An Audience of One...

Who are you trying to please? Or maybe I should ask... For what audience are you performing? These are questions I’ve been asking myself lately - and I challenge you to ask these questions of yourself: Are you trying to please or perform for your friends? your family? your co-workers? your boss? your clients? your “friends” on Facebook or Instagram? your ideal social circle? the culture in general? What audience determines your choices? your decisions? your purchases? your involvement? your posts on social media? your overall direction in life? In other words, for what or for whom are you living?

We all fall victim to outside influences... it’s part of living this life on earth. Some influences are good and some are bad, some influences are helpful and some are hurtful, some influences are life-giving and some suck the life right out of us. What influences are impacting you?

I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflecting and self-editing lately. I’ve been reading books, searching God’s Word, seeking professional guidance, and listening to people around me. I’ve realized that for a long time (as long as I can remember), I’ve been trying to please someone or perform for some audience - whether it be my family, my friends, my teachers or school, my church members or church, my clients, my professional connections, my social media audience, or just the culture in general. And to be honest, I’m tired... I’m tired of pushing myself to meet unattainable expectations of people or audiences that will never allow me to feel fully satisfied. Everyone has an opinion about what you should be doing, what status you should be achieving, or who you should be trying to become. But what really matters?

As a designer and business owner, I’ve always tried to find the best way to serve my clients - and I truly desire for them to be pleased with the products or services I offer. But lately I’ve gotten off-track, and I’ve had to eat a lot of humble pie. I’ve had to apologize more than I’ve been able to please my clients. Why? Because I started listening to the wrong voices - the voices that told me that success is achieved by working a lot, pushing really far, and taking on as many projects as possible. I saw images on social media that made me crave taking on “more” so I could produce pretty pictures like the ones I saw and admired. I didn’t feel like I measured up to other interior designers, and I wasn’t offering all the full-service bells & whistles that I thought the design industry required of me if I wanted to be considered a “real” designer. So I dove in head-first without thinking, and I started offering too many services - more than I could handle by myself (with an occasional handy-man for installations). I did some projects really well, but I’ve failed at some too - not neccessarily from the design standpoint but more in the communication and time-line departments. All of my striving for “more” has left me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, empty and extremely frustrated with myself. 

So what am I doing about it? I’m (slowly) getting back to the basics, I’m learning to accept my limited capacity at this stage in my life, I’m making some significant edits - both personally and professionally, and I’m trying to listen to the only voice that really matters - an Audience of One - our heavenly Father. I recently read Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, which I highly recommend if you struggle with busy-ness or trying to achieve “more.” The book left me yearning for a simpler and more intentional way of life. While I won’t go into all the personal edits I’m trying to make, I do want to catch you up to speed on the changes I’m making in my business:

I’ve already edited and updated my website with the home design services I’m currently offering. At this time, I’m only providing consultation services and room design plans - both locally and virtually. I will no longer offer shopping and installation services, and I cannot take on any long-term projects like large-scale renovations and new construction. I recently met with a client who was in need of some decorating and design direction - she was willing and able to shop for and install the items herself, but she needed specific recommendations and measurements. I was able to assist her efficiently and in a very timely manner which left her feeling very satisfied and left me feeling energized and helpful. That consultation was a gift from above - it was the wake-up call I needed to realize what I’m capable of doing well and that I need to focus only on that - especially during this sweet stage of my life with an almost 3-year-old daughter and a baby boy due in November!

This shift in my business will leave me with less pretty pictures to post on social media and add to my portfolio, but I’m okay with that - knowing that in the end, I’ll have time for more of what really matters - time with my Father, time with my family, and time to do what I am capable of doing well - both in my business and personal life. And that’s why I’m choosing to perform for my most important Audience of One.


Change is in the Air...

It's become pretty clear to me - it's time for a change. Although change can be so good for you in the long run, it doesn't always come easily... and I've been resisting this change for a while. Eight years ago, Beth Hart Designs was born - as a custom stationery & invitations business. I've learned a lot as a designer & entrepreneur, and my business has grown so much - thanks to your loyal support. I'm beyond grateful for the opportunity you've provided for me.

Over the past 2 years, my business has slowly been shifting... from Paper Design to Home Design. I've always been passionate about making our own home warm, gracious & beautiful, but I never dreamed I'd get to make a career out of helping others achieve that same goal. I really appreciate those of you who have trusted me and invested in my Home Design services as I've set out on this new journey - you've built my confidence and taught me so much along the way.

I've been trying to provide both services for a while - both Paper & Home Design, but I'm starting to wear thin. I've been working late, late nights and on the weekends just to try to keep up, but lately I've realized that no one is getting the best of me - not my paper clients, not my home design clients, and sadly not even my family. So something's gotta give...

I've been praying for God to show me clear signs for which direction to take my business, and he has answered these prayers in numerous ways. All of which point to Home Design. So change is happening - I'm taking a break from paper to fully invest in my Home Design business. I will still be offering Christmas Cards in October, November & December but no other paper products at this time.

