If you don’t believe it’s possible to have a stunning home on a shoestring budget, this episode is for you! My friend, Andrea, of Pine and Prospect Home is joining me for this conversation on giving your home a refresh for spring without spending a ton of money. Andrea is the queen of thrifty decor, and everything she creates looks high-dollar. We’re sharing some of our best tips for curating a beautiful home that reflects your taste and style all while staying within your budget. Whether you are simply looking for a few affordable ideas to welcome spring into your home or you are taking on a large renovation project, you’ll come away from this conversation with fresh DIY inspiration!
In this episode, we cover:
- Incorporating faux florals into your decor
- How to approach home decor with a DIY mindset
- What items are worth splurging on
- Our favorite sources for finding thrifty decor
- Trying new ideas in your home without spending money
- What we are always keeping our eyes out for when shopping
- Why even your kitchen tools should be beautiful
- How to curate your look and avoid bringing home junk
- Creating a lovely home even if design doesn’t come naturally to you
- Our favorite sources of design inspiration
Andrea Francavilla married her high school sweetheart and moved back to her hometown where she purchased the home that she used to clean as a high school senior. Ten years and four boys later, Andrea and her husband Mike have worked hard to restore their 1930’s cottage on a very small budget. Andrea started her blog, Pine and Prospect Home, in 2017 to inspire and encourage others with the idea that any house can be a beautiful home, no matter the size or budget.
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Lisa Bass All right, welcome back to the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. You’ll have to excuse my voice; I have laryngitis. Thankfully, though, I did not have it for the interview that I’m going to be sharing with you today that I did with Andrea from Pine and Prospect Home. And thankfully, I got ahead on my podcasts, and I ended up not having any last week when this started or any this week. So I should be totally good by the time I have another episode. In the episode that Andrea and I are recorded—I had to run quick that day, so I didn’t make an intro for it—we talked about all things home decor in springtime, thrifty finds for home decor in the springtime. She has so many great ideas. I consider her the expert or the queen of DIY thrifty decor. I’ve actually been to her home in Michigan. I’ve toured it. Actually, I just went as a friend. It sounds really fancy like I went on a tour of her home, but I did. And I saw every room, and it’s even more beautiful in person than it is on Instagram. And every single thing in her house, every piece had a story of something that she and her husband either built or found or acquired and made over. So many great, inspiring moments throughout her whole entire home and throughout this interview. Today’s episode is brought to you by Toups and Co. organic skincare. More on them in a bit.
Lisa Bass Well, thank you so much for jumping on with me, and I’m super excited about our getting together in June. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, we got to actually think about this now. It’s time.”.
Andrea Francavilla I know, I know. I was thinking about it too, and I was hoping you guys would— when I found out that your sister was pregnant, I was like, “Oh, I hope they’re still going to host this year. So, I’m glad you guys—”
Lisa Bass Yep. And this will be where you guys will be staying. Not all of you, but like, we’re going to be having— we have it all worked out with the house and here. But yeah, my little cottage, which we have some work to do. So this is like one of the first things we can talk about. You see my my fireplace here?
Andrea Francavilla I love that fireplace.
Lisa Bass So I’m brainstorming because our guy who helped us fix everything in here, he made it to where it’s no longer drafty. So it actually you can light a fire in it. But he made it really ugly. Like he took the stone and he put dark gray on it, and it was supposed to dry light and it did it. So now I’m like, “What do we do about this?” So yeah, that’ll be— I want your advice.
Andrea Francavilla I’ve actually painted grout before. Have you ever painted grout? They make paint that you can use on grout, but it would probably be very tedious. I just saw a lot of grout on that stone.
Lisa Bass Well, yeah. And so a lot of it, too, is on the stone. So I’m thinking like, maybe we’ll have to like, chisel it away off the stone. I don’t even know if that’s possible.
Andrea Francavilla Oh, bummer. Or could you do like a like a whitewash on it?
Lisa Bass I thought about— and that’s probably what we’re going to have to do. I really don’t want to because I don’t— you know. And I also don’t know what to do about the mantle because it’s all like uneven at the top. And normally when people have stone fireplaces, they put one across the front. But that’s when it goes all the way up. This just stops. And so I’m like, “I have no idea.” Yeah, it’s a real head-scratcher. I also thought about what if we got an antique mantle that— you know how sometimes they have like a box around them?
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lisa Bass And like, enclose it somehow. But anyways. I’ll have to get your guys’ in-person advice when you’re here.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, I’d have to see it again. You’ll have to send a picture of it.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I’ll send it to you.
Andrea Francavilla Every time I see that fireplace whenever you’re recording YouTube videos or whatever, I’m like, “Oh my goodness, it’s so cool.” How old do you think it is?
