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A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

Kristen Mittler lives in a cozy three-bedroom home outside Dayton, Ohio, with her husband, Arick, their four children and a bunch of personality-packed chickens. “This is the smallest place we have ever lived and we love it,” she says of her house built in 1861. Here, Kristen talks about the charms of an old house, countryside adventures and the key to the best BLT…

LIVING ROOM

A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

Ottoman: Wayfair, similar. Mirror: antique, similar. Candlesticks: Food52.

On family treasures: One of the deciding factors that made us buy this house was that it was so close to family. I grew up in Ohio and all of my family is now within a 15-mile radius! If we need new furniture, we usually go for old before new, and if it’s from family we love it even more. We have a lot of hand-me-downs from our parents and grandparents, like the credenza the TV is on.

DINING ROOM/KITCHEN
A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

Table: IKEA. Chairs: antique. Curtains: Target.

On fresh produce: We have a garden, and we grow herbs, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers and watermelon. The boys check on the garden every day to see what’s ready. Tomatoes are the most popular topic because they like to see them go from green to red. We have an abundance of zucchini right now, so I’ve been making loaves of zucchini bread and freezing them for later. I love baking, and it feels therapeutic to me, but I’m a little worried I’m giving everyone a sweet tooth! My hobby is probably not doing them any favors.

On family dinners: I always had dinner with my family growing up, so eating together is really important to me. It’s a time for us to connect, talk about the day or just be silly. We have a no phones at the table rule. In the summer, we eat so many BLT sandwiches. So many! We use the tomatoes from the garden, and sometimes Arick will add an egg to his. We’re not picky about our mayo, but one thing that really matters is the bread. We’ve tried it with so many artisanal breads, but we always go back to classic white. It’s the best way to go.

BACK PORCH
A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

On funny chickens: We have 10 chickens who are basically little princesses. They’re hilarious. We have one named Patricia, but we call her Tricia, who likes to lay her egg on the back porch. Together, they lay nine eggs a day, and Wolfgang will collect them with his basket then run back to the house yelling, ‘I got the eggs!’ It’s so sweet. The kids also love feeding the chickens. I’ll look in the refrigerator and be like, ‘Where did all the blueberries go?’ And I’ll realize Rufus snuck and fed them.

SCHOOL ROOM
A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

Rug: RugsUSA.

On homeschooling: We used to live in an area that didn’t have great public schools, so I homeschooled Eleanor (now 10). We’ve since moved, but continued homeschooling. I plan on homeschooling all of our kids (Wolfgang, 4, Rufus, 3, and Agnes, 10 months). It’s just me with the four of them during the week, but we’ve developed a nice rhythm. At first I had this fantasy that it was going to be magical all the time, like skipping through the woods together. But it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m learning to embrace what homeschooling actually is. It’s trial and error, but I’ve found some really great programs that work for us. Everyone is signed up for their extracurriculars this fall. Eleanor and Wolfgang are taking a nature class, Eleanor is doing ballet and an art class, and the boys are doing soccer.

LAUNDRY ROOM

Wallpaper: Chasing Paper. Tote: similar.

On finding balance: I’ve realized that you can choose your stress level, especially being home with the kids all day. I was rigid about keeping things tidy for so long and would get overwhelmed if my house wasn’t always picked up. But you just have to let go and live.

MASTER BEDROOM

A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

Bed frame: Target, similar. Curtains: Ikea. Dresser: antique, similar.

On a place to unwind: My bed is where I like to hang out if I have an extra second or if it’s quiet time, and I’ll go there to sit with a book. It’s also become a landing spot for the rest our family, too. When I have downtime at night, I’m for sure watching TV. Sometimes it’s Law and Order, and I’m currently re-watching The Sopranos. I’m a comfort re-watcher.

A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

Basinet: Plum and Sparrow.

On big windows: In this house, you can see everything from our windows. We have a tree swing in the back, and Eleanor swings between every task. She’ll swing, have a snack, swing. She swings all day. I love looking out and catching a glimpse of her out there. We also have wildflowers growing around the house. We like to leave them growing instead of picking them so we can see them every time we look out.

ELEANOR’S ROOM
A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

Bed frame: Incy Interiors. Bedding: Target, similar. Vanity: antique. Pink paint: Behr.

On letting kids decorate: Eleanor’s room is all her. She picked out her bed frame and everything, she even added the disco ball in the window. The string of Christmas lights are from the holidays, but she didn’t want to take them down. She loves to read in bed — she just finished the Roald Dahl collection — and is also super into collecting vintage troll dolls from the 1990s. We hunt them down on eBay and when we’re antiquing.

BOY’S ROOM
A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

Beds: antique. Rug: RugsUSA. Bunting: Sugar House Workshop.

On downsizing: We are a family of six living in a three-bedroom house, but it feels homey. The boys share a bedroom. They play super well together — they’re into trains, cars and puzzles. They also love playing house. It’s always house. They’ll use their stuffed animals, and Wolfgang always wants to be the dad. They play school, too. When school is over for the day, they’ll just go right back to playing school.

BATHROOM
A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

Pink paint: Behr.

On keeping the old: The owner before us lived in this house for 30 years, and I really appreciate how he kept all the old charm. If something needed replacing, he found things that didn’t take away the character of the house, and we want to do the same. We didn’t change much when we moved in, he even had the walls painted a super neutral gray that we loved. I did, though, paint the bathroom pink, and it’s basically my dream bathroom. Somedays the boys will get like three baths depending on what they’ve been into.

A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

On an extension of the house: It was important for us to find a place with a little bit of land when we bought a home. We have two acres, which isn’t a lot, but definitely an upgrade from when we lived in the city. The yard is fenced in, so the kids can roam freely. We love that we can open the back door, and they can run in and out, in and out, a million times a day. The neighbors own the cornfields behind us, but they don’t mind if the kids race through the fields when it’s not harvest time. I hope the kids will look back on this time in their lives and realize they could just be who they are.

A Charming Home in the Ohio Cornfields

On staying for awhile: We’ve moved a lot over the years and this is by far the best place we’ve lived. We have everything we wanted with this home, and we’re really happy. I think we’ll be here for awhile.

Thank you so much, Kristen!

P.S. More house tours, including a pink farmhouse and a 300-square-foot tiny house.

(Photos by Kristen Mittler.)

