Today I have a special holiday treat to share with you!
We are going on another holiday home tour.
It’s not my home this time!
I wish it was, though.
Today we are visiting a gorgeous 100-year-old historic home
and hearing a real Cinderella tale of romance, dreams, and overcoming struggles
that would make Nicholas Sparks salivate over to turn into a novel
and another blockbuster movie.
You won’t find this beautiful home on any other blog
or in any one of the many holiday house walks.
Until today this historic gem could only be seen on Instagram.
Through a Halloween hashtag party, #HauntinglyBeautifulDecor, is how I came
to know Larissa Jenkins and her home that goes by the name- The Welch House.
When I first laid eyes on one of her photos, it was instant love for me!
Beyond the aesthetics, her personal journey and story
are every bit as fascinating as the home itself is,
and I get the honor of telling it to you today.
Go grab a cup of tea and get comfortable.
You’re about to be enraptured in a modern day Cinderella story.
You won’t be disappointed.
A Young Girls Dreams of Happily Ever After
Growing up Larissa shared a small bedroom with two older sisters. They lived on a farm in Missouri that remained in their family for three generations. All of the little home they grew up in was decked out in dark wood paneling that each of the girls grew to abhor. They begged their mother to allow them to paint their bedroom and each time their request was met with a resounding, “No!”
Larissa’s best friend during childhood lived in a Victorian mansion. This home is where the first twinges of a lifelong love affair with old homes began. Room after room was covered in decadent, beautiful printed wallpaper, gorgeous woodwork, details, with light cascading through massive windows. For Larissa’s eyes, this was a welcome relief from the tiny dismal room she shared with her siblings. Since childhood, she dreamt of a day when she would escape her dark surroundings and raise her own family in a home filled with ample space, charm, and every bit as much character as the Victorian home she loved to visit so much as a young girl.
Eventually, that time came, but it wasn’t easy or without great sacrifice.
Nearly Homeless & Hopeless
All grown up now, married, with a baby on the way, Larissa lived in a rental home in Kansas while her husband worked in Iowa. After pouring through one realtor site after another, time was running out before their baby boy was due. While on their way to look at a house in Iowa, the realtor called saying the house just sold and nothing else that fit their wishes was available.
It was looking like her dreams to be settled in their
forever home before the baby came were crumbling away.
Despite the horrible news from the realtor- crying, uncomfortably pregnant, and sick, they continued driving to Shenandoah. As they wandered through town, they came upon an overgrown, neglected yard. Behind the jungle mess of a yard, there sat a big home with Greek columns on a large porch. As luck would have it, the owners placed a For Sale sign in the yard that very day. The house hadn’t even been listed on a realtor’s site yet!
Considering The Welch House was on and off the market for five years, filled with careless renters trashing the place, Larissa believes in her heart this house was always meant to be hers. It never sold because it was waiting for her. This house yearned to be full with the pitter-patter of little feet, joy, love, and a family who would cherish the homes rich history and stories dating back to World War I.
Prayers Answered & Dreams Come True
This is what Larissa has to say about the town and home she lives in now, “Shenandoah is a small town, very pretty with lots of old houses almost like a town out of a Hallmark movie!”
Doesn’t that sound delightful? I’m moving into the attic. Get ready for me, Larissa!
“When we viewed The Welch House, there was a hole in the foyer ceiling, every wall and the crown molding was painted blue. The bathrooms were in bad shape ( still are ) and ceiling fans were in every room, but I was in love!!! I didn’t look at any other houses…this house never sold because I believe it was meant for me.”
She goes on to share more about her wish list and the homes romantic history.
“I had written down all the things I wished my dream home would have and kept them in my Bible. A beadboard ceiling in the kitchen, a tin ceiling, sun porch, window seat, and a wishing well were my wishes. My house has all of these things! But believe me, it is nowhere near done! It is known as The Welch Home around town because that was the first owners last name.
I’ve been told that my home is in a book about Shenandoah. At one time my home and three other homes were named the stateliest homes in Shenandoah. Each one had a plaque made and presented to them by the city. Unfortunately, my homes plaque is missing.
We get asked a lot if our third floor is a ballroom because during WWI there were a lot of dances held up there. We don’t have a ballroom, but our attic is huge. It is very rustic and pretty. What I love most about my home are our beveled glass windows! We have about sixteen windows in the whole house.”
OMG! Can you believe this incredible story?
Move over Hallmark and Mr. Sparks,
bloggers are creeping in telling tales of struggles endured and Happily Ever After too!
Go follow Larissa on Instagram here. #welchhouse1900
Come back! There’s more!
