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How To Care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig by Marta Locklear-101

Source: Locklear Abode by Marta Locklear

If you follow my Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, by now you should know that I am slightly obsessed with Fiddle Leaf Figs. I noticed them popping up in the corners of designer rooms on Pinterest and in magazines a good year and a half ago. Yet, in all my visits to the garden centers and nurseries…I never saw one in real life. I just assumed it was a high end designer thing that I would never be privy to splurge on.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree - Obsession & Care1IrezTBzyssxd0dd746be7249219e6335d82243a57b8

Source: 1. Potted Bliss 2. Elle Decor 3. Lonny Mag – Thomas Kuoh 4. Unknown 5. Elle Decor

Then one day I was making a quick pit stop into the ever so alluring IKEA to do my usual sweep through the market place and there she was. There THEY were! I may have squealed. Actually, I am pretty sure I did squeal…you would have thought I found a pot of gold. Who gets that excited over plants?

* raises hand shamefully *

Once I pulled myself together the reality of price started to settle in. Surely it was going to be $60+ for this 2ft high green goddess and I would have to tear myself away in utter dissapointment. Nope! In typical IKEA fashion…$12.95. “WHAT??” Instantly my mind went into frantic mode. How can I fit them all in my mini van? I can have one in each room! Eeeek. How do I explain to Hubby that I needed SIX Fiddle Leaf Fig trees, when he won’t even understand the one? I love him dearly and he humors my quirky little obsessions, but I know he doesn’t “get it”. So I stand there apologizing silently to the others, and choose just one.

How To Care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig by Marta Locklear-100

We had a bit of a rocky start. I knew nothing about Fiddle Leafs, and my gas heated home is insanely dry. She didn’t die, nor lose leaves, but she didn’t flourish either. It took a vacation on the back deck in the nice humid Virginia summer weather for her to really start to flourish. She grew sprouts weekly and grew almost double in height in a couple short months. I took notes. She likes filtered light, water off and on, and humidity. Got it! So this winter, I have been babying my plants, water spritzing with a spray bottle every few days, spa trips to the south facing master bath, and regular watering. All of them are doing great, and even during the super dry winter months the Fig is still growing and sprouting.

Tips for Caring for your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Water. Start to watch your Fig. You can actually tell when it is perky and happy and when she starts to dull a little and weep. Or I use the finger test…press your finger into the dirt about 1″ and if it is dry, water it. If not, you may have another day or so before needing to do so. If you find a pattern of days that work for your plant, set a reminder on your phone or pick a day of the week that you water them regularly.

Spray it. I keep a spray bottle of clean water under the sink and make a 5 minute round around the house and give the plants a little spritz every few days.

Clean the leaves. I grew up using mayo on my moms plants, but I have read that coconut oil and even milk work. Just take a soft cloth, and rub the leaves with it to shine them up and get all the dust off. I assume the nutrients in the products help feed the leaves a little as well.

Rotate. If your Fig is next to a window and clearly gets light from one side, be sure to rotate it every so often to even out the growth. Plants feed off the light and over time will stretch towards it.

Give it a spa trip. In the winter months or if you have a naturally dry home and you feel like your fig is just not thriving. Try a week or more stay in a naturally lit bathroom if you have one. The steam and sun helps a ton! Mine grew several new sprouts in just a week in my master bath over the winter months.

Outdoor Vacation. If you live in the south or nice humid weather, some time outside in the filtered shade during your warm months doesn’t hurt either. Mine spent a lot of the summer on my north facing deck this summer and that really helped it launch into growth mode. Just avoid direct sun.

Whether you have a green, brown or black thumb…you can do it. Caring for indoor plants is all about learning what they need, establishing a pattern and keeping an eye out for good and bad changes. You can do it!

I want to see your Fiddle Leafs. Either link me to a pic in the comments, or #flflocklear on an Instagram or Tweet so I can see them!


  • Emilia Jane - I have such a terrible time with plants! I want to get better though!!ReplyCancel

    • Marta Locklear - Emilia- I have always done really well outdoors…but my indoor plants have struggled. I have lost many to the super dry winter months. It took reminders, and commitment to be sure they don’t die. But now that the patterns are set (kinda like my making the bed every day) it is second nature…and I forget a lot less! Give it another try. And start with a succulent (you can almost NOT kill those :))ReplyCancel

  • Kristin Cioffi - Probably a good thing there’s not an IKEA close by, BUT – I may just have to make the hour+ trip for this one. So pretty!ReplyCancel

