Living and working with your spouse can’t be easy, especially when your work is centered around executing a creative vision. Matt and Beau, DIY home designers, renovators and founders of the site Probably This try to find compromise as they work through their projects. “Sometimes we’ll even just say ‘you take this room and I’ll take that one’ and we work side by side, separately, to create cohesive spaces that are still a reflection of our individual design preferences” the couple says. They are not only making it work but they are inspiring others (us included) to design beautiful and personal homes. We caught up with the couple as they decorated for the holidays—read on for more about their journey, their new book, and their advice for creating a space you love.
How did you two meet? Did you both always share a love for design and entertaining individually, or did you cultivate this together?
We met in 2013 while we were both students at Loyola University in New Orleans. We moved in together pretty fast and discovered a mutual love of home decorating and creating a home ready for entertaining—even though we were on a college student budget. Our journey of diving into that mutual interest while being limited as renters with low income became the basis of our blog and book.
You got married this month at your Tennessee home. Congratulations! What was your inspiration for the ceremony?
Thank you! We wanted the ceremony to be a celebration of our home here and to pull inspiration from both the landscape and the season. Our ceremony and cocktail hour took place near the barn and woods on our property, and then we had a family-style dinner in our driveway and a bonfire in our garden patch. We viewed it as an opportunity to share our new dwelling with our friends and families, most of whom were traveling in from out of town. We combined cultures with a few traditional south Louisiana dishes and a bluegrass band that came in from Nashville.
Your new home is so charming. What was it about this house that made you know it was the one?
We knew we wanted a home with land (nearly ten acres in this case!) that we could hold onto for the rest of our lives and build on, if we so choose. We’ve always loved the idea of having a home that felt like a true retreat for both of us and our visitors, and this home fits the bill perfectly. Most of our friends and family that have come to stay with us get very sad when it’s time to leave!
How does your interior design taste vary in your Tennessee home versus your New Orleans home?
Two completely different beasts! It’s been a really exhilarating opportunity to explore our flexibility after a couple of years honing in on one style for the New Orleans home. Both home designs are heavily inspired by the existing architecture and surrounding landscape. The New Orleans home was designed to be true to the city—quirky, over the top, rooted in history, and made for entertaining. Bold color and bold patterns were the forefront of creating the New Orleans home’s uniqueness. The Tennessee home, on the other hand, is being designed with serenity in mind. While we have just barely started the renovation of the Tennessee house, the plans are to create a space where every room feels like taking a deep breath. With numerous large windows throughout the house, we’ve found ourselves mostly trying to highlight the view and draw eyes outward by keeping the interior colors neutral and undersaturated. That way the gorgeous trees and fields and mountains outside the windows can be the unchallenged star. In addition to that, our renovation plans include the construction of a guest home and a large bunk room with the goal of being able to sleep as many friends and family as possible. Spaces like our dining hall are designed to fit 14 for dinner plus a kids’ table, while the multiple sitting areas can accommodate groups large and small. The more the merrier!
Do you two have very similar taste when it comes to home decor? Or do you find yourselves compromising to create a balance between your two styles?
It’s all about compromise! While we usually see eye to eye on the overall feel we’re hoping to create, we often disagree on the best designs, decorations, and finishes to achieve it. Sometimes we’ll even just say “you take this room and I’ll take that one” and we work side by side, separately, to create cohesive spaces that are still a reflection of our individual design preferences.
Working together so often has taught us we both need to feel like we have some individuality and permission to follow our own instincts. It’s worked out well for us so far!
You published a book, Housewarming, all about cultivating the perfect home. What is your individual “golden rule” or favorite tip to share about creating a space you love?
Beau: Everytime I start designing a space, I let myself do a little inspiration research on Pinterest as a starting point, but then try and take a step away from looking at the work of others and let myself envision how I personally want to feel in any given room and how I want guests to feel. Remembering who you’re designing for is more important to me than sticking to a specific design style or aesthetic. I love spaces that show personality, and find them more compelling than spaces that show perfection.
Matt: For me, a room that feels effortlessly cozy usually has a mixture of textures in the furniture and decor. I need to see something glass on top of something wooden, for example, plus a stone or ceramic piece, a fabric element, and some type of metal. To me, including all of those materials is a shortcut to a space that feels like it was collected casually over time and “just so happened” to work together, even though I’ll know deep down I spent hours and hours thoughtfully selecting each item.
The Sol Dining Table pairs so well with the Sydney Dining chairs. What drew you to these pieces?
They are both stunning and perfectly fit the goal of bringing serenity into the home. Sitting at the table in the morning while gazing out of the large windows feels almost meditative, and every time we walk past the room it feels like a mental hug. One phrase we use a lot when describing the style of the Tennessee home is “organic modern” and the plaster effect of the table and the boucle upholstering on the chairs combined with the sleek lines of the pieces are exactly that! They feel up to date and chic while still highlighting natural textures.
Any advice for those also looking to upgrade their dining space?
The biggest thing with a dining space is to make sure not to overcrowd it. You never want a table that’s too big for the space, and never try to fit more chairs at the table than seems natural--except when it’s time to eat and you’ve got more people than chairs, of course. When your dining area isn’t being used, it should be free of clutter and have enough breathing room that people feel drawn to sitting down. So often we find ourselves using our dining table as a workspace during the day, but we always make sure to clear off our computers and notebooks at the end of the work day.
Do you two have any Holiday traditions you look forward to each year?
The past several years we’ve hosted Christmas morning, usually presents and coffee followed by a big lunch that stretches into the afternoon.
Holidays for us will always be about creating intentional time with the people we love.
With your love for entertaining, what is one meal, appetizer, or dessert you are looking forward to serving up this Holiday season?
Matt’s “famous” turkey gumbo! We always make extra turkey at Thanksgiving and freeze it until we’re ready to make a big pot of turkey gumbo with Cajun sausage. We usually have it in early-mid December and send an open invite to any friends and family who can join us!.
What is next for you two and Probably This? Anything specific you are looking forward to in 2023?
2022 was such a big year, between buying the Tennessee house and releasing our book and getting married—we’re mostly looking forward to embracing a bit of slow living. That being said, we don’t sit still for long! We’re currently working with an architect to create the plans for the future guest house in Tennessee, which we’ll move into afterwards to free up the main house for renovation in 2024.
Photos provided by Probably This