Lisa Bass I’m not totally sure. I mean, we’re thinking at least 100 years old. The outside—the chimney—is really cool. And I think that’s what it’s supposed to look like in here. But then, I don’t know.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, didn’t turn out that way.
Lisa Bass It never was my favorite in here, but now it’s like really really messed up, so I don’t know. You’ll have to help me brainstorm.
Andrea Francavilla That stinks. Ah, that’s so frustrating.
Lisa Bass I know. So we can jump into what is more applicable to other people’s homes as well. Not just mine. Last time I had Sarah on, I just like, “Okay, well, what about this? What about this?” Is was just my little private design consultation. So that’s what it turned into. But yeah, so how are you transitioning from winter to spring— which I’m sure you’re probably like fully transitioned over. But with nothing really bloomed yet.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, it’s really tricky right now because we still have snow on the ground, so it doesn’t feel right to like— I mean, yes, it’s finally starting to melt, but there’s definitely a lot of snow out there still. So it feels weird like pulling out spring florals and— you know, when it’s still so cold outside. But that’s probably the first thing that I do is just put away, like— I’ll keep out some, some cedar and pine type stuff during the winter. And then in the spring, I’ll bring out the florals and the stems, and that immediately just makes everything feel like spring, bringing all those— well, and I mean, and unfortunately, as much as I love like real flowers and like my lilacs and my hydrangeas, everything’s still dead outside. So if you have to use faux for a little while, I mean, I think it works. They make some really great faux flowers nowadays.
Lisa Bass Yeah, so I was actually looking online a couple of days ago because I want some faux flower arrangements around the house. Do you have any good sources that actually look realistic?
Andrea Francavilla You know, it’s funny. I actually just did a blog post on this, like two weeks ago.
Lisa Bass Oh, perfect.
Andrea Francavilla I know. I did a blog post and a YouTube video, and I think it was like “how to make faux flowers look more real.” And I talked about just some tips and tricks so they don’t look so tacky. Like what to avoid when you’re at the store shopping for faux flowers and how to bend the stems and add greenery to make them look more lifelike. So there’s a lot of tips in that post, but I get them from all over. I think you can find good and bad all over. You know, like Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s, even Walmart, you can find some really cheesy flowers there that look just fake and kind of too plasticky. And then they’ve got good quality ones there, too. So I think just really all over. I think the really nice looking ones are really expensive. Like, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Afloral. I’ve been seeing that around a lot lately.
Lisa Bass I actually ordered my faux greenery for my banister at Christmas time from there, and it was like very, very lifelike. It was my favorite.
Andrea Francavilla Yes, they look so real. And I clicked on a link that I saw the other day that someone was sharing and I was like, “Oh, okay, well.”
Lisa Bass This won’t fit in with our thrifty decor conversation at all, will it?
Andrea Francavilla The price reflects that. But I guess I’m sure they would last a long time and they literally look real. So, I mean, if you want to invest in some—
Lisa Bass Yeah. My banister greenery looked— everybody thought it was real because it looks—even in real life—it looks real.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah.
Lisa Bass The price point— I don’t remember what they cost, but I know it was like, “Oh, okay. I guess I’ll just buy these and have these for forever.”
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, yeah. So it’s like 10 to 20 dollars a stem, which might sound like, “Oh, that’s not too bad.” But usually for a really beautiful bundle— yeah, like, you need at least three stems. So you’re talking, you know, 30 to, you know—
Lisa Bass And really, you need more than that.
Andrea Francavilla Yes. Yes. If you want to make a big impact.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I don’t know if it was quite so bad for the greenery, but yeah, that would be a lot if you wanted to actually create an arrangement. Now, one thing I’ve learned is like, if you’re shopping on Walmart, you can’t really go on Walmart.com and look for faux florals because I’ve thought things look really real and then I get them here and they’re totally not. So you almost have to go in person.
Andrea Francavilla I agree. Unless somebody has recommended it personally. You know, a friend of mine saying, “Look how real these look.” They’re sharing it in stories—whatever—over on Instagram. Maybe I could trust what they’re saying, but for the most part, I like to see it in person, for sure. So, yeah, I would say that’s the first thing I do. And then I don’t know. In order to get ready for spring, I kind of like to just deep clean and declutter and kind of just strip the space of everything and start fresh, you know? Lighter. Maybe not so many layers, not so many pillows, heavy blankets. Lighter linens.
Lisa Bass Do you feel like it looks bare? I always have this moment where things look really bare, and I’m not sure what to do about it.
Andrea Francavilla I think it takes a couple of weeks for me to get used to it when you take everything down after the holidays. But yeah, I definitely think it looks bare. But then I get used to it and I’m like, “Okay, I like this. Less to clean around.”
