Take one glance at Carla Natalia Thompson’s home and you’re guaranteed to feel instantly calm and at ease. Full of daylight, natural textures and plants everywhere you look, her Florida home gives off the feeling of a light-filled greenhouse. Inspired by minimalism, nature and southwestern scenes, Carla’s aim is to make her home a mindful space to create memories with her family of three. We caught up with Carla to chat about her tricks for healthy plants, what makes a house a home, and her Schoolhouse favorites.
Tell us about your home! How did you find it and what was it like when you moved in?
We are so happy we found our home! Our house is a Craftsman style home built in 1926, located in the Riverside Avondale Historic District right in the heart of Jacksonville, Florida. We have always wanted to live in this area and move away from the “cookie cutter” neighborhood we were living in before. Searching for homes, we found this gem and right away we loved all its original charm and character! The kitchen and bathroom were poorly renovated, but that didn’t stop us from dreaming of the future.
We have been living in this home for nearly two years now and have worked hard to make this house our own without stripping out the original character. The fireplace and built-ins, breakfast nook, original flooring, giant windows and huge porch are some of our favorite original aspects of our home. The first couple of weeks living here I was a little scared to be honest! I’ve never lived in a place this old and was worried what things we might find as we continued living here. And maybe scared of any friendly ghosts spooking around haha. So far, this house feels lighter and homier than any other place we have ever lived. We love our almost 100-year-old home!
How would you describe your decorating sensibility?
I would describe my decorating style as organic southwestern modern classic style. Yes, I made that up, haha! I am mostly inspired by nature and textures hence my love for plants and baskets. I love neutral and warm colors with the brightness and cleanliness of white all around. I am a lover of statement pieces added to each room to elevate my own personal style.
Your aesthetic is very calming and neutral, what influenced or inspired that style direction?
One of our biggest inspirations is minimalism, we love the feeling of less and not over-filling a home. This is where I feel our calming aesthetic comes from. We make sure we leave blank space for the eye in some corners and add simple items that will look clean and easy to follow. My plants bring a calm and neutral feeling to the home as well. That being said, nature is a big influence in our home. I believe there is no better styling item than a natural plant. The warm and white colors of our home are inspired by nature as well. I love southwestern living, natural ceramics and textures, baskets and green life.
How do you embrace the warm Florida climate in your home?
We are definitely indoors more during the summer. It’s no secret Florida summers are brutal! Still, as a crazy plant lady, my home and plants love the warm weather the most. My house feels like a living jungle where plants keep growing, gifting me with beautiful greens and fresh air. I call my home a giant greenhouse because of all the huge windows everywhere – they bring in so much natural light as well as the humidity my plants need. I don’t really love summer but my plant babies do!
Your home is filled with so many beautiful plants. How do you keep them looking so lush and lively, and what’s your favorite plant to keep in your home?
I love my home jungle! I believe this house is what keeps my plants so alive and beautiful. (I was a plant killer in my old house, shhhh!). My home is mostly windows and entryways, making rooms so bright and letting the shining sun in. This is something plants love! As an old house, it is more humid inside in the hotter months, and my plants love this too. I just do the basics with my plants: water, prune and maybe fertilize once a year. My house does the rest! My favorite plants to keep in my home are Pothos, Alocasias and Philodendrons.
Do you have a favorite room in your home? Where do you find your family spending the most time?
It’s so hard to choose a favorite room! We have created each room mindfully with items and styling that we truly love. I do not stop creating and styling a room until it feels “just right” and I love it with my entire heart! So yeah, each room is my favorite and each room has a favorite corner I love. The dining room is top on the list! The furniture, leaf prints, black pendant light, and accent wall are probably my favorite! We spend most of our time in the living room as well.
What does an ideal weekend look like for your family?
As a family with a toddler, we try to find activities that the whole family will enjoy. Most Sundays we go out for a comfort breakfast - Atticus loves pancakes! We love walking around a park or going to our neighborhood’s Saturday farmers market, letting our son get some energy out and spending time outdoors for our own enjoyment! The afternoons we spend lazy at home, Atticus might help me do a crockpot or we’ll spend time in our backyard for him to play and enjoy the weather. We are a pretty laid-back family!
To you, what makes a house a home?
What makes a house a home is how you feel in it, the memories you build and the comfort you create. A home is a perfect place to invite outdoor nature inside and enjoy the great benefits of light and life. Our home provides the key pieces we need for our everyday life and nothing more. Having exactly what you need is how we avoid constant consumerism and clutter.
What initially drew you in and made you a fan of Schoolhouse?
The beautiful style and craftsmanship is what first drew me to Schoolhouse. I was looking for the perfect light fixtures and sconces for our new historic home that were unique and beautiful. Our fireplace sconces were my first Schoolhouse purchase! I will forever love them! That’s when I discovered Schoolhouse is so much more that lighting. Now you can find Schoolhouse throughout my home and I love it. I love the quality and uniqueness of the pieces and that they’re American made. I am forever recommending Schoolhouse!
What are your top 5 favorite Schoolhouse items and why?
The brass light fixture with black stripe shades really tied the bathroom style I was going for! Vintage modern look with black and white all around with the softness of natural light wood and brass accents. The Abrams Sconce and black/white farmhouse sink are the statement pieces of the bathroom!
Our fireplace originally came with light sconces on top, so we wanted to keep the character of the fireplace by adding classic brass sconces with simple filament bulbs. I don’t think my fireplace would be as beautiful without them!
Because when it’s not a natural plant, I add plant prints around! I love the size and color of these prints that go perfectly with my home.
It’s the perfect size pillow with the perfect creamy color that works great to layer with other pillows on your bed!
When finding key pieces for the dining room, it’s really all about adding forever quality pieces. The light fixture should be the statement piece of the room! We have a classic minimal style, so the Ray Pendant in black perfectly matches our style and connects the snippets of black accents we have around our house.
And because 5 items aren’t enough:
The cutest little lamp that brings the perfect ambiance to our bedroom at night!
Photography by Stefanie Keeler