Designing Home for The People and Things You Love: At Home with Ursula Carmona
Ursula Carmona of Home Made by Carmona is more than just a fearless and creative DIYer—she’s a wife and homeschooling mother to three girls. So, while many people have been trying to balance the ‘new normal’ of remote learning with everything else, what’s new for everyone else is the status quo for her. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel your pain.
“While what’s going on now is kind of everyday life for us, I think it’s a struggle for just about everyone right now,” said Ursula. “I’m oddly even busier with new projects and things like that. I think a lot of people are realizing that to have a beautiful well-functioning comfortable home that you can enjoy and that your family and friends want to come and spend time in, we’re seeing now that it’s important, more important than ever.”
And for Ursula, building a comfortable home is not just about décor: it’s really about how your family functions, what your family enjoys doing. Her family loves to play board games, so when she designed their living room, she designed it for the way they live. Meaning it stores over 100 tabletop games out of sight and the coffee table is a pull-out for all of their game play.
“My philosophy is always to design your home for the things you love to do, for the way you live, for your family specifically, then it becomes the place you want to go at the end of the day,” said Ursula. “It becomes a place that is better than the vacation place you leave to go to. That’s a process, it takes time—years!”While her home, a frequent topic on her blog, looks Pinterest-perfect online, she swears there are still rooms in the house that still need some of her special brand of TLC. Together with her family, she recently took on her daughter Fiora’s room for a New Year, New Room challenge project. Fiora is a nearly 16-year old whose bedroom has been basically untouched since they moved into their North Carolina home three years ago.
Designing a kid’s room isn’t easy, and a teenager’s room is extra tricky. To Ursula, it seemed that Fiora went from loving all things pink to anything but pink seemingly overnight. Together for this room refresh they chose grey, white and gold as the primary color palette, an elevated and sophisticated choice.
“You know, the little things that she chose for her space, the small touches, now that we really can’t go out, everything’s been canceled, at this time she’s really in a space she loves to be in,” said Ursula. “So instead of being stir crazy, she’s got everything she needs to be creative, everything she loves around her—that she’s chosen—it reflects her personality, her character.”
“I think that in a time when you feel uncertain or stressed, especially for kids, to have a place that not only you feel safe in, but that reduces that stress and that load on your shoulders, it’s important.”
While accessories are usually the last thing Ursula chooses for a space, she recommends choosing one inspiration piece first. For her daughter’s room, Ursula and Fiora chose some of our signature silk tassels in Peacock and Thatch, which she chose to use as a challenge to make her think outside the decorator box and to push her out of her comfort zone. The bright colors are a welcome contrast to the muted tones of the rest of the room.
“I am a great proponent of adding fun eclectic pieces to any space that you do,” said Ursula. “I think no matter what your style is, even if you don’t fall into the category of ‘global maximalist’, to make any space sing, really stand out and have visual interest, you have to be willing to mix and match a little bit.”
Much like her approach to over-all room design, the people drive the accessory decision-making process, too.
“It’s the accessorizing of your space that adds personality and character,” she said. “Otherwise you just have a space that could be anybody’s. In this way it really reflects something more about the person who is occupying that home.”
And for these accessories, something cookie-cutter isn’t going to cut it. She’s on the lookout for pieces that are fun, funky and unique to add necessary character to a room. This is why her living room now features our Juju Hat Blue Acrylic Art Block and a pair of Camouflaged Lennon Pillows in linen.
“So for me, my style tends to be more of a glam and eclectic kind of mix, but I am all about adding those global touches here and there. I think it makes a space,” she said “SmithHönig really provides those pieces that have become features in your space—the conversation starters.”
“These pieces tell stories that are global. And for me and my family, we’re so multicultural, so ethnically-mixed, that’s a huge thing for us,” she said.
Family is obviously important to Ursula—she cites that her girls are as much a part of her projects as she is. In fact, this is why the blog is Home Made by Carmona, not Home Made by Ursula—it’s a family effort.
“I haven’t felt like it’s weird to talk about these things—home, family, design—at this time because, as more people are confined to their homes, hopefully it’s giving them a little extra time to spend time with their families, their kids,” said Ursula. “I got this extra time with my daughter Fiora through the New Year, New Room challenge, and it was great. I just hope we can take this time to remember, even more so, that our homes are safe havens we create for our families.”
You can make your home a safe haven with globally-inspired, eclectic touches from us. Enter to win our #stayhomewithsmithhonig room refresh giveaway, with a free digital design consultation with Ursula Carmona and design partner Yuni Min. Get all the details.