Hey there, I’m Ajai (pronounced Asia). I’m a new contributor here on the blog, and I’m beyond thrilled to be sharing here a few times a month, and getting to know you all. Like many, I’m a huge fan of Emily’s, and adhere to many of her design principles when working with my clients, to discover who they are as it relates to their homes. So when Jess reached out and asked me if I’d like to join in on the blogging fun, I said “heck yes” (right after running around the house screaming with joy and excitement).
That said, I’d like to share with you a little bit about me and what I’m currently up to…I’m the founder and designer of a boutique blog and interior design firm called True Home. How this came to be, well that’s a long story. The short version of the story is; I spent years learning under some of the best fashion brands, architects, and interior designers Los Angeles has to offer. I moved to Atlanta to buy, design, and renovate our first home, only to move back to Los Angeles (during the pandemic) to be close to family. Did I mention my husband and I did all of this during our first pregnancy? Well we did, and we are seven months pregnant now and living in Los Angeles with my parents. To top it off, after finishing all of our home projects back in Atlanta, we’ve piled our plates with more projects that will be taking place here in L.A. In the next few months, we’ve got collaborations, DIYs, and remodels on our schedule. We even promised our parents (mine and the in-laws) that we’d be helping them remodel their spaces, and boy have we got our work cut out for us.
WHY WE CHOSE TO MOVE IN WITH PARENTS WHILE (VERY) PREGNANT
As you can imagine, moving across the country can be quite expensive. Along with moving expenses and costs to update our home, we also put it on the market and then had to wait for it to sell. Again, this is all during the start of the pandemic, so asking my mom and dad if we could move in was a great idea (or so I thought). What I thought was a simple ask, turned out to be quite complex. Whenever I talk to my parents, they imagine me in a pamper, cooing. Whenever I hear my parents speak, I hear the rumbling the teacher used to make from the Charlie Brown cartoon (pretty hard for either party to take the other seriously right?).
It all started with the conversation about where my husband and I would be sleeping. My husband Jonathan and I would need to transform a space into a master bedroom and nursery, so we needed plenty of room to fit: our baby’s bassinet, an eastern king-sized bed, two nightstands, and a dresser. This meant we needed the second largest room in the house, which just so happened to be my mom’s “girl-cave.” During the conversation (where I had to ask my mom to surrender her precious girl-cave in the front of the house), I could sense hesitancy, and an “I love you so I’ll make the sacrifice, but I really don’t want to” tremble in my mom’s voice. THANK YOU, MOM!
TRYING NOT TO BE FREE-LOADERS
During the design and moving process of our bedroom, I discovered that in order to make our stay as enjoyable as possible for all parties involved, I needed to make it equally beneficial for my mom and dad, so I offered to design and help with updates to their home (as their home was purchased almost 20 years ago and has only undergone one bathroom update). I’m sure you could imagine how that conversation went…“hey mom and dad, let’s even the playing field here… this place has seen better days, how about I use my interior design knowledge to bring this place up to date and into the 21st century? If you let us move in with you, I’ll even throw in a few DIYs… it’ll be just like the old days, like when I had chores.” We agreed to update and design their patio areas, dining, living, and bathroom. My husband offered to cover the electrical and water bills. We even set a desired move-out date.
The first thing on our schedule is the bedroom we will be sleeping since the baby is coming soon. We’ve got to take this room from a dated girl-cave to a tranquil master/nursing room for the baby. I know I want the vibe of the room to convey peaceful and grounded, so I’m thinking a neutral color-palette will get the job done. This will help to keep our new babe calm and relaxed (won’t hurt to keep mommy and daddy relaxed too). We’ll want to brighten up the room, so painting the walls white will help tremendously (right now, the walls are a dark grey color). I’d like to mount sconces to have the option of warm lighting for feeding throughout the night. Not having to turn the main room light on and keeping it dim, will help the baby to differentiate between day and night. I also want a bed with an upholstered headboard, Since I’ll be sitting up to feed the majority of the time. This will give me the comfort I’m looking for during this time. I hear the first few months with our baby will be all about feeding and sleeping, so the room set-up will need to be conducive for those things. We’ll need a great pair of sheets and bedding as well (good sleep is on the menu).
My mom is on board for all of the design changes, as of late, she’s binge-watched several episodes of “Restored by the Fords,” and just discovered that she loves a neutral palette and bright and airy room. My mom also loves mid-century with a touch of glam, so I’ve kept this in mind when sourcing the style of the light fixtures. Even though this is our temporary space, it’s important she be happy with it once we move out.
PARENTS JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND (BUT HOPEFULLY WILL SOON?!)
My parents are really old school as it relates to…well, lots of things, and my mom is having a hard time understanding that her baby is having a baby (she still wants to boss me on an everyday basis). Nonetheless, we are beyond grateful to have a place to stay while we save money to purchase our new home (I don’t have to tell you how expensive it is to live in Los Angeles). I’m also excited to see my childhood home have the makeover it deserves. We’ve already got to work on the living and dining room areas, and the bedroom is getting closer to completion. I’m so thrilled to have you all on this remodel journey with us, as I’ll be documenting it all right here. Be on the lookout because we have so many updates on the way!