    • Marta Locklear - KRISTIN- just call ahead. They are not always there. I have been twice since and there weren’t any left. But, they are always changing the plant stock…so you never know! Good luck.ReplyCancel

Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2029Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2000Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2009Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2006Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2005Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2014Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2012Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2023Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2016Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2017Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2039Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2034Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2028Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2045Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2041Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2042Wade Family 2014 by Marta Locklear-2049

Film | Contax 645 | Carl Zeiss 80mm | Fuji 400H | Film Box Lab

You may recognize this wonderful little family from my recent post about Print Your Photos. Wendy’s home is literally littered with family photos all over. Some professional, and some personal snap shots. I was instantly jealous (and embarrassed) that my home didn’t encompass that familial connection. I am on a serious mission to correct that. Regardless, I feel like a distant family member to these 3 (now 4…those pics to come soon). I photographed her boudoir photos, then their engagement, then wedding, this family session and just a couple of weeks ago, their newest baby Wes. There is nothing more amazing to a photographer than to be chosen to consistently document families as they grow and change. Some of my families have been with me for nearly 10 years…and that in itself is incredibly humbling.

Special Sale by Marta Locklear Photography

In light of the new Lifestyle blog format, honoring my long time family clients and the growth of future family relationships I am offering 20% off my session fee or 20% off my Full Session Fee + Full Digital Collection (huge discount). The session may be used anytime within the 2015 calendar year.

Message me at if you would like to work together to start documenting your family.

Locklear Abode 2015 - Main Floor Color Palette

You will learn pretty quick as you read this blog that I am obsessed with paint and paint colors. I do not think there is a room in my house that has stayed 1 color for very long. Paint is one of the cheapest ways to give a room an instant facelift. Not only does it feel fresh and clean, but it can change the mood of a room in an instant.

As I work to give my own home a facelift, I thought it would be fun to share my process with you all. Of course, I don’t make these charts each time I pick out a new color…I do it all in my head, or grab a fist full of my paint swatches and start comparing, taping them to the walls, sticking them in the edges of light switch plates and observing. But, I thought it would be fun to show you the things I take into consideration when I pick my colors. The floors, the adjoining room colors, the light, carpet, major artwork, etc.

The current rooms I want to paint is my Foyer & Office. They sit side by side as you walk into our home but lead into our great room. The foyer has never been right. That was one of those colors gone wrong that I have been itching to repaint for a few years now. On my pinning journeys I saw Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray in several rooms and fell in love with it. I wanted it somewhere in my home. I went to see the swatch in person and decided to just go ahead and buy the paint. Fail. It isn’t horrible, but once it was next to my maple floors, and in the warm south facing sun, it just went too peachy, beigy, and at times purplish. Ugh. I knew better. My office I don’t mind as much and it is a bit of the inspiration for the new color choice. It is however, the only room in my entire house that I do not know the name of. Shame, shame. For the first time I decided to do a swatch test. The color reflection between the warm floors and my deep blue rug was going to be a bit trickier than normal, and I wanted to be sure that I got it right.  I rarely do this because I hate the time it takes to buy, try, buy, try, repeat until a winner is found. I am impatient and rather just get painting.

Foyer Options Testers

I always do my test next to trim, or something white. I always want my trim to pop off just a little, and it honestly just helps me see the tones of the color when I can compare it to a true white. The colors are sitting in half shadow here, and that again, is on purpose. Only part of the room gets sun, the other parts sit in the shadows and you can see how the color and tones change when not in the full sun. I want to make sure I love it all the time. When I use the paper swatches, I move them around the room different times of the day and live with them. Awkwardly standing there and studying them at various points in the day. Silver drop is not on the chart below because it was again a whim try based on a color I saw on Pinterest and was an instant no. It went very purple (least fav color) and was wrong for the two rooms. Stonington, is the BM color match to my kid’s rooms, Sherwin Williams Aloof Gray. I threw it up to give it a try…way too dark and too gray for what I wanted. Titanium on paper and on Pinterest seemed to be “the one”.  It had everything I was looking for. Light warm grayish, with a slight green tint to it. Once I got it on the wall, it went more gray than I wanted, and I have plenty of that in my house and needed something a little more on the warm/green side of the color wheel. Below you will see the top contenders with November Rain added (not shown above).
Locklear Abode 2015 - New Foyer & Office Color
Benjamin Moore’s November Rain is the color I have chosen. It is just warm enough, accents the floors and rug equally, keeps the light fresh tone I want as you walk into my home, stays neutral and accents my prized large oil painting by my Stepmother Heidi Edwards (I will show that as the room gets done).


• Choose a palette that flows nicely from one room to the next. Lay all of your room colors out and play with new color additions.

