About Audra

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Audra Mehl ~ Peppermint Tea Sipper & Chief Couch Placement Master

Welcome to my home design blog! My name is Audra Mehl and I am very excited you have stumbled upon my little corner of the internet where I share my love for making the world a prettier place. Wonderful to meet you!

By day, I work full time in the software industry and have had a 20 year career in enterprise technology consulting sales. When I am not in airports or conference rooms, I am tucked into my sunny home office working with customers in a virtual capacity, negotiating contracts and doing my best to impact the professional lives of my clients in a meaningful and valuable way.

In fact, the picture below is a little peek at my home office, it will be your first hint as to why a techie nerd like me has a blog about interior decorating and design.

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My home office/sun room. Men have man caves, I think I deserve a girl nest. What do you think?

Ok, so obviously I love love love decorating my home. But why a design blog? Can’t I just decorate away, why do I have to write about it on the internet?  Because, I firmly believe that all people have a creative aspect to their souls and that when we nurture that creativity our lives are more balanced, we feel more authentic . . . and happier. When we ignore it? We feel like something is missing. We can even feel sad and unfulfilled, but not really know why.

It is my hope that my sharing my creative side inspires you to nurture your own, whatever that may be. From cooking to photography to physical fitness or gardening, what’s your passion? Find it, nurture it and live the most authentic life you possibly can. After all, we only get one.

Kitchen Dining Table

As for me, the root of my interest in interior decorating and design has always been a part of who I am, a piece of my heart. When I was as young as 8 years old it was not uncommon for my mom to come home and find her entire living room had been re-arranged in her brief absence. “I just thought the couch would be cozier at an angle.” She’d huff and puff her dismay but the one thing she never did do was undo what I had done. She always ended up liking my hostage taking design shenanigans. (A shelf in her kitchen still hangs in the exact place I decided it needed to go one boring afternoon in 1989 when she left me home alone with too much time on my hands and too many nails in the toolbox.)

Kip by Fire

And so it goes, I’ve been lifting and shifting my spaces ever since. From decorating my college dorm on a budget of exactly zero dollars to furnishing a barren first apartment with thrift store finds and Grandma’s cast off odd and ends, (I’ve got more uses for a doily than Aunt Myrtle ever imagined), I’ve been forever energized by the creative process and challenge of interior decorating and design.

Dining Room Shot

My design journey to date includes decorating four homes of my own. I’ve documented my most recent stories here through numerous blog posts and photos chronicling the transformations I’ve tackled with my husband of four years, Matthew, who I’ve nicknamed Cowboy on the blog for his sexy swagger and hero like construction abilities. In fact, speaking of his construction abilities, he owns On Point Construction here in Fargo, ND. So if you see anything you love in my blog, give him a call! He specializes in custom remodels – from small updates (like tile, shiplap or swapping out light fixtures) to complete overhauls from floor to ceiling. You can check out his latest project in my recent post Kitchen Update Reveal unveiling our new subway tile back splash he recently installed. It is just dreamy! I can’t stop staring at it.

If you’re new to my blog and want to wander around for a bit, the first story you’ll find details the evolution of our former home on The Wild Rice River that we updated in the two brief years we lived there. Some photos and stories to get you started can be found here: River House PhotosThe River House – One Shade of Grey, A Kitchen Transformed, Cowboy vs Cyclps and The Porch). Mathew and I also tackled a flip house in a bedroom community near Fargo two years ago. Click here for the full Flip House story and here for horrifying before and amazing after photos.  (That was an adventure, let me tell you. It is not as effortless as the tv shows make it look!)

Dry Sink Straight On

Our current home is a really fun project because we are forcing character on a typical 1990’s four level split that was full of oak and brass when we purchased it last spring. We’ve christened it The Lighthouse because of all the wonderful southern exposure (I swear I am solar powered, which is why my home office is in a sun room) and I post updated photos often of its progress on the gallery page that I created as we chronicle the changes. I’m also very excited to announce that all of the orange oak has been painted, including the kitchen and all of the oak trim on the main level.  Many more projects are to come including barn doors, more shiplap, a kitchen island face lift and the refinishing of our basement. And yes, it will all be chronicled here! (The photo below is from our fireplace facade update, detailed in my post Everything is Better with Shiplap.) That reclaimed beam is 150 years old, I just love the hand hewn ax markings.

Mantel from left

Last but not least, from February 2017 to September 2018 I was the owner, designer and dreamer behind Grace 1972, a farmhouse chic shop where I gathered the work of local and national makers and artists.  I was often asked, “How can you work full time and own a store?” The full story about how this actually worked out is told in my blog post Welcome to ~ grace 1972 ~.  And of course, if you’re curious about the meaning behind the name of Grace 1972, you guessed it, I reveal the personal story behind it in Behind the Name ~ grace 1972.

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On August 19, 2018, I announced the shift of my business from a retail boutique to a design services focus.  I closed my retail shop, Grace 1972, and re-branded my busiess Grace 1972 Design. (A list of my design services can be found here.) Stop by and read more about that evolution in my blog post Changing Grace.

In conclusion, I am eternally fascinated by the energy that a well-designed space infuses into the atmosphere, for our homes are extensions of, well . . . us. They say who we are. Who we love. What we love. What is important to us. How we live.

If done well, our homes bring us comfort, peace and joy. They are the pillows we nap on, the blankets we crawl under, and the sofas we snuggle on and sip our peppermint tea.

So pull up a chair (angle it in the corner if you think it feels cozier?), pour yourself some tea (any flavor) and allow me to share some of my design adventures with you.

If we’re lucky inspiration (wrapped in a creatively placed doily or two) and friendship shall ensue.

Joy, Blessings & Peace, 

~Audra

 

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My husband, Matthew, and I on the painted oak steps of our four level split we’ve christened “The Lighthouse” because of all the natural light. This picture was taken for the March edition of our local Design and Living magazine where we were honored to have both our home and Grace 1972 featured.

 

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I work from home so normally I am sans make up and wearing the same shirt three days in a row. Ok, sometimes five . . . but when I actually clean myself up, this is what I try to look like.  Key word “try” – I will be 46 this summer. Age is just a number, right?
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I am including a couple pictures of Matthew in his cowboy hat so I sound slightly less weird referring to my husband as “Cowboy” – he really does own (and wear) the hat!
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This was one of our engagement photos. I actually love the windswept frozen prairie in this one. People not from North Dakota usually gasp when I tell them where I am from. I like the fact that the prairie can be so bleak and yet so beautiful. I think it is a metaphor for life, sometimes things are cold and lifeless, and sometimes they are blooming and full of promise. Life evolves like the seasons, and you can find joy at every juncture – even during the frozen and cold chapters of your life. Seek and ye shall find. ❤

10 comments

  1. I remember you hijacking my ceramic salt and pepper shakers to decorate your college space, when hearts were the fad. Wonder where they ended up? Your mom.

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  2. Always wanted to keep this wonderful gem a secret of mine! I have had such fun visiting you and enjoying your hospitality as well as enjoying the scrumptious cookies while deciding which new and interesting thing to add to our lake home! I also crave switching things around in our home so it gives me great pleasure to now share you with my family and friends! Thank you for enriching my days!!

    Liked by 1 person

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