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