• Take your new color options home. Live with them. Tape them to the wall, or buy testers and paint them on a wall that gets sun and shade so you can see the changes in the tones.

• Keep in mind large accessories like artwork, rugs and furniture. Hold the colors up near the items and see if the items are accented well.

• Pin fully painted rooms and paint swatches over time to build a collection of options. But always try them in your own home before committing. I have two Pinterest boards for paint. One is just random rooms and colors I like, and the other is my actual home colors.

How do you choose paint colors? Any major fails?

  • Melissa - I knew there was a reason I liked you! We have very similar tastes in paint colors, lol! I have a Palladian Blue swatch taped to my office wall right now, I also have a Stonington Gray swatch taped up in our family room. Since our layout is so open I’m thinking of doing the gray in the foyer, family room and kitchen! Just need to pick a kid friendly paint and a painter!ReplyCancel

    • Marta Locklear - Melissa- I have loved the color palettes I have seen when I visit your home, so I am sure what you choose would be beautiful. I just did Aloof Gray from Sherwin Williams in both of my kid’s rooms and their Jack & Jill bathrooms. When I was at BMoore the other day, I had them color match that color to see what their version would be and Stonington was the match. You will love that color. Just enough pop off the trim, reflects light well, not too dark, but not too light! Hopefully I get to see all the work this summer!ReplyCancel

Marta Locklear - Abode

Since a good bit of the posts coming to my blog are going to be home/style/life related, I figured I better introduce you to my main subject and the place I spend 95% of my time. My home…my abode.

My little home is almost 13 years old now and one of the best and most important decisions I ever made. I was 23, engaged, and very pregnant with my first kid (engaged first…then prego). We were looking for wedding venues, getting ready to put deposits down, and one day, decided we rather buy land for our future home. We canned the wedding, walked into a JOP, got married and put our wedding money we saved towards 5 acres of land in a new rural/suburban neighborhood, and never doubted the decision for a second. That was 1998 and I was 8 months pregnant with my now 16 year old daughter.

We knew we couldn’t build right away since we needed to save a bit more to actually build a house. But we had our very own land and that is all I needed. A future. We stayed in an apartment with our Bean for the next 2 ish years until we were ready to build our very first, and hopefully, only home. We found plans, a builder and held onto our marriage by a very very thin thread. I still to this day say, if you can survive building a custom home together, you can survive anything. Oye! I had no flippin’ idea he was going to be so opinionated about everything!

The Design:

William E Poole Port Royal - Locklear AbodeWilliam E Poole
I grew up visiting Colonial Williamsburg most of my childhood and today my grandparents still reside there, which has given me a huge soft spot for the colonial and Cape Cod style homes. Eventually we found William E Poole Designs, and fell head over heels in love with his work. Due to our lot and grade, we had a narrow field of houses that would work and that is how we ended up with the Port Royal. It fit the size we could afford, the grade of the land, had a basement level garage (needed for the land as well) and had some of the layout that we wanted. A cozy home for 3 (ha…who knew it would be FIVE eventually). My husband and I both have architecture and design backgrounds…so naturally we made a ton of changes to fit our needs and wants. Clearly from the exterior photos and the William E Poole design, we opted to take off the front porch and lower columns and I am still happy about that. I love light…and that porch would have shaded the only side of my house that is NOT shaded from trees.

Before & After:

locklear abodeFirst image 2002 | Second Image Summer 2014

As with any new build, there was nothing. Just dirt and teeny tiny plants. But after many many many hours of sweat, blood, and yes, tears, we finally got grass, plants and trees. I adore digging in the dirt. It is one of the many skills I begrudgingly learned from my parents as a kid. But, like most things…it sunk in, and eventually became one of my favorite things to do. Seeing the before and after of my home from the last 13 years melts me. It makes me fall in love with her all over again, and makes surviving the recession and housing market fall, all worth it.

Not too shabby for a couple of self employed twenty somethings? Of course there are a billion homes I would adore to live in. But she has my heart. She is where all three of my kids have been raised and has encompassed my family for the last 13 years. For that, I can’t leave her. Instead I will help her grow into the house I always dreamed she would be and hopefully see my grand kids romping around the same yard of grass one day.

Together, we will freshen up, simplify, and get a new polished style. Only major outdoor change will be an all new front porch. I seriously cannot wait until we can do that. I have loathed that arch since the day it went up…another story…for another day. Oh, and maybe a master wing…ha…a girl can dream.

