By Anna Grace Moore

Photos by Kelsea Schafer

They are a peculiar thing–goals–because once one sets them, she hardly needs them anymore.

Goals represent the result of a process. Often, the “process” or road to success–albeit often entangled with unforeseen roadblocks or sometimes, lined with accomplishments–is what one doesn’t always realize will be her desired outcome, not the result or achieving the goal, itself.

A goal, in this case, is one mile marker, but the road to success contains miles of markers–each one signifying just how far a dreamer has come

For Kathy Robb, her lifelong goal was to become an interior designer, but had she confined herself to only checking-off this one, formerly lofty goal on her bucket list, she would have missed out on the road that led to her and her daughter, Penelope Baggett, to open The Blended Bungalow.

Kathy was born into a family whose appreciation for culturally-innate design shaped the lens in which they viewed how design sets the tone for fellowship. Kathy’s father, a seasoned American veteran, and her mother, whose family is from Italy, met and tied the knot young in life, creating a beautiful family that always seemed to be on the move, thanks to Kathy’s father’s military career.

“My parents’ home looked like something out of ‘Architectural Digest,’” Kathy says. “It was beautiful.”

However, goals are hardly achieved on a linear path. Often, life takes a few turns before one achieves success.

Kathy attended Midwestern State University and majored in accounting–like her mother. While in college, she took an upholstery class and learned to repurpose furniture, filling that creative void in her academics.

Kathy later went on to work for a Fortune 500 financial institution, working as a market growth and sales consultant. Although she put her goal of becoming an interior designer on hold, she found simple pleasures reupholstering furniture in the few reprieves her corporate career and life as a mom of four provided.

“I’ve always loved that blended look of heirloom pieces that you inherit from your grandmother or mother and styling those pieces to make it look like your space, not a staged space,” Kathy says.

Looking back, Kathy says she accomplished a goal of owning her own business without even realizing it was a goal for herself. After becoming empty nesters, Kathy and her husband decided to tackle a new journey together–a cross-country move for a fresh start–yet another unanticipated mile marker on her own road to success.

Kathy and her husband moved to Birmingham and settled in Mountain Brook, saying the quaint community nestled in nature drew them to the area.

“Birmingham reminds us of Austin 20 years ago,” Kathy says. “It’s a foodie scene. There’s so many different demographics. It’s heavily faith-based. We love it here.”

Upon moving, Kathy took a part-time job working at Alabama Goods in Homewood, where she was introduced to local artist Tom Findlay of Thomas Andrew Art Studio and Gallery. Kathy and Penelope partnered together to open The Blended Bungalow, which is located in the front half of Thomas Andrew Art’s studio space on 29th Avenue South.

The Blended Bungalow officially opened on Tuesday, March 14. While Kathy handles all of the front-facing aspects of the business, Penelope handpicks the majority of the merchandise and manages the business’ website and social media outlets.

“I’ve always wanted a store since I was 20 years old,” Kathy says. “To offer something where somebody can come in–an absolute boutique furniture store–is my dream.”

Strolling through The Blended Bungalow, one will notice how carefully curated each item fits within the aesthetic of the store. Kathy credits Penelope’s unique eye for design for much of the business’ success.

“It’s a wonderful thing to work with your child,” Kathy says. “Penelope has a very clean aesthetic, whereas I have a more eclectic one. The mix comes through in what we offer at the store. We have faith that this is the direction God has led us, and we are enjoying the journey together.”

The name, “The Blended Bungalow,” comes from Kathy and Penelope’s desire to mix vintage and modern pieces to create an aura complementary to all facets of interior design. The boutique also sells fine China, books, clothing, jewelry, candles, pillows, home accents, stationery, paintings and more.

Several Alabama-based artists that Kathy says are top-sellers include Gracefully Made Art (Hoover), Kudzu Hill Handmade (Auburn) and paintings by Charles Elliott (Trussville).

Talking about “sticker shock,” Kathy says, “I want you to lift the tag and not feel like you have to find a nice way to walk back out the door. I want you to look at it and go, ‘We can make this work.’ That’s the price point we want to be at.”

With a plethora of vintage and modern “must haves,” it’s worth noting that Kathy and Penelope’s top priority isn’t actually furniture finds at all–it’s customer service.

“What I hear overwhelmingly when people come in is how much they love [the store],” Kathy says. “[Furniture buying] shouldn’t be something you fret over. We want to make things easy and comfortable. I want people to come in and enjoy themselves.”

Relationships, Kathy says, are what makes their business worthwhile. The funny thing about those is that they often form in one’s own “road to success” because people need each other to help them achieve their goals.

One of her favorite “mile markers” was raising Penelope, and in turn, watching Penelope help turn their dream of The Blended Bungalow into a reality. Kathy says she never could have imagined how happy and fulfilled she feels now had she given up on her dream of majoring in interior design just because her path wasn’t “the straight and narrow.”

Her road to success was a little longer, but it was filled with her own personal mile markers–getting married, becoming a mother, climbing the corporate ladder–and yes, eventually creating two different businesses centered around her dream career, interior design.

Sometimes, it’s not until one is flying by her mile marker goals that she notices her first one waving back proudly in the rearview mirror. Dreamers like Kathy can and will accomplish so much more than what they think they’re capable of–and they have the journey called life to thank for it.

The Blended Bungalow is located at 1925 29th Avenue South. It is open Wednesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Visit for more information.