I'm so very excited about this new business opportunity, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous and scared. In some ways, I feel like I'm starting all over again. Choosing Home Design is definitely the more challenging path to take, but I love it - my heart is in the work, and I'm passionate about helping others find peace & beauty in their own homes. You can read more about my love for Home Design & Southern Hospitality here

"Thank You" feels insufficient for how much I appreciate your support of Beth Hart Designs. I hope you'll stick around with me as I dive head-first into Delightfully Southern Home Design.

A photo of our fireplace mantle recently re-posted on  House Beautiful's Instagram Account

A photo of our fireplace mantle recently re-posted on House Beautiful's Instagram Account

Perfect Imperfection...

Making your house a home is a process - it doesn't happen overnight, and it shouldn't happen overnight. In a world that often demands instant gratification, it can be difficult to be patient and take your time when putting together the rooms of your home.

As a designer helping others renovate and decorate their homes, I find it difficult to accept the imperfect and unfinished state of my own home. I'm a designer, my house should be perfect, right? We purchased a 1950's ranch in 2014, and although many renovations took place before we moved in, our house is a never-ending project - which happens to be one of the reasons I love it so much. I follow many talented designers on Instagram, and I love browsing through the beautiful photos on Pinterest and Houzz - mainly to gain business knowledge and inspiration - however I'd be lying if I told you that I leave these Social Media platforms feeling completely satisfied with my own home. 

I'm reading Phoebe Howard's book Room by Room, and she addresses the importance of taking your time. "Always keep in mind that decorating is a complicated process that takes time, planning, and money. It is an expensive undertaking, and it is easy to make costly mistakes. The more planning and thoughtful collaboration that you allow, the better the result will be. Be patient and take your time - it should not happen overnight. Let your house show who you are, what you like, and where you are going." Well said, Mrs. Howard.

So now I want to (very hesitantly) show you some photos of unfinished spaces in our home - as an effort to accept this perfectly acceptable imperfection. Gulp. First up, the Dining Room: We opened up 4 rooms in the center of our house by knocking down walls - leaving a walk-around, see-through fireplace. I've only posted photos of the kitchen and what's on the other side of this fireplace because the dining space is so very unfinished. The table, parsons chairs and china hutch are from our last house, and like many couples our age, my husband and I are in the process of replacing our "newlywed furniture" with more lasting furniture. I do have a plan for this space which involves buying new chairs, painting the china hutch and the French doors, installing wainscoting on the walls and wood beams on the ceiling, addressing the mantle decor and replacing the table with a rustic trestle table in a lighter wood finish. But until we find the time and save the money to do all of this, the room will look like this:

And here are 2 other areas of this large open room - the Foyer and the "Clock Corner." Both spaces contain furniture that I found at the Nashville Flea Market, and these pieces are in need of some TLC. The mirrors need to be hung on the walls, wainscoting needs to be installed on the foyer wall, and the pair of lamps on the Jackson Press need more appropriately sized shades. The seagrass chair is also from our last house, and I'm saving up for the perfect sweep-arm slipcovered chair & ottoman. Oh and that picture frame needs a family photo asap... the list is long, but there is a plan so I know what I'm aiming to accomplish.

Hopefully, this blog post will encourage you to be patient and take your time when decorating your home. If you need help forming a plan to follow, I'd love to work with you... Nashville area residents can view my In-Home Design Services page, and all other clients can view the Virtual Design Services page. However long it may take, I hope you find contentment in the perfectly imperfect process of making your house a home.

Back To Work...

It's finally March - hallelujah! It means Spring is just around the corner - a sign of new life and fresh beginnings. I'm back to work after a wonderful time off with our precious baby girl (who's growing like a weed!) and time spent reflecting on business and settling into our "new" home. I feel like March is a fresh beginning for me, and I'm taking advantage!

I've made a few changes to my website - several categories and products have been removed. I used to think I should offer everything to everyone. But someone once said to me that just because you can do everything, doesn't mean you should do everything. I know that I'm a much happier person and a better designer when I'm working on things that I love... therefore I've removed products and categories that I don't feel allow me to offer the best version of myself.

I no long offer wedding invitations, but I still love designing invitations for wedding parties, showers, and rehearsal dinners. Frame-able Art Prints for your home have been taken off my website but in-stock and ready-to-ship options will be available in my Etsy shop very soon! I will no longer be offering logo and branding design, and I've removed address stamps, acrylic serving trays, and a few other products that weren't quite right for my brand. 

I know that seems like a long list of what I am no longer offering, but all of these changes will allow me to focus on what will provide you with the best service and best version of me as a designer. These changes will also make room for a new service that I've been wanting to offer for almost two years now - Home Design. I am still ironing out the final details, but I expect the official launch to happen next week! Stay tuned!

One last note: Beth Hart Designs has new office hours... Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thank you for supporting my business and allowing me to make every day a little more delightful - one design at at time!