Home Q & A

Graphic designer and blogger Tobe Reed makes life look effortlessly pretty

Tobe Reed in the living room of her Overland Park home.
Tobe Reed in the living room of her Overland Park home. Special to The Star

Tobe Reed is one of those women you love to hate online because she makes life look effortlessly pretty. She’s the blogger behind Because It’s Awesome; a photographer on Instagram; a graphic designer at Hallmark; wife to Eric and mother to 16-month-old Ava. Her Overland Park home is an experimental playground, constantly refreshing it as she moves inventory in and out from 200 Main, her online shop at One Kings Lane.

How did you come up with the name for your blog?

The name happened by accident. A girl from college and I created a company for a class called Two Tall Blondes, which physically described us. It was a design firm, and after school we kept the name but did our own independent work, like wedding invitations. For eight years we weren’t really serious. Then we started the blog as a marketing tool. I was the only one really doing it, and so it really started leaning toward my interests and personal taste. I needed a blog of my own and started playing with names. “Because It’s Awesome” has something memorable about it. I ran it across a friend, and she told me, “Nothing could sound more like you.”

What do you post about?

Things I come across on Pinterest. I just finished a One Room Challenge of my master bedroom in November. Home Depot sponsored a closet renovation in Ava’s room. I’ve collaborated with other bloggers on projects. That’s the thing about blogland. It forces you to find talented people.

What other social media do you use?

I was late to the game, because I didn’t have an iPhone, but I’m really into Instagram. I home in on what makes sense for my lifestyle, things around town or things I pick up. It’s mostly babies and brass.

Tell me about the online shop you run with your mom.

It started when One Kings Lane tapped me for one of their group tastemaker sales. I created my inventory by shopping my own house, because I didn’t want to invest in pieces I didn’t know would go. But I had a 70 percent sell-through rate, which meant I could redecorate. I don’t know if “addicting” is the right word, but I asked to stay on. I spend more time doing that than the blog. My mom and I are in the process of starting our own shop separately of One Kings Lane. If it grew into a brick-and-mortar store one day, that would be really exciting.

Where do you source products?

From the West Bottoms, thrift stores and sometimes estate sales, but Craigslist is king for us. I go to the 45th & State Line antique district for inspiration, but rarely do I find something I would choose to spend that much money on.

What is your personal design style?

I don’t want to use generic terms, but I’m very eclectic. I gravitate toward every style, and I tend to like things not everyone else has. I love things that have a story, the handmade and the one-of-a-kind makers of stuff. I like to find little treasures that seem like castoffs to someone else. My house is a hot mess of all of it. I put things I like in the same space, and that’s what makes it work. But it’s constantly changing. As my taste changes, so does our house.

You talk about brass a lot. What is it that you like so much about that particular metal?

Conveniently, it’s very popular right now, but I’ve loved it forever. My grandma had a lot of it. I remember specifically a brass apple bell. There was an art to it at one time — still is. I have a ram’s head coffee table now that I’m probably going to keep. The stuff that’s highly coveted is too hard to let go.

What design advice would you give someone?

If you love it, buy it. That said, I personally do not spend a lot of money on things. That includes big pieces. It is wise to invest in quality pieces and keep them awhile, but it comes down to personal preferences. I know myself, and my tastes change too often to spend a lot of money on one thing.

What’s next for you?

You’re catching me at a crossroads. I do have a lot of goals, but I feel like I always let things happen to me. The universe pushes me in a certain direction, and I just lean into it, like with the blog. A million times I thought about quitting, but I kept doing it. The tastemaker sale was really a turning point. And now I’ve done a handful of rooms for other people. I never would have dreamed of decorating for other people before. I’m seeing where this fun adventure takes me.