Opening Photo Credits: Design and Photo by Ajai Guyot of True Home
Yay for new faces with an engaging writing style and an interesting story (with more to come)!!!
Thank you so much! I’m really glad you enjoyed the story and am so happy to be sharing!
Yay! Ajai, so nice to meet you! Love your writing style and having another mom as part of the EHD crew – Congratulations!
This dynamic with your parents is so familiar to me as we did this for a short time while my first was a year old and I was pregnant with my second. So many challenges and growth. On the edge of my seat for your writing, process, and reveals!
Hi Sara! So good to virtually meet you! Us moms have to stick together. Thank you for following along. I’m so happy to be sharing my journey here.
Exciting! Looking forward to hearing more from you Ajai, and best of luck with the pregnancy!
Hi Jess! Thank you! I’m thrilled to be sharing this journey! 🙂
Love this story. I am a Cali native living in ATL. I fully understand the longing for family and Cali. All the best on your journey.
Hi Leigh, hope you are enjoying the leaves changing there in the ATL. I do miss that part about Atlanta. I am happy to be home and close to family though. Thank you for your well wishes. 🙂
So glad you are contributing and excited to follow along, Ajai!
Thank you! I’m happy to be here and sharing my stories. 🙂
Yes to the bar stools, pendants and YOU! So happy to hear your design story enmeshed with your multi generational family living. I was a “whoopsie at home birth” while my folks were living with my nana. There is something sacred to a mother and child being together when the child/grandchild is born (of course, provided healthy and living relationships). Looking forward to witnessing your design and your writing!!
Hi Megan! Thank you! That is so true, being close to family can be a beautiful thing. I also had the pleasure of growing up with my granny! It was such a special time during my childhood. Thank you for following along. 🙂
Welcome to the blog, Ajai! I’m looking forward to following along on your journey in your parent’s home. I grew up in a large Mexican family that lived close to each other with family moving in and out as needed to support each other. At times it was hectic (and cramped) but I am incredibly grateful for the closeness this gave us. Good luck getting your room ready before baby comes.
Hi Julie, that sounds like a good time indeed! I am one of five children, and have always enjoyed a full house. Thank you for following along. 🙂
hooray, welcome to the team ajai!!! my grandparents ended up moving down the street from my mom to help watch me while she worked, so i will ALWAYS love a close family story 🙂 can’t wait for your reveals!!
Hi Caitlin! Thank you so much! I’m so excited to be joining the EHD team, and beyond thrilled to be sharing! 🙂
About family! Congratulations on your move back to LA! Looking forward to reading your posts!
Thank you, Zay! It’s great to be back home, I’m so looking forward to sharing!
Welcome to the team. Happy to follow along with your family remodel.
Thank you so much. I’m happy to be sharing the journey.
Hooray! I love the rug choice for the bedroom. We did extensive renovation to our house while I was pregnant and I worked on it plus my real job nonstop so I feel you, but honestly it made being pregnant fly by and it really wasn’t bad. 🙂
Thank you 😊 I can imagine with a full schedule like that the pregnancy flew by. That’s great!
I love the mood board! Looking forward to seeing this one come together. Welcome Ajai!
Thank you so much. ☺️ I’m looking forward to sharing.
Welcome to the team! Looking forward to your story and the designs that you’ll put together. I love the look you put together at the end – I tend to be a ‘cool’ neutral person but those warm colors are gorgeous together and both beautiful and soothing.
Thank you 😊 I love a warm palette. It makes it feel a little more grounding and cozy.
Love it!! And love the snippets of your ATL house, looked great. Would love to know the source of that rug in your mood board for the new room!
Thank you so much. We had a great time remodeling our ATL home. I got the vintage kilim rug from a seller on Etsy. ☺️
Girl, I’m going to need you to post to your blog daily so I can add it to my morning design blog routine! Holy moly, The Home Edit-levels of calming 😍
Whoa your rates are almost too-affordable, maybe it’s time I bit the bullet and got some outside help on this stupid living room of mine
😂 thank you so much. 😊 I really appreciate the kind words and support.
I’m ready for that living room whenever you’re ready. We’ll get it together! 😃
So looking forward to hearing more from you, Ajai! I had all three of my 20 something kids move home for several months during the pandemic so I can related to two adult generations under one roof. I think I might be missing out though as my kids didn’t do any design updates to my house…… : )
It sounds like it’s time to renegotiate those living arrangements 😉
Also, thank you so much for your kind words.
Ajai, welcome from Australia! 🦘 Cool name. 😉
Your writing style is fruendly and warm, just like your bedroom moodboard.
Looking forward to seeing things progress (as you must be with your bub tapping on the ‘bingo!’ button).
EHD is growing again, in more ways that one.
Di-vers-it-y! Yaaay! 😍
Oh, I make loads of typos due to not feeling many fingers, and would take hours to comment if I checked it all.
So, as Emily says “Done is better than perfect”.
