She toured four condos, nine houses, and seven apartments. Then, Patricia fell in love with the dilapidated white cottage recently abandoned by her parents’ neighbors in Unionville, Pennsylvania. Less of a dreamer, more of a doer, Patricia already owned her own business. And at the ambitious age of 23, she also purchased her first home.
In Patricia’s world – where a monogram hangs above her bed and a pillow embroidered with Manhattan rests upon it – southern hospitality meets cosmopolitan decadence. 21st century details – cocktail napkins emblazoned with pithy phrases like I’ve never been a millionaire but I know I’d be darling at it – juxtapose Grandmother’s traditional wingback chairs and a collection of brass pineapples thrifted from flea markets in the Carolinas.
She’s gracious, she’s glamorous, and she’s a Mid-Atlantic manifestation of the Southern Living spirit. Her home office inspires independent pursuits, a dog bed rests in every corner of every room, her bar cart is always stocked for an impromptu party, and family values are down the street at mama’s dinner table.
And on a shelf, The Public Relations Writer’s Handbook serves as testament to the entrepreneurial dedication that allowed Patricia to establish lasting goals, build a full-service PR firm, and transform a forgotten fortress into a contemporary chalet – all before her 25th birthday.
Meet Patricia, a gal clad in Lilly Pulitzer with power tools in one hand, a glass of pinot grigio in the other, and a pocketbook of ingenious ideas up her sleeve.
Tell us about the process of purchasing your first home.
About a year or so after graduating college, I started the house hunting process. A few months into the search, my parents suggested I look into buying the abandoned house next door to them. I knew it would be a fixer upper but I was up for the challenge because it was located in a great school district and I could truly make it my own. In July of 2013 at the age of 23 I signed all the papers and officially was a homeowner! However, I didn’t actually move into my house until March of 2014 once the construction was finally complete.
How do you feel about living in such close proximity to your parents?
My parents live right next door and my grandparents (until 2 months ago) lived on the same street, as well. I’m very close with my family so this certainly had an impact. I love how I feel safe with them still able to watch over me but have my own space and can always pop on over for dinner.
How daunting was the renovation process?
The renovation process took about a year and I still haven’t finished the basement or the barn! The house was basically gutted from the inside out. We stripped the house to bare bones, and then installed new wood floors, new drywall, new windows, new siding, and a new roof. While such a long renovation process can be tiring and sometimes discouraging – making you feel like you bit off more than you can chew – it was nice making memories and bonding with various family and friends who helped with the process. I’ll have those memories forever and always be grateful for their help.
Share your decorating style. How did your develop your eye for design and color?
I’d say my decorating style very much mimics my personal style and personality. It’s colorful, girly, fun and slightly preppy. It’s a mix of Ralph Lauren meets Lilly Pulitzer. I like modern accents, like lucite, mixed with classic elements, like a nailhead leather sofa. I’ve always had a love for style and fashion, which led me to pursue a degree in fashion merchandising. Over the years, this love translated into an interest in interior decorating. I’ve taken a few interior design classes, but also have very talented friends and clients in the industry who inspire me.
Do you have southern family members who influence your choices in decor?
Yes, actually my mom’s side of the family lives in North and South Carolina. Whenever I visit I always stop at the antique malls and thrift stores. I collect brass pineapples, ginger jars, and vintage clip-on earrings during my visits.
You’re constantly opening your doors to friends and family. Why do you think your home is particularly conducive to entertaining?
I love to entertain! It’s one of the things I looked forward to most about owning a home. Although my home is relatively small, it has an open flowing floor plan. This makes entertaining easy. Summer is an especially fun time to have people over because I have a great patio and three gorgeous acres with a stream and woods. Plus, with all of my home’s cheery colors and fun patterns, how could you not have a good time?
Usually stacked with fresh baked goods, your kitchen appears to be the heart of your home. Do you love to cook?
I’ll be honest…I used to hate to cook growing up and in college. However, owning a home has inspired me to start cooking more. Now, I actually enjoy it. I’ve taken a few cooking classes and I’m slowly building up my personal recipe book. My favorite thing to make are scones. They’re relatively easy and delicious!
Southern Living loves dogs as much as you do. How do you keep your home pet friendly?
Easy! Fun dog beds. I think I have a dog bed for Abi (my Jack Russell) in every room. Try Home Goods for inexpensive, stylish options. I also suggest having wood or tile floors. Carpet is a fur magnet.
When you work from home, is your space conducive to entrepreneurial creativity?
I do spend a lot of time working from home for Piqued PR. My home office is the one room I splurged on – I bought a new furniture set for it so that I could stay organized and inspired.
What’s your favorite nook in your home?
It’s so hard to pick just one favorite – it sounds crazy, but each room is like a child to me. Literally, my blood, sweat, tears have gone into perfecting every little corner of my home. My favorite, though, is my living room. It’s where I spend most of my time. It also houses my matching pink wingback chairs that my grandmother gave me and I had reupholstered. They were a bit of a splurge, reupholstering is not cheap, but remind me of my family and make a statement.
Any advice for 20-something girls who aspire to own their own home or decorate a space that is a reflection of their personality?
A lot of people, when house hunting, judge a space by the colors of walls or cabinets. Remember, all of this can be easily changed in an effort to make a space your own! While a complete overhaul renovation isn’t for everyone, you should be open to imparting your own vision to a space. Only buy what you love and surround yourself with items that make you happy!
Photography by Haley Cairo