We have been healthily addicted to Pete and Selena’s photography, interior design, and their beautiful home stories at Grey Lane Homestead for quite some time now.
It was such a delightful surprise when we received a message from Selena that they would like to have custom French tufted linen bench cushions for a really cozy corner at their home. Oh, we knew that corner very well from the beautiful pictures they’ve shared. And to be honest, we’ve been dreaming to make the cushions for that amazing fireplace area!
The proximity to nature, the forest, the beautiful vegetable garden, the barn, and the horse ring. We just love it all. Pete and Selena have somehow managed to magically combine the best of both worlds: the wilderness outside and the sophistication of the interior to build their dream home.
This magic exactly made us start our new feature section on the blog, covering all the beautiful stories in our small but extremely powerful and inspiring Home of Wool community. And the first story is the story of the Grey Lane Homestead. It was a great pleasure for us to have a chat with Selena, a photographer, designer, wife, mother of four, and the creative mind behind the Grey Lane Homestead.
HoW: When did you decide that a homestead is the kind of place you want to raise your family in and when did you actually start living your homestead dream?
Selena: I grew up like this. I grew up on a very small hobby farm. I think I was riding before I was walking. My father is very into historical farming so they had a farming museum and this was just life for me. This was normal to us. When I left home and went to school, there was some traveling. But as soon as I met my husband and we decided to start a family, we knew that this was the life we wanted to create.
My parents grew organic vegetables for the farmer’s market as well. So this was just a continuation of how I grew up. And it was very, very important to me for my children to know and respect farm-to-table.
Now, the horse thing is new to my husband. He never rode. Still hasn’t ridden. So… I am introducing it all to him. But… we just love it as it is and it was just our dream.
HoW: You’ve never considered living in the city or have you?
Oh, we cannot do cities!
No! We’ve tried. When I moved away I was living in a city. I was working as a nurse. But my soul could not handle the city. I need trees and woods, and gardens. I am definitely a country girl. I absolutely have to be in the country.
HoW: What was the greatest challenge when you started building the Gray Lane Homestead?
Selena: It was a lot of work. We knew it would not be a quick process. We knew this was going to be years in the making. It took just two years to get started on the garden. And we had to clear a lot of trees and layout the flooring for the barn. We had the riding ring. We haven’t completely finished it yet. It was daunting! We’ve done it in steps. And that’s how we made it more doable for us with the kids running around.
HoW: What’s the biggest challenge now? Running the homestead? Running all of it.
Selena: I take little breaks… It’s a little draining. And let’s be real. We have a large family so our house does not look perfect all the time. And we are very lived, very relaxed people. And we have the horses and the gardens. Our mudroom is full of mud. And there are shoes everywhere. And there are laundry piles… It’s all very real!
I like to style and create those beautiful home moments for my feed. But that’s not real. I’m a very type-A personality and I like to have everything tidied up. But the kids don’t enjoy that. They love chaos. And to a certain level, we have to embrace that.
So sometimes, I just go to the page on Instagram and look at the pictures and… it’s so calming.
HoW: Your design and styling are timeless. Your home will most probably look up to date in a hundred years from now…. How do you achieve that?
Selena: I love to watch the trends. I love to see what’s hot and what’s coming in but I am a very old soul.
And I’ve always been pulled to the rustic look of cottages. If we ever had the opportunity I would love to have a property like that. My family is Irish and Scottish… I love cottages, the rustic look, and the simplicity. That’s what I’m drawn to. So… much more minimal than other designers.
HoW: How do you choose what goes into your house? How do you prioritize? In terms of home decor items, textures, materials. Is it design over functionality the other way around?
Selena: It has to be both for sure. I try to stay away from a lot of the mainstream stuff. I seek the smaller shops. And I love vintage stuff. So I’m very lucky lately to get into doing some collaborations with smaller businesses. I have vintage rugs.
I love things that have a story. So less department store things, more things that have a history.
And of course very, very simple and minimal. And purposed. It seems to be on-trend now. They are having a moment now but… like rug beaters and old broom, and things like that. Definitely more vintage-style things I’m seeing on Instagram now. But that’s how I grew up and that’s what I love.
HoW: How did you decide to bet on Home of Wool for a custom cushion?
Selena: I think I found you through my friend Chelsey (@frengpartyofsix). She had a cushion and Chelsey and I have very similar taste. I’ve been searching and searching and I was going through some stores and I didn’t find the cushion I wanted.
When I saw it I loved the fabric. And the tufting. I love that old European feel.
And as I saw it I needed to know where it came from. So yeah! Instant… love from the first sight!
And when they came… My husband was so nervous. He was just like It’s coming from where??? I was like just relax! I’ve seen them. It’s gonna be ok. He was sweating. He was nervous. And when they came I just asked my kids. They were all home and I brought them in and I opened the package with the cushion and it was like Christmas morning. I was so thrilled.
And the kids… even on Sundays. That’s where they are. They curl up on the nook and spend hours there.
And just the care and the packaging. And the mending kit. I was just happy with it.
HoW: Living your homestead dream to the fullest, you’re growing your own food. And it seems that you are doing great. What’s the secret?
Selena: Every year I try to do something a little different in the garden. It’s a learning process. You never know everything. And every year I have something not going so well. Whether it’s something I’ve done or we have a pest coming in… or… we have a lot of deer. And I’ve lost a lot of vegetables to the deer. But… that’s a project you have to work a lot on, continuously, and never give up on it. At some point, you’ll find something that you grow really well. And then you’ll just fall in love with it.
The secret is manure. We have our own compost and fertilizer. And everything grows so well with that.
HoW: What are the benefits of gardening for your whole family apart from the fresh produce itself?
Selena: Well, it’s the time with the kids. We are even out there in the evening until it’s dark and we put on a lot of lights… it’s the time that we are together. A lot of their friends at school do not have that advantage. Or even don’t have the space to do that. So we love to have their friends over. We come together there. I think in the summertime we are out there more than we are in the house. So definitely the time spent together is the greatest benefit.
And there are multiple health benefits to it. Everything is organic. We don’t have to worry about fluctuation in produce prices coming from the market. It’s all out there and it’s so rewarding for the kids to know that they did that. Now, our 16-year-old is not so passionate about the garden anymore. But the little ones are so much into it. And our 3-year-old is just all in. All the time. He loves it. He absolutely loves it.
HoW: You said that your home is not always organized and meticulously tidy. But still, you have pretty much going on. The four kids, the beautiful content online, the styling for the photo, the edit of the pictures. It takes so much energy, so much time. And the baking, and the gardening… Do you get any sleep at all?
Selena: Not last night, because I was binge-watching Netflix. I stayed way too late last night. I don’t get as much rest as I need to. That’s for sure.
HoW: Do you have a special going to bed routine that you follow every night?
Selena: I don’t usually show them but I am a hoarder of books. I have stacks and stacks of books that I like to look through. Also, definitely oils. Every night… I have a special diffuser that I put beside the bed. And I always do my essential oils. I run them all night long and when I get up in the morning it’s the first thing I do. That’s definitely a routine I have to do every day.
The Home of Wool Pop-up Q&A
HoW: What’s your favorite place at home?
Selena: The barn!
HoW: What’s your favorite interior color:
Selena: White! That’s technically not a color. I would say earthy organic colors. I love greens. Greens and browns. All earthy tones.
HoW: What’s on your nightstand right now?
Selena: Still: The Slow Home
HoW: What’s hot on your Netflix at the moment?
Selena: New Amsterdam. I love medicine and this is such a good juicy drama. You get hooked on it.
HoW: What kind of oil do you have right now in the diffuser?
Selena: I’m doing peppermint and rosemary right now. Rosemary is very calming. And when all the kids come from school peppermint goes on with the rosemary.
HoW: Where would you travel first when the world opens up? Are you taking the kids or is it going to be just the two of you?
Selena: We’ll be definitely getting the kids. We’ve been talking about this. Actually, we talked about it last night. Europe! We’ll be taking them over to Great Britain. That would be our first tour. We know which towns we want to visit. More Ireland and Scotland, but… that would be our first trip for sure.