Lisa Bass Yeah. I actually— the other day I did a shelf in my kitchen and I had greenery and red plates on it, and it was just very festive all winter. And then I took away the greenery and it was just red plates and it looked really bad. Yeah, but then I replaced that with useful things, like I did a jar of barley and I just did a bunch of spices. And then now I think I like it better than I liked it in the Christmas time, but I had to definitely live with it stripped for a little bit.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, I think that’s one of my favorite things is using—for your decor—using items that you actually use, especially in your kitchen and dining room. I think you can get away with that more. Like on my kitchen counters, I used to add all this extra decor, you know, a sign that says “spring” and little flowers everywhere. But now it’s like, I think less is more sometimes. And I really just like using items that I actually use on a daily basis. So really pretty ironstone bowls and things like that. So I think that helps a lot. And then all you really need to add is just the simple vase full of flowers. Or maybe switch out your kitchen towels to something that feels like spring, whether that’s like a striped or floral pattern or something. You don’t need to go crazy with all these little knickknacks, in my opinion.
Lisa Bass I put some greenery like all over my windowsill in my kitchen, and again, I took it out, lived with it for a couple of weeks with it gone and it felt super bare. And then I put some pitchers up there and I’m like, “Oh, now these are ready for florals for the summer.” So it’s like, I’m kind of transitioning into empty vases ready for, you know, whenever stuff actually blooms.
Andrea Francavilla Ready for flowers. Yes. And I love your cut flower garden. I want to do one so bad this year. It just looks so simple to just, I mean—
Lisa Bass Oh, it is. I don’t do anything fancy. I mean, if you want to get fancy about it, you could, but if you just do zinnias and cosmos, they’ll grown wherever you throw them. They just are so easy to grow.
Andrea Francavilla Oh my word. I’ve got to do that this year. It just was so beautiful. Last year, you went and cut them all summer long. I was like, “Oh my goodness, I’ve got to do that.”
Lisa Bass I could just scrap the vegetables entirely, to be honest with you.
Andrea Francavilla Could you really? Oh my word, I haven’t even started the vegetable thing yet. One day, we’ll get there. We’re still working on our backyard. You’ve been to my house, so you’ve seen— we’ve done a lot of like areas with flowers. But we haven’t transitioned. We haven’t done anything with vegetables yet. One day we’ll get there.
Lisa Bass I mean, I could trade them for flowers and just to my whole garden area in flowers. That’d be fine.
Andrea Francavilla It’s so beautiful. It really is.
Lisa Bass So what are some of your— I came to you because you are definitely the queen, in my eyes, of thrifty decor.
Andrea Francavilla That’s so sweet.
Lisa Bass And I’ve been to her house, and she really is, because everything in your house, you’ve either snagged for a bargain somewhere or you’ve DIY’d it so that it looks expensive and nice. But it wasn’t.
Andrea Francavilla That’s really sweet.
Lisa Bass So what are some of your favorite DIYs in your house? I know it’s completely full of them.
Andrea Francavilla I know. I was looking at the outline for today’s episode and I’m thinking, “What are my favorite DIYs?” Because everything around me is a DIY.
Lisa Bass Right. I know.
Andrea Francavilla But probably— unfortunately, I don’t have a blog post on this yet. I’m still working on it. We just built a new table this past Christmas. I kind of shared the process in stories, but we were able to salvage some wood from a barn for free. This friend of ours was burning her barn down. And so we went—my dad and my husband went—and pulled out a bunch of like 150-year-old beams. And so that became the base for my table. So that was free. And then I found this really cool reclaimed wood on Facebook Marketplace, and I think we paid like 60 bucks for it. And so we used that as the top. So I’m still working on a blog post so I can take some photos and kind of share how we built it. But I love the way our table came out and it was— I mean, when you look at antique tables, they cost anywhere from like— they start around two or three thousand dollars for like what I wanted to have. You know, for the vision that I had.
Lisa Bass You probably had a specific size in mind.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, for a big, long antique farmhouse table. You know, you type in like “antique pine.” Unless you just happen to find one at the thrift store. They’re very expensive in antique shops, so that’s probably one of my favorite recent projects. Um, but there’s so many, so many all over my home. Oh my goodness, I’m looking at my desk in here that we built in our sunroom. We use like a desk that my parents gave me. It was free. You can find that blog post over on my blog. We turned it into this whole built-in desk unit for my office. The shelves behind me that we built, that’s another favorite project. Our shed makeover in the backyard. I could just go on and on, so I should probably stop.
Lisa Bass Well, you also have your sink. I’m trying to remember which bathroom that was in. That was a really cool one.
Andrea Francavilla Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Lisa Bass Didn’t your grandpa help you build that or something? Or maybe your dad?
Andrea Francavilla My dad helped me build it. Yup. Yup, we built that from like $5 fence posts and created a sink in the bathroom. It was inspired by a Pottery Barn sink that was two or three thousand dollars, and we built it for like 15 bucks. So that was a cool project.
