Around the House: with The Squirrel Pearl

Monday, August 2, 2010

The first time I ever came across images of Carolyn Burgess Sellers' (aka Squirrel Pearl) home, I gasped in amazement. Her use of colors. Her love of vintage. It all sang to me. This gal has an eye for color, a knack for DIYs and astounding taste for vintage. Today, it is my honor and privilege to share with you a deeper glimpse into the world known to many as Squirrel Pearl.

My name is Carolyn Burgess Sellers, I live in Nashville, TN with my husband and our furry family of pets - no kiddos yet. We've been married almost four years and have a lot of fun renovating our 1940s Tudor style home in East Nashville. I work for an Architectural firm as my day job, but create wedding invitations, do digital illustration, sewing and enjoy screenprinting when I find the time.

PN: Which do you prefer DIY or Crafts?
SP: I think I prefer both! My dad grew up on a farm and never learned the habit of calling someone to come fix something, in the country, you just did it yourself. I learned that from him - invention is born from necessity! We do all of our own renovations to our house (with the help of my dad!) and only call on professionals when it required so by law. haha i.e. calling the gas company to install a gas line.
I think this mentality leans me toward DIY, but I love a good craft too!

PN: Do you have any DIY/Craft tips for readers?
SP: Just don't be afraid of trying new things, you most likely won't be an expert at something on your first try! It's ok to make mistakes.

PN: Are you organized with lists, crossing one item off at a time or sporadic with lots of projects going on at once?
SP: Ha, I wish I were more organized! I am the kind of person who makes lists, but then can't find that list so I make another list, and so on! I do like to brainstorm and write down ideas and things to do, but I think it serves me more as a place to download all the stuff floating around in my brain as to not get overwhelmed. One day I will be better organized, one day! haha

PN: Is there anything you are dying to learn how to do?
SP: I am really tempted to take an advanced level upholstery class or I would love to do real deal welding. I have upholstered easy chairs for our house, but I want to take apart an entire couch and start over from scratch with custom fabric that I've screenprinted myself- that would be an accomplishment! And with welding, I have a small soldering iron, but would love to do real welding and throw on the helmet all Flashdance style!

PN: I love your stuff on etsy. Are you a self-taught illustrator?
SP: Thanks, so much! I'm not to the level that I would call myself an illustrator yet, but yes I am self-taught! My mom was always taking art classes when I was younger and it never really interested me much until my last year of college, when I took my first class. I got something published with the help of my teacher and finally felt like I was decent at something without major effort. I taught myself Photoshop and just scanned in drawings and doodles and played around with it until I liked the outcome.

PN: Is this a full-time gig or a hobby?
SP: For now, this is a hobby, but I hope to one day be able to do this as a profession in some capacity.

PN: Where do you look for inspiration?
SP: I love the weather in the spring and all the color with the bloom of flowers and renewal, that serves as a big inspiration as well as music. I listen to alot of upbeat fun tunes like Mates of State, She & Him, Wings, MGMT- if it has a good beat and there are harmonies, you can bet that I like it.

PN: Are there any unlikely color combinations that you fancy?
SP: I really like muted colors with pops of color as accents, I don't really think of any unlikely color combinations, in my book- they all go together.

PN: How long have you lived in your current house?
SP: We purchased our house just a little over 5 years ago.

PN: What was your first project upon moving in?
SP: Painting the walls, every room was a different version of a flesh tone!

PN: What's next?
SP: I started painting the upstairs this week, I hope to wrap that up and then move on to ripping out the linoleum in the bathrooms and tiling with mini hex tiles. I think my husband has finally gotten used to me moving things around the house all the time! haha

PN: Who's the renovator? You or the hubby or both?
SP: I would say both, however, I'm the ideas (wo)man. I usually have an idea and have to sell him on it either by taking a photo and editing it in photoshop to show it what it would look like or if I can find something else online or in a magazine that is similar, he'll agree. But then, when it comes to execution he's more of a planner and organized than I am and he keeps us on track. We are a good team, so far, I've only had one bad paint color choice that he won't let me live down.

PN: You have a lot of vintage pieces in your home. Where do you go to find these treasures?
SP: It is an addiction! We go to our local flea market every month, sometimes we go to estate sales or thrift shops, and occasionally we buy things on ebay, craigslist or etsy.

PN: What's the farthest you've traveled to pick up a vintage find?
SP: We drove to Kentucky to pick up the majority of our vintage Youngstown kitchen cabinets that we found on craigslist.

PN: Is there anything you're on a constant hunt to find?
SP: Vintage dishes, globes, typewriters, paint-by-numbers, fabric, it never ends.
I've definitely reached a point with a few of my collections that I tell David, "Don't let me buy anymore of ______", and then of course, I find one that I can't live without. I've tried to stop buying globes because I'm up to almost 15.

PN: What is currently on your night stand?
SP: A lamp, ponytail holders, a bottle of water, a cute vintage eyeglasses holder, and an alarm clock

PN: Bike, walk or drive?
SP: carpool!

PN: Magazines: printed or online?
SP: Both! So many home or shelter magazines have gone under that I don't have too many printed ones to look forward to anymore. I loved Blueprint and Domino and there's just something about opening your mailbox and seeing the shiny printed version that is so pleasing. I have enjoyed looking forward to new online mags like Lonny recently though!

PN: Coffee or Tea?
SP: Coffee- Double iced vanilla mocha to be exact!

PN: What's your design moto?
SP: It can always be better? haha I just don't sit still!

PN: What do you listen to while working?
SP: As mentioned above, I love upbeat peppy music. Others that I didn't list above are Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Grizzly Bear, Jenny Lewis, Vampire Weekend

Thank you SOOO much Carolyn. You guys can all see why I adore her style right? The vintage. The colors. I could go on and on. Oh, and that kickin' kitchen?  After gutting it, she and her hubs created that lovely with their own hands... amazing right? She is super talented. If you'd like to see more of Carolyn's house check out her blog. She asks her readers for help in making her design choices. Fun! Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you've been inspired. xo


  1. Awesome home - so much to absorb! Great taste and tastefully great!

  2. wonderful home, I love all the cool vintage

  3. Ellie and Kay - I could not agree more!


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