#25 Interview with an Intern

This past summer H&R Carpets and Angie Schwab Interiors provided a joint internship to Kelsey Nonn. She's a student currently studying interior design at Madison College. As part of the internship, we asked Kelsey to help us out with our blog. She offered some questions for me to answer interview style - things that she was interested in learning and so she thought other folks might be interested in as well. Here's the interview:

1. Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to become an interior designer? If so, what was that moment like?

No, there wasn't a defining moment for me. It was a slow process of realizing an interest. Looking back, it was always there. I have always enjoyed color, texture, and pattern. I have always had a heightened awareness of my surroundings and the emotional changes that come with the physical changes in our environment. The ability to affect things has always intrigued me.

Interior design is a second career for me. I worked in information systems at Kraft Foods first. After I moved away from home and later became a home owner in my early 20's - that is when I first considered interior design a career choice

 That’s me in 1980!

That’s me in 1980!

2. Where did you study interior design?

I studied interior design at UW-Madison. I received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Textiles and Design in 2007. I also have a Bachelor in Business Administration from UW-Eau Claire. I received that degree in 1998.

 The door that would lead me to my new career!

The door that would lead me to my new career!

 Classroom in the School of Human Ecology

Classroom in the School of Human Ecology

3. When did you decide to take the leap and start your own business?

I started my interior design business in 2004.

I knew I wanted to be a business owner well before I knew I wanted to be an interior designer. I took marketing courses in high school and continued taking business classes while attending UW-Eau Claire after high school. I read books about entrepreneurship and biographies about entrepreneurs. To this day, I'm still fascinated by people's stories. Being a business owner takes courage, confidence, and a serious work ethic. It demands that you work hard to figure things out even if it's outside of your area of expertise.

4. Why did you decide to start your own business instead of going to work for someone else?

I enjoy having the responsibility to set standards for how our clients are treated. Since most of our projects are residential - I am invited into people's homes. This honor comes with a responsibility to be respectful and empathetic. Listening to my client's needs is the most important thing. I also enjoy having the ability to be flexible and adaptive. The options available for purchasing home furnishings and fixtures has drastically changed since I started the business 14 years ago. I can meet those needs by using trade vendors for a full service experience, local retails for a more personal feel, or online vendors offering convenience and variety. We also offer e-design where we send you a completed plan and all the information you need to implement it without even meeting.

5. Between having a family and 2 businesses to run, how have you gotten through some of the more difficult times?

It hasn't been easy! We've had some serious challenges along the way both personally and professionally. Having a loving and supportive husband helps. We believe in each other and we love each other very much. When the going gets tough, you pick yourself up and do your best to learn from the situation.


6. If there was one thing you learned along the way that you’d want to share with others, what would it be?

Never. Stop. Learning.

Hang out with people smarter than you.
Never assume someone doesn't have something to teach you.
As a designer, always be aware of your surroundings and how you feel in those surroundings. Analyze why.

Some of my favorite books and podcasts for inspiration:

Young House Love

The Chaise Lounge

How I Built This

How to Be Amazing

7. How has your business grown or changed over the years? Have you changed with it?

Each project is different so the depth of knowledge and experience that I have has increased. I also have a wonderful list of resources. I've met a lot of creative and talented folks through the years. Harnessing their talent in a team effort has led to really beautiful work.

Another aspect that has changed is technology. We use digital images to convey our ideas and aid in the design process. The digital images get surprisingly close to reality. This offers clients an added sense of comfort that they're going to love the space when it's completed. Many of the purchases we make for our home are long-term. Making sure you love them is really important.

8. What has inspired you to continue to want to be a designer (and run your own business) every day?

 photo by: Beth Skogen

photo by: Beth Skogen

After all of these years, I'm still so aware of how we are affected by our environments and I have an emotional attachment to the word "home". It's such an important place. Living in a home that is filled with things that provide beauty, happiness, comfort, and safety is so important. Being a part of helping our clients achieve that feeling is so rewarding! 

I am also really excited about the unique service that we offer and the unique way we deliver that service. We don't rely on product sales. We make the best design decisions for our clients based on his/her budget and preferences. This leaves our client with a sense of comfort about our motives and excitement about the way we can curate their selections for a unique and interesting look . Our delivery with digital images is really unique.



#24 August's Room

Welcome to August' room! This is a place for rest and reading. Ahhhhhh!

It was important to keep this room fun and colorful while still being flexible for change as she (choking back tears) grows up. The finishes are light and neutral but the furnishings and accessories offer the interest. My favorite being the books - loads of color!

We used her twin mattress to create a window seat. It's a great spot to have when friends sleep over. See this previous post where we discuss my love of window seats.