Lisa Bass Well, how does the process work? I mean, so when you see this Pottery Barn sink and you think, “I’m not going to be able to spend two or three grand, or even if I could, I’m just not going to do it.” How do you go about coming up with an idea for yourself? Because I think what comes really naturally to you maybe doesn’t come naturally to everybody else. And so they might be thinking, “Okay, I’m glad you thought of that. But how did you even go about thinking of that?”
Andrea Francavilla I don’t know, Lisa. I think that frugality— I think it’s just ingrained in some people. I don’t know if it’s the way you were raised or I don’t know what, because people ask me that all the time. And it’s just— if I see something, my first thought is, “Can I make that for less?” I don’t know. That’s the first thing. But can I do it for less? Like, how can I create that look but not spend all that money? So it’s just part of me, I guess. I’ve always been that way, and I don’t know if I had millions of dollars, if I would ever change. Maybe. I probably would. Because it gets old after a while. I mean, sometimes it’s like, “Oh man.” When you’re in the middle of these big projects, there are definitely moments where you think, “Man, I wish we could just afford not to have to—”
Lisa Bass To buy it. I know, but it’s so satisfying.
Andrea Francavilla It is. It is.
Lisa Bass Because when you walk around your home, it looks like a home that would be in a magazine. It’s actually— like, you’ve been approached by magazines.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, that’s really sweet. Thank you.
Lisa Bass And nothing in it was something that you just went and purchased for thousands of dollars. Do you have anything in your home that you purchased for thousands of dollars?
Andrea Francavilla You know, our couch. So that’s about, you know— you were going to ask me that. Like, what do you decide to invest in?
Lisa Bass Yeah, what do you splurge on? Yeah. I mean, you really can’t make a couch. You can slipcover a couch, which, you know—
Andrea Francavilla And if you’re lucky, you might find a great one at a thrift store. But I think you’d have to shop in like some high end neighborhoods where, you know, people are just— they use a couch for a couple of months or a year and they’re like “Eh, I’m ready to move on.” But that’s unlikely. Most of the time couches I see in thrift stores are pretty rundown. So you could slipcover them, for sure. But I would say invest in like your main furniture pieces in your home. Because you said, “Where do you splurge?” You were going to ask me that. So I guess that would be considered a splurge. You know, your couch, your living room furniture, light fixtures is another one. Sometimes you just can’t find what you’re looking for at a thrift store. Like our our lantern light fixture in our dining room. That was something that I just decided I’m going to just save up and buy this and stop looking at thrift stores because I doubt I’m going to find what I have in my head at a thrift store, so that’s another thing. Lighting is one thing that you probably would— you could buy new. Unless you really love vintage fixtures. You could definitely get lucky.
Lisa Bass Well actually, if you love vintage fixtures just from experience, you’re going to pay even more.
Andrea Francavilla Oh, well, there you go. There you go. I know you have some in your home.
Lisa Bass That’s not going to help you.
Lisa Bass I mean, it will. I guess, if you love vintage fixtures, that’s one thing. I like antique. So the fixtures I found for my home are— some of them have been a bargain. Some of them have definitely been a splurge where I’m just like, “Ah.” But like you said, it’s going to be there forever. It’s out of reach of the kids, so it’s not like it’s something that can really get damaged. Let’s just knock on wood here. They’ll find a way.
Andrea Francavilla I think you’ve had a damaged light fixture before.
Lisa Bass Yes, I have actually. You’re right.
Andrea Francavilla Didn’t your light above your island—
Lisa Bass Yep, I did. Yeah.
Andrea Francavilla I remember that. Oh my goodness.
Lisa Bass The other day, I had these glass photos, and I made an arrangement in my boys’ room. This is like— I’ve had it up for like two months. And the other day, I walked in and I’m like, “Is that—? Yes, it is. What happened?”.
Andrea Francavilla Oh my word.
Lisa Bass So they were throwing their Nerf guns and all of that.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, I get it. But that’s the one good thing about thrifty decor, because if something does break— in most cases, unless it was like a one-of-a-kind find that I’m like, “Darn, I’m never going to find something like that again,” for the most part, I’m like, “It’s okay, guys. I can probably find another one,” you know? So it is kind of a good thing when your kids are little.
Lisa Bass Yeah, yeah, especially in a house of kids.
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Lisa Bass So whenever you go out to look for things, what are some of your favorite sources? Are you mostly Facebook Marketplace? We actually did a YouTube video about this, right?
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, we did. We did. Yep. I love Facebook Marketplace. I just scored six dining room chairs for my table on Facebook Marketplace.
Lisa Bass Oh, that’s right. I saw that on your stories.
Andrea Francavilla They’re antiques. I am so excited. I was waiting and being patient. I was so close to just shopping for new ones because I just wasn’t finding what I was looking for.
Lisa Bass But they wouldn’t even have been as cool.
