We had the good fortune of connecting with Madison Timberlake and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Madison, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
It actually took me a long time to realize that I was what one would call a “creative”. I always had this pull inside of me to design and create beautiful things, but when you are 17 and have to make a quick decision about what you want to do for the rest of your life, it’s easy to fall into a “safe” career. This is exactly what happened to me.
After graduating high school in 2013, I went to college with every intention of going into the corporate business world. I got a degree in Human Resources and started my first HR job a few months after graduating. What I discovered very quickly was that my body was physically there in the office but my mind was not. I would find myself day dreaming about creating things with my own hands. I started making digital signs and designing wedding invitations and logos during my breaks at work. I bought a camera, learned the ins and outs of posing and editing software and began booking photo sessions in my free time. I found every excuse that I could to get away from the mundane day-to-day of the corporate world. Creating became my escape. With the encouragement of my sweet husband, I quit my corporate job. As I was walked out of the building on my last day, a freeing feeling came over me. I did not have anything lined up, and I didn’t really know what I was going to do…but I was excited.
This is when I discovered my favorite creative outlet of all: Interior Design. I became obsessed with colors and textures. I wanted to create a space that I could not wait to come home to everyday. With my photography background, I was able to start really showcasing my work online. I was overwhelmed by the amount of love I was shown so quickly. I was receiving praise from my favorite designers and getting featured by huge companies. It became apparent to me that I could make a career out of Interior Design if I really set my mind to it. I did not have a degree in design or any kind of formal training. I just really, really loved it. That is when I realized that to be successful in a creative career, loving it so much is all you really need. Pursing a creative career is not always easy, but it is one of the most beautiful and fulfilling things one can do. It is the one career path that truly allows you to speak from your heart and become who you were always meant to be.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I was 16 and living at home, I got my first job and remember being so excited to spend my first paycheck. Not on typical things teenage girls spend their paychecks on, like makeup or new clothes…but on a pretty new nightstand and desk (that matched!) for my bedroom. It was a big deal for me! It was in that very room that I dreamed about what it would be like one day to have a whole house of my own to let my creativity and visions run wild. 10 wonderful years have since gone by – I graduated from college, married my high school sweetheart, and lived life in the city for 4 years out of one bedroom apartments. While small and only temporary, I fell in love with Interior Design within the walls of those tiny apartments. I did not have a large budget and I could not make any permanent changes, but I discovered that you do not need any of those things to be able to create a home that you love.
Last year, my husband and I decided it was time to put down some roots and start looking for our first home. It didn’t take long to get discouraged. Houses we wanted to see were flying off the market before we even got the chance to tour them. Everything seemed so expensive for what you were getting. We were outbid on the house we were sure would be the one. Turn-key, brand new and beautiful. We were the 2nd most favorable offer out of 10, which almost made it worse. It was *almost* ours, and it was defeating.
I called my dad to unload my frustrations. He then said something to me that changed my perspective. He said to me, “Look for the house with the best layout. Everything past the sheetrock is just a cover and can be changed.” Keeping his words at the forefront of my mind, we toured a dated house. It wasn’t my taste in any way, but it felt special. It was so open. It had high ceilings, unique arched doorways, and character. It was nestled in a neighborhood with trees and beautiful lakes. It had a huge oak tree in the front yard and the perfect coffee sipping front porch. And then it hit me – they just don’t make new houses today like they used to. That house became ours on August 23, 2021. The day we closed, we popped champagne, ate pizza on the cold living room tile and soaked it all in. It wasn’t perfect, but it was ours. And that was something to celebrate. I could not wait to make it ours, and I wanted to take the world on that journey with me. That is when @honeyandtimber was born. I dreamed about creating a place to showcase my work for years. The day that I finally did, my life changed.
Over the last year, I have poured my heart and soul into this home. I’ve taught myself how to use power tools and have built shelves, cabinets and accent walls. I discovered that I am so much more capable than I ever thought I was. My style is unique, which I believe is what really sets me apart. My home is truly a mix of different styles. It is modern, but antique and eclectic at the same time. I think people really resonate with me because I blend old & new, affordable & high end, and store bought & DIY. I inspire and help people create homes that they love with the budget that they have. I have received an overwhelming amount of messages from people telling me how refreshing it is to see someone make an old house feel new again. My home is truly a collection of unique and special things, from paintings passed down from my Great Grandmother to my parent’s wedding china. It might surprise you how many items in my home are from Goodwill and Marketplace. I only have one rule for what I bring into my home. It either has to be functional or something that I truly believe to be beautiful.
I am a firm believer that you do not have to spend an arm and a leg to have a home that you are proud of, and a lot of people relate to that. To put it simply, my brand is founded on the belief that the only real rule in design is being faithful in what you believe to be beautiful – because nothing that truly resonates with you will ever go out of style. One of my favorite designers, Nate Berkus, once said, “Everywhere your eye travels in your home should land on something that resonates with you.” As we evolve, our homes should too. It is okay for your style to change and to throw away old things that no longer make you smile. Home should be a collection of things that bring you nothing less than pure joy.
It has been an honor having the opportunity to inspire others to create homes that they are proud of. I have drawn so much inspiration from my fellow designers and DIYers over the years, so to finally be in the position to inspire others is a feeling I cannot even put into words.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
To be honest, I did not spend a whole lot of time downtown growing up. I wasn’t exactly thrilled when we moved to the city to be closer to my husband’s job. What I did not expect was to fall in love with Houston so quickly once we actually moved there. It is such a beautiful and fun city filled with amazing people and incredible food!
If I had a friend coming into town, I would say we would have to check out NASA, the Museum of Natural Science, an Astro’s game, and the Rodeo if they are in town in March. In between, we’d go to some fun breweries, like Buffalo Bayou, St. Arnolds, 8th Wonder and Karbach. I would have to take them to eat at Pappasitos, Rodeo Goat, Cookshack, Niko Niko’s, and Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. I don’t think a week is long enough to experience all that Houston has to offer, but this would be a good start!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I think we all suffer a little bit from imposter syndrome to some extent, especially in creative industries. We let those, “I’m just not good enough” or “there are so many people out there that are much better than me” thoughts hold us back from even getting started.
For years, my family and friends encouraged me to start showcasing my work. I always told them I was planning on doing it soon, but my mind was flooded with fear. Fear of failure and fear of negative criticism. They just kept at it until I finally put my work out there for the world to see. I would not be where I am at today if it was not for their constant love, validation and encouragement. Sometimes we all just need a little push to take that first step.
Other: TikTok: @honeyandtimber