RA at Home x Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves

Posted by: Nellie Laskow

We are huge fans of Erin Boyle and her inspiring blog, Reading My Tea Leaves. Erin exudes a calm, caring and active spirit that is simply infectious. We were very excited when Erin mentioned she wanted to have a slipcover made for a sofa-bench in her apartment. A self-proclaimed pattern-phobe we sent Erin some ideas we thought might bring in a quiet but impactful pattern element that could layer into her home. We love her choice of the Hills in Gray-wood and think the result is just lovely.

A slip cover is a great item to have made when you want to update a piece of furniture without having to pay both the cost of lots of fabric and the labor to have it completely upholstered. Plus if you have kids a slipcover allows you to pull it off and wash it if (and when!) it gets dirty. All of our screen-printed fabrics can be easily washed without losing their color. Just be sure to wash the fabric before sewing it up to avoid any shrinkage that could occur. 

We asked Erin a few questions about her home and her design choices. See more below. Thank you, Erin!

Rebecca Atwood Designs: Tell us about yourself!
Erin Boyle: I’m an author and blogger, writing about simplicity, sustainability, small spaces, and everything in between. Last January I published my first book, Simple Matters, and I blog near-daily on my site called Reading My Tea Leaves.

RAD: What does 'home' mean to you?
EB: Home for me is a place to return to. It’s a place for getting comfortable, settling in, and finding a bit of sanctuary. In an ideal world, a home is a place that can be carved out most anywhere.

RAD: How do you tell your story with your decor?
EB: In my home, a lot of the decor tells a story through a sense of history. I’ve never been a great vintage shopper when it comes to clothes, but I love looking for perfect antique and vintage pieces of furniture for solving a problem or fitting into a tricky space. More than that, I love when the stories imbued in an object are personal to my own family. In our house, we have a headboard that we found in my parents’ attic when we moved into our childhood home, a lamp that my grandmother made, a nightstand that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, a changing table used by me and all of my sisters, just to name a few things. To me, filling a house with these kinds of objects makes for such a more compelling space—and process—than just going to a local furniture shop and selecting items off the display floor. Importantly, though, I don’t want the storytelling to end only with vintage objects. I also love getting to know the story behind the person making an object. There are plenty of not-so-vintage items in our home that are interesting because we know the who or when or how of how it came to be. 

RAD: What's your philosophy when it comes to personalizing your space?
EB: For me, this goes hand in hand with storytelling in space. Even though—and maybe especially because—I don’t like to live in an overstuffed environment, I cherish being able to surround myself with things that have become personally significant, even if that’s just the blanket on a bed or the lamp on a bedside table. I would so much rather go without something for a while than making a rash decision and ending up with something that doesn’t feel particularly interesting.


RAD: Does your home change with the seasons?
EB: Since I like to keep a relatively blank slate in my home, I always have fun celebrating a shift in the season by changing things up inside to correspond with changes happening outside. Because we don’t have a lot of storage, these changes are mostly of the ephemeral variety—I might bring in a collection of dried leaves or flowers, or line up a set of found seashells on a dresser, or hang a wintry branch in a new spot, or plant a pot of flowering bulbs in the springtime. These are things that don’t cost a lot of money or require much space, but that can still change the whole atmosphere in a room.

RAD: What is your favorite thing about your home?
EB: I love that our home is always changing. Living in a small space requires quite a bit of flexibility and by keeping things spare and simple we’re able to be more nimble. We’re welcoming a fourth member to our family any day now and we recently shifted things around again to make room for a new, albeit tiny, addition.

RAD: What little changes do you think make the biggest difference at home?

EB: In my experience, tiny organizational habit shifts can make the biggest day-to-day difference in a space. I’m a naturally tidy person, but I find that most any space is really helped along by putting a few simple structures into place—whether that’s hanging a set of hooks, or providing a space to stash a frequently used necessity, or decanting an everyday item into a more beautiful vessel. Even the most gorgeously designed home can get overwhelmed by the stuff of everyday life pretty quickly, so I try to make my decorating choices that are as pragmatic as they are beautiful so that my space isn’t cluttered with necessary but visually unappealing extras. I want to be in a space that always feels calm and relaxing, not just in moments post-cleaning-frenzy.


Here's where you can find Erin:

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