy a nice documentary with some quality wine!

    What is your favorite part of being married? Sharing the rest of your life with your best friend.
    What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? Everyone says things change when you get married. I feel that if you’re with the right person, nothing changes–marriage is as fun and exciting as when you were dating!
    Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… make sure you take a honeymoon after the wedding.
    This year, our family is most excited about… starting a family.

    We’re so grateful to Beth and Lawson for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with them here:

    Beth: Palm Beach Lately | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
    Lawson: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

    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.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
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