There's lots of storage in the walk-in closet for her clothes and in the built-ins for her treasures. Picture me doing a one-arm sweep of all things messy into these drawers before company arrives!!

There's still some decorating to be done in here... but the structure is in place and it's fully functioning! Looking forward to our next overnight visitor.

Home in the Heartland Bedroom.jpg


This cute pom bedding from Pottery Barn Kids coordinates so nicely with the modern circle rug. Honestly, I thought it would get kicked to the bottom of the bed every night in lieu of her Moana blanket but she really likes it and wraps up in it every night.

Home in the Heartland Bedding.jpg

A rug over carpet?

Yes, please! Okay, so let's get real, who picks carpet this light for a 6 year old? This girl! I wanted neutral walls and neutral floors that could be light and welcoming. The rug, the bedding. the accessories... those can change as she gets older.

Home in the heartland rug.jpg

Add some texture!

She loves the cuteness of this pouf and I love the texture. This is the way to do hot pink! It feels youthful and fun but it doesn't scream "kids room".

Home in the heartland pouf.jpg


Speaking of F-U-N ! I love this paper flower light from Ikea. So much to look at this room from the colorful books to the upholstered headboard to this fun paper light.

Home in the heartland light.jpg

Pillow FighT!

I loaded the room with a total of 11 pillows. Below is a colorful pillow with a modern print. I love the texture! 

Home in the heartland pillow.jpg


August picked these glass knobs from Amerock. The size is what makes them interesting. We replaced the standard knobs from her night stand to coordinate with this built-in. The drawers are perfect for housing all of her treasures.

Home in the heartland knobs.jpg

Books = Color

Watch out book worms, this room is stocked! Reading to our little girl is a constant and one of our favorite things. We've got quite a collection of favorites and well loved books. I absolutely love that these are on display. The memories we have and will create of us together with a book are priceless.

Home in the heartland books.jpg

Some of August's favorite books:

By Tracey West
By Cornelia Funke
By Betty MacDonald

Angie's favorites to read to August:

By Peter H. Reynolds
By Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo
By Jason Lefebvre

Brent's favorites to read to August:


By Aaron Blabey
By James Burks
By Mo O'Hara

Here's a link to our pinterest board with a complete list of our favorites.

See something you want to know more about? Check out our Shop Our House page to get links to some of the products we used in August's room.

#22 Solid Gold - Coordinating finishes

It's true, brass is back.

You might be thinking..."but I just got rid of the shiny brass in my house!" As with most trends, this resurgence is being done differently. A more matte finish with more modern lines is what we're seeing this time around. Honestly, I am loving it. It's such a beautiful compliment to grey and it adds a touch of warmth to any room. 

home in the heartland kitchen brass.JPG

Coordinating the brass finishes in the various fixtures was tricky. The variety of options out there is extensive. There is brass finishes with orange tones and very yellow tones. There is matte brass and polished brass. Finding a style I loved in the right color and finish was a bit of a challenge.

My first pick was the light sconce from School House Electric. I enjoy the hand crafted classic look, the interesting Edison style bulb on display through the clear glass, and the adjustable arm.  I like them so much, I added two more on the staircase wall.

For the cabinet knobs and pulls, the size of the wall cabinet doors required something more substantial than a round knob but I dind't want to put a large pull on the doors. This linear knob style from Emtek is the perfect compromise. The drawer fronts, on the other hand, called for some long pulls. the shape of these coordinating pulls is simple yet substantial.

More practical considerations were needed when selecting the faucet. This faucet from Delta has the Touch2O technology allowing you to lightly tap the neck of the faucet for instant flow. I love how this keeps the water drips off of the countertop and the dirty hands off of the handle. The faucet has a few more curves than the sconce and pulls. I like how this will relate to some of the other elements in the room that aren't so modern. 

The brass finish available in this style was limited and although the shade of gold is a bit different on all three of these fixtures, the combination is working.


These brass fixtures are nice but including more accessories in brass will enhance the effect even more. Some decorative brass bowls are on display in the glass cabinets and another on the countertop. Lamps and other brass accessories will continue to be used in the dining room and family room.


Sometimes going back to a trend that I grew up with is hard but with brass, the style is so different and the mix of metals allows it to be interesting and not overpowering. I'm really excited about this "new" trend.

Here's a little more inspiration for gold finishes:


#23 Art Room

This room is magical! The views are some of the best in the house with five windows offering West and North views. There have been so many originals created in this room already - even from our visiting guest artists!

some design tips that make this room super functional:

Tip #1

The proximity to our living space makes it a go-to spot for our daughter. If this room was hidden in the basement or near our bedrooms, we're confident it wouldn't get the same daily use.

 Sliding doors separates the living room and art room

Sliding doors separates the living room and art room

Tip #2

Drawers are the most efficient way to store most of the art supplies. You don't have to open a door and then pull something off a shelf. Just by pulling the drawer open, the items come to you for easy access.