  1. Country life! A dream!!! Gonna find that Insta account now)))

  2. Talor I. says...

    I follow Kristen and her family on Instagram (@oldjoy) and she is one of the few people I have post notifications for. I always love seeing her beautiful and sometimes very honest stories and pictures about what life with 4 kids is like. I often wish I could whisk my family away to a place where they could run absolutely free, barefoot in the grass. For now I just live vicariously through her photos. thanks for featuring a mom I love!

  3. Hannah Avery says...

    Super love your house!!!!!

  4. Wow!! looking so gorgeous. I fall in love.

  5. Katie says...

    “You can choose your stress level.” Who knew a dreamy farmhouse home tour would give me a mantra? Love this home and Cup of Jo for bringing such thoughtful content into my days.

  6. Malorie says...

    I’m just here to say that while I love all the homes, it’s so nice that this blog also includes homes outside of NYC, LA, SF, etc. Just another reason why I love Cup of Jo so much!

  7. Sam says...

    Hi Joanna and COJ Team,

    Thanks so much for this feature and for the possible beginnings to the conversation of home education/homeschool. I have considered sending an email or commentating over the years, but never did, so here we are.

    We are are a family of three, one kid, and we homeschool. I am a former teacher (11 years, K-12), and never thought that this might be my path until I became a parent. I had my son when I was 41, he is now 8 and in the third grade. Homeschooling has been the best decision we made for our son and our family. Our choice to homeschool our son was almost simple, it was the best option for him academically. He was always super precocious, huge questions at 2 years old, and an insane amount of energy, nothing has changed, except he is taller, bigger feet and super funny.

    We of course, explored sending him to schools outside of home, applied and were accepted to several private schools and zoned for some public schools in our area. In the end, choosing to homeschool was the best choice for our kid. We are a city family, we live in a decent sized one bedroom apartment and are fortunate to live less than 15 minutes away from UC Berkeley, full of amazing resources, we often use their libraries as a study space. The most important thing for us was how can we best support him academically, isn’t that what we all want for our children? Honestly, the two most annoying question/responses about home education are, “what about socialization, and I could never do that?!” This happens so often, it is tiring for me and almost every homeschooling family I know. We are not isolated, my son has a ton of friends some he has been friends with since birth, he has a rich and diverse community of educators, friends and family to support his growth and education. We are a family of color, I am Black my husband is Latino. Enrichment classes, museums, local organizations, field trips, book clubs, nature study groups, theater groups, sports groups, etc, are all around us, if anything, he asks for a less busy schedule, ha!
    Many families choose to take it one year at a time, transition to public or private schools in the later years, or go the distance through high school and send their kids off to college. The amount of resources and curriculum available to families is almost overwhelming. You do the very best that you can, ask a lot of questions, hopefully find support where you need it and know that you are doing what works best for your child/children.

    I am excited to see if COJ decides to explore the beautiful and rather large homeschooling community, both locally and globally as a series?
    It is almost impossible to offer up so much information in a single post.
    If I could encourage, consider reaching out to amazing homeschooling veterans like Julie Bogart, https://bravewriter.com/about/about-julie, mom of 5 amazing adults (she homeschooled them all, three just graduated from university, one of them from Columbia. The other person and program is Lawrence Williams of Oak Meadow in Vermont, https://www.oakmeadow.com/about-us/mission-history/, we have used their curriculum for a couple of years now and LOVE IT!
    There are also a host of outstanding homeschooling families on IG: Greta Eskeridge @maandpamodern, Toni Weber @homeschoolingbyheart, Jodi Mockabee @jodimockabee, just to name a few.
    I am sure other homeschooling COJ readers have many suggestions.

    I look forward to seeing what happens! Wonderful to see the conversation started. I could say a lot more, this already feels long, ha!

    Cheers!

    • Keina says...

      Thanks for sharing!

  8. Ah, such a lovely home and family. I appreciated Kristin’s honesty about her experience as a home educator (and her princess-y chickens!). The decision to bring my daughter home after many years of public school wasn’t one I took lightly, not because I was worried about her but because I’m an artist and introvert who needs a lot of time alone with my brain. :) Homeschooling in our area is actually a super social endeveour. We have a vibrant, active community which sometimes translates to zero alone time for me. I wouldn’t go back though – my girl is happy and we’re finding our way to a rhythm that works well for both of us.

    • Naomi says...

      *endeavour – but don’t worry, I outsource spelling instruction. ;)

  9. Lisa says...

    I, like some of the others who commented, would also love to see posts about different kinds of homeschoolers! I homeschool my 4 yo and have gotten a little resistance about it. The first thing people ask is, “BUT HOW WILL HE BE SOCIALIZED?!” not realizing that is the very least of my concerns — we have a great co-op, and the learning never stops. You can “learn to socialize” by going to the grocery store or a restaurant or museum and talking to people. Making lasting friendships and learning to socialize are different things, and I try to make sure we spend plenty of time with friends. There are so many things I love about homeschooling (the relaxed time table, being in nature as much as possible, letting the child learn at his own pace for starters) and I love to hear about the experience of others as well.

  10. I love the simple beauty and charm of this home! What I found myself most curious about, though, is the age difference between her oldest child and the rest of them! It must have been like pressing the reset button, in a way.

    • graceb says...

      I’m also very curious!

  11. Julie. says...

    So lovely!! Love love those tile floors in the dining room!!
    I grew up in SE Ohio (Athens!), and these photos make me miss the summer there – so lush and green. My parents have about 7 acres and kept chickens when I was in high school and they were crazy, messy and not nearly as lovely as these chickens, haha.

  12. Drake says...

    I’ve been in Dayton my whole life! We are a fantastic small city with a lot of good stuff happening! :)

  13. Kirsty says...

    What a beautiful house!! Though, coming from the UK it does make me lol when houses like these are considered small and homey. Oh to have a house this ‘small’.

  14. Anna says...

    Is Megan still writing for Cup of Jo?

  15. Jess M says...

    This house looks so beautiful and cozy! I especially love the school room and the clawfoot tub.

