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San Antonio mom blogger Haeley Giambalvo with Design Improvised

This week’s San Antonio Mom Blogs’ featured mom blogger is Haeley Giambalvo. Want to be selected as a Fan of the Week? Like San Antonio Mom Blogs on Facebook and participate!

Haeley Giambalvo is a San Antonio mom blogger who writes at Design Improvised

{photo credit: Candice Stringham}

When Haeley Giambalvo learned she was moving from Chicago to San Antonio, she searched online to learn more about the city she would soon call home. She came across the San Antonio bloggers group joined a few months before moving here. Our group had the privilege of getting to know Haeley and her blog, Design Improvised, long before she unpacked her bags on Texas soil.

Haeley’s clever, creative, and inexpensive home decor and design projects produce beautiful results — even a non-crafty gal like me can attempt them! I’m hooked on Haeley’s blog and I know that after learning more about her, you will be too.

Where do you find inspiration for your design projects? How do you come up with your projects?

I’m a big magazine reader. I subscribe to way too many home magazines – some of my favorites being Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV Magazine, and Martha Stewart Living. Even with Pinterest and tons of great design blogs, I seem to find most of my best inspiration from magazines. I love to rip out ideas and file them away. Rather than just recreating something I’ve seen, I love to use magazine inspiration as a starting point for a new idea.

A lot of my ideas come from finding a material I love to work with and coming up with lots of new applications for it. This past year has been all about projects involving pom-poms!

What are some of your favorite projects and why?

My blog is dedicated to simple DIY projects that make a big impact. As a mom of a two-year-old and a four-year-old, I have very small windows of time to work on projects. Almost everything I make can be done in under an hour for under $20. I use simple materials and avoid power tools (unless you classify my beloved glue gun as a power tool!).

Some of my favorite projects are ones where I have a crazy idea but I’m not sure it is going to work…and then it actually does! Examples are my pom-pom balloons (it turns out you can hot glue something to a balloon without it popping!), my jack-o-lantern lamp (made with a paper punch), and my cinder block vases (using a stencil to decorate the concrete).

I also love to throw a good party and come up with some fun DIY décor for it. My latest was a wine-themed housewarming party we held in our new backyard here in San Antonio with delicious wine and food catered by H-E-B!

Projects by San Antonio mom blogger Haeley Giambalvo with Design Improvised

{photo credit for concrete planter photo above: Candice Stringham}

You have a virtual design service. How does that work? Can you give examples of how you’ve helped clients redesign a room virtually?

My room design service is for people wanting to give a room in their home a new look but don’t know where to start. I help them focus their vision for the room by having them narrow in on an inspiration piece or two (maybe a favorite piece of bedding or wall art), determine a color palette, and understand what existing furniture pieces they would really like to incorporate. From there, I mock up a new room design online using affordable furnishings from online retailers like Target and one-of-a-kind accents from retailers like Etsy to really make the room personal to them. My clients can actually click through any of the pieces in the room mockup and go straight to buying it online.

I particularly love decorating children’s rooms. One of my last projects was a “big girl room” for a two-year-old girl. Her mom sent me photos of the room, the gray and pink color palette she had in mind, and photos of some of the furniture pieces she wanted to incorporate into the room. Based on that I created this big-girl room.

San Antonio mom blogger Haeley Giambalvo with Design Improvised offers virtual design services

I give my clients the inspiration so they can pick and choose what they want and run with it.

What are some of the best things about San Antonio that you’ve discovered since moving here? 

I really had no expectations coming to San Antonio – I’d only been here once for the house-hunting trip. All I knew was that I really liked Chicago where we were leaving!

However, we have felt at home so quickly here. I have been amazed at how friendly and welcoming everyone has been and I’ve already made several friends in our neighborhood and through a moms’ group since moving here a few months ago. That definitely has made all the difference in the transition.

The active blogging community has also been so great. I wasn’t part of anything like that in Chicago, and it has been so nice to already feel part of a community here.

What’s your number one home design/decor tip for busy parents?

Invest in some good storage pieces. If you have young kids in the house you undoubtedly have toys everywhere. I’ve found a few fashionable baskets or storage ottomans to be a great way to reclaim the adult living space for at least a few hours at the end of the day.

Find Haeley: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest 


  1. Wow. I can’t believe you can hot glue pom poms onto balloons! Those are too cute.

  2. The balloons! LOVELOVELOVE!
    Patti recently posted…What I Will Tell Sweet E: Learn To Laugh At YourselfMy Profile

    • Thank you – there are all sorts of variations you can do with them. One reader suggested red balloons with black pom poms for a watermelon or lady bug looking balloon or yellow balloons with black pom poms for a bumble bee. You could use school colors for a graduation party, etc. I did some in hot pink, light pink and orange for my daughter’s 4th birthday which will be on my blog next week!
      Haeley @ Design Improvised recently posted…Babble Top 100 Nomination and Other NewsMy Profile

  3. Christine Watt says:

    Welcome to SA! I’m from Chicago as well…don’t bother trying to find pizza like we have back home. It just doesn’t exist here 🙂

  4. Welcome to San Antonio! I grew up in Chicago and miss everything about it (except for winter). I’ve since moved away from San Antonio but found it to be a super welcoming, family friendly place. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to more!

    Thanks for sharing, Colleen!
    Jessica recently posted…10 Things I Learned in OctoberMy Profile

  5. The balloons are SO eye-catching!
    Skye recently posted…So much for that persuasive campaignMy Profile

  6. Welcome to San Antonio! I’m originally for CA. Good tip about the storage. I always try to set a part of the house that is the “grown-up” space…but it only last a week or so. I’m gonna get fashionable storage/baskets to but the toys away. Thanks for the tip:)
    Adriana recently posted…Things 30onMom is Thankful for. 1My Profile

  7. Welcome to SA! I am adding your blog to my reader now. I love what I see!
    veronica recently posted…Lovely Holiday Inspiration from MintedMy Profile

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