What is Larissa’s Decorating Style?
Larissas combines a dazzling blend of French Country,
French Nordic/Gustavian, and Victorian elements.
Like most of us, pink is her favorite color.
Her Instagram account is full of photos that show her fun and playful side.
What’s even more amazing is that she has managed to decorate her entire
home soley using items found in thrift stores.
She rarely purchases anything brand new in popular chain stores.
Living in a small town means a lack of stores.
That’s similar to what I deal with here in Alaska.
There is so much more to see on Instagram!
Click below and join me in following
The Welch House!
Follow Your Heart
“These styles are my favorite because of how they touch my heart. I know that sounds silly but when I see these styles paired together I feel something that I’ve never felt with another style of decor.
Before this house, my old home was primitive country. It didn’t touch my heart. I used to have a lot of masculine and black furniture around until my Dad passed. After he died, I started painting everything white.
I would see romantic decorating style in magazines, and honestly didn’t think it was realistic to have a home like that! I felt it was unachievable but vowed that when I found my forever home I would decorate it with interesting and beautiful things. I love the softness of Shabby Chic linens, and the feminine lines of French furniture. ”
I asked Larissa to share with you some of her best advice and favorite tips for decorating your home.
I think you will find her answers brilliant, genuine, and heartfelt!
Larissa’s Home Decor Tips For You
•Life’s too short not to surround yourself with the things you love.
•If you want to paint something, do it!
This includes family heirlooms!
Shoosh it anti-wood painters!
It’s not your story or the time to chime in.
•If you want to change something in your life whether it be decor or not…go ahead and start today!
Lifes too short to worry about what everyone else will think!
•Always stay true to what you love!
•Don’t decorate in a way that you think will make others happy!
•Candles are an inexpensive way to add luxury and ambiance to any room.
• Add fresh flowers whenever possible.
A Word About Being True to Yourself
When Larissa first began her journey on Instagram
she tried decorating in a way that she thought other people would like.
Uh-oh….. that’s never good! Yikes!
How did that work out for you?
“Well, that didn’t get me anywhere!
I stopped caring what other people thought and starting doing what I love!
That’s when I saw people begin to follow me on Instagram.”
The truth is-
I would never have found Larissa if she had decorated in any other way.
It’s a good thing she found her path.
Mic pass back to Olivia….
French decor lovers are romantics at heart!
We love the history that comes with old homes and
the quality of craftsmenship in the glorious details of handcarved woodwork.
We don’t mind painting it if it’s stained a color we don’t like.
Look out orange wood! You’re outta here like a bad cold!
We love vintage furniture, the mysterious origins,
and the stories about the families who had them before us.
Some would say we are fanciful, impractical, over-the-top,
or that we live in a little’s girl dream world full of impossibilities.
To them I would say- Get out of our dreams and
focus on making your own dream come true instead of tearing down ours!
We are treasure hunters, dreamers, and preservers of the past.
We long for simpler times but are thankful
for modern conveniences like the internet which allows perfect strangers
with kindred spirits to connect and forge forever friendships.
Are you muttering what the heck?
Why aren’t you talking about the decor, Olivia?
….Don’t worry my friend, there’s a good reason.
The pivotal moment when directions changed
was when I recieved Larissa’s answers to about a half-dozen questions.
The depth and sincerity in her answers was pleasantly more than I anticipated.
Her story captivated me.
At that point, I felt telling her story and that of The Welch House
was far more interesting and meaningful than another hum-drum blog post about decor.
Besides, Larissa’s photos didn’t need any words to support them.
Speaking of photos-
All of the photos that you see here today are taken with a camera phone.
Larissa mentioned the possibility of purchasing a camera in the future but for now
she will continue to use what she has and share her inspiring journey on Instagram.
This is your last chance to follow The Welch House- Larissa_Jenkins IG
Just below this Pinterest graphic are a few words of encouragement.
Are You Wondering—-Could I do it too?
If you feel trepadacious about taking the plunge into Instagramming or maybe even blogging,
I hope that Larissa’s story will encourage you to go for it!
You don’t need magazine perfect photos to share.
Readers of blogs do enjoy seeing realistic photos in real homes.
Even bloggers like me, with a love for photography,
will notice you and see how special you are.
Be encouraged and know that you really can do it too!
You have a story! You are good enough!
Your home is good enough! Your photos are good enough!
Everyone starts somewhere.
Like Larissa said,
“Be true to your heart. Do it today! Life is too short to worry what people think.”
Looking for more holiday decor inspiration? Click the photo below…