For oncology nurse and blogger Chelsea Mohrman, home is a place where inspiration and joy abound. Inside her charming cape cod abode, you’ll find new pieces alongside thrifted treasures - blended seamlessly to create a space full of warmth and comfort. Thoughtfully designed, the Mohrman home achieves that coveted balance between minimal and hospitable - with personal touches that only come from a house well-loved and lived in. Finding ourselves inspired by her mix beats match approach, we caught up with Chelsea to hear about her creative process, love for thrifting, and family-friendly design tips.
You have such a beautiful home! How long have you lived there and how did you find it?
Thank you! We live in a suburb of Ohio called Worthington. More specifically, we live in “Old Worthington,” an area downtown where there are multiple older homes. All the houses in our neighborhood were post-war era cape cods built in the 1950s for soldier’s growing families.
We've lived here for two and a half years now. We owned an older home about 15 minutes away but moved to be closer to family. We were actually looking at a different house in the same neighborhood that was attractively priced but a major fixer upper. The area wasn't familiar to us, so we decided to drive around.
We took a wrong turn and ended up at a dead-end that led to a gorgeous ravine with kids playing in the circle at the end of the street. As I was complaining about getting lost, my husband and I both laid eyes on a "for sale" sign in the yard of our current home. We had seen it on the market, but the photos did not do it justice. We immediately did a walk-through and put an offer on it that night!
Could you share a little bit about your background? Have you always been passionate about interiors?
By day I am actually an oncology nurse, but my passion for interiors runs deep. Both my aunts are interior designers, and my mother is a home stager. I literally grew up designing spaces. My favorite activity as a kid was cutting out pages from interior catalogs and taping them together to make a “dream home.”
I went to nursing school at Ohio State University, and my husband (then boyfriend) attended Columbus College of Art and Design. He is an industrial designer, so we are both very into aesthetics and design. After our wedding, when I was working as a new graduate nurse on the night shift, I needed a hobby, so I started a blog. The blog was interiors, DIY, and local love. It eventually turned into a part-time career blogging professionally, which I still continue now with influencer work.
What part of the house do you like spending time in the most?
By far, my favorite place is the office. While I do love our family time (and we get TONS of it lately thanks to quarantine), I just love the creativity that flows when I am there. My office is a first-floor bedroom where I keep my computer, a stash of all things crafty, and ALL my vintage goods.
How do you balance function and form when designing for your family of four? Has your design approach changed since having kids?
Before kids, I liked to keep a lot of small decorative items around. Having kids really forced me towards minimalism. Life is so much simpler when I am not constantly picking things up and rearranging my home decor. When picking what goes in our home, I really try to make sure that every item meets both form and function. We only have about 1600 sq ft of living space, so this makes it even more important to only have things that are visually pleasing and useful. This includes rugged textiles that are durable for the kids, woods that can be redone and reconditioned as they wear over time, and solid sustainable materials like metals, glass, etc.
"When picking what goes in our home, I really try to make sure that every item meets both form and function."
Alongside more modern finds, you also have some amazing vintage pieces. When and how did your love affair with thrifting begin?
Growing up, my mother was a single mother of three. We didn’t have a lot of extra money for fancy clothing or home decor. My mother intentionally worked less to spend more time with us. So that meant that we had more time to get creative and make nothing into something. I remember when I was eight, I wanted an animal print room. My mother purchased an old desk from the thrift store and used a Qtip to paint leopard print spots on it. Thrifting has changed over time from a necessity to a pleasure. As I have designed my homes over the years, I have always relied on thrift stores to find unique and sustainable items for my decor.
You have an incredible knack for mixing the old with the new. Could you tell us a bit about your approach?
I really try to blend colors and textures when working on a room. I think sometimes too many older items can make a room look like an antique shop. On the other hand, too many new pieces make a room feel like a cookie-cutter catalog. I like to go about half and half. Often, I am buying new if I am also unable to find something vintage for a reasonable price or in nice shape. So larger items such as sofas, area rugs, and dining room chairs are all new. Upholstery especially is hard to find vintage in good condition. Things I almost always buy used are dressers, hutches, and shelving. These items are easy to clean up and often come with lots of character.
Chelsea's Tip: Stick with a general genre of items for a base (such as mid-century or modern) but mix and match things here and there with more character (like art, old mirrors, cool lamps, and vintage rugs), to easily achieve a look that feels both old and new.
In addition to raising a family, working at the hospital, and hosting the little lakehouse, you also have styling projects on the side. How do you make time to slow down?
My vintage side business grew out of self-care — thrifting has always been my happy place, especially with a job that can often bring me down. When I started thrifting things just because I wanted to save pieces or because they were too pretty to pass up, I quickly realized I could turn my hobby into a side hustle.
"My vintage side business grew out of self-care — thrifting has always been my happy place"
I also have to admit that I don't "do-it-all," and I have a lot of help. My mother-in-law lives close and watches my boys the three days a week that I work at the hospital. My youngest is in preschool, and while school is in session, my oldest attends all-day kindergarten. My husband works 9-5 as a designer and is always home in the evening to help with the kids. Often this is when I sneak away for “self-care thrifting therapy”. Thanks to my side business, I'm able to hire someone to come every two weeks to clean the house. I figure I'd sooner spend my time thrifting and selling vintage over deep cleaning, so it's basically a time trade-off!
How do you like to decorate for the holidays?
Since our home isn’t very big, I try not to go too over the top. I like simple decor such as live garland sans ribbons and even undecorated trees (like in our boy's room). I really enjoy bringing in warmer elements like holiday records, the fireplace, or flannel blankets to help style with useful items.
Finally, do you have any favorite holiday traditions you’d like to share?
I always finish my holiday shopping before Thanksgiving to give the boys and I ample time to bake cookies, make snow globes, and do all the fun holiday things once December hits. They usually compile a list of “things to do,” and we write them out and cross them off one by one. We start with Christmas Tree Day – our self-proclaimed holiday where we go and get our Christmas tree and decorate. By this time of year, it's pretty dark in Ohio, so we like to do lots of cozy indoor lights, a faux fireplace, and lots of warm throw blankets. We spend a lot of time inside in the winter, so it’s nice to have a space that we can easily relax in!
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Photography by Chelsea Mohrman