Andrea Francavilla I know! They have so much character. They’re so old and they’re so pretty. I’m going to mess with them a little bit because I want them to be darker. But for the most part, I got all six of them for 100 bucks, which at first my frugal self was like, “I should offer less.” But my sister was like, “Andrea, that’s like $15 a chair. Like, that’s a good price. You need—” And I’m thinking, “Okay, yeah, she’s probably right.”
Lisa Bass You wouldn’t want to miss out on it over like 20 bucks.
Andrea Francavilla I know. And he’d already lowered the price, too. They were originally $200, so he marked them down to $100. And yeah, we just brought them home the other day. I’m always finding stuff on Facebook Marketplace all the time. I love Facebook Marketplace, but I love to thrift in person too. I love kind of browsing the aisles and digging and seeing what I can find.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Well, my thing that I’ve learned as my home has come together—and I feel like it’s like starting to come together more and more—is that you’re not really able to make a design board when you design like this.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah. I know.
Lisa Bass So like you— I think there’s this tendency with people who want to be like designing their home, they want to make this board where you put in these chairs, this light fixture. I remember doing that with a few rooms in my last house, and it never has the character, and you have to buy everything brand new if you want to do that. So how does stuff come together for you whenever you really can’t have a perfect picture of what it’s going to look like beforehand? Like you might have sort of pictured which chairs, but then now you have these chairs. So how do you like bring everything together? Like, what’s that process like?
Andrea Francavilla Well, I guess, like with my dining table, I knew— well, I thought that I wanted Windsor style chairs. And I was just lucky enough to— I have a little booth, a little antique— you were here. I always forget that. There’s a shop here with a little booth that my mom and I share, and I happen to have a Windsor chair up there. So I ran up there and grabbed it and put it up next to my table. And I was like, “Yup, that’s exactly what I want.” So I was really lucky to be able to do that. I know in a lot of cases that’s, you know, that’s not the case. You can’t just go to your local antique store and borrow furniture and play with it. So I guess that’s the benefit of small town living; the owner there is really sweet and she lets me play with stuff all the time. I think that just moving things around your house and playing with what you already have helps a lot, too, to kind of know what to look for. You know, like constantly playing. Constantly— like if you put some artwork on the wall— for example, in my dining room, I hung some artwork that I had and I’m like, “Okay, I really love artwork there. This particular piece is too small and I’m not in love with the colors, but I know I think I want to look for some art for that wall.” You know what I mean?
Lisa Bass Yes, I totally know what you mean.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, you’re playing around with it to get an idea of what you’re looking for. And then when you see the right thing, you’re like, “Oh, that’s it. I’m going to grab that.” So, I don’t know if that helps.
Lisa Bass Yeah, just the other day— I have to slipcovered wingback chairs that I did years and years ago. I had one sitting in the corner of my bedroom sort of as like a spot to sit to nurse Theo, which I’ve literally never done that. I have the bed here, and I just don’t sit in that chair. And then I had one up and my other son’s room, and I started moving the living room furniture around, and I thought I wanted two chairs in a certain spot that I really wasn’t sure if I did or not. So I went and I grabbed chairs from both of those places, and now they’re going to stay there because they look perfect. So, yeah, just like you said, I feel like I’m always trying to do this design board thing in my head. I’m like, “Okay, would two chairs look good there?” And I’m like, “No, go get the two chairs even if they’re not the right two chairs, put them there, and then move things around.”
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, I do it all the time. I do it all the time. And that’s not even with larger furniture pieces. Even small things like, I think I want something white in this corner. You know, go grab a white pitcher and you’re like, “All right, well, if that one doesn’t work, then now you know what to look for.” I think just constantly— people, I think, are nervous almost to play with their home or nail things to the wall or move furniture around. I mean, I am by no means like have I arrived as a designer or anything, but that’s how I got from where I used to be to where I am today, you know, is just by constantly moving things and playing with things. So, I think that helps a lot.
Lisa Bass Just yesterday, I had a pile of art. It was stacked up on a hutch in the living room and it was just stacked there because I’d been collecting it. I found pieces I liked, and yesterday I was like, “Luke, we’re going to put these up. I don’t really know where they’re going to go.” Because in my head, I was like, “Well, you know, I’m going to wait until I know where I want that to go.” And they’ve been sitting there for probably a year, literally. And so we just started putting them up. I’m like, “Okay, let’s just throw two up here, throw them here.” And if we live with it for a while and I think that’s not the right spot for that, we can just move them. We’ll store them on the wall instead of in a pile on the hutch.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah. And if it doesn’t work out, you just grab a little bit of spackling.
