When Janine Waite began posting pretty photos of her home decor online four years ago, she never expected she’d soon be working with top-tier companies like Pottery Barn, The Container Store, HGTV, and Safavieh. After meteoric success with Instagram and her blog, Happy Happy Nester, Waite is now part home-style blogging guru and part social media sensation.
Take a quick glimpse at her Alamo home, and you’ll get an immediate clue into Waite’s tastes: She has a thing for white. Clean, crisp white slipcovers fit snugly over the family room couch and armchair; shiny white cabinets sparkle in the immaculate open kitchen; even the shag area rug is white, belying the fact that two teenagers and an outdoorsy husband also live in this impeccably organized, artistically appointed home. Around the holidays, even the Christmas tree is all white.
“White provides the perfect blank canvas,” says Waite. “It’s like a backdrop. Then, I pick an item to pop, to add a color or two. I always start with a pillow,” she says, pointing to a gray plaid pillow on the couch.
I see that same shade of gray everywhere—in curious items on top of the coffee table (which is also white), in the striped curtains framing the windows, in knickknacks and the whitewashed ceramic cake pedestals on the table. Above the mantle (you guessed it, white), the same gray jumps out from the oak leaf–shaped paper cutouts that have been crafted from printed pages of The Constant Gardener novel. The whimsical leaves dance on a branch above the mantle as if in a magical snowy forest.
With her straightforward approach to home decor, Waite makes decorating look simple, as if random pieces just throw themselves together organically. Some of her fans have described Waite’s style as “California casual,” for her elegant-yet-relaxed scenes. It all adds up to an effect that is anything but haphazard.
If you’ve checked out Happy Happy Nester (where the background of the website and most of the items featured are also predominantly white), or if you’ve talked to Waite for more than a few minutes as her cellphone beeps and pings, it’s clear that neither her home decorating style nor her social media success happened by accident.