#locklearabode on Instagram

  • Jamie - I’ll never forget walking through that wooded lot back in ’98 with you about to pop at 8 months pregnant. I thought the salesman was gonna have a nervous breakdown!ReplyCancel

Make Your Bed Every Day - Tested by Marta Locklear

Before you panic and run to X out of this post…here me out. I tried and tested this in order to help de-stress my life a little and keep a neater home and my results are quite interesting.

I grew up having to make my bed military style or hospital bed style for those of you that are not military kiddos. I grunted, groaned, and fought it all through my childhood. I maybe even thought my mom was a bit high strung to request such a neat bed every single day. But it turns out there was a method to her madness. It took me nearly 38 years to figure it out, and that is why I am sharing it with you.

Last spring I started making my bed. Not every day, but most. At first it was a chore, and I literally had to force myself to do it. To take the mere 5 minutes out of my allotted 24 hours to spend making a bed in a room that the door remains closed 95% of the time, seemed quite fruitless. But I did it, stuck with it, and got to a point that it was every single day. Eventually it became natural habit (it actually stresses me more now NOT to have a made bed), and it helped my sanity more than I ever expected.

Why You Should Make Your Bed Every Day by Marta Locklear

Why I make my bed every day and how it has helped my life.
• It helped establish a simple morning routine. A routine that spread like wildfire and made for even less stress.

• When I am having a high strung stressful day and I walk into the rooms and the beds are neat, and not visually a mess, it honestly gives me a baby sigh of relief. Knowing that one part of my life has it “together” really gave me a little calm in the storm. De-stresser #1

• Once the beds are nice and neat I am drawn to pick up the rest of the room too. Only another 5 minutes daily and the entire rooms are neat and tidy! That is 3 rooms in my home…done…every single day. Yeee haaw! De-stresser #2

• It is contagious. No, my kids don’t make their beds, except on special occasions that we are cleaning like mad and I just need their help. I started to get them to make them, but quite honestly the fight was not worth it and my borderline OCD self ended up fixing everything they did anyway. So that only created more stress and more work. Fought with the kids, and still had to make all the beds. I am a firm believer in picking your battles.

But, over time as they got use to their rooms being tidy and neat,  they actually don’t fight AT ALL when I ask them to tidy up the toys and clothes each evening before I tuck them in (my daughter aside…she is a lost cause right now and takes way too much after me when I was a teen). I will be honest; this part took a while…apparently osmosis is a very slow process. De-stresser #3 and hopefully some more osmosis in the process.

• If done daily, and you add on the natural desire to tidy up more than the bed each day (remember this only takes 5-10 min per room) the rooms are easier to KEEP clean and tidy. Instead of a week’s worth of clutter and mess, you only have 1 day’s worth.

• Get’s you moving. I have 2 very sedentary jobs and I need all the daily movement I can get.

• I don’t do it perfect. At least the parts you can’t see. Haha. Remember those military corners that I mentioned earlier. I don’t do those. I barely straighten the flat sheet. For me it was mainly because I am slightly clausterphobic and destroy any tuck in the second I get into the bed. I realized that this gave me a little bit of agitation as I climbed into my nice clean, neat bed each night after a long day of kids and work. So I stopped doing it. I fold the edges up so they don’t hang out under comforter and make the rest nice and neat. And my husband will attest that I will fix an anti-parallel comforter edge it in a hot second.

• Nothing feels better at the end of a long, exhausting day, than to climb into a nice, clean and neat bed. It feels like a small piece of heaven. De-stresser #4

• This will lead to other daily habits that will also help keep your sanity and your home neat, tidy and clutter free. I promise. I will tell you more about that in other post. De-stresser #5+

Do you make your bed every day? How does it help you? If not, do you think you will give it a try?

Make Your Bed Every Day - Tested by Marta Locklear

This image is most likely going to make it into my “before” pictures of my bedroom. This is on the low end of the list of rooms to tackle right now…but it IS on the list!

  • Katie @ Freckled Latte - I do not make my bed daily, but I do make my 11 & 14yo make theirs. :P We started them when they were young so now it’s a habit. I can be a little OCD about how it’s made, but I just don’t look too closely at theirs. As long as they straighten the covers and put pillows on, it’s good! My husband doesn’t keep regular office hours so a lot of days he’s still in the bed when I get up. I could make it when he does get up I suppose. I do love going into the bedroom with the bed is made. It feels so much more put together, even if the rest of the room isn’t that tidy.ReplyCancel

  • My Simple Method for Being More Productive | Princeton Portrait Photography and Lifestyle Blog: Heather Elle Tee - […] DO THE DISHES. No, seriously. Do the dishes or make your bed… everyday. Taking care of home distractions before I start my work day clears my mind of the to-dos staring me in the face (literally) each time I take a break. I love photographer Marta Locklear’s thoughts on making your bed every day. […]ReplyCancel