Lisa Bass Right. Or not. Just get another bigger piece of art and cover it up.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, or just put something else there. So it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out. You’ve got to just nail it to the wall and try it to know. You know? I think that’s—
Lisa Bass Yeah, I think I want to just do the whole thing in my head and like figure it out and make the decisions before like going upstairs and grabbing the wingback chair and all of that. But I’m like, you’re right, there really is something to just playing with the house, moving things around. I always forget, too, about shopping the house. So like the other day, we moved our whole house around. So we have like— Luke and I now sleep downstairs and we have the living room used to be the dining room, so there’s a hutch in there and it had China.
Andrea Francavilla I can’t wait to see this in person.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I know. Yay! It’s only like three months away.
Andrea Francavilla Because it’s like so disjointed in my mind. And I’m like, “Wait, where is she now?”.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I know. The houses that I’ve been to that I first learned about on Instagram and blogging, like when you see them in real life, they’re never the same layout. Like, even your house. I knew all rooms, but I never could piece it together right. But anyways, I thought, “We need to get rid of the hutch because this is no longer a dining room. It’s a living room.” And so I was like, “Okay, the hutch has to go.” And then I took the pictures out and I put them on top of it, which it needed decor on top. Not really sure why I didn’t think of that. Put the plates in other places, and then I took books from another place and put it in. I’m like, “It’s a bookshelf. Of course, it’s perfect.” Like it’s the perfect piece. I would run out and buy this, and I was going to get rid of it. So just like reimagining what you already own is the ultimate in thrifty decor. Now, some people might be saying “Okay, but I actually have never even started collecting anything. What are some of the things that—now that you’re probably 10ish years into homeownership and living in your space and figuring out, you know, what you want—what are some things that you’re always looking for when you go to thrift shops and Facebook Marketplace?
Andrea Francavilla Oh, well, I always immediately check the furniture section just because. And I used to buy stuff all the time just if it was cheap, you know, and I would think, “Oh, I could paint this or I could strip this.” And I tend to stay—I mean, unless I love it—I tend to stay away from project pieces now. Like, I just I want to—maybe it’s the stage of life I’m in with a little baby, I don’t know.
Lisa Bass Oh, yeah. Yeah, it definitely is.
Andrea Francavilla Like, I have to really be in love with it. And, you know, imagine it— you know what I’m saying? So for the most part, I try to avoid these pieces that need a ton of work. So I always check the furniture, and then I like to to file through the artwork. I’ve really been into vintage art—like you said—lately. I just think it’s so pretty.
Lisa Bass What are you looking for? Are you mostly sticking to oil paintings? Are you doing any prints? Are you looking for a certain type of frame?
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, I have really been drawn to landscape paintings. And honestly, the two that I have are prints. I got one at an estate sale, and I got the other one at a thrift shop, and I think they’re both prints. I don’t think they’re originals or anything. They were too cheap to be originals. But I do see originals.
Lisa Bass You can find them every once in a while.
You can. Yeah, you can. So anyways, both of mine have like a vintage wooden frame, just like a really pretty and it’s like a detailed frame. Just something you don’t find nowadays, you know? But I also think the brass frames are really pretty. I’ve seen landscape paintings with these beautiful brass frames that I love, so I like looking for artwork. I always file through— you know, at places like Goodwill, a lot of times Target will donate things to Goodwill or Wal-Mart or Kohl’s. And so sometimes you can find like brand new curtains or brand new throws, you know, or pillow covers, in that section. So I’ll always check out the linens. I like to check out the kitchen items. I’ve really been into replacing the things— like everything that I use, I want it to be like, beautiful and like, bring joy. You know what I mean? So I’ve been transitioning in my kitchen to like everything I use—whether it’s spatulas or mixing bowls—I want it to be something that if I just left a mess in the kitchen, it would still be beautiful because I would love everything that—
Lisa Bass Oh my gosh. I said this just the other day.
Andrea Francavilla Did you?
Lisa Bass Yes. It was so funny. My sister and I— we were at vintage market days, and I was planning for a YouTube video on like this type of topic, like shopping for antique finds and all of this. And I go, “Laura, you know, the reason I really like these quilts—” and I’m like, “Wait, hold on, let me pull my notes up.” I pulled up the voice thing and I said, “The reason I really like these quilts is even if it’s a mess in my boys’ room, it’s still pretty.” Like if they if they throw the quilts on the floor and none of the beds are made, but there’s— really, like this quilt on the floor is still good. So yeah, I totally know what you’re saying.
Andrea Francavilla Yes, I love that. It’s just this— that idea. I can’t think— she was all the rage a couple of years ago when everybody was organizing their homes.
Lisa Bass Marie Kondo, yeah.
Andrea Francavilla Yes, yes. Like, does it bring you joy or whatever? It sounds cheesy, but it’s really true. Like, I have been doing that a lot— just getting rid of things that, you know— and replacing them with things that have more beauty and bring me joy. And I feel like— so now I like to check out the kitchen section, and I dig through the little tools there and find these pretty spatulas and mixing bowls. And, you know, I love bringing that type of thing home with me. I just got the coolest— I think this video will go live next week or the week after. But I went thrifting and found some really cool like vintage pizza cutters, and I find wooden spoons all the time, and stuff like that. So, I like looking for things like that.