 The paint drawer

The paint drawer


Tip #3

Offer inspiration! We loaded the shelves with activity and art books that can be used for inspiration. We love to bring our ipad in to use pinterst too!

 A shelf of idea books

A shelf of idea books

Some of our favorite art room books!

Tip #4

Store things in clear containers. Keep supplies as visible as possible. Use these glass jars and plastic candy jars to keep supplies organized and contained but also visible.

 Glass jars are great for storage

Glass jars are great for storage

Some of our favorite art supplies!

home in the heartland art room containers.jpg
home in the heartland art room containers 2.jpg
 "Candy Jars" are great for storage too!

"Candy Jars" are great for storage too!

Great storage containers!

Tip #5

Having a sink in the art room has already saved us from making endless trips to the kitchen. It's nice to keep the kitchen sink paint-free too! Add a large roll of paper towels and you're good to go. Clean up is easy-peasy!

 A small sink for clean up

A small sink for clean up

Tip #6

Add comfortable seating. The casters make moving around easy. The warm fuzzy fabric is oh so comfy. And our daughter loves a swivel chair! We added this inexpensive rug to protect the wood floors from the casters (and from paint spills!)

 Two chairs and a large work surface

Two chairs and a large work surface

Tip #7

Add open shelves. Now that you have original artwork - it needs to be on display! The open shelves also offers space for work in progress or things that need to dry. Our shelves are looking a little more cluttered than we'd like but we'll put that on a our future project list.

We dedicated a lot of square footage and dollars to this room and we're so happy with the results. August loves this room and so do we! This morning we talked about what the next projects is going to be. She's thinking of making a gnome or Minon out of model magic. So much fun!

For more art room ideas, check out our Pintrest folder.

 Open shelves for displaying projects

Open shelves for displaying projects


And of course don't forget to add in some original artwork! (Posted earlier on Facebook)


Follow our art room board

I started a Pintrest board for the art room, make sure to visit it and get inspired!

Moving Day!

Whew... moving is hard work! We're getting more settled as the days go by and LOVING our new digs!


Construction is behind schedule so the contractors worked hard to get us a temporary occupancy permit. We sold our previous home and we needed to move! There is still some interior work to be done and lots of exterior work to be done. We appreciate not having to move to a temporary home though.

Here's a gallery of pictures taken by Liz Schaefer just as we're starting to move our things in.

A special thank you to all of our heavy lifters and packers - you guys rocked! 

We can't wait to share more pictures of our home after each room is completed. Our daughter settled right into the art room. It has one of the best views in the home!

#21 Master Bathroom Tiles


The grout you pick can be almost as important as the tile you select. Look below at how different this marble tile looks with a dark grey grout verses a bright white grout.


Angie shows the different looks applied in the video below.


The edges of the tile require special finishing. That finished edge can be achieved with metals, accent tiles, or bullnose. Bullnose is using the same tile but having one of the edges rounded and finished. You can see that detail in the photos below.


In addition to the edges, the transition between the white ceramic tile and the marble hexagon tile was addressed with this interesting molding. This change in dimension adds interest like a chair rail would in a decorative wood treatment on your wall.


A recessed shelf will store the shampoo, soap, etc without taking any additional room in the shower. Using the space between the studs is an efficient use of space. Just remember, these need to be on inside walls.


The masons are doing their thing and it is beautiful! We wanted a style that felt a bit aged and old. The stones are mostly warm gold tones with some grey mixed in. The way this stone frames the circle window is magical.

See those white beams? They will be cedar next time you see them. A bit of a miscommunication but the builder is on it. Our intention is to have the columns match the garage doors. It will be a bit more maintenance for us, but it will be worth it to get the warmth of the stained wood in the mix.


The painter is working hard to get the nail holes filled and a crisp white edge on the crown molding. His attention to detail is like no other. We appreciate it so much!


#20 Exterior Details

We're getting down to adding the final details to the exterior. One of the many decisions we need to make yet involves the flower boxes planned for under the windows. Should the color be black or brown?

My designer instincts are leaning me towards repeating the brown from the garage doors in order to create balance. We are considering black as well because of the continuity it would have with the shutters. The brown can be brought in with a fence or landscape. We had some images made of the options to confirm.

 A view of the final selections

A view of the final selections

And the winner is...

After looking things over, we decided to stick with the brown. We really like how the brown adds warmth to the white and black. It also adds a touch of rustic which we like very much. we can't wait to see that pink wall by the front door turn to stone in the next week or two.


Are you following us on Instagram?

If you're on Instagram, make sure you follow along on our journey! We're making some serious progress on the house and posting lots of new photos!