Image of Amanda Gendek, owner of One Cozy Nest.

One Cozy Nest

Hi there! I’m Mandy, owner and curator of One Cozy Nest. I live in a little brick house just outside the quaint historic city of Bordentown NJ with my husband and our three children (boy, girl, boy).

My Family

Like a lot of families, we’re kept pretty busy with work, school, and extracurricular activities like Girl Scouts, baseball, softball, basketball, and jiu jitsu. Despite our hectic and sometimes downright chaotic schedule, we do find time to enjoy quiet moments together and hang out with friends and family. Our home is surrounded by big oak and locust trees so when the weather is nice, we spend lots of time enjoying the fresh air and open space.

My Style

As for me? I’m a homebody, so I spend a lot of time, like a good mama bird, making our little nest just so. My decor style is what I’d consider eclectic maximalism. To me, that means lots of color, plenty of art, handmade trinkets, repurposed furniture, and as many vintage pieces as I can find. Nothing is cookie cutter or from a big box store, nothing matches, and that’s the way I like it! My nest gets more and more cozy every year and it truly feels like a home to me. It’s really no wonder I don’t want to leave it.

My Passions

In my down time when I’m not working or looking after my flock, you can find me crafting, planning craft classes, flea marketing, thrifting, or working in my garden. I’m a Do It Yourself kind of gal so I’ve been known to fix stuff around the house, get power tools for Mother’s Day, and make things instead of buying them. I enjoy making videos and writing about my DIY home improvements, crafting projects, and flea marketing adventures in hopes of inspiring others.

Love of Nature

I grew up with my parents, brother, and sister in a NJ town located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, PA. As kids, having a river literally as our back yard meant that we spent most of our time swimming, canoeing, boating, and fishing. This special upbringing instilled in me a passion for nature and the environment. Back then, my dream was to become a marine biologist and work for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) saving whales and dolphins. While I didn’t save any whales, I did work for the EPA as a summer intern the year before I graduated college. Next, I worked as a geologist testing soil for contamination, removed leaking underground storage tanks, and sampled drinking water and monitoring wells. Finally, I got a great job as an environmental specialist for the State of New Jersey at the Department of Transportation (DOT). While working there full time, I earned a Masters Degree in Environmental Policy. I continued working for the DOT in their environmental and research units ever since. Today, I manage the Bureau of Research, Innovation & Information Transfer.

Love of Creativity

I want to try all the crafts. All of them! I have more art and craft supplies than I care to admit, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it? I’ve been obsessed with sewing, crocheting, knitting, embroidery, dolls, quilts, soap and candle making, jewelry, vintage assemblages…the list goes on. It’s in my DNA so it’s a condition that has no cure. My late grandmother was an avid needlepointer among many other talents. My mother was always baking beautiful cakes and making crafts. She even had her own little craft business. I remember her sitting at a little table in the corner of her bedroom, busy as a bee. I’d sit on the floor at her feet. She paid us kids 10 cents a piece to string pearl beads onto a wire for her Victorian-inspired creations. I’m sure I spent that money and then some buying other vendor’s crafts at the shows we went to. Today her favorite thing to do is diamond painting. My mom and my high school home economics teacher taught me some sewing skills that led to a little business of my own. I made handbags out of vintage and recycled fabrics for several years.

Love of All Things Old & Grungy

In my tweens and teens, my mother and older sister enjoyed perusing antique shops and would spend hours scouring the aisles of the local flea market. I coincidentally live about 10 minutes from said flea market. While my mom and sister loved hunting for junk, I loathed it. I remember thinking “Why would anyone want any of this junk?”. I’d complain, repeatedly asking them if we could go home. Fast forward about a decade and something drastically changed. Now, I love anything with a history. I love the smell of musty old books and well-used linens. I love advertising and toys from decades past. I love chippy paint and rusty metal. I love coming home from the flea market, fingers black, flip flops dusty, back aching from sifting through boxes of junk and walking down aisle after aisle in the sun. I suppose it was in my blood all along!

I’ve built One Cozy Nest, out of love. My love for nature. My love for creativity. My love for the thrill of the hunt.