Lisa Bass Yeah, why not? You know, why not have those items? Because they’re out. You’re going to be using them. And whenever I have this crock bowl sitting on the counter that I’ve just made something in dirty versus like a stainless—which I still have like my stainless bowls—but I’d much rather see that crock bowl sitting there. Yeah, I always reach for it. If it’s not being used, it’s what I’m using. Because, yeah, same thing. When the kitchen’s a mess—
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, I do the same thing now, and I’m so happy you’ve finally convinced me to switch over to cast iron.
Lisa Bass Oh, good.
Andrea Francavilla Now I don’t even mind those dishes laying out because even my cast iron is beautiful.
Lisa Bass Yeah, exactly.
Andrea Francavilla They just sit right out on the stovetop even when they’re dirty. I mean, they still look beautiful.
Lisa Bass I know. Yeah, just stack them up and use them next time. So what are some of your tips for actually keeping it curated? Because when I first started this—and maybe this is just part of it, like maybe this is going to happen regardless—but I brought home a lot of stuff that I thought was cool. And then after I got thrifting more and antiquing more, I developed an eye for it. So what are some tips for that so that people don’t have to, like, bring home a bunch of junk?
Andrea Francavilla I don’t know. I guess I kind of ask myself if it’s timeless. I don’t know. I personally— if you were to go look at my home, I like to keep things pretty minimal. I don’t have a ton of clutter, so I guess I ask myself, like, first of all, “Do I absolutely love it?” You know, don’t just bring it home because it’s cool. Or you’re going to find cool stuff all the time. And before you know it, you’re just going to have way too much stuff in your house.
Lisa Bass Yeah, there’s an abundance of cool stuff.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, there always will be. And I think that’s one cool thing about having a little booth because sometimes you don’t have to leave it there. You’re like, “Oh, I could bring this and go sell it up at my booth.” But yeah, I ask myself if I really love it, first of all. And then just asking myself, “Okay, is this trendy or is this timeless?” Like, is this something that in a year it’s going to be, you know, out of style? Is just like all the rage? You know, back when I first started decorating and birds and turquoise and chevron stripes were like super popular. Everybody had them in their homes. Like that’s what I did, you know? And then after a while, I’m like, “Okay, this isn’t truly what I love. I’m just doing it because I see it on Pinterest.” So stick to what you love and ask yourself if it’s, you know, something that’ll stand the test of time, I think. I don’t know.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I have a hard time— and I’m developing it more and more, just as I see things and you know, it clicks like, “Oh, this is— I like this a lot.” But, I sometimes have a hard time even knowing like, “Do I love this? I really don’t know. Like, it’s pretty. And in the context of this room, it might be even better.” But I’m totally not sure when it’s removed from it, sometimes.
Andrea Francavilla I know. For sure. And there have been pieces that I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to pass it up.” And then later I regret it. You know, later, I think “Darn, I should have gotten that. Like, why didn’t I just pay the $3 and buy that vase?” You know? So yeah, I definitely do that, too. I’m not perfect when it comes to knowing like what’s going to be perfect for my home. Sometimes I buy things and I made a mistake. I bring it home and I think, “Eh, I don’t like this.” But I guess that’s the good thing about thrifting. You know, instead of spending $20 or $30 or $40 on a vase, you just spent three bucks. So it’s not the end of the world if you have to donate it back to the thrift store if you find you haven’t used it in a couple of years, you know?
Lisa Bass Yeah, as I’m venturing into this world of like adding art—which you know, everybody’s been adding art forever, but I haven’t and so this is new for me—and I’m sometimes like, “This is oil painting. It’s in a cool frame. But do I really love it?” Maybe the tip for that is just put up something—like you were saying before—as almost like a placeholder. Get a print, put it up there. And if it’s like a really nice like, you know, landscape print. And then maybe some day, if you’re sure you like that landscape print there, maybe you could keep your eye out for the oil painting or a cooler frame. But like venturing into it without spending a whole lot of money, but yet still being able to— because there’s a lot of things that if I wouldn’t have made the mistake, I wouldn’t have it looking in my home how it looks, because I really wasn’t sure whenever I started dabbling in it, you know?
Andrea Francavilla For sure. It all goes back. You just got to keep playing with it and trying different things. So yeah, it can be tricky sometimes. I’m still learning, too, all the time. I mean, I’m constantly changing things, so I’m right there with you.
Lisa Bass Well and for people that it doesn’t come naturally to— I mean, I guess that’s why there are bloggers like you. Go to your Instagram, study the details and then, you know, maybe if you just really like Andrea’s house, just look for things like she has.