Marta Locklear Home - Family Photos

Last week I traveled a couple of hours to Wendy Wade of Weswen Design’s home to photograph their new little man, Baby Wes. Although I have photographed them since their Engagement, I haven’t had a chance to wander into their home. When I did, I was immediately awestruck of all of the photos. My photos of them, family photos, photos by a good friend and fellow photographer Tiffani Sunshine…everywhere. Each room, had a little something. Engagement, boudoir, wedding, maternity, first baby, second maternity and soon the newborn photos I just photographed for them. (below are many images of their photo displays…and this isn’t even all of them!)

Although I was completely in love and honored to see so much of my work all over their very well decorated home. I was giving myself invisible spankin’s the entire time. I can count on one hand how many photos I have in my home. I am a photographer. I have taken a bagillion photos of my kids, husband, vacations, travel and pets.  Yet…barely any visible. Sad.

Please…PRINT YOUR PHOTOS! Even if they are just phone/instagram ones. There are so many amazing companies out there just for you! You do not need to be a pro, or have pro photos. Get them up. Links below to some great companies! And if you have pro photos done, or are a pro, take the time to actually have them printed. You invest wisely in hiring someone to capture your lives, you might as well share them. If you are not a hang them on the wall person. Albums are your friend and your guests and children will love pouring through them and watching their own family grow. Believe me guys, I am taking notes, and I know better. You will see much more of my family photos hitting the walls this year.

The two images above are a little sneak peak into my boys’ room makeover. These two prints just arrived today and I hung them immediately (thank you Wendy for the arse kickin’ to get my photos up). The prints are of my Grandfather who played football for Navy and the All American Team. Those of you that follow me, should know by now that my eldest son is QB for football, and these prints couldn’t be more perfect in his new room, and the boys are constantly reminded of their family history and already adore looking at these photos of their Greatgrandfather.

P.S. The room is still very much not done. There are bedding parts missing…but it should be done soon and I can’t wait to reveal the entire thing.

Wade Family Photos-2012Wade Family Photos-2010Wade Family Photos-2007Wade Family Photos-2004Wade Family Photos-2002

I adore that she has her boudoir photos that Tiffani and I did of her, hanging in her master bedroom.

Wade Family Photos-2003

Ways to print your photos:• Have your photographer print them for you! This is the digital age, and I see it too, that most people purchase the files and not the prints. And it scares me that many are just like me and allowing them to sit on their hard drives or USBs. Please release the photos from their digital jail and order prints!• This is where I send all my clients that do buy those files. It is the sister consumer based lab to my pro lab I use, and I have approved the printing and calibration to be satisfactory to what I would get myself

Instagram/Phone Photos

Artifact Uprising- makes amazing books and prints

Chat books- I have them of all my family photos I share on instagram. The kids love flipping through them. I think I am up to $27 books now


IKEA – I love some IKEA frames (the two in my images are IKEA Ribba).

Framebridge- This lovely little company popped up on FB the other day and I have to say, it is super stylish and takes all the work out of getting prints framed!


This is probably one of my prized possession Pinterest Boards. I have worked on it since day one of joining Pinterest.    “the wall decor”    It boasts nearly 500 different gallery wall ideas. From single images, large oversized images, stair walls, full room sized gallery walls and more. If you’re stumped…this is a good place to start!

Inspired? Let me know that I am not alone in this shameful place of not displaying my photos. What else would you like to know about printing more photos?


  • Kristin Cioffi - Thanks for this, Marta! I’m so bad about printing photos for myself. I tease my MIL about her “shrine to Jaden” – her whole house is filled with prints I’ve done for her of her only grandchild yet my walls are bare. Thanks for the arse kickin’ – I’m on it!! =)ReplyCancel

    • Marta Locklear - Kristin- I want to give myself a little credit since I have taken everything off of all of my walls…but, honestly…there were not a lot of family photos up before that. Time to change it, but still keep the home artistic and not a shrine! :)ReplyCancel

      • Kristin - Agreed – shrines are creepy! =)))ReplyCancel

  • Linnea - So true, and something I really need to be better about! We have a little photo ledge with pictures up of family, but I think everything is at least 2 years old now!ReplyCancel

    • Marta Locklear - Linnea- So good to hear from you! I hope you and your little Bun are doing well! You have a new chapter in your lives now…you must get on showing off those pictures! xoxo MartaReplyCancel