  16. Bridget says...

    I live in an area that you could say “doesn’t have great public schools.” (Whatever that means? Typically seems to mean poor SAT scores, low income families, low paid teachers, poor facilities, limited accommodations for various student needs.) I have to be honest saying that reasoning to homeschool bothers me, frankly, I strongly believe it sounds discriminating. My viewpoint is that living in the school district I do means I have the opportunity to be a parent that cares to make an effort to do whatever I can to improve our public schools. Public schools will never improve if everyone who is dissatisfied with them avoids them (goes to a private school, homeschools, moves away for that reason, etc.) There are a million reasons I would consider homeschooling but I would never say it was for this reason…

    • SML says...

      x 10000

    • Heather says...

      Me too. Our kids go to a title I neighborhood school with horrible test scores and they’re happy and thriving and learning a ton. Also, they’re immersed in a diverse environment I think would be tough to replicate from home.

      But I have nothing but respect for home schooling, because I could not do it.

      Those parents spend all day with their kids. Every day.

      I just got done with an 11 day vacation with my children – who are each delightful and beloved – and I am SO GLAD TO BE BACK AT WORK. I want to lay my cheek on my cool, clean desk and pet my computer screen and bask in the sound of NOTHING but the gentle hum of the AC. The civilized conversation. The coffee I actually get to drink. The tidy outfits and little breaks to read articles. I love you, work. I love you love you love you. When I meet moms who home-school, or stay home with their children *period* (which is its own form of home school), I am genuinely impressed. When I deliver my kids to school in the morning, I salute the teachers and THANK THEM. Being with little kids all day is so hard. Hats off to anyone who attempts home schooling.

    • Cynthia says...

      I totally agree.

    • Sara says...

      But I also feel like when it comes to our children, (our most precious, treasured gifts) I will always be discriminate about what I allow them to engage in. As with anything else in our lives, if we aren’t satisfied with the experience then we make a change, whether that means taking a different route, or trying to change the situation ( as you stated that you’re passionate about doing) our kids only get one shot at having a great school career and if the option to find a different way of doing things is available to us- why is that being discriminatory? I understand that not all families have the opportunity to homeschool or send their kids to private institutions, but I would also argue that we also shouldn’t hold anyone to one set way of learning or thinking of school no matter what their reasoning. If anything, in ohio, all public schools are still getting tax support from homeschooling families, while homeschooling families get no such support 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️

    • Mollie says...

      This is exactly how I feel too. Its very difficult for a school to be “good” or “bad.” That sentence really bothered me. (Though I do love this house.) Where I’m from, a “bad” school usually just means a school with poor children, and/or non white children. It’s so common for people to refer to a school as “bad,” and it bothers me to no end.

    • kath bur says...

      Yup. Agreed with the above. And it also seems to devalue teaching as a skill. “Oh, I’ll just homeschool my kids!” My husband was homeschooled and says he would never, ever do that to his kids – for both social reasons and that his mom honestly was just not a science teacher, a Spanish teacher, a math teacher, etc all rolled into one. Nor should she have to be!

    • kelly libby says...

      Homeschooling is a choice. And this lovely woman was honest about her choice. I don’t understand why anybody should be judged for not wanting their children to go to a less than stellar school. Poor facilities, poor scores are an EXCELLENT reason to not subject your children to and not about discrimination. It’s about choice. So many of our public schools are not up to par and kids get eaten alive. I was bullied (by students and teachers) and I so wish my parents could have home schooled me. Why should her children be an educational experiment??!! For our entire history as humans, parents have home schooled their children. This is her choice for any reason she sees fit.

    • Chandra says...

      Totally agree, that bothered me too. I can imagine she gets push back about home schooling her kids, but as a middle-class parent whose children attend a so-called “not great” public school district (I.e. low SES, majority minority school) you would not believe the comments some have made to me. And reading this piece, I can’t help but reflect how easy it is for privileged parents to opt out by home schooling versus opting in by getting involved and trying to make things better for ALL the kids. Would love to see more stories like that on Cup of Jo.

    • Maggie says...

      I am late to chime in, but in our district recently, we had a poor superintendent who made a lot of decisions that seemed at odds with prioritizing education, such as implementation of “early release Wednesdays” and elimination of project based learning that had been going so well for many schools. Morale among teachers was low, and many lifetime career educators were leaving because of the discord under his administration. I know that this is anecdotal, but having experienced a school district that had poor leadership, it doesn’t always come down to discrimination.

    • Chelsey says...

      You seem to be judging her without knowing ANYTHING. She didn’t say anything about where she lived before. In Idaho (where it is primarily white and conservative) they have some of the worst schools in the nation, so why do you assume she means something discriminating? Perhaps, wherever she lived, she did fight it for a time? Maybe she has other things she is passionate about that she is fighting for? It’s great that you are fighting to improve the school system in your area (I really mean that), but I think picking at that one sentence feels kind of unnecessary.

    • Lauren S. says...

      Comments concerning “not great public schools” are extremely judgmental and assuming. If you’d venture to look at Kristin’s blog or Instagram, both public, you’d see she’s a loving mother trying her best. Whatever not great means… perhaps the schools don’t pay their teachers well, have unsafe environmental impacts, are standardized tests heavy, or invested in common core standards that have paralyzed them… There are so many not great things about schools, for a mother or parents or guardians alone to judge…

    • Lauren S. says...

      I would also like to say, as someone has mentioned, homeschoolers in Ohio still contribute to the tax base while not getting any sort of benefits for taking on schooling themselves. I’m sure it is this way in many states. And families that homeschool in impoverished districts lessen the financial, physical, mental, and emotional burden of excessive enrollment that some schools can not handle. ONE parent takes on being the counselor, the administrator, janitor, cafeteria worker, bus driver, accounting… they do all of these jobs. Some parents ask themselves, “Why am I asking my community to do something that I can do myself?” Very brave, true, and amazing mothers or fathers sacrifice in this way for the benefits of their communities. In many ways, homeschooling does directly and inherently support & contribute to public education. It would be nice for people to try and acknowledge the other side of the equation, and perhaps revisit their misconceptions or misgivings regarding home education.

    • Betsy says...

      If my children were not getting a great education in their public school that would be an excellent reason to homeschool. This family has found a school system that works for them and does not need to be criticized for it.

  17. Cailin says...

    Oh wow this is my favorite house tour you’ve done! The photos make me homesick for a place I’ve never been.

    • Em says...

      Yes, I wish I was her kid! I love everything. So charming.

    • Jessica says...

      Yes, what a good way to say it! Same.

  18. C. says...

    I love a bathroom with a big window and a giant tub, and I am so drawn to this pink color on the walls. I really like the look of the gray walls too. So much to appreciate here!

  19. Anna says...

    Gorgeous. 100% beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this inspiring post! I’m refreshed!

  20. Mali says...

    What a beautiful home! The period details are amazing. I loved the tile work and that pink bathroom. How do you keep your home so uncluttered and minimal while raising kids and homeschooling? You’re inspiring me to do some serious decluttering!

  21. Carolyn says...

    Love the light shade of grey on the walls! I’ve been on an obsessive hunt for something similar. Does Kristen know the name/brand of the colour?

    • C. says...

      I would also be interested in the name/brand of the grey paint.
      Thanks!

    • Sasha L says...

      I have a shade called Silver Birch on my main living area walls, it’s very similar.

    • C. says...

      Sasha- Thank you! I will investigate. Do you know the brand?

  22. Lori says...

    Beautiful home and family! My favorite of the home tours so far.

  23. Liz says...

    This is my favorite house tour anywhere ever. This home is so beautiful and joyful and light. It’s making me want to exit the city immediately.

  24. Maire says...

    I was just thinking about home tours on this site the other day and wishing for some more Midwest representation. I grew up in a small farming community in Indiana, so I identify with this home and family a lot! Thank you for coming to the Midwest, we’d love to have you all in the Hoosier state as well :)

    • Hannah says...

      Fellow Hoosier here!! I love meeting people online from Indiana. I’m from NW Indiana a town called Demotte, where are you from, Maire??

      This post made me feel at home again. I’ve since moved away but those cornfields always look like home 😍

    • Angela says...

      Also a Hoosier, though living in Texas now! I’m from New Albany. I love where we love now, but the Midwest runs thick in my blood and I miss it. These pictures made me so homesick!

      I’m the same, Hannah, and loved finding out that Ashley who writes here sometimes is also a fellow Hoosier! Yay!

    • Susie says...

      – Hi neighbor! I’m a Rensselaer reader. <3

  25. Irina says...

    How do they keep the chickens from pooping all over that beautiful patio? Our chickens free-range in the backyard and the poop is EVERYWHERE. When it gets on wood or stone surfaces, the stains never completely go away.

    • Hannah says...

      Omg my thoughts exactly 😂😂😂I just woke up to poo on my patio table. Never fun hahaha

    • Nikki says...

      Haha I’m so glad I’m not the only one who wondered this!

  26. Megan says...

    Totally ready to move back to the Midwest now, thanks. Signed, a Missourian at heart living in NYC

  27. Where are the wooden drying racks from? I’ve been looking for an all-wood one (the only ones I’ve found are plastic or a wood frame but metal dowels).

    P.S. Beautiful home! I love how you’ve kept so many of the original details of the house!

    • Kay says...

      I have an all wooden one and I found it from Ikea!

    • DC says...

      I got my wooden racks at Ace Hardware.

    • Cynthia says...

      One of my belonged to my mother and my other one came from a local hardware store. I couldn’t live without it.

    • kelly libby says...

      I found mine at Goodwill. Especially during the college move in move out time.

  28. Joy says...

    favorite house tour to date. how refreshing.

  29. Taylor DiDominicis says...

    Where is that beautiful rocking chair from in the first photo?

  30. Emilie says...

    This is the first house tour that I’ve really related to! I love the style, love the old house, and love the philosophy! Basically pinning this whole post.

  31. That bathroom! SWOON!
    and I love “I’ve realized that you can choose your stress level…” such a simple truth that it seems like most people forget.

  32. Kate Ban says...

    oh my goodness.. it looks and sounds so dreamy! Look at the kids’ outfits in the last picture!!

    She sounds like a super mom keeping the house that tidy, homeschooling 4 kids alone, enjoying baking, and raising chickens… you go mama!

  33. Heather D says...

    This is a great example of how I grew up. Big, safe yard to play in, cornfields surrounding the property (and sometimes soybeans/ cows!), a breezy swing tied to a tree. Idyllic.

  34. Scarlett says...

    As a fellow country-living Ohioan, it warmed my heart to see this beautiful post <3

  35. Sasha says...

    I’m charmed!! This is just the most beautiful setting, I love the clothes on the line and the bathroom and the hens ❤️❤️❤️ What is not to be in love with here?

    I also love seeing a homeschool family featured! So many misconceptions about that and you just can’t really make any generalizations, a millions ways to do it, a million reasons why, but it’s fun and enlightening to see how one family does it. This post made me very nostalgic for my family’s homeschool days, it was 80% magical, 15% my house is a mess and 5% these kids are driving me mad.

  36. Alex says...

    I am curious, is Meghan still part of the team? I got a little confused, since she is not mentioned as part of the team… I was very fond of her contributions and suddenly they deasapeared. Usually, you are transparent in relation to who is leaving and entering the team. My remark might seem a bit ‘gossipy’ but, in my view, especially in small teams as this one, it matters.

    • Heather says...

      I agree, I wonder about these things too.

    • Clare says...

      I totally agree! Would love to know if she is still on the team!

    • Sasha says...

      I recall seeing Joanna say in similar comments on an earlier post that she moved on/ was not coming back from her maternity leave.

  37. Alexa says...

    Ahhhh my favorite instagram account! I’ve been following along for years!

    She is such a lovely person, and her gratitude for where she is in life and what she has shines through. I am so, so excited to see more of her beautiful home! Thank you for sharing, Kristen!

  38. Kelley says...

    When I was growing up, my parents bed was always the place that the family congregated. After work/school, my brother and I would lay in bed with our parents and talk. When I came home from college, I would lay for hours in my mom’s bed and tell her everything , and when my dad died unexpectedly, it was in that bed that we all laid together for days and figured out what to do next. My husband always jokes about our “family bed” but it’s something so special. Now that I have kids of my own, I hope they can enjoy our “family bed” too!

  39. Oh I love this. I so want to live somewhere farmy in the middle of nowhere, but what kind of jobs can you get somewhere so remote?

    • My husband and I talk about this all the time! We sometimes kick around the idea of moving somewhere quiet, but our jobs are not only big city jobs but very particular to the actual city we live in. I hate the idea of waiting until we retire (and our kids are gone), but I don’t know how we could make it work!

  40. RD says...

    I’d love to read a feature on families who homeschool their kids after reading this post and some of the comments. I always thought homeschooling kids was kind of setting them up for failure socially/academically in some cases, but after reading some of these comments it sounds like there are a lot of perspectives and positives aspects of it. Would love to hear more about that lifestyle.

    • Sandra says...

      Agreed! I would love to read more about families who homeschool. I never knew anyone personally who homeschooled until we left the city (Chicago) and moved to the suburbs, and I think I had a lot of incorrect (and honestly, negative) preconceived notions about it.

      One of my son’s babysitters and her siblings were homeschooled. She is such a mature, intelligent girl who seems to have a good head on her shoulders and is doing well socially and academically in college. Just like the kids I’ve met around here who went to public school. I’ve come to realize that it’s just one of many different approaches to education.

    • Kat says...

      I agree! Always have had negative associations with homeschooling based on my interactions with homeschooled kids I’ve known personally growing up, but I think that may be wrong and antiquated now – it seems like a popular decision these days for many families ; would love to read an article on it from several parents’ perspectives!

    • Sasha L says...

      Hi RD! I think like all aspects of parenting, homeschooling is a choice and the outcome depends on the individual family. Just like breastfeeding works for some but not others, or living abroad would be an adventure for one family but no thank you for another, homeschooling is the same. There is a stereotype about homeschooling, partly based in reality, that most are conservative Christians who reject public schooling. In our community the majority of homeschool families fit this, but even within this category, there is quite a lot of diversity. We homeschooled, until middle school, but not conservative nor Christian and plenty of other homeschooling folks like us in our community. Probably the biggest common denominator is a commitment to an alternative education for your children and the ability to go without one parent’s full time income. Homeschooling for us meant giving up a lot of money, and that eventually was one of the reasons we sent our children to public school.

      The idea that homeschooled children will automatically be poorly socialized is too broad a generalization. While a homeschool mom I did see children that seemed closed off, overly secluded from the world and were only allowed to socialize with other families that were within a rigid Christian background. Would they be better off at school? Maybe. My own children had a huge adventure, met all kinds of people, were incredibly well socialized as children and now as adults, despite no preschool or grade school. They were exposed to feminism, progressive books, living history, way more nature than they ever would have in public school. They read on their own time table and were able to follow their own interests. We had time for outside interests that greatly enriched their lives. We were never too busy or hurried or overly tired. If they needed sleep, they got it. They excelled in their own ways as teens, and now in college and law school. And all despite coming from a much lower income family than most homeschoolers. I just don’t think there are many generalizations that one can make. Children learn best from thoughtful adults modeling behaviors, vs other children imho.

    • Katie Larissa says...

      I was home schoooled, and while the stigma is definitely lessening, I have people argue with me to this day that I’m “too normal” to have been homeschooled. I plan to homeschool my boys, even though my husband works in public education, because Mississippi schools aren’t great, and we can’t afford a private education for our kids. 95% of my home schooled friends scored insanely high on the SAT test, and did really well in college, so trust me when I say that home schooling can be a great education choice.

    • Jo says...

      I would love a feature on homeschooling too.

      I had a negative impression (esp the social aspect) about it, until I met our kind, brilliant and empathetic pediatrician who was home schooled along with his 4 siblings and they are all thriving doctors in different fields now. That was an eye opener for me.

    • Thank you for featuring such a great homeschooling family! I live in Australia where homeschooling is generally seen as a very unusual or negative thing, and which many people associate with either very religious people, a poor education and/or poor socialisation. I have to be honest and say that until not long ago, it wasn’t something I would have considered for my family – we were lucky enough to be able to afford a private school in Sydney. But after six years of watching our son struggle with dyslexia in a school setting, wither in his curiosity and love for learning as well as border on childhood depression from bullying, we decided to take him out of school and try home schooling this year.

    • Anna says...

      Thank you for featuring such a great homeschooling family! I live in Australia where homeschooling is generally seen as a very unusual or negative thing, and which many people associate with either very religious people, a poor education and/or poor socialisation. I have to be honest and say that until not long ago, it wasn’t something I would have considered for my family – we were lucky enough to be able to afford a private school in Sydney. But after six years of watching our son struggle with dyslexia in a school setting, wither in his curiosity and love for learning as well as border on childhood depression from bullying, we decided to take him out of school and try home schooling this year.

    • Malorie says...

      As a mom of a very young (about to be 1!) son who has always joked about homeschooling but now is thinking more seriously about it, I would also LOVE a feature about different types of homeschooling families. As a product of public school (my husband as well) we have had many conversations about not “throwing away” public school, but I am really interested in a more holistic learning environment for my son in the future.

    • LB says...

      Homeschool is like any other kind of school: there are excellent examples and awful examples and everything in-between. We school one kid at home and send the other to private school, but remain strong supporters of public education (and happily pay taxes–and advocate/vote for even more taxes–for a system we don’ t use). For better or worse, it’s difficult to maintain your progressive ideals in the face of kids who don’t fit inside the typical educational boxes. The homeschooled kid attends a daily after-school program at the JCC, swims on a homeschool swim team, plays tennis with non-homeschool peers, and has a pretty typical social life for a 10yo–playdates, gaming with friends, wandering the neighborhood, etc. His curriculum is secular and academically rigorous, but accommodates his need to wiggle and talk. He takes standardized tests each year. I’m a little baffled by the staying power of homeschool stereotypes, and I would love to see more “lifestyle” of modern homeschool families.

  41. talia says...

    Thank you for featuring an OHIO family! I, too, live in Ohio and it is refreshing to see our state represented so beautifully!

  42. Lauren E. says...

    Bye bye, moving to Ohio.

    In all seriousness, this is one of my favorite house tours you’ve ever done. The airiness, the simple beauty, the comfort level. I’m in love.

    Lastly, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt did this fantastic piece for Serious Eats on the perfect BLT and he agrees that white bread is the best (Japanese white sandwich bread if you can find it). https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/08/blt-manifesto-how-to-make-best-bacon-lettuce-tomato-sandwich.html

  43. Nina says...

    Lovely home. I totally want a disco ball in my window now.

    • Jannelle says...

      Me, too! I’m going shopping this weekend to find one.

    • Sasha L says...

      Where do you find one?? Same exact thought.

  44. Kacy says...

    This is a gorgeous, homey, familiar post! I’m so glad that a midwesterner was featured! Such a lovely home! The best part for me is that my husbands name is also Arick and I truly have never seen or met another man with that spelling! I did a total double take to make sure I was reading correctly! I’m heading to Insta to follow her immediately! <3

  45. Kelly Drummond says...

    “I hope the kids will look back on this time in their lives and realize they could just be who they are.” BRB, crying at work again…

  46. Liz says...

    I absolutely loved this feature. Being from Ohio and having been homeschooled, it was refreshing to read about my roots presented with such charm and grace. Thank you for making the effort to portray lifestyles outside of NYC and for Kristen for opening up her home. Well done!

  47. Elise says...

    Fellow midwesterner, and I was one of four homeschooled kiddos as well! I’m very thankful for having had that experience – it’s not all fun and games, certainly, but the flexibility and ability to create your own rhythms and routines to learn can be a great thing for your family and your children. I’ve always told people who asked that I don’t know whether or not I would homeschool any (future) children because children are unique and what works for 1st grade for one kid might not work in 9th grade for another! It’s inspiring to see your enjoyment of your family and your life. Keep up the good work!

  48. Julia says...

    Kristins home is so lovely, and I enjoyed hearing from a homeschooler. The fireplace and all the gingerbread moulding – beautiful.

  49. JB says...

    Love the EXIT sign!! Want!

  50. Kristin’s posts on IG are always such a breath of fresh air in a world of overly perfect social media posts. She knows how to be honest without oversharing and never takes herself too seriously. I love that you shared her home on your blog!

  51. Sara says...

    “…vintage troll dolls from the 1990.” ==> that moment you realize you are getting old!! :-)

    • Carrington says...

      OMG. I was thinking how could my troll from childhood be considered vintage? Ha!

    • JR says...

      same! so funny

    • When she said they find them when they go antiquing I practically died of old age. Haha.

  52. Danielle says...

    This home is so beautiful and serene, just reading this post is like letting out a big breath I didn’t know I was holding. I definitely will be using this as inspiration for transforming my small, city based mid terrace into a peaceful place.

    Also that lemon wallpaper is to die for- desperately thinking of how I could use it in my own home!

  53. Adriane says...

    This is the most lovely house tour, especially these words; “I hope the kids will look back on this time in their lives and realize they could just be who they are.”

  54. I’m so in love with every detail of this house; it’s so light and airy, and what a beautiful piece of land…*sigh*. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos and a glimpse into her family’s daily life.

  55. Dee says...

    When I used to be on instagram a year ago I used to follow this great family. What a wonderful home you have created for your family to grow and love each other in!

  56. This is one of my favorite home tours so far! I love how they kept the old – so many houses are pinterest perfect and – though gorgeous – lack the comfortable patina they’ve managed to leave & incorporate into a beautiful, sweet house. Love.

  57. Elena says...

    Such a beautiful place- and hello from a fellow Sopranos re-watcher (I think I’m on season 3 this week)!

  58. KAY says...

    Another Midwesterner here pleased to see some Midwest representation! We don’t get a lot of love on lifestyle blogs. Loving this beautiful home.

  59. I love this! It reminds me so much of my childhood. I’m the oldest of four girls and from age 5-11 (for me) we homeschooled. We lived in rural Mississippi where the schools weren’t that great. We lived in a 100-year-old house. We had so much freedom to run wild with our imaginations and creativity. We spent so much time outside. I will always cherish those memories (and as I’ve gotten older I’ve gained tremendous respect for my mom–don’t know how she managed homeschooling 4 kids!!)

  60. As a mom with little kids that stays home all day, life can be isolating sometimes. I’ve followed Kristen on Instagram for years and I truly LOVE all of her posts. She’s validating, real, and genuinely fun. I find myself always wanting to take a page from her book. What fun to get a house tour of someone who I admire so much! Her house is beautiful! ✨ Thank you for sharing it! (And thank you, Kristen, for opening it up for us readers!) ♥️♥️♥️

  61. I love the simple, yet elegant, design of the house! My favourite feature would have to be having a vegetable and fruit garden with chickens roaming around. How fun!

  62. Sarah F. says...

    I love that you featured Kristin! She is one of my favorites on Instagram with her honest approach and portrayal of their lives in their beautiful home. I love how each person in their family flourishes in their own personalities and passions. She has the most excellent mom-style so I agree about a week-of-outfits post!

  63. Kat says...

    What a beautiful house, and how wonderful to be surrounded by so much space! I love the arch features and large windows especially.

  64. I grew up with chickens, goats and a vegetable garden in a farming community… and now I live in an apartment in Switzerland. This post is making me so homesick I don’t know how I’m going to sign the lease for another year! My “city boy” husband and son don’t know the sweet pleasures of picking a lemon from your own tree or collecting the morning eggs. Le sigh. Kristen, your life is lovely.

  65. sophie says...

    Kristen is the best!! Thank y’all so much for featuring her beautiful house — she’s a delight to follow.

  66. Felicia says...

    I’m cracking up that the linked vanity is a doll house minature.

  67. em says...

    her house is lovely- but after visiting her instagram page- i really just want to know where all the cute baby bonnets & clothes came from!!

  68. Margot says...

    Love Kristen! Thanks for the home tour!

  69. carson says...

    What a clean fresh wholesome style this house has, I love it. That pale pink definitely adds to that. It really lightens up the interior vibe!

  70. kristin’s instagram is seriously a favorite. i know it’s very cliche to throw around the word authentic such that i hardly use it anymore, but she is the real deal. a breath of fresh air on ig and i love following her. (and reading this interview!)

  71. Leah says...

    As a homeschooling mom who lives in the Midwest I want to say THANK YOU! I love this blog and being exposed to lifestyles so different from mine but it’s really heartwarming to see a post I can really relate to!

  72. Roxana says...

    Oh. My. LOVE. What a dreamy home.

    Also, can I say that as a fellow home schooler I SO APPRECIATE her candidly saying that it is hard. I know other home schoolers who talk like they’re pooping daisies while doing it, but that has not been the case for us. It is not easy (I don’t think public school is, either), but I do believe in it (even though never in a million years did I think I’d do it). For multiple reasons, it is absolutely the right thing for our family and we are so happy that we can do it. If anyone is wondering ;).

    Oh and her blog post “How to be a mom with a smartphone” is dead on. Full of wisdom. Will need to implement some of her techniques!

    Thank you for this feature!

    • M. says...

      “Pooping daisies” — LOL! This midwest homeschool mom is cracking up!

  73. Whitney Olson says...

    Could I have the exact color of that bathroom pink? I’ve tested plenty of the Behr pinks and that is the one I want. Please share.

    • shannon says...

      The link goes to “peach rose.” It really is gorgeous! 💖

    • Amanda G says...

      YES! Would love to know what Behr shade that is as well. It is absolutely dreamy.

  74. Suzie says...

    Wow, what a charming and warm home! Thanks for sharing!

  75. Ellen McAree says...

    Beautiful home! And fun to read – I have two boys and two girls and homeschool!

  76. Annie says...

    I love this so much but at the same time I cannot click on these house tours anymore. They just always make me feel not good enough. I adore this blog but I feel like half the posts are about being OK with not being good enough (yay!) and the other half make me feel ugly, unfashionable and/or poor. This is probably just me though! :)

    • Annie, sometimes the house tours make me feel bad, too. BUT I do think we should remind ourselves it’s unrealistic to expect we will all have homes like this AND also, any home will look beautiful when you can have the windows open and the perfect sunbeams and gentle breezes highlighting the curtains just so… I think most of us have really normal homes. Curating a beautiful-looking house is a skill, and it takes time, effort, and money. Either you’re gifted at identifying just the right thing, or you can afford to make lots of mistakes. It also helps if you have a collection of white pottery, and the only toys your kids will have are a few wooden blocks apiece. (Where are the sippy cups in these house tours?? Where are all of the paw patrol figurines?) We put enough pressure on ourselves without also expecting that we will have Instagram-ready kitchens. Sometimes I get down about my house b/c I want it to be beautiful and instead it’s cluttered and chaotic, but I’m getting closer to liberating myself from this pressure. Recently, I had some friends over for an impromptu gathering. I was coming down the stairs and overheard two of them talking in the kitchen. My one friend said, I love this house. Every time I walk in the door I feel like I’m at home. It’s so relaxed and lived-in. The other friend said, Yes, it’s really welcoming. My eyes immediately welled up with tears. All the time I spend fretting over how imperfect my house is – it is FINE. We are so lucky to have homes, period, and all the more lucky if our family and friends feel safe and at ease there.

      There is nothing wrong with your house:
      https://www.curbed.com/2018/3/7/17087588/home-renovation-unnecessary-mcmansion-hell-wagner

    • Kristin says...

      Annie, it’s not just you. These types of posts feed into everyone’s insecurities (definitely mine!). It helps me to remind myself that blog posts like this are curated and depict life at its most ideal, whether or not that’s the reality most (or any) of the time.

      The other day I was speaking with a woman about my age (early thirties) who was telling me that she and her husband had recently moved back to California after spending several years living in a farm house in the country. She admitted that she hated it. “I thought sustainable living was where it’s at,” she told me, “But no–grocery stores are where it’s at!” I loved her honesty.

      It seems like Kristen is also very honest on her social media, which is great.

    • Annie says...

      This response really means a lot to me Heather. Thanks so much — I needed to hear that :).

    • JoLynn says...

      Annie,
      A home is a place that provides shelter and protects the people and things you love. It holds memories, laughter and love. If your home is filled with those you love and laughter – it’s already perfect.

    • Katie says...

      Remember that these houses are staged and shot by professional photographers! They cleaned like mad to prepare and hid the unsightly normal stuff. Then a photograoher came with fresh flowers and moved things around, opened windows etc. And I am sure the photos are edited afterwards too to make all the lighting look perfect.

      I’d love to see a Real House Tour series start here on Cup of Jo where people’s houses are photographed at random! Like a photograper drops in with no warning on a random Tuesday so we get to see the real real life mess too and not just the curated inspiration. Both are nice in my mind

  77. B says...

    Ohhh my gosh my dream house AND YARD! Thank you for this!

  78. Alicia says...

    Yes, midwest home tours make me happy!! I lived outside Dayton for a little while. Such a sweet home and family.

  79. Earlier, during an outdoor coffee break/kind of meditation from work on this sunshiny day, I caught myself daydreaming about the loveliest farmhouse. You know how when you resonate with the essence of something it just fills you with peace just at the very thought of it? That’s what happened. I felt good; and now I just got home and checked in on my daily Cup of Jo and saw this…the daydream farmhouse come to life. And I think that it’s enough-though sure I’d take the house itself!- to have enjoyed this serendipitous nod from the universe or whathaveyou. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful home,one so clearly filled with love.

  80. Colleen says...

    Growing up we moved multiple times in the same town and my
    mother learned that she preferred all 7 of us in a smaller house because she knew where everyone was and the big house felt lonely to her.

  81. Christine Schwalm Design says...

    The millwork in that house, my goodness! So beautiful. The kitchen and bath in particular, so lovely.

    • Escondista says...

      I know! I’m so glad it wasn’t removed for the sake of trendiness!

  82. Ashley E says...

    Come to our house! I love that you’ve included the Midwest!! We have put so much love into our colonial style home and I would love for something less contemporary to be documented. Our three kids under 5 make it fun and wild!

  83. Ahh, this reminds me so much of living in Indiana as a little kid.

  84. Amanda says...

    Umm,.. I just shuttered at the thought of Troll Dolls and antiquing in the same sentence -_- lol

    • ME TOO! that pink bathroom is the stuff dreams are made of but the phrase “vintage troll dolls from the 90s” is all nightmare!!!

  85. amy hull says...

    I really hope those chickens are only on the porch for the photo shoot ….otherwise that porch has to be always covered in poop.

  86. Julia says...

    I’d love to see a week of outfits by Kristen and a beauty routine,too. She has great easy, comfortable style.

    • Molly says...

      Me too!! I was SO excited to see her home tour here, I’ve been following her sweet family for a few years on IG! So wonderful!

  87. Meg says...

    Such a lovely home. From a midwesterner, thank you for paying such attention to geographical diversity!

  88. Carrie says...

    These photos and the interview honestly took me to another place. Can’t wait to follow her instagram. What an amazing house and family

    • Mel says...