Andrea Francavilla Oh, you’re so sweet. Yeah. No, for sure. I do the same thing. I love like design books. I have a bunch of them and I enjoy those more than like scrolling on my phone. Just looking at a big book and studying a room or, you know, a space. I think that that helps me a lot. And just looking at all the details. What do they have hanging? Why do you love that? Like, why are you drawn to that? Okay, well, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because of the colors, or maybe it’s because of the accents or whatever. Oh, it’s because the rug is just so beautiful. So I think that’s a great idea. Just studying people that you really love and then looking for items that they have and try to implement them into your home and play with them.
Lisa Bass Yeah, and with the design books, I find that I can look at the same design book 100 times because one day I’m thinking about light fixtures and their placement. Okay, well, where are all the sconces in this picture? And then the next I’m thinking about rugs. What rug was in that space that I like so much? I’m always noticing different details based on like the current thing that I’m trying to figure out in my own home.
Andrea Francavilla I do the same thing. I always find something new.
Lisa Bass What are some of your favorite design books?
Andrea Francavilla I just got one for Christmas. My husband got it for me. I think it’s Country Home. Nora Murphy. I think.
Lisa Bass Oh yeah, I have that one. I love that one.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, I got that one for Christmas. I had, like, hinted to my husband that I wanted it and he got it for me. So that was sweet.
Lisa Bass Yeah, that’s a good one.
Andrea Francavilla I love that one. I’m trying to think of some of the other ones. I have Homebody by Joanna Gaines, which I don’t love all the homes in that book, but there are certain homes that I go back to in that book.
Lisa Bass You don’t even necessarily have to like the style as much as you can glean, like certain placement of things and certain accents that you do like.
Andrea Francavilla And then there’s another one called Patina Farm. Have you heard of that one?
Lisa Bass No, it sounds like something I need.
Andrea Francavilla Oh, it’s so beautiful. Oh, you would love it. You would love it. She’s got chickens and goats wandering all over the property and an herb garden. And, oh, it’s beautiful. I love her book, too.
Lisa Bass I’m going to have to definitely look that up. For everyone listening, there will be a corresponding blog post and show notes. So if you go to SimpleFarmhouseLifePodcast.com, there will be a whole post on this. And so you can get all the links and also the links to all of your blog posts that you mentioned throughout the episode. And then obviously, if you’re listening on like Apple Podcasts, it’ll also be down in the description box or the show notes or whatever. So many great resources. Well, thank you so much for joining me and chatting thrifty decor.
Andrea Francavilla It was a lot of fun.
Lisa Bass I feel like you have so many good ideas and plenty more to come. So if people want to follow along on Instagram and YouTube and your blog, a lot of it you’ll share in your stories first and then you’ll ultimately make a YouTube video on the process and behind the scenes on, yeah, whatever comes up.
Andrea Francavilla Although, yes, I guess I’ve kind of switched now. That’s how it used to be. But now I feel like I do the YouTube video and then I try to send people in stories over to watch the YouTube video and read the blog post.
Lisa Bass Yep, yeah, me too. Yeah, that definitely makes more sense. Nobody’s giving you anything.
Andrea Francavilla Yeah, I was going to say, you taught me that.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I know. I feel like people put so much effort into Instagram stories, and then I don’t know. Yeah.
Andrea Francavilla Yes, I agree. I agree. So I like to use it as a little commercial for, “Hey, if you want to see this, head over to my blog.”.
Lisa Bass For the full process, yeah. And I also just can’t— like I can never remember to do everything vertically and horizontally. So it’s almost like you have to pick. Am I documenting this for YouTube or am I documenting for Instagram?
Andrea Francavilla Same. Kudos to those people that can do both. It’s tough for me. I think I’m more consisten, right now, on my blog. In this season of my life, my blog and my YouTube channel, I think I’m more consistent with as far as content goes. But I try. I try to get on stories.
Lisa Bass Yeah. So, Pine and Prospect Home. Over on YouTube, over on PineandProspectHome.com and on Instagram.
Andrea Francavilla Thanks, Lisa. It was so much fun chatting with you.
Lisa Bass Thank you.
Lisa Bass All right. Well, thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. Make sure to head to this episode’s sponsor ToupsandCo.com. Use the code FARMHOUSE to get 10% off your natural organic skincare. They have everything from moisturizers to cleansing to makeup. So many beautiful products over there to check out. Also, go on over to Andrea’s Instagram and YouTube and blog and follow along with all of the things that she is doing because she talked about a lot of really good ideas in this episode. But I know with her creativity, her constant eye for her home and improving things and making her home more cozy for her family, she’ll be doing a whole lot more. So you’re going to want to be sure to continue to follow along with her to see all that she comes up with. As always, thank you so much for listening, and I will see you in the next episode of the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast.