- Trends & Shopping
- DIY & Tutorials
- Home & Living
- Style & Photography
- Regular Columns
Jess Lively has dedicated her life to living with intention. Through her popular blog and consulting business, Jess helps others craft their dream homes, careers and families on a daily basis.
Known for her sweet nature, analytical insight into branding and design and a unparalleled passion for living your best life (only Oprah herself could match this gal); Jess embodies style AND substance.
Working out of her stylish Chicago apartment, Jess’ focus on living intently is never more evident in her gorgeous pet friendly home. With unique storage solutions, personalised portraits and one cute little Westie, Jess has created a space to inspire.
Tell us about your home…
My home is a two bedroom apartment a block away from Lake Michigan. We’ve almost lived here a full year. I live with my husband and pup, Franklin.
Franklin, named after Benjamin Franklin, is one year old. He’s a Westie with a lot of personality!
Tell us about the evolution of the Jess Lively brand. How did it start and grow to what it is today?
My brand started back in high school when I started a jewelry business. I grew that little jewelry business from a bag of beads to eventually support myself full-time after college graduation.
Along the way, I started a blog in order to help people design lives and businesses with intention (my life purpose) that later evolved to include consulting and live workshops. Last year the consulting and workshops grew to become my full-time career and I closed the successful accessory company in order to help people full-time.
So as you can see, this evolution of my brand really is really the evolution of my purpose and how I help continue to help people in different ways.
What is an average day for Jess Lively like?
There isn’t really an average day, but there are some general trends. I usually get up at 6am and spend a few minutes cuddling with my husband before reading and doing some form of physical activity or workout. Then, I get ready for my day and after (or during) breakfast, I hop on my computer to write my first blog post for the day.
After the blog post is up, I usually answer emails, connect with my virtual assistant about anything that needs to be addressed, and get ready for writing in the afternoon or consulting with clients, depending on the schedule that particular day. I often try to squeeze in another blog post when I have time as well.
Towards the end of the workday, I finish up any remaining work before my husband gets home. Once he’s home, we catch up on the day – often with a glass of wine – and either cook dinner (correction: he cooks dinner), or eat out at a local restaurant.
If it’s a simple night, we often spend time watching an episode or two of The Dick Van Dyke Show. We try to be in bed reading together by 9pm, though this often is not the case. By 10pm, I have my night mask on and start to fall asleep as my husband reads.
How would you describe your style at home?
I would say that it is a polished, cheerful space. I really try to make my home feel the way that I want to feel – which is often happy and pulled-together. I prefer to mix vintage accessories and statement furniture pieces with more modern items from Ikea and West Elm.
Part of your core business is helping people create stylish spaces. Where do you find inspiration?
I actually get inspired by the blog world and Pinterest! Because of my other business services, I don’t have the time to spend at showrooms or interior design events. So I rely on design that inspires me in Chicago, blogs, and Pinterest to help me hone a look for a particular space.
Your mantra is ‘living with intention’. How do you apply this to being a pet owner?
It can be a little tricky to live intentionally with a pet, but I do my best! I think one great thing that has helped a lot is dog daycare. Once or twice a week, Franklin goes to ‘play with his friends’ rather than stay home alone while I have long meetings or several consulting sessions back-to-back.
When he was a puppy, he needed a lot of attention. And day care was able to tire him out and socialize him with other dogs in a way that also allowed me to work uninterrupted.
Other than day care, I think I’ve been really intentional about not buying too many things for him, at least not until they are necessary. He doesn’t have a ton of toys or collars, for instance. By not buying a lot of stuff, we don’t have a lot of clutter or rarely used items in our home.
How have you made your home pet friendly?
I’ve been careful to use non-pet specific items to organize and store pet supplies as much as possible. We use a cute key hook for his leash and harness near the front door. His treats are housed in a pretty cookie jar and extra rolls of waste bags are stored in a pretty crystal container.
Food storage is tucked away in a brass trunk as well as in an easy access pyrex container in the cupboard. In addition, his actual food bowls, which are really just small porcelain ramekins, are on a pretty metal tray in the kitchen – none of which are intended to be used for pets, but look adorable and function perfectly.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for dog owners who want to keep their homes looking good?
Don’t be afraid to use non-pet items for storage! Also, when it’s not possible to find a good-looking alternative, like with large containers of dog food, do your best to hide the items in a closet or cupboard out of sight entirely.
What are the biggest challenges you face in having pets in a stylish home?
I haven’t found a good looking crate for Franklin. Since he sleeps in our bedroom in a crate each night, it is hard to find one that looks good. I’ve seen various covers for crates, but they often look even worse than the crate itself. For now, I simply have a cream blanket folded over the top of the grate to disguise it as much as possible, while still leaving the side openings clear for Franklin to look through.
What do you look for in a good pet brand or product?
If I’m investing in something nice for him that is actually from a pet company, I do my best to make sure that it is high quality and will last a long time. For example, I bought him a nice custom-made plaid collar that will last for several years. I’d rather pay more for one or two items than pay a little for several inexpensive items that won’t last as long.
What is the one thing that you and your dogs just can’t live without?
I don’t think that Franklin could live without the little red Kong we have. It is such a simple product, but it is definitely the most beloved possession when it’s filled with peanut butter!
Dogs sleeping on the bed – YES or NO?
Nope! Franklin loves sleeping in his crate.
Brass Trunk – Vintage
Crystal Jar (for waste bags) – Vintage (found at The Treasure Mart in Ann Arbor, MI)
Custom Pet Portrait – The Pet Shop by Yellow Brick Home
Leash Hook – Zara Home
Plaid Collar – Barker & Meowsky
Cookie/Dog Treat Jar – Anthropologie
Feeding Tray – Ikea
Ramekins – Target
Watercolor Pet Portrait – Joy Laforme