      Same. I live just outside a city (albeit a midwestern one) and have been longing for a country life like this. Seems so simple and lovely and pure. And definitely started following her on instagram.

  89. Peace, comfort, happiness are some of the things that come to mind just looking at those pictures. Just beautiful, well done.

  90. Laura C. says...

    I would be curious about homeschooling. In my country, you are not allowed by law to homeschool your children. You must send them to school. I have always been skeptical about homeschooling, but I guess it is just because in my country it is not allowed. May I ask if this is a common practice in the US?
    The house is so beautiful, by the way.

    • Jeanne says...

      The vast majority of people send their children to private or public run schools. Only about 3.4% of people in the US homeschool.

    • nadine says...

      Same here! I don’t know much about homeschooling and I am curious. How do the programs work? Is it more common only for the first years of education or up to what age? How is applying to college later on?
      Anyway thank you Kristen for showing us around!

    • Roxana says...

      Laura, Jeanne is right that the vast majority send their children to public school. But, the 3.4% stat is from five years ago. I venture to say it’s more than that now. However, I haven’t been able to find any statistics to confirm that this is true :).

      I homeschool our children. I have a first grader and a kindergartner (and a 19 month old). We have decided that we will take it year-by-year. Before I had children I never in a million years thought I would homeschool. I attended public school for my entire K-12 education. I can confidently say that my experience in the public school system was pretty great. I could not understand why anyone would chose to homeschool and always thought “WHY? Why on earth would you homeschool?” On top of this, the few people I knew who were homeschooled were, well, weird. But, when I really started to explore homeschooling and got to know other families who do it, I fell in love with it.

      There are so many valid reasons to homeschool and so many different ways of doing it. Some people do not do it well, and some people do a phenomenal job. My experience thus far, which admittedly is not a lot, is that it is not easy, Also, I do not think it is the perfect model. I think there are many valid reasons for public/private schooling, too. But, I think homeschooling is worth the effort. I think it is under appreciated and that it can be a very beautiful thing. I am so thankful that in the United States we are able to homeschool our children.

    • Ashley says...

      It’s not common, but it’s growing and becoming much more mainstream than it once was! I home educate in Maryland and have a huge community of other home educating friends.

    • Jenny says...

      It is a wonderful option for families who want to go that route. I was homeschooled for all of elementary school. My mom purchased and followed a curriculum. When I started public school in 6th grade I was not behind academically or socially. I’m now 38, work in the medical field, and my toddler goes to daycare and will likely go to public elementary since I work full-time. Many of my friends homeschool their children and I’m so glad we have options to choose what is best for our families.

    • Laura C. says...

      Thanks everyone for your responses! 😊 you are so nice!

    • Sasha L says...

      We homeschooled preschool- middle School, then children graduated from high school. Every family is different, that’s just what worked for us. We didn’t use purchased materials or follow a curriculum. We read a million books and wrote books, hiked, played outside, splashed in rivers, painted, play doughed, baked, raised hens and dogs and cats, did 4H, dance, piano, followed interests wherever they led. We didn’t follow a rigid schedule and had plenty of friends.

  91. Lindsey says...

    There’s nothing quite like a Midwest childhood. I hope the kids love it. I miss having a yard like I did when I was a kid, and running in and out all day long is something I wish I could do now.

    And, agreed about white bread only for BLTs. We’re almost exclusively a sourdough family, but we had BLTs last night and I asked my husband specifically to get white sandwich bread. It’s really the only kind for that sandwich!

    • Kate says...

      Yes – my mom honestly would lock the door to keep us outside! For some reason running through the cornfields didn’t hurt as much when we were kids as it does now…

  92. I could look at that photo of sheets drying in the breeze ALL DAY. And what a lovely shade of pink in the bathroom…

    • Genevieve says...

      Isn’t it the epitome of peace and simplicity to see sheets drying in the wind?

  93. Kirsten says...

    Love this feature! I’ve lived in OH my whole life, and my grandparents live in a similar home to and near Kristen’s! They owned the farm behind them, and I have fond memories of us racing around the corn fields. Beautiful home, beautiful life! Your kids will indeed love these memories when they’re older.

  94. Donna says...

    That bathroom is dreamy. Photos are beautiful, too.

  95. Renee says...

    I had a hectic day. This is so nice!

  96. Lauren Abman says...

    Love the chicken-and-egg-themed posts today! Lolz.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      hahaha <3

  97. Lizzz says...

    Yay! Love love love Kristen.

  98. Laura C says...

    Old Joy!! She’s the absolute best! I love how transparent she is in her instagram stories. Mom goals for sure.

  99. Alex H. says...

    I never knew how much I craved a back porch swing until this moment. I can feel the long nights and summer breeze; magical.

  100. Katie says...

    The 1990’s are now considered vintage??!?

    • kiki says...

      vintage typically means 30 years or older…so not quite, but SO CLOSE.

    • Anna says...

      Oh my! I grew up in 90’s and had one of those little trolls with purple hair and matching purple romper, but just caught myself thinking that, yes, that’s surely a vintage toy now. And, I guess, I’m vintage too!? (Laughs, then cackles, then starts crying.)

    • Nicole says...

      I know! If I collected something as a kid that’s now vintage, doesn’t that make ME vintage? Eek!

    • Carla says...

      Technically “vintage” can refer to any time, eg. you can say something is “vintage 2014.” The 30 year designation Is mostly a guideline.

    • Ro says...

      yea that sentence hit me hard, too. ouch

    • Sheila says...

      That line hit hard. What?! 90’s is vintage?! I must be old

    • Karin says...

      Troll dolls were actually first a thing in the 60s, so if they’re back, this is their third go-round!

      I grew up in OH and these photos are total time travel/comfort food. The back yard = exactly what ours looked like. Thanks for featuring the Midwest!

  101. Mai-Brit says...

    What a wonderful thing to see Kristin featured here. Her Instagram is one of my favorites, always filled with thoughtful glimpses of life and some of the most honest and uplifting thoughts on motherhood. They always seem to pop up on the days I could use a pep talk.

    • emily d says...

      yes, agreed! i love love love following her. she is a breath of honesty. the goofy dancing, the bad days, the sweet children, it is all so wonderful and i’m so glad she has chosen to share with us. thank you, COJ, for sharing!

    • KylieO says...

      100% agree! Have been following her for a long time on Instagram and she’s truly one of my favourites!