The short of it:
Favorite item in home: I have lots. I love all the lighting in my house - each one is different. I love my fireplace the stacked stone :). The wallpaper in the living room. Even though it is a big pattern the black and white goes with everything. Hmm, what else? I love the sunroom and the plants in there. The pebble stone bath tub reminds me of a tropical location. I tend to love a coastal and boho look, but more modernized with not the typical colors. For instance, I love the shell chandelier, but paired with some more modern and vintage pieces to not make it look so themey (not sure that is a word?). I also like mixing vintage and new pieces. I think it helps when your house is new construction to add in the vintage pieces, so that it gives it more of a warm feel. I can't think of the word I am wanting to say- Haha.
What I am reading: I am reading the first Bridget Jones book. I have seen the movies, but wanted to read the set with the new movie coming out. I normally do it the other way around and wait on pins and needles for the movie to come out.
What I am listening to: Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. This tends to be one of my favorites you will hear it at the shop when I am working. I also love the Dazed and Confused soundtrack. If I were to pick a time period to live in it would be the 70's; I love it! I pretty much will listen to anything, though.
Best food in town: My favorite place to eat is the Firefly - the pizza is amazing. I do love Joe Sippers and Don Pedro as well. I lived in Arizona close to the border while I went to college and learned to love authentic Mexican. If you love authentic Mexican - Don Pedro is where it’s at!
Favorite thing about Effingham: Ah, favorite thing about Effingham - the people. This might get a little sappy. I grew up in a small town in southern Illinois, so I am used to a small town feel. I haven't lived at home since I was 19. I have moved so many times that I can't even count it on my fingers. My dad and brothers love to joke about how many times they have moved me. Out of all of the places I have lived besides my hometown I love Effingham the best. I have made so many friends here! I have really close friends here that I could count on for anything. When you don't live in the town you grew up in this is a really important thing to have. I think it is a testament to the people in the town that you can have a small business and not even be from here and be welcomed with open arms.
The long of it:
A bull in a china shop?
Yes, I’ve called her that a time or two. Or Hoss, like when she’s moving heavy furniture around by herself. But my partner Salina is also one of the hardest-working and caring people I know. Not only is Salina part-owner of Fresh Digs with me but she also has a successful Etsy shop where she makes and sells frame sets, pin/chalk/whiteboards. Her online shop became such a success after only one year that she was able to do what many creative people aspire to do and that’s quit her day job and focus full-time on her business. Next time you see her ask her about having one of her fames sets in HGTV Magazine.
Two years into that business she and I met and we joined forces to create Fresh Digs. Her goal with Fresh Digs is to offer up her creative side by doing more than crafting frame sets but to work with people to create a comfortable home for themselves. Whether it’s through arranging the shop, what we offer for sale in the shop or through in-home consults she’s great at spatial layout, colors and finding just the right décor piece to make a room come together. And FYI, if she’s ever been in your home just know that she mentally rearranged your furniture. It looked great, by the way.
Salina grew up in southern Illinois in the small town of Christopher. Always having a love for designing and decorating, she chose to study architecture at Rend Lake College. Remember that caring side of her I told you about? Two years into that degree she decided to switch gears and train as a radiation therapist in Tucson, Arizona. That training has come in handy here at Fresh Digs when we’ve had all too many conversations about people we know who have just been diagnosed with a certain type of cancer.
She finished up her Radiation Therapy degree at SIUC and then moved to Decatur. While working as a therapist in there she went on a blind date with the brother of one of her coworkers, whom some of you might know - Cheryl Pals. She was fixed up with Green Creek native, Roy Vahling. She fell in love and as they say the rest is history. They married and eventually made their way to land adjacent to his parent’s farm where they built their beautiful home and where they raise their kids – Ryder (10), River (8) and Summer (6).
Salina isn’t the only one in the family with an Etsy shop. Roy has a day job but he’s always helped Salina with her shop in the evenings. Seeing her success and being a handy guy, he decided to dip his toe in the online sales water and hasn’t looked back. Green Creek Designs sells sidewalk chalkboards and other items he’s crafted out of wood. To say they’re a busy family is an understatement.
As if all of that isn’t enough to juggle they decided to have a booth at the Covered Bridge Festival in Bridgeton, IN. So that has meant working double overtime trying to get enough product made for that booth, their online shops and Fresh Digs. We’re talking 4 a.m. mornings and late nights. And remember they have three kids. I’m pretty sure they’ll be breathing a huge sigh of relief come November 1st. If you’re heading to the Covered Bridge Festival be sure to find them.
I like to think we’ve done well in meshing our different styles and talents together here at Fresh Digs. As you can see what she brings is beautiful, bold and colorful style – just like she is.
//Next issue: The Patridge Family; Flora, IL; Co-owner of Glamour Farms
About the Photographer
About the Writer
Joanna Davies is co-owner of Fresh Digs in Effingham, IL. Fresh Digs sources locally, globally and uniquely made home goods and gifts and displays them in a shopping experience some have said is good for the soul. We also like to get people together. Join us.