Please excuse typos.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve always wanted to visit Australia 🤩
You’re absolutely right about me looking forward to getting things in order before the little one arrives 😊 😃
Loving the moodboard for the bedroom. Very glad we will get to hear and see more of your story and design, Ajai. I also went to your blog and that nursery–so beautiful!!
Thank you so much. I’m very happy to share 😊
I’m glad you like the nursery I put together too 😃
Excited to see how it turns out!
Thank you so much for the kinds words and encouragement 😊
Love your design aesthetic and color palettes, Ajai! I am super into warm neutrals lately. Looking forward to seeing more! (Oh, and I’m absolutely following you on Instagram starting 30 seconds ago. SO. MUCH. GORGEOUSNESS.)
Thank you so much for joining and the kind words of encouragement.
Yes! Warm neutrals are so cozy and grounding 😃
Welcome Ajai!! I am at the other end of your story (journey). My daughter and family moved in with me during pandemic and are also try to save for a home in California (where I am living). Your mom is very lucky to have your wonderful talent to balance out (rent), plus you said you had a potential move out date (my daughter has not). It is a sacrifice for us moms, but I feel with this pandemic, we have all realized love and family are THE most important things. Creating a beautiful, loving home is a testimate to that. Looking forward to following your journey.
Thank you so much for your kind words.
I also really appreciate you sharing that. I completely agree, family is so important and this pandemic has definitely made me more aware of that.
I’m so happy to share and thank you for joining 😊
I can’t wait to see the reveal! I checked out Ajai’s blog, and it’s a wonderful resource to be introduced to. Thank you for bringing in fresh content and introducing readers to new talent!
Oh, and I loved the conversation about mom’s “girl cave”! I know exactly how she feels. I wouldn’t want to give up my craft room, but of course I would, for a family member needing to live with me.
😃 Thank you so much. Yes, she has been so accommodating, but it’s tough to give up a space that is so near and dear.
Thank you so much for taking a look at my blog, I really appreciate that. I also appreciate the kinds words too 😊
I and my husband lived with my parents for the same reason. It was crazy. I wouldn’t do it again, but I don’t live in California so I can certainly see the appeal. I love the updates and look forward to seeing more. Best wishes !
It has it’s challenges for sure, but you touched on it perfectly – the appeal to move in was definitely there with the cost of living here in So Cal.
Thank you so much for the kind words. I look forward to sharing more. 😃
How delightful, Ajai! Thank you for sharing here! Excited to see your story unfold!
Thank you so much 😊 I’m always happy to share and look forward to sharing more. 💛
Great new series! And congrats, Ajai – you’re glowing!
I’m very excited about this series of posts! “How to make the best of it in less than ideal circumstances” is something all of us are experiencing right now, in one way or another.
Oh I’m looking forward to seeing this new design series. Welcome Ajai! I’m going to check out your blog now.
Hi Ajai! Congrats! nice story & cute picture!
Excited to follow, Ajai! Thank you for bringing us along for the ride. Family dynamics + home design = interesting, engaging stories that I’m INTO. xox
Welcome Ajai! So excited to hear and see more from you!
LOL, I loved “Whenever I talk to my parents, they imagine me in a pamper, cooing. Whenever I hear my parents speak, I hear the rumbling the teacher used to make from the Charlie Brown cartoon (pretty hard for either party to take the other seriously right?)” as much as your writing & mood board. All the best to you and your family, Ajai — can’t wait to see the baby and future projects. 🙂
Yay! Welcome Ajai! I can’t wait to see and hear more from you! What a whirlwind before baby is due! Congratulations!
Holy moly, I’m hooked on Ajai’s story already and cannot wait to read more! You will look back on this time of your life with so much wonder.
Welcome Ajai! Nice to have a new face and person to get to know. I love your writing style – warm and approachable but still professional/edited.
Glad you’re here! I love your ATL kitchen. I just installed a backsplash for the first time and am grappling with the grout color. I love the color in your kitchen. Do you happen to remember what it is?
Love!! Can’t wait to see more!
Welcome!!!! Your work is gorgeous! Cant wait to see what happens with your parents spaces! What a dynamic to work with for a client!!! Good luck! And it is so smart about the upholstered bed for you comfort! Just make sure you cover it up with something machine washable for spit up! Lol… love to see pregnant women rocking it in public places, good luck, Mama!
and, wish I had proofread….. oops!
Can’t wait to see how these projects turn out! Good luck Ajai!
Where are the butcher block countertops from? Everything looks great!
Welcome Ajai! I wish you patience and luck with your multi-generational living situation. My husband and I also lived with my family when our son was an infant. They were our daycare while I finished teaching that year and my husband traveled often for work. I will always cherish that 6 months, because my Dad was SO in love with his only grandson and sadly we lost my Dad last year when our boy was almost 3. It wasn’t always easy to have so many parents in the house. I had to set some boundaries with my Mom and we are still navigating our relationship.
The pics are of Atlanta and the story is about living with parents and helping to update their house. I think this could have been two posts.
I absolutely love your style! Your parents’ “before” kitchen reminds me of my first house’s “before” kitchen and you did an amazing job. I love the mood board for the bedroom, too. Your parents are going to love it!
A really successful metamorphosis – nice to look at 🙂