What's Inside: The Vahling Home

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.

Colorful meets natural meets plants.  How fabulous is this sunroom?  So bright and airy.  

Colorful meets natural meets plants.  How fabulous is this sunroom?  So bright and airy.  

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.

Speaking of frame sets.  This is one of many that adorn her walls.  

Speaking of frame sets.  This is one of many that adorn her walls.  

Check out the shell chandelier - it's easy to see why it's one of her favorite things.  The blue table below is one she painted herself.  And when you walk in her home it always smells nice.  On photo shoot day she was burning a few of the soy Illume candles that we carry in the shop.

Check out the shell chandelier - it's easy to see why it's one of her favorite things.  The blue table below is one she painted herself.  And when you walk in her home it always smells nice.  On photo shoot day she was burning a few of the soy Illume candles that we carry in the shop.

This is an example of a pinboard that you can find in both Fresh Digs and her online shop.  This particular one was made with African wax print fabric that I brought back from South Africa. This view is from the sunroom looking into her wide open living room. 

This is an example of a pinboard that you can find in both Fresh Digs and her online shop.  This particular one was made with African wax print fabric that I brought back from South Africa. This view is from the sunroom looking into her wide open living room. 

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.

That gorgeous yellow clock was one of our Fresh Finds - limited time only deals posted to our Facebook page.  Some people might be afraid to put such a fabulous clock over such fabulous wallpaper - thinking it'd be too much - but not Salina.  And it works perfectly here.    

That gorgeous yellow clock was one of our Fresh Finds - limited time only deals posted to our Facebook page.  Some people might be afraid to put such a fabulous clock over such fabulous wallpaper - thinking it'd be too much - but not Salina.  And it works perfectly here.    

Just beyond these bold reupholstered chairs is her dining room which is completely taken over with goods ready to go to Covered Bridge.  To the right of where you see the "EAT" letters is her kitchen.  And check out that cozy shag rug to soften up the living room area.

Just beyond these bold reupholstered chairs is her dining room which is completely taken over with goods ready to go to Covered Bridge.  To the right of where you see the "EAT" letters is her kitchen.  And check out that cozy shag rug to soften up the living room area.

Notice something funny with the curtain?  Salina was in the process of deciding which color she liked best - navy, turquoise or natural - when Tytia took the photos.  She's going with the navy.  She's also in the process of having built-ins made to flank the fireplace.  Watch this space to see how that will totally change the look of this room. 

Notice something funny with the curtain?  Salina was in the process of deciding which color she liked best - navy, turquoise or natural - when Tytia took the photos.  She's going with the navy.  She's also in the process of having built-ins made to flank the fireplace.  Watch this space to see how that will totally change the look of this room. 

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). 

River, to Salina's surprise, had to include the half-naked Princess Leia sticker on his wall.  Don't worry, Salina, my son also insisted on hanging her up.  : )

River, to Salina's surprise, had to include the half-naked Princess Leia sticker on his wall.  Don't worry, Salina, my son also insisted on hanging her up.  : )

Vintage bookends and a light-up globe don a painted dresser in the boys' room.  

Vintage bookends and a light-up globe don a painted dresser in the boys' room.  

And here's Summer's room.  How dreamy are those vintage pink curtains behind the table set for tea?  We'll have to re-visit Salina's home as we've only scratched the surface.  Summer has a bathroom that is to die for.  Think the ruffliest, girliest pink shower curtain in the world.

And here's Summer's room.  How dreamy are those vintage pink curtains behind the table set for tea?  We'll have to re-visit Salina's home as we've only scratched the surface.  Summer has a bathroom that is to die for.  Think the ruffliest, girliest pink shower curtain in the world.

Kids live here.  Up top is her marble system for keeping the kids in line and below is a work of art proudly displayed on Roy's bedside table.

Kids live here.  Up top is her marble system for keeping the kids in line and below is a work of art proudly displayed on Roy's bedside table.

On to her bedroom.  Salina and Roy made the tufted headboard themselves.  The short shag rug is from Fresh Digs as is the vintage bull horn rack above the bed.  Two natural round lights hang above the bedside tables and another fantastic light hangs above.  And how about that wallpaper?

On to her bedroom.  Salina and Roy made the tufted headboard themselves.  The short shag rug is from Fresh Digs as is the vintage bull horn rack above the bed.  Two natural round lights hang above the bedside tables and another fantastic light hangs above.  And how about that wallpaper?

I had no idea this spa-like en suite existed until we did this photo shoot.  Pretty sure I could live out my days in just her bedroom and bathroom.  That fabulous black rock tub?  They did it themselves.  These two are legit DIYers.

I had no idea this spa-like en suite existed until we did this photo shoot.  Pretty sure I could live out my days in just her bedroom and bathroom.  That fabulous black rock tub?  They did it themselves.  These two are legit DIYers.

Rounding out her bathroom tour is this beautiful vanity situation.

Rounding out her bathroom tour is this beautiful vanity situation.

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.

This is the scene in her basement where the bar should be.  And this is just one room of five (have I mentioned that their house is huge?) that has been taken over by their businesses.  They've got big plans to build a shed and move it all out of the house so at the end of the day they can relax and not have to look at work to be done.  

This is the scene in her basement where the bar should be.  And this is just one room of five (have I mentioned that their house is huge?) that has been taken over by their businesses.  They've got big plans to build a shed and move it all out of the house so at the end of the day they can relax and not have to look at work to be done.  

Color mixed with natural elements sums up her style.  On the left are metal shelves from Fresh Digs.  On the right is the gorgeous fabric she used to recover an old sofa and ottoman.  

Color mixed with natural elements sums up her style.  On the left are metal shelves from Fresh Digs.  On the right is the gorgeous fabric she used to recover an old sofa and ottoman.  

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. 

Again with the fabulous lighting.

Again with the fabulous lighting.

//Next issue:  The Patridge Family; Flora, IL; Co-owner of Glamour Farms

 

About the Photographer

Tytia Habing is an award-winning and highly regarded fine art, family and commercial photographer based in the Effingham, Illinois area.  You can see her work at tytiahabingphotography.com.   

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.