When you have one family income, three kids and a limited budget, there’s only one way to give your house the high-style look you crave.
Ursula Carmona has turned that into an art form, and America is paying attention.
The Concord Township woman writes the blog Home Made By Carmona (www.homemadebycarmona.com), a compilation of decorating inspiration, project tutorials and organizing ideas that all bear her sophisticated flair and can-do spirit. She’ll use craft paint to turn $7 cotton rugs into high-end knock-offs, use a couple of cheap Ikea dressers as the basis of a chic free-standing wardrobe or copy a $699 West Elm bench for $15 in materials.
Carmona’s stylish transformations have captured the attention of do-it-yourselfers across the country and beyond. Her blog gets about a quarter-million page views a month, and she gets several hundred emails a day from followers. She’s been mentioned in publications and websites including Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, BuzzFeed and Apartment Therapy.
You can catch her live at the Great Big Home + Garden Show, which starts Feb. 5 at the I-X Center. She’ll be onstage at 3 p.m. Feb. 12 and 1 p.m. Feb. 14.
She’ll also be speaking at the Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo, a three-day show that starts March 18 at the FirstMerit Convention Center of Cleveland. Her talks at that show are 3 p.m. March 18 and 2 p.m. March 20.
Carmona’s inventiveness is born of necessity.
“I probably have the cheapest husband in the world,” she said with a laugh. But she also has expensive taste, “so you’ve got to get creative.”
Her dad is the same way, she said, so she figures she got her try-anything attitude from him. She had to acquire the skills, but she said Google and practice have helped.
For all her home-fashion sense, Carmona leans toward projects with a practical aspect. She admits she’s not naturally organized, so having a beautiful house motivates her to keep it nice. She doesn’t want a house that’s just pretty to look at, she said; she wants one that’s functional and allows her and her family to live their lives to the fullest.
That’s all the more important because she and her three daughters spend so much time there. She home-schools the girls and also blogs from home, so “this is our home base, 24/7,” she said.
Carmona loves organizing projects, she said they give her more time with her family and help her feel relaxed rather than harried. She’s particularly proud of the menu planner she devised, which allows her to jot menu ideas on little sticky notes and transfer those notes back and forth between an idea section and a weekly menu.
Her all-time favorite project, though, was the luxe diamond-tufted headboard she created by attaching scrap wood to the frame of an old headboard, padding it with an inexpensive foam mattress topper and covering it with fabric she bought at a discount with a coupon. “Being able to make it, and make it under 50 [dollars], was the highlight of my year,” she said.
But perhaps her proudest accomplishment is the sense of community that has grown among the followers of her blog and her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HomeMade?ByCarmona). She’s hoping to create more video tutorials, offer classes and find other ways to encourage people who share her passion to “be creative together,” she said. She also hinted that a book may be in her future.
“I’ve been blessed,” Carmona said. The blog “has gone a lot farther and a lot faster than I anticipated.”
And she promises there are more good things to come.
Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or email@example.com. You can also become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MBBreckABJ, follow her on Twitter @